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Giants' Andre Williams can't get much yardage with his limited carries

Andre Williams of the New York Giants runs

Andre Williams of the New York Giants runs the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Oct. 4, 2015 in Orchard Park, N.Y. Credit: Getty Images / Tom Szczerbowski

Everyone knew it would be this way. When you have a rotation of three running backs, it's hard for any of them to find a rhythm. But one of the three seems to be struggling with it more than the others.

"For Rashad [Jennings], it doesn't seem to be [difficult]," Tom Coughlin said. "For Shane [Vereen], it doesn't seem to be. I do think that, quite frankly, [Andre] Williams probably needs more carries. But under the present system, it's something that we have to deal with."

Usually, when a player is as ineffective as Williams has been for the last two weeks, the coach will reduce his snaps. Coughlin seems to want to do the opposite. That makes sense, given Williams' straight-ahead style compared with what the other two bring to the group. He's the more physical runner, the one who wears down defenses by handing out punishment.

Yet in the last two games, Williams has carried the ball only eight times. For six yards.

He may be a short-yardage back, but .75 yards per carry probably is a little too short for anyone's liking.

Williams downplayed the idea that his skill set requires a different workload than that of his teammates.

"Everybody is going to take time to get into a rhythm. That's what get into a rhythm means," he said. "I think it's more so about knowing what's going on and being able to have a balanced attack."

Coughlin doesn't blame Williams, the second-year back from Boston College who led the NCAA in rushing as a senior and led the Giants in rushing as a rookie. He's also quick to suggest that there might not be anything wrong with his production based on his limited number of reps.

"I don't know that it's not working. He doesn't have a lot of carries," Coughlin said. "He hits the holes, he does whatever we ask him to do there. Perhaps it's the defense, perhaps it's whatever. I don't think it really has anything to do with what he's not been able to do."

Williams, more self-critical, sees otherwise.

"I look at the tape sometimes and I have plays where I leave yards on the field," he said. "I just have to be able to take advantage of the reps that I get and make the most out of them. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't."

Those increased reps that Coughlin wants might be hard to come by. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo noted that the Giants have three backs who deserve touches, so taking away from one to give to another would not be ideal. He also did not seem to buy the idea that Williams needs some time to be effective.

"There are no practice reps on Sundays," McAdoo said.

Williams chuckled when told that Coughlin would like him to have more carries.

"Yeah, I do think that might help a little bit," he said.

But he is prepared to go without them.

"Our offense, it's not run-heavy," he said. "I'm not the starting back and our offense, we're not running the ball a lot. I'm the next running back up so of course my stats aren't going to be like Shane's or Rashad's. If I'm getting more carries, then we'll see whether or not that holds true.''

Until then, he's just trying to make do with the chances he is given.

"You can have a 100-yard game on five rushes if you have a couple of good runs and one great run," he said. "It's all about taking advantage of the reps that I get . . . I make it out of the game healthy, that means I have another opportunity to come back next week and do something amazing. It only takes one play, so I'm not discouraged."


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