Giants have myriad running issues

Posted Oct. 14, 2011 @ 2:23 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

The talk all week has been about how the Giants no longer can run the ball the way the team long has sought to do. It will be a tough game against the Bills to prove they can run the ball considering that ORG Chris Snee and RB Brandon Jacobs are highly unlikely to play.

On the season, the team is gaining a mere 3.2 yards per rush and has found itself in a lot of 3rd-and-long situations. Ahmad Bradshaw and the Giants' running backs have combined for one rush longer than 15 yards on the season.

It simply doesn't look like a Kevin Gilbride and Tom Coughlin offense to this point.

Although the offensive line's blocking is not the only issue, it's one that must be mentioned as part of the problem. It's interesting to note that our team sources say that Snee was not playing up to his usually exceptional level before suffering a concussion in Week Five, but he's hardly the biggest concern on the offensive line.

The biggest concerns, we hear, are ORT Kareem McKenzie and OLG David Diehl. For the most part, Diehl has been average, and his biggest weakness (witness the Week Five loss to the Seahawks) is pass protection. Some have speculated that Diehl, who once was considered very versatile, still hasn't gotten used to playing in tight quarters inside after spending the past few seasons at left tackle.

But McKenzie has really struggled. At 32, he appears to have lost his leg drive and base power, which once were hallmarks of his game. It's a bit of a mystery, though, exactly why it has happened other than age. McKenzie might have to be replaced at some point, but with whom? Fourth-round rookie James Brewer likely isn't ready yet.

Injuries have caused this group to move personnel around, and there are other factors. Jacobs has been banged up, the Giants are using a rookie fullback (although Coughlin has praised Henry Hynoski quite a bit) and TE Jake Ballard, known best for his blocking, has been far more effective as a receiver.