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Peyton Hillis Ankle Injury Highlights Larger Questions for New York Giants

August 6th, 2014 at 6:55 AM
By Billy Javed

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.

Also…

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24 Responses to “Peyton Hillis Ankle Injury Highlights Larger Questions for New York Giants”

  1.  GIANTT says:

    So there will be another camp body who will be grateful for the opportunity to show the 32 NFL teams why they made a mistake . I predict a whiff on a block and Eli gets tackled and then back to the Piggly Wiggly .But is there a possibilty that either Hynoski or Conner could fill in ?

  2.  kujo says:

    We don’t need no stinkin’ running backs! Look at all these tight ends we have! They can do so many things in our offense!

    •  Krow says:

      Reverse gestalt … the group is actually lesser than the sum of the parts. FU Dr. Lukens …

      •  G Fan since Ninteen Forty Eight says:

        Almost my sharp fingered friend. 4×1= (-4) as they are taking up 4 roster spots. Can always use the 2nd FB to block.

    •  G Fan since Ninteen Forty Eight says:

      Told everyone 3 wks ago we will probably keep both FB and 2 loose ends

  3.  GOAT56 says:

    Repost:

    Nosh.0 says:
    August 5, 2014 at 10:09 PM
    Marty B’s cap number for 2014 6.025 Mill.
    2015 Cap Number 6.125 mill.
    2016 cap number 6.31 mill.

    That’s why he’s not on the team. Same reason Linval Joseph is not on the team. The giants thought the money was better spent on guys like DRC, Schwartz, Jennings, and cough, cough, Will Beatty.

    I think a reason why no TE has yet emerged is because they’re constantly shuffling guys in and out. If the team wants a TE to stick they should name someone the starter and give that player a chance to prove his worth. I personally think it should be Robinson because of the investment, but if they want to go with someone else then I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I just don’t know how a TE can establish himself by only seeing a few snaps at a time. But “competition makes people better”, so what do I know.

    Reply
    Krow says:
    August 6, 2014 at 4:41 AM
    And $nee.

    Reply

    •  kujo says:

      Sorry, but I disagree, Krow. If JR wanted to pay Bennett, he could have. Plain and simple. In 2014, these contracts are so fungible and wishy-washy that he could have easily cleared up cap space with a restructure or 2.

      •  Krow says:

        I agree … I was just being my usual sarcastic self.

        •  kujo says:

          Aye.

          It’s still a point worth making, since every year we let a player go because we “couldn’t pay him.” I think we need to check our prepositions, and realize that we COULD pay anyone we wanted, provided we were willing to engage in any of dozens of forms of quantitative easing of our cap space. The reality is that, more often than not, Reese takes a hard stand (“You’re worth x amount”) and doesn’t budge, thereby sending the player out into free agency armed with the knowledge that the Giants aren’t going to match, let alone EXCEED, any offer he gets from then on.

          It’s not a tactic without merit, but it is absolutely Reese’s modus operandi.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      If we traded I don’t cap number applies because it includes prorated bonus paid to him. We do have the cap room because of Bass to take on his contract. But it isn’t the way we do business.

      I agree about the playing time. That’s why I hope with the Fells injury Robinson gets to fill in at #2 TE and get tons of reps as the 1st TE with Nassib. I think overall we need to do a better job of trying to prepare our younger player than using vets.

      1) Williams and Cox after Eli is out should get all 3rd down RB reps to practice pass blocking and receiving.

      2) The rookie kicker should get all reps to see what he has.

      3) Kinnard should get the 2nd team MLB reps.

      4) Cox should get most reps over Hillis and Gaskins because he has the most upside so let’s see what he can do.

      •  kujo says:

        If Robinson sucks and can’t learn the play book, he shouldn’t be thrown out there. You earn your playing time with preparation. Go back and look at the plays featuring Robinson. He looks lost and confused.

