Coughlin: Jacobs needs more carries

INDIANAPOLIS –- Tom Coughlin thinks he needs to feed Brandon Jacobs the ball more.

The Giants head coach liked what he saw from Jacobs late in the season. With Ahmad Bradshaw as the primary running back, Jacobs averaged just 9.1 carries a game last season.

Jacobs never carried the ball more than 14 times in a game and still rushed for 823 yards and nine touchdowns.

“He does need to carry the ball a little bit more,” Coughlin admitted at the NFL scouting combine. “Well, you look at the end of the year numbers, you’d want him to have a few more carries.”

In his first year as the top back, Bradshaw carried the ball 276 times for 1,235 yards and eight touchdowns but also lost six fumbles.

Jacobs initially was not pleased with no longer being the primary running back. But he accepted the situation and began to thrive in his limited role. In the final 10 games of the season, a fresh Jacobs averaged 61.6 yards per game. He started five of those games when Coughlin wanted Bradshaw to stop fumbling.

“As you look at everything at the end of the year, Brandon was fresher than he’s ever been, healthier than he’s ever been and probably needs to carry the ball a little bit more,” Coughlin said. “He’s got a lot of gas in the tank.”

Bradshaw’s contract is up and he said the Giants have told him he is a priority this offseason. Bradshaw, though, wondered if the Giants would be able to afford to keep both running backs. Jacobs is slated to earn $4.65 million in 2011 and $4.9 million in 2012.