Monday - Mar 8, 2021

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Dear Mr. Gilbride

Dear Mr. Kevin Gilbride,

What were you thinking rotating one of the most intimidating and frightening RB’s of all time in the 6’4”, 265-pound Brandon Jacobs

every series with Derrick Ward? It’s no wonder you guys lost the game on Monday night against

Cleveland. If you remember, Jacobs’ first three carries went for seven, six and five yards, but you should know better than anyone that there’s more to these yards than meets the eye. Jacobs strikes fear in the hearts of defensive backs and most linebackers and demoralizes defenses with his rare combination of brute physicality and speed. Yes, Ward is averaging a beastly-in-its-own-right 7.4 YPC, but if you examine his carries, most come on obvious passing situations. Please don’t make the mistake of rotating him every series in a game ever again. Don’t make us go Buddy Ryan on you.

Ward’s last four carries in the game on Monday night went for 13, 15, 18 and 18. That looks great on the stat sheet and makes the YPC look fabulous, but the problem is that those carries all came with at most 10:30 left in the fourth quarter down by 13 points out of the shotgun formation. In fact, the last two runs came

after Eric Wright high-stepped his way to the endzone with a Deion-esque interception return of a poorly throw pass from Eli Manning. With six minutes left in the game up 35-14, any team in the NFL will give up a couple of 18-yard runs. Even further, most defenses are expecting the run when Jacobs in not in the game, further allowing Ward to pad that YPC. I fear that you and the rest of the offensive coaching staff will look too much into Ward’s 7.4 YPC and continue to rotate him

every series with Jacobs. Please don’t do this.

It does give me a little faith to see that Jacobs has a little less than twice the amount of Ward’s carries so far this season (79 to 43). This means is that you weren’t giving Jacobs and Ward an even series split in the previous games. Still, the carries are too close. Jacobs should be dominating the carries like he dominates defenders. He’s one of the few “skill players” (WR’s, RB’s, TE’s and QBs) in the league who can have such a huge impact on the game without it showing up on the stat sheet. Defenders simply do not want to tackle the guy; just ask LaRon Landry in Week 1. In fact, Landry’s plowing completely overshadowed the fact that Fred Smoot was actually knocked out of that game with a neck stinger when he tried getting in the way of the beast on a separate play. Can you just imagine the relief defensive backs have when Ward comes into the game for Jacobs? Why give them that? Having Jacobs in the game actually helps your passing game as well, since defenders are thinking run when he’s in instead of Ward, and Jacobs can annihilate blitzing defenders when he’s pass blocking as well.

Mr. Gilbride, have you seen the YouTube videos from Jacobs’ collegiate days? Did you see the one where he was used as a wedge-buster for

Auburn on a kickoff against Vanderbilt and absolutely destroyed a guy, knocking him out cold? That was a scary sight. It reminded me of why the Flying Wedge formation was made illegal in the early stages of the history of football; players were flat-out dying, much less getting brutally injured. Did you see the clip where he scored on a long sweep play against

Western Kentucky, and then lowered the boom on a defensive back five yards already into the endzone, knocking the poor guy clear out of the endzone?

At least you’re not making a mockery of your own team as you did at times last season, when you continuously pulled Jacobs out in goal-line situations in favor of Reuben Droughns (six TD’s last season to Jacobs’ four) and Ward. That was a travesty, easily overlooked by the fact that your slightly more than mediocre offense in the regular season was saved by great play in the playoffs and Super Bowl. The offense worked well in the postseason thanks to the fact that neither Droughns nor Ward got any touches in the playoffs. But of course don’t kid yourself; stellar defense led your team to that 10-6 record in the regular season, and onto wins in the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Do you think it’s a coincidence that the first game you decided to use a true series split between Ward and Jacobs resulted in a loss? Let me recall that game once again. After Jacobs’ seven-yard TD (in which he plowed over multiple defenders), Jacobs got one carry on the next drive, then Ward inexplicably took over on non-passing situations for the rest of that

same drive. The game was close at that point, and Jacobs should have stayed in the game. I don’t have to tell you it went all downhill from there. Look, I understand using Ward on obvious passing situations and some third downs, but you abandoned the

real running game way too early. What were you thinking?

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