        •  GOAT56 says:

          We are not going to win with Fells and Davis in the TE group. You have to let some player learn under fire. Practice is not a game. It’s important but it’s not the same thing. He’s only taking away reps from vets who don’t need many reps. It’s just like Nassib should have played more last year. These are preseason games and meant to prepare you for the season. If he’s going to be on the roster and has the most talent we need to do our best to get him prepared. Light reps is doing him no good.

  4.  kujo says:

    But seriously, Hillis’ injury doesn’t seem like a big deal, so they’ll probably just give the guys duking it out for that 4th RB spot (Cox and Gaskins) more reps this weekend.

    And I’m glad to see GOAT come back to reality with his “no fullbacks” theorem. Even with Wilson around, there was NO WAY we were going to look at the above players (and the flotsam and jetsam we have at TE) as so irresistibly good that we couldn’t do without them. Now that Wilson is gone, there’s just no way that we waste a roster spot on these guys…

    …leaving us with my initial prediction: 1 fullback (I thought Conner, but Hynoski established himself as a force to be reckoned with on Sunday night), and 3 TEs (Donnell, Fells and Robinson).

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I don’t think my theory was wrong at all. But seeing Hillis move he didn’t look much better than a pure FB which I didn’t expect and that also changed my outlook. Hillis doesn’t add nearly as much as I though playing the Kuhn position because he seems to have lost a step even from last year.

      We need to give cox more reps so this injury is positive. Gaskins doesn’t really serve any purpose on our 53 because we already have a short yardage RB.

      We need to add a scat back type of option IMO. One guy to keep an eye on is Chris Thompson from the skins. they have Morris, Helu, Roster and a 4th round RB already on the roster. Teams rarely keep 5 RBs so if one of their RBs are cut it would be an option to think about.

  5.  turkish says:

    I still don’t think Hillis will be one of the final 53.

  6.  turkish says:

    I’d kick the tires on M. Bush (Raiders/Bears). Think he is better than Hillis.

    •  kujo says:

      Hillis – employed

      Bush- unemployed

      That’s a pretty big indicator of who is “better,” 2-3 weeks into training camp.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        Both are done. Get a younger faster guy who’s in camp. Not one of the has beens sitting on the street.

        •  kujo says:

          Only one is done, as the other is currently listed as the #2 RB on the New York Giants.

          Any hey, I’m all for getting better. But these other guys, while “younger [and] faster” aren’t markedly better and don’t offer the diversity of skills that Hillis brings, in my mind.

        •  turkish says:

          Truth is both are done. I agree there.

  7.  James Stoll says:

    Every year it seems we have a position (or area) of the team that Reese decides can’t or won’t be addressed to the point where that position represents a glaring weakness that the team needs to overcome, with mixed reults.
    For years it was LB, but we still made the playoffs and won a super bowl with a group of pedestrian players. In 2009 it was Safety and we got slaughtered over the top as soon as wemoved past the soft part of the schedule. In 2012 and 2103 it was O-Line and from the middle of ’12 through ’13 we were as uncompetitive an offense as we’ve seen since the 2003 season when everyone got injured early on.
    TE is now the most prominent position of neglect. One would think the easiest one to compensate for however. If one of these guys can at least block, then they can assist the running game and eventually their lack of pass catching prowess will open up receiving opportunities as teams accustom themselves to ignoring that possibility.
    Let’s hope. Absent a garbage waiver wire gem pick up at the end of pre-season, we have what we have and the limitations appears both obvious and palpable.

    •  ERICHONIUS says:

      Teams cannot fill every position with high-priced free agents/early draft picks. Historically, TE has been a position that we have used low-value assets and received decent performance. Take into consideration that the TE FA market was poor AND this years draft was TE-poor. Further, take into consideration that we had MANY glaring needs including OT, OG, C, WR, RB, CB, DT. I would argue that DE was a larger need than TE. Finally, take into consideration that we brought in Fells, Davis, Grimble. I believe we will get about what we have historically gotten from the TE. We can also use an extra Olineman as a blocker in certain situations.

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