Andre Brown’s health was always a concern, but with no solid state for the New York Giants running game, Brown’s injury raises much concern for the Giants.
Brown broke his left fibula Thursday in the final preseason game of the year against the New England Patriots, the same fibula Brown injured in 2012 against the Green Bay Packers. Reports indicate Brown is expected to miss 4-6 weeks and not only does it not bode well for any fantasy football owners that drafted him, it doesn’t bode well for the Giants.
With David Wilson being the replacement for Ahmad Bradshaw, Brown is seen as a replacement to the tailbacks of past offenses like Brandon Jacobs. His ability to break through the line of scrimmage on third downs and at the goal line allowed him to accumulate 8 touchdowns in 2012 before his injury. With the diligent movement of the Giants offense, Brown helps the Giants to keep the ball longer and extend the offense therefore creating more opportunities for the Giants to score. Last season, Brown averaged 5.9 yards on 1st downs at a distance of 8-10 yards while Wilson averaged 5.5. In his best season, Jacobs averaged 5.2 yards on 1st downs at a distance of 8-10 yards and on 3rd downs at a distance of 1-2 yards, Brown tops Jacobs 2.4 to 1.5.
Brown’s efficiency is not the only cause for concern as the Giants look to see who will be his replacement. As you look at who may replace him, Michael Cox is looking to be the new kickoff returner for the Giants now that Wilson will have more snaps with Brown injured. Next, Ryan Torian was second-team All Pac-10 at Arizona State University and is an excellent pass protector, but like Brown, Torian has injury problems. Da’Rel Scott seized the opportunity of Brown’s injury by rushing 25 yards on 4 carries and a TD reception against the Patriots, but Scott hasn’t been consistent during preseason. The biggest factor is neither of the three candidates provide the possibility of being as efficient as Brown, so ultimately it creates more pressure for Wilson.
As the Giants figure out a replacement, the next concern is how Wilson will respond to Brown’s injury. Head coach Tom Coughlin believes Wilson can provide what Brown offered to the offense, even though physically Wilson isn’t as strong. Wilson responded by saying to ESPN, “don’t get confused by my size,” Wilson said. “I’m a physical guy. I’m from the country. I grew up chopping wood. I’m well put together.”
Chopping wood isn’t the same as running straight at a 200 plus pound defender, but Wilson’s confidence, while somewhat comforting, doesn’t provide enough security for the Giants. Wilson was able to thrive last year because when Brown went down, Bradshaw was still an option, even though Bradshaw dealt with injuries of his own. With Brown out to start the season, Wilson must not only carry Brown’s load, but make sure he stays healthy enough to provide security for the run game.
It’s depressing to see the reinvigoration of Thunder & Lightning have a speed bump entering a redemption year for the Giants. Giants fans though, must always remember that when in doubt, never count the Giants out.