If the Giants truly did bring Rashad Jennings in as insurance in case David Wilson is unable to continue his career after neck surgery, they apparently did not tell him that. In his first interviews made public by the team on Giants.com, the running back sounded as if he's here to be the starter. And the four-year, $14-million contract he signed would seem to be voicing a similar opinion.
"I have the same attitude every year since college," Jennings told Giants.com. "Go in, earn the respect of my teammates and my coaches, lock down the playbook and go show my worth and earn a starting position. That's my mentality every year and I look forward to being used however they see my talents fitting here."
Jennings has been mostly a role player throughout his NFL career, although he did have eight starts for the Raiders in 2013, when Darren McFadden was injured. One of those starts was against the Giants. He ran for 88 yards on 20 carries in that game and wound up leading the Raiders in rushing attempts (163), yards (733) and touchdowns (6). Those numbers would have led the 2013 Giants in every category.
In a video interview on Giants.com, Jennings was asked if that bolstered his confidence that he can be a starting running back in the NFL.
"I wouldn't say it gave added confidence because it was already there," he said. "I think it proved it . . . I've got a lot more I want to prove. I'm just getting into the prime of my game."
It's always good when a player aspires to be the starter. That's the way it should be. But the way Jennings was talking about the job almost made it sound as if Wilson won't be in the picture. Perhaps he won't be. The Giants have not come out and said anything concrete about his future, and while they are hopeful Wilson will return, they're clearly not banking on it by signing Jennings.
"I did an interview a couple weeks ago and they said, 'What's your idea of going through free agency?''' Jennings said. "I said, 'It's my job to show one team that they're right.' I'm glad to show the Giants that they're right."