Ahmad Bradshaw prepared to defend starting role
Fresh off a Super Bowl victory, the New York Giants have spent this offseason looking for ways to improve their team and stay the top dog in a very competitive NFC East. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw missed 4 games in the 2011 season with a foot injury, but still managed to set a career high with 9 rushing touchdowns. Bradshaw also only fumbled the ball once, after averaging five fumbles each of the last two seasons.
So how did the Giants reward Bradshaw? Well, after letting go of Brandon Jacobs, Bradshaw’s main backup, the Giants used their first round draft selection on Virginia Tech running back David Wilson. Despite the new younger competition, Bradshaw remains unfazed and believes he has a lock on New York’s feature running back spot.
“Never” was Bradshaw’s response to the New York Post when asked about David Wilson possibly taking his job as starting running back. Bradshaw and Wilson both have similar playing styles, running with more finesse than power. Given this, one could easily see Wilson fighting Bradshaw for similar playing time.
The biggest knock against Bradshaw has been his injury history, where he has suffered multiple ankle and foot injuries over the last few seasons. But Bradshaw is adamant that he is healthy and ready to lead the Giants this season.
“I can feel it in my body I’m getting a little older as a running back,’’ Bradshaw said. “But I feel great. I feel young as I was.’’
ESPN’s Dan Graziano also commented that Bradshaw is feeling totally healthy with no foot issues after offseason stem-cell surgery. On all fronts, it sounds like Bradshaw may be back healthier than ever and ready to help improve the Giants’ running attack.
Wilson will probably not take as many carries from Bradshaw as Brandon Jacobs did in past seasons. It will take some time for Wilson to adjust to the speed of the NFL and learn that he can’t dance his way around every opponent. Bradshaw, now entering his sixth NFL season, already knows that patience is a virtue in the running game.
Bradshaw has the strong veteran advantage in this training camp battle. With all signs clear on the field and on the injury front, it wouldn’t seem that Bradshaw will be losing his job to a rookie any time soon. Expect to see Bradshaw get about 60 or 65 percent of the rushing workload when healthy.