New York Giants running back Peyton Hillis left Tuesday’s practice due to a sprained ankle (originally thought to be a hand injury), but he believes he'll return soon. However, the threat of losing Hillis, especially after the loss of David Wilson, is a potentially eye-opening one.
At a position where hits and injury are commonplace, Hillis is the only running back of the group outside of Rashad Jennings that is not only a veteran, but an all around back capable running the ball, catching the ball and protecting the quarterback. Sure, either Jennings or a young Andre Williams could carry the entire load alone for a few games if need be, but they will risk plenty of wear and tear at a position where tweaks and pulls are also frequent let alone the contact based injuries.
Hillis had seven carries for 36 yards in Sunday's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills and managed to flash some speed on a few draw plays where he saw the open field. He averaged more than five yards per carry, though it was with and against second-string players.
At 28-years-old, Hillis still can play and is not yet a poor option at running back. With a good offensive line his versatility could cause problems for defenses as his presence allows Eli the freedom to audible into a variety of plays in which Hillis could run the ball, catch it out of the backfield, or stay back as an additional blocker pending whatever it is that Eli sees in the defense.
If Hillis’ injury lingers, the Giants may have to look into free agency for another option at running back. Michael Cox may have improved and shown promise as a tough runner in last year’s preseason, but the second year player may not present Eli with the most options in terms of play selection. Kendall Gaskins is the other option and he has even less experience with Eli and the Giants than Cox does.
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Tags: Andre Williams, Buffalo, Buffalo Bills, David Wilson, Football, Kendall Gaskins, Michael Cox, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Peyton Hillis, Rashad Jennings