Only a little more than two months ago, Giants fans were making predictions about which running backs would make the 53-man roster. David Wilson and Andre Brown would be the 1-2 punch to bolster the running game.
The talk of if 7th round rookie Michael Cox would be a practice squad candidate and between Da’Rel Scott and Ryan Torain, who would the Giants choose if they decided to keep a 4th running back. Let’s not forget fullback Henry Hynoski . He would bring his dependable presence to Giants backfield.
Fast-forward to week 7 of this dreadful Giants season, and the names couldn’t be more different. Andre Brown was placed on IR and the Giants hope he will be available within the next few weeks. Wilson’s status remains up in the air as he rehabs a possibly season and career neck injury.
Scott, was ultimately kept when Brown went down, then cut, then brought back only to be placed on IR after an injury sustained vs. the Bears in week 6. Hynoski rehabbed his knee injury, only to return and break his shoulder which placed him on injury reserve for the rest of the year.
Peyton Hillis was signed this week to help support a running back position that has been absolutely depleted. He will back up veteran Brandon Jacobs and the rookie, Cox. The Giants hope this is the group, along with Andre Brown, that provides some type of consistency in this crazy season. John Connor has looked solid as the new Giants full back.
Hillis was solid early in his career as part of a running back rotation for the Denver Broncos. Drafted in the 7th round out of Arkansas, he was part of a deep running back group that consisted of 1st round picks, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.
The Broncos traded Hillis in 2010 to the Browns for quarterback Brady Quinn. Hillis burst onto the NFL scene and became a Fantasy Football superstar as he rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was even elected to grace the cover of Madden NFL 12.
Since then, the bruising running back has been in decline. He spent some time with the Kansas City Chiefs and this year signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although getting released by the Buccaneers in a short stint, the Giants hope that the RB’s familiarity with Tampa’s offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, one time assistant on Tom Coughlin’s staff, will help speed up his understanding for the Giants playbook and offensive concepts in a timely manner
Looking ahead to this Monday nights must win game vs. the Minnesota Vikings, it’s hard to say what could be expected of the 27-year-old Hillis. Hillis should be active, however if Jacobs is healthy enough to play, he will get the bulk of carries.
The Giants also are hoping that a week of preparation for rookie Michael Cox, who got the majority of carries as the starting running back in practice, will be ready to contribute.
Marco Imperati | Featured Columnist