EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants backfield went into “next guy up” mode Friday as Brandon Jacobs was deemed doubtful for Sunday’s game against Seattle with a sprained left MCL.
DJ Ware, the Giants’ third running back behind Jacobs and starter Ahmad Bradshaw, will now move to Bradshaw’s primary backup, with seventh-round draft pick Da’Rel Scott going into the third spot. Scott has only played on special teams for Giants (3-1), but could see his first offensive action in third-down blocking situations.
“Ready-ready,” an eager but anxious Scott said Friday. “I’m just waiting for them to call my number. There’s definitely a lot of anxiety going right now. But I’m preparing as best I can.”
Scott offered some glimpses of his potential in the preseason. Against Chicago, he posted a 97-yard touchdown run. He also took a fake punt 65 yards for a touchdown vs. New England.
Now, the 5-foot-11, 210-pounder out of Maryland hopes to see at least a couple of carries, though picking up blitzes as Eli Manning drops back will more likely be his role.
Scott said he’s consulted often with Ware on that point, considering that was Ware’s major role behind Jacobs. Ware has just three carries for 22 yards.
“DJ’s helped me a lot on third-down situations,” Scott said. “I rely on him because if I do have a role on Sunday, it’ll be in third-down situations.”
Ware was hoping for something more substantive than mere blocking now that he’ll play in rotation with Bradshaw. Jacobs had averaged just over eight carries per game, which would suit Ware fine.
He said rust from being left out of the offensive gameplan — he serves as the up-man on the kickoff return team — would not be an issue.
“This is just a great opportunity right now, and I can’t wait to get out there,” Ware said. “I’m just out there running, reading my offensive line, reading my linebackers, reading all my keys. Trying to run downhill as fast as I can and leaving no witnesses when I get away from people.
“I’m just going to go out and play hard and fast, and now that I’m not nervous, it’ll be easier to do.”
Not as easy will be the overall task of getting an inconsistent running game untracked against the league’s 14th-ranked run defense. Center David Baas has been ruled out with a neck injury, which leaves reserve Kevin Boothe with the responsibility of producing the physicality the interior of the line has lacked so far.
Giants running backs have averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, good for No. 29 in the league.
Ware’s cutting style and his 6-foot, 225-pound frame can make people miss. But Ware does not present the punishing entity that Jacobs does.
“It affects the gameplan, but there’s opportunities for others to step up,” Coughlin said. “They have to step up and do the job.”
Meanwhile, the frustration surrounding Jacobs’ slow healing is tangible. He injured the knee during the Arizona game, and was pulled from the lineup after his fourth-quarter touchdown.
He did not practice this week in preparation for the Seahawks (1-3).
On Thursday, Jacobs said “It doesn’t feel too bad. I’m just waiting to be unleashed, and that’s about it.”
That won’t happen now until next week against Buffalo, at the earliest.
“I thought he’d make more progress, but that hasn’t been the case,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “I don’t know if it’s a setback, but there is swelling.”
NOTES: Defensive end Justin Tuck (neck/groin) also missed practice and is doubtful. … CB Prince Amukamara (foot) is out. … Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (ribs), LB Michael Boley (knee), and DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) are probable.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.