D.J. Ware trying to win No. 2 running back job
ALBANY -- With Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson in their backfield, the Giants will have one of the speediest running back duos in the league. Both players are capable of breaking off a long run and bringing the fans to their feet on any given snap of the ball.
But there are times when the Giants will not need a big play. They'll need a small one. A short-yardage one.
Bradshaw and Wilson certainly are tough enough and slippery enough to get the job done in that situation, but it would be nice to have a strong, bulldozing, need-an-inch-and-don't-sweat-it grinder.
It's the job Brandon Jacobs used to have for the Giants, or at least the job the Giants always envisioned the 264-pounder having. Now that Jacobs no longer is here, it appears D.J. Ware has thrown his name into consideration for the role.
"I'm the biggest out of the backs, so it's one of those things where you fall into those shoes," Ware said Friday night after a strong performance in which he scored a touchdown and ran for 30 yards on five carries. "If that's what they need, then that's what I can do. I did that when I was at Georgia, so it's the same."
Listed at 227 -- nearly 40 pounds less than Jacobs -- Ware showed good tenacity on his touchdown run. After getting stuffed up the middle, he rolled to his right on a second effort and lunged into the end zone. On the play before that, he rumbled 9 yards, pushing the pile to the goal line.
He also flashed some speed and quickness when he darted through the line for a 16-yard run in the second quarter to set up the Giants' second touchdown, high-stepping some imaginary defenders and catching some grief from Bradshaw over his styling.
"I felt like somebody was behind me trying to trip me up, so I threw my legs up trying to get the most yards that I could," he said. "I probably didn't need to. But it's all good."
With Bradshaw entrenched as the starting running back and Wilson the young phenom, Ware understandably is feeling a little squeezed. He's been with the Giants for six years and this is his first chance to be as high as No. 2 on the depth chart. He'd like to hold that job for as long as possible, and that means holding off Wilson.
"You can't never let up, man," Ware said. "I have that young guy behind me, he's definitely making a push for the No. 2 spot, so I just have to keep going, keep staying consistent and make plays."
Ware's advantage over Wilson is his experience and understanding of the offense. But even that has its limits.
On Ware's touchdown run, for example, Tom Coughlin said he was pleased by the second effort to get into the end zone but felt that if Ware had read the run better, he never would have run into the scrum in the first place.
"They just want to see me run hard," Ware said. "I'm a big back and they want me to run with power and speed when I need it and make the right reads and stay positive in my yardage. That's what I tried to do."