The Giants seem to have done away with their running back-by-committee philosophy when it comes to play distribution, but the player who has risen to chairman of the group says that the group mentality remains.
“We’ve got four,” Rashad Jennings told Newsday on Tuesday when asked about the use of just two running backs, himself and Shane Vereen, in Sunday’s win over the Cowboys. “And everybody is good. Everybody is always going to stay ready. However the rotation is, that’s irrelevant. It’s out of our hands.”
Since late last year, the ball has mostly been in Jennings’ hands. According to research by the NFL Network, Jennings leads the NFL in rushing yards (507) and rushes of 10 or more yards (15) since Week 14 of the 2015 season. On Sunday, he had 75 yards on 18 carries with a long of 17 and three runs over 10 yards.
While Jennings undoubtedly appreciates the idea of being the main focus of the running game, as opposed to the mish-mosh of the early parts of 2015 when it wasn’t until Week 3 that he had as many carries or rushing yards as he had in this opener, he’s still adamant that it’s not a one-man show.
Besides Vereen, the Giants also have running backs Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey.
“We understand what kind of team we are and what it takes,” Jennings said. “It’s always going to take every hand on deck to be successful.”
He pointed to the special teams work of the two backs who did not see any offensive snaps on Sunday.
“Everybody is playing a role in these wins,” he said. “You have to have a room where everything is interchangeable.”
Do the Giants have that?
“Absolutely,” he said.
But the Giants have learned, thanks to Jennings’ last five games, that just because pieces are interchangeable does not mean they have to be.