Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw not only plans on stepping into the No. 2 running back role this season, he also wants to convince the coaches he can be Tiki-like out of the backfield.
"Oh yeah, that's a big part of my game," Bradshaw said recently. "Last year Derrick (Ward) took a lot of that role. But that's where I can complement Brandon Jacobs. I can come in and catch the ball, change up the speed, change up the pace a little bit. That'll help our offense a whole lot."
Ward, who is now with the Bucs, was the primary target out of the backfield for the Giants the last few years, but even he was limited in that role. He had 41 catches for 384 yards last season. Not bad, but far from the 63 catches for 567 yards that Barber averaged from 1999-2006. The 23-year-old Bradshaw said he's been working with Eli Manning this offseason to "try to get that relationship, passing back and forth with him, trying to get a lot better in the offense communication-wise." He knows Jacobs will get the majority of the touches in the rushing game. But he wants to be the guy when the situation calls for a pass.
"He did at Marshall," said RBs coach Jerald Ingram. "He ran the go-screens there. He ran some things out of the backfield. But when you involve the third-down protections and all of the blitzes that you get from the defense, we ask our running backs to do an awful lot more than they ever had to do in college."