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Sunday, September 30, 2012
Coach's Big Decision: Ground game

By Ian Begley

Tom Coughlin and the Giants coaching staff face plenty of tough decisions as kickoff for Sunday night's game against the Eagles approaches.

They've got to figure out the best way for the front seven to pressure Michael Vick; sort out the best way to deal with the injuries at secondary; and game-plan to try to help Ramses Barden be as productive as he was last Thursday against the Panthers.

These are all pressing matters. But one of the biggest issues the Giants staff faces heading into the game against Philly is this: How do you split carries between Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown?

Earlier in the week, Coughlin said the team will have a plan on how to divvy up the carries, but the staff also won't hesitate to go with the hot hand.

Brown is coming off two stellar weeks. Against Tampa Bay in Week 3, he ran for 71 yards on 13 carries after Bradshaw left the game. Brown then exploded for 113 yards on 20 carries last Thursday against Carolina.

Bradshaw has been sidelined with a neck injury that he described earlier this week as a "bulge" and "inflamed disc." Scary stuff. But he's healthy enough to play this week. And Coughlin has said he will start.

It'll be interesting to see how often the staff goes to Brown. It's a small sample size, but Brown is averaging 5.6 yards per carry this season, while Bradshaw is averaging 4.3. Bradshaw has played hurt time and time again during his Giants tenure, though, and helped the team win two Super Bowls. So he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Best-case scenario? This turns into a blessing in disguise for the Giants; they may find a two-back attack in Brown and Bradshaw that they didn't know they had coming into the season.

Worst-case scenario? They stick with Bradshaw while a red-hot Brown rots on the bench, or they're forced to start Brown while Bradshaw stews.

We'll see how it all plays out Sunday night.

Question: If you were coaching the Giants, how would you divide the carries between Brown and Bradshaw?