Andre Brown is set to make his return coming off a broken left leg, and the timing is great, since David Wilson has been placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said that Brown might not be physically capable of shouldering the entire load at this point, but even so, he’s expecting Brown to contribute in any way possible, especially as a pass blocker.
“A healthy Andre Brown that’s playing well will be a significant contribution to our offense,” Gilbride said. “He’s a good football player. When he’s healthy, he helps us. He can run. He’s big enough to block. He catches the ball well. He’s an all-around guy.”
Gilbride expects that Brown will share the load with Peyton Hillis and potentially Brandon Jacobs, who himself is working through injury. Despite all his injuries, the Giants have decided to stick by Brown, since this is the organization that originally drafted him in 2009.
“I thought last year until he (Brown) got injured, he was playing great football for us,” Gilbride said. “Who knows how far along he’ll be? But if he can stay healthy, knock on wood, I know he’s worked hard to do it, we’ll be a better football team because of him.”
As for the rest of the offense, last week’s performance by the Raiders’ defense, in which they gave up seven touchdown passes to Nick Foles, should not be the indicator of what that unit is capable of, Gilbride said.
“They (the Raiders) did some things that were very uncharacteristic,” Gilbride said. “They just turned some guys free. To be quite honest with you, they were very impressive. They’ve got a very extensive and complex blitz package that we’re going to have to be as sharp as we’ve been all year in order to deal with it.”
Victor Cruz was a bit banged up in the win two weeks ago against the Eagles, but he’s fine for this week’s game. Gilbride said that Cruz’s performance this year reminds him of Plaxico Burress and Steve Smith, since those guys were consistently double-teamed yet were still able to make plays.
“He’s (Cruz) encountering that all of the time and the thing that would mean nothing to you guys, the casual observers, but means a lot to us is his blocking has been way better than it’s ever been,” Gilbride said. “He’s actually gone down and gone out of his way to be an effective blocker, which you need at that position and he’s done a good job. I’m very proud of the way he’s played.”
The past few weeks, the Giants’ defense has been superb, while the offense has done just enough to get a few wins. But if this team has any hope of potentially making a run to the playoffs, Eli Manning and the offense will have to get it going this weekend.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.