It was just two years ago that Derrick Ward was a 1,000-yard rusher and popular player for the Giants. Then he spent an unproductive year in Tampa Bay, was released this summer, and wound up with the Texans. He played last week against the Raiders because Arian Foster was benched for disciplinary reasons, and he could see some time against his old team on Sunday.
What does that mean to the guy on the Giants who was closest to Ward?
“Let them give it to him,” Brandon Jacobs said. “D-Ward knows these guys on defense and this defense knows D-Ward. He’s a great running back, we all know that. He’s just been in an unfortunate situation for the last year or so. He’s really a good back who is going to come out and give it his all. We’re definitely going to have to watch him.”
The Giants had two 1,000-yard rushers in 2008 – Jacobs was the other – and on Sunday they’ll both be in backup roles with their offenses.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Ward has progressed nicely.
“When we got him, I think he was a little overweight, and I challenged him to get down,” Kubiak said. “He’s done that for me. He’s picked up what we’re doing very quickly, and I think he’s going to help us a great deal … He’s a nice compliment to Arian and Steve (Slaton).”
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub said that the team’s zone blocking seems to mesh with Ward’s running style between the tackles.
“Derrick is kind of the old guy and he’s taken both of us under his wing,” Foster said. “I;ve never had that before, like a mentor to look out for me like that. He’s doing that and I thank him for it every day.”
This won’t be Ward’s first time facing his old Big Bluemates. Last year with the Bucs he was held to 2 rushing yards on 5 carries.