New York Giants Will Also Need Andre Brown to Step Up

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 8, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 20:  Andre Brown #35 of the New York Giants during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 20, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

On Thursday, the B/R NFC East blog appealed to New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning to don his superhero cape. Regardless of whether Manning saw our bat signal, let's note that every superhero needs a good sidekick.

If the Giants are going to make an unprecedented second-half playoff run despite that 0-6 start, running back Andre Brown may have to play the role of Robin. 

That's quite a lot of pressure, considering Brown's resume. 

The 26-year-old, who was activated off the short-term injured reserve Thursday, has bounced around the league since 2009 and has just two starts under his belt. He exploded with an impressive 113-yard effort in Week 3 last season but faded after that and missed the final month of the year with a broken fibula. Then he struggled a bit this preseason before breaking the very same leg at the end of August. 

But with 2012 first-round pick David Wilson now officially done for the year, and with Peyton Hillis, Brandon Jacobs and Michael Cox averaging just 2.96 yards per carry, Brown might be the only guy who can save this running game in order to take some pressure off Manning, his receivers and his pass protectors. 

With 130 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in that Carolina game last September, Brown was dominant. He's got enough experience to be relied upon, especially as a blocker, and his legs are fresh. Even with right guard Chris Snee and center David Baas out, he might have the ability to bring some respectability to that running game. 

But what about his health? It's quite concerning that he's missed each of the Giants' last 13 regular-season games due to injury. He'll likely be eased back Sunday against Oakland.'s Jordan Raanan reports that Hillis, "is expected to be the primary option with Jacobs and Brown sprinkled into the equation," which is understandable. But that also means it could be tough for him to make an early impact coming off back-to-back broken legs. 

Beyond that, there's no guarantee he'll stay healthy. He also ruptured his Achilles' tendon in 2009 and dealt with shoulder and head injuries earlier last year. 

Andre Brown's injuries
InjuryDateGames missed
AchillesAug. 14, 200916
ConcussionOct. 7, 20121
ShoulderNov. 4, 20120
Broken fibulaNov. 25, 20125
Broken fibulaAug. 29, 20139

But once he's become reacclimated, Brown can't afford to hold back. As an impending unrestricted free agent, this might be his final shot. 

The Giants might not be able to dig themselves out of a hole that has gone from 0-6 to 2-6, but some bounce-back performances from Brown would help their cause while also earning the former fourth-round pick a fresh lease on his football life.

He doesn't need to be the hero, but Manning really needs him to become his sidekick.