Brandon Jacobs Wants Out; Giants Should Be So Lucky
The amazing thing is, that last part is the problem. This is the NFL, where Michael Vick is a hero today in Philadelphia, Pacman Jones is making big plays in Cincinnati and the prevailing sentiment around the league is that Plaxico Burress is being punished too severely for firing a gun in a crowded New York City nightclub. (Yes, it was Jacobs, by the way, who wore the "Free 17" T-shirt in training camp to make a case for his former teammate's early release.) If you can play -- if you're really, really good -- you can get away with almost anything and still find work in the NFL. But Jacobs, who's never done anything as rotten as the stuff for which the three aforementioned clowns have been punished, has committed the league's one unforgivable sin -- he stopped being a good player.
Jacobs has lost his starting running back job to Ahmad Bradshaw, a better, faster back who was in position to take the job a year ago but couldn't stay healthy. This has upset Jacobs and caused him to curse out reporters who have dared to ask him about it. And all right, nobody likes reporters, fine, we get it and we're all kind of okay with it. But Jacobs on Sunday night in Indianapolis decided to take his anger out on his helmet, and the results were far more troubling.
If you believe Jacobs' side of the story, he was frustrated by what was happening on the field, where the Indianapolis Colts were obliterating the Giants' horrible defense and reminding the whole team that what happened in the second half of 2009 was a lot more indicative of who they are now than was their tap-in Week 1 victory over the Panthers. So, he was going to just throw his helmet to the ground in frustration. But as he tells it, the thing got caught in his finger and instead went up into the stands. He apologized and said some stupid-sounding stuff about how anybody who knows him knows he wouldn't throw a helmet at a fan, then he cursed out another reporter, because it was a Sunday night and he hadn't done that yet.
Whatever. Even if you believe the helmet-chuck was accidental, it was still a manifestation of a lousy temper that the team no longer has any reason to tolerate. Ever since he signed a four-year, $25 million contract before the start of the 2009 season, Jacobs has acted like a spoiled baby who doesn't like playing football and just wants everybody to leave him alone. He whined last year about public perception -- how people don't like when he runs to the outside because he's 265 pounds and is supposed to barrel through the line. He was a complete prima donna through a brutal 2009 season, only talking to the media on one specific day per week, the way star quarterbacks do it, and more than once refusing to talk and own up after a game.
Jacobs rushed for five yards per carry in 2007 and 2008, clearing 1,000 yards in each of those years in spite of missing a total of eight games due to injury, but last year his average dropped to 3.7 yards per carry and his total to 835 in 15 games. So far this year, in two games, he's got a whopping 52 yards on 16 carries and hasn't been to the end zone. The Giants have no use for a player like that, and more than one good off-the-field reason to want to get rid of him. If he's going in there Monday to tell them he wants a trade, they're liable to laugh him out of the building. Of course, the Giants would trade him. He's a lousy player and no fun to be around. But it's hard to trade guys like that.
The Giants have lots of problems. The defense is soft and vulnerable, as the Colts showed in every way possible. The offensive line is toast. The running game is unreliable at best, and that's with Bradshaw (so far) healthy. If not for Eli Manning and his wide receivers, they'd more or less be the Rams, and that's not an exaggeration. The Giants are at a turning point in their history, where it's time to move on from the team that won that Super Bowl a few years ago and refresh the whole thing. Getting rid of Jacobs, who makes their locker room and their on-field product worse just by showing up, would be a good start. It's just hard to imagine them pulling it off.