EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Coughlin doesn’t have many options at halfback for the winless New York Giants.
The choice now is rookie Michael Cox, and that’s it.
Veteran Brandon Jacobs, who ignited the running game for the first time this season in a 27-21 loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, has a tweaked left hamstring. He did not practice on Monday as the Giants (0-6) started work for next Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Jacobs insists he will play. Cox said he is ready. David Wilson and Da’Rel Scott are major question marks.
Wilson, the No. 1 back to start the season, was in California on Monday having a troublesome neck injury examined. Scott has a bad hamstring injury and appears to be out for Minnesota.
Things were so bad before last week that backup linebacker Allen Bradford ran a few plays as a halfback with the scout team.
Coughlin joked Monday when asked if he was concerned about his halfback situation.
“What do you mean?” he said. “We had one. We’re all set.”
Besides Cox, Coughlin also has fullback John Conner in the backfield.
Sitting in front of his locker, Jacobs smiled when asked about his hamstring, which was hurt on a night he carried 22 times for 106 yards. It was the first individual 100-yard rushing effort by a Giant this season, and Jacobs’ first 100-yard game since 2010. It came on a night New York ran for a season-high 123 yards.
“I’m not missing any game,” Jacobs said. “Straight up, that’s all there is in a nutshell. I am not counting on being down.”
Jacobs said the trainers advised him not to practice Monday and he has been told his injury is day to day.
The 31-year-old Jacobs surprised a lot of people with his performance. He ran hard. He had great second effort. He also showed he could get into the end zone, twice carrying Bears’ defenders to pay dirt.
“It’s not about proving to everybody,” said Jacobs, who barely played after signing with San Francisco as a free agent last season. “I don’t care to prove to anybody. All I need to do is show the guys in this locker room and the coaching staff what I have to do.”
On the other hand, Cox has to prove himself. The seventh-round draft pick is still trying to learn the offense.
“He’s young,” Coughlin said. “It’s sophisticated and complex the things that are thrown at him, particularly in the protection area, so you’ve got to be careful.”
The bottom line is the Giants don’t want Eli Manning getting hurt because Cox missed a blocking assignment.
“I feel like I’m ready to go, but obviously I’m just working on everything, pass protection, just watching more film and the whole offense, everything,” Cox said.
Center Jim Cordle said the offensive line got a chance to work with Cox on Monday. Cordle said the 24-year-old who has yet to carry the ball in the regular season is a fast, physical back.
“He is talented, but I am sure Brandon will play,” Cordle said. “You saw how much he loves playing and how much he wants to be here. If those are the two guys, we’ll go with them.”
Scott also injured his hamstring against the Bears. He had a hard time walking up steps after watching practice Monday.
The biggest concern is Wilson, the Giants’ first-round draft pick last year. He hurt his neck getting tackled against Philadelphia on Oct. 6. He briefly lost feeling but walked off the field.
There is some concern he has had a narrowing of his spinal column, and that was being looked at in California.
Wilson was optimistic about his condition on Friday. Coughlin said Wilson overcame a similar injury in college.
The Giants were not certain whether they would have an update on Wilson’s injury on Monday.
The halfback situation should improve after the eighth game, when halfback Andre Brown is eligible to come off injured reserve. He broke his left leg for the second time in less than a year in the preseason finale against New England.
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