Thursday, October 15, 2009
Production decline upsetting Jacobs
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brandon Jacobs is one unhappy running back for the New York Giants, and not even five wins to open the season can change that.
Jacobs, who signed a four-year, $25 million contract in the offseason, ended an interview on Thursday after he felt he was asked too many questions about his season, which has seen him gain 355 yards on 100 carries. His 3.55 yard average is 1.45 yards less than a year ago.
Jacobs answered two questions about his season to start the interview, saying he takes the blame for what's happened while hinting there are other reasons his average is down. He said he was doing his best with his power style of running, adding he would be happy at the end of the season if his statistics matched last year (1,089 yards).
However, Jacobs' frustration bubbled up when he was asked about fellow running back Ahmad Bradshaw's success. The much quicker third-year back leads the team with 375 yards on 58 carries, a 6.5 yard average.
"A lot of the stuff suits him perfectly," Jacobs said. "If someone is running free, he is able to see him real quick, make him miss and do something. Me, I am 6-foot-4, 265 pounds. I am supposed to run into people. I am supposed to take somebody on. That's me. If I don't do that, I am terrible. So it is what it is."
Jacobs went on to answer several questions about returning home to play in front of family in New Orleans and going against a Saints defense coached by Gregg Williams, the former Redskins coordinator.
Jacobs didn't even mind answering a question about being a tone-setter for the Giants, noting he does it on the field and before games.
When asked specifically how he was a tone-setter on the field, Jacobs had enough.
"You're just looking for some [junk], aren't you?" Jacobs said to a reporter.
The reporter seemed surprised and asked Jacobs what was wrong.
"Yes! I see myself as a tone-setter," Jacobs said. "Yes, I do. I am going out and just running into people. I'm 6-4 and 265 pounds, doing what I am supposed to do, running into people to get a 2-yard loss. Happy?"
Jacobs, who has rushed for 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons, ended the interview, picked up his shoes and walked away.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said Thursday that he has talked to Jacobs and told him the team isn't disappointed. Gilbride said Jacobs' style gives the offense much of its toughness, while his blocking and pass catching help the offense go.
"I just think his stats are not as high as the success he has experienced in the past," Gilbride said. "He wants to do more, which is good. Looking to do whatever he can do, he is looking to do it for the sake of the team. I think that is what he feels, he wants to be an effective runner because he knows our team needs that."
Gilbride said what also should be noted is that Bradshaw has been exceptional.
"He is making guys miss, even if it's not blocked the way you want it," Gilbride said. "Sometimes, it's the luck of the draw, you have the right play called when he is in."
Gilbride smiled when asked how he felt Jacobs would handle his frustration this weekend when the Giants (5-0) play the Saints (4-0) in a game between two of the NFL's five remaining unbeaten teams.
"What I expect him to do is to channel that into a great effort," Gilbride said. "Going home, looking to show everybody that, 'Hey, I am a special football player. My role on this team is very important. I am angry, I'm frustrated.' I think he is just going to dig down a little bit deeper. I think he is going to respond very positive to do it."
After watching Jacobs and Bradshaw on tape, Saints linebacker Scott Fujita refused to say one was better than the other.
"Jacobs is the guy, kind of a one-cut guy who can hit it downhill and steamroll everybody and the other guy is really elusive, he's got great balance, gets to top-end speed really quickly, so it's a really good combination," Fujita said.
A year ago, the main combination was Jacobs and Derrick Ward, who signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent.
Ward also averaged more yards per carry than Jacobs (5.6 yards to 5.0), though Jacobs outgained him 1,089 to 1,025.
"I don't always look at Brandon's success as just stats," Giants center Shaun O'Hara said. "The thing he brings to our offense and to the game is his physical presence. What may not be seen in stats for him, is stats for other people. Look at D-Ward last year, when he can in he was a changeup back. They (Ward and Bradshaw) are both faster than Brandon. He's our thunder. They're our lightning and they complement each other."
Expect the forecast for New Orleans this Sunday to feature a lot of thunder, especially in the Superdome.