Andre Williams has certainly been busy this offseason. The Giants 4th round pick in last April’s draft spent the offseason working on weaknesses in his game with veteran teammate Rashad Jennings. The two backs have been spending plenty of extra time just catching passes out of the backfield and working on the discipline needed to allow a play to develop.
Williams is also fighting for the starting running back job with Jennings, who left the Oakland Raiders last summer to sign a 4 year $10 million deal with the Giants. Jennings’ first season in the blue and white was less than impressive, running for only 639 yards on 167 touches and just 4 touchdowns. He was also nursing a nagging ankle injury as well as a strained MCL for most of the season. Williams came in for the injured Jennings and took advantage of the opportunity, leading the Giants in rushing with 721 yards on 217 touches and 7 touchdowns.
This offseason, Williams set out to become a bigger part of the Giants passing game, an area which he struggled last year, dropping the ball 19 times out of 37 targets. In addition to dropped passes, he also fumbled the ball 6 times. His hard work this offseason has resulted in an increase in first team reps in camp and in preseason games. There is little doubt that Andre Williams will be the starter for the Giants this season, the real question to ask is when?
The Giants are already committed to improving the run game this season, which ranked 23rd in the league last season. Besides the offensive line, a big reason for that was Jennings’ injury plagued season and both backs not being able to follow their blocking. “I’m just really working on staying patient this year, not just go-go-go as soon as you see the first hole, but remembering what’s supposed to happen and waiting to make sure that its time to go,” Williams told reporters after Saturday nights preseason game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jennings, who turned 30 last March, realizes that he is no longer the young back he once was, and he has turned his focus on teaching Andre Williams different tricks of the trade. Jennings turned Williams onto watching film of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who last season proved to be one of the leagues most patient and elite running backs. Jennings said that William’s biggest problem last year was not waiting long enough for his blocking to develop, and has helped the young player work on that this offseason, truly showing how a veteran teammate is supposed to act.