Following a frustrating loss to the Colts, the lasting image for the Giants might have been the sight of Brandon Jacobs' helmet trying to be pried away from the hands of a fan several rows up in the stands. How did it get there? Good question.
Jacobs reportedly tossed the helmet, and it accidentally — team's words — ended up in the crowd. The helmet toss underscored Jacobs' frustration with his role reversal, from starter and tone setter to second chair in the Giants' offense. He's now coming off the bench behind Ahmad Bradshaw.
Through two games, Jacobs has 16 carries, though that total was held down after Tom Coughlin benched his back following the helmet incident. But in this format, Jacobs would not be seeing the ball too much more than 15 times a game; he had 12 carries and two receptions in the Week One win over the Panthers.
Now comes word that Jacobs will request a trade. He has not been happy with his role for months. And there have been reports that the Giants have not been thrilled with Jacobs, despite everyone saying that the role change had more to do with Bradshaw and less to do with Jacobs.
As much as Jacobs might like to be some other team's bellcow, it's not likely to happen. The Giants actually do need him. Other than Bradshaw, they have only DJ Ware at running back and they're not ready to run Ware that much per game. That would make them a passing team primarily, though you could make the argument that throwing the ball is what they do best, Sunday night's game notwithstanding.
Jacobs and the Giants are going to have to work through this thing because it's unlikely he's going anywhere. If the coaches want to channel Jacobs' anger, they should tell him to run against opponents like there are 11 Tom Coughlins on the field. That might get his motor running.
He's still a valuable piece for this team. He might be a great addition to the Steelers, Lions or some other team that wants to pound the ball next season, but for now he's a Giant and he's probably stuck with it.
What Jacobs now must do is keep some measure of composure. And it's not just the helmet; he has been involved in two shouting matches with different media members this week, and it's just not good business to allow reporters to get under your skin this early in the season without a whole lot of provocation.
After Week One, the Giants looked like the possible sleeper favorites in the NFC East. We now have more questions following the blitzing in Indy. But the Giants remain a talented team with the pieces they have, and that includes the combustable Jacobs.
Good teams need a little fire and brimstone, and I have seen situations like this turned on their heads and made into a positive. I could see us talking in Week 11 about the renewed vigor of Jacobs, but he's got to suck it up and focus now on being a Giant, as much as that might pain him. It's unlikely the team will be able to let him go.