2006-08-04 / Sports

Giants' Jacobs Looks To Build On Rookie Campaign

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist

ALBANY, NY - It was a Giant problem for many years. But, when the team drafted Brandon Jacobs last season, the hard times in short yardage situations that plagued the team seemed to be solved.

Seven touchdowns - the most by a Giants' rookie since 1984 - show what the 24 year-old brings to the table. At 6'4", 265 pounds, Jacobs knows what he has to do to move the ball.

"The idea is to lower my shoulders and keep my feet moving," Jacobs said. "It's like pulling a sled with a couple of hundred pounds on it at a 45 degree angle. Your body is on a tilt, so that will help keep you balanced. At 6'4" you can't run too close to the ground or you end up down face first."

That's exactly why the Giants drafted him in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, but at times last season Jacobs had trouble with "staying low." So it's something he is working on in this camp.

Coach Tom Coughlin sees progress: "I just think he's learning and growing and trying to understand how to best protect himself and how best to be in a position where he can be the most effective - to utilize the strength in his body and the power. "He's tall. Tall runners sometimes have that (instinct to run high). I thought he got better. At the end of the year, at the goal line, I thought he was better at getting low."

With only 38 rushes for 99 yards, Jacobs does expect to be a bigger part of the offense this season. But Tiki Barber is still the main man, so the back has to wait his turn.

"I wanted to play more," Jacobs said. "But it didn't work out that way because Tiki is a beast. I didn't know as much, so I wasn't really ready to get out there last year. I wanted to play more, I ran over a few people and that was my goal." But that doesn't mean, the short yardage man won't be a playmaker in the future.

"I want to work hard until I am a featured guy and be a leader," he said. "I want to be a featured guy. I am doing the extra work right now, so I can just play." So as the "two-a-days" keep on going, Jacobs will try to showcase himself more. On Tuesday, he made two nice touchdown runs in practice, which could be a sign of things to come.

"I concentrated on the one thing last year," Jacobs said. "That was my job. I wanted to make sure I could get my job done proper until I could do something else. It's not easy to make the transition from the real shifty back to the big strong back."

If he performs as well as he did a short yardage back, Jacobs will be fine.

Notes: It's not an entire love fest up in Albany, though some of it is tongue-in-cheek. Jeremy Shockey called head coach Tom Coughlin an "ass" earlier in the week, but the coach laughed it off.

"My wife has called me that a few times," Coughlin said. "I looked at it when I saw the headlines and I don't really think that he was trying to disrespect me. As I said I've been called worse."

Coughlin moved some practices from mid-afternoon to early evening to beat the heat.

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