Brandon Jacobs said he was not angered by Antonio Pierce's comments about his injury last week. But it sounds as if he's starting to simmer a little bit about how much he's being used in the offense when he is healthy.
Twice Tuesday, when talking about his anticipated return to the field, Jacobs used self-deprecating terms to describe the impact he'll be able to make.
He said if everything goes well he plans on playing next week against the Dolphins. "When I say 'play' I mean do what I was doing before, three, four carries, five carries," he said. "Whatever they ask."
A few moments later he was asked about the lift his return can give the team.
"It's only going to be a mental lift," he said. "Justin [Tuck], he actually takes 60-70 plays a game. Me, I'll come back and help as much as I can with what I get to help with. I'm looking forward to helping as much as I can with the chances I'm given."
Jacobs was undercutting his carries a bit. He had 16 of them against the Rams. Against the Redskins, Eagles and Cardinals he had a combined 22. He's also caught four passes, one for a touchdown.
Tom Coughlin said several times during the offseason that his intention was to use Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw in a more balanced fashion. It wasn't happening before Jacobs was injured. Will it after he returns?
"We told Brandon, 'Just hang in there,'" running backs coach Jerald Ingram said Tuesday. "'The second half of the year, when we're in November and December and people are tired and sore, you're fresh.' Brandon had some great long runs last year in the latter part of the year. He was a spark. It's OK to be a spark."
Ingram said he understands how difficult it can be for a player who used to be a starter to accept a diminished role. And he said the lopsided snap count between Bradshaw and Jacobs mostly was because of game flow and circumstances. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride did not seem bothered by Jacobs' perception that he is getting fewer carries.
"Show me one who's not [upset about that]," he said. "They all want the ball."
Jacobs had difficulties adjusting to his new role last year, but appeared to be more at peace with it coming into this season. And he did not say he is unhappy when speaking to the media Tuesday.
"Listen, man, I don't know," he said of the number of carries he had been getting before his injury. "The way things go I take what I'm given and I try to make it the best I can. That's it."
"It's hard on him, but he understands," Ingram said. "When we see him out there, good things usually come. All of a sudden, it's like that second charge that everybody needs. He's just got to hang in there."
It may not matter for a while because while Jacobs said he is looking forward to playing against the Dolphins, he is adamant about not returning until he is feeling 100 percent healthy. He missed the last two games with an MCL injury. In 2009 he suffered a knee injury against the Ravens and tried to play through it, something he remembers well.
"No question about it and I will not do that again," he said. "It only ended up hurting me in the end. I can bet my bottom dollar that that's not going to happen again."
Which brings us back to Pierce, who last week made comments as an ESPN analyst that Jacobs and Tuck should be playing as long as they don't require surgery. Jacobs addressed those comments for the first time Tuesday.
"I was not bothered by Antonio," he said. "He's getting paid to do that. They might have given him a little extra bonus here and there to say that."