In 2010, the Giants averaged 4.6 yards per carry (7th in the NFL)
In 2008, the Giants averaged 5.0 yards per carry (1th in the NFL)
As I reminisce about those glorious bygone days, I recall huge gaping holes being blown open on the right side of the line by the oversized and underrated monster Kareem McKenzie and All Pro Chris Snee.
Last year, there were no such gaping holes as Kareem was in a decline that presaged his eventual release. Bradshaw and Jacobs were ineffective and the Giants averaged a league worst 3.5 yards per carry.
This year, Andrew Brown has been surprisingly effective so far with 5.6 yards per carry. Bradshaw has been average at 4.3 (he averaged 3.9 last year).
In the good old days of huge gaping holes, Bradshaw and Jacobs were the perfect backs. Jacobs was able to get past the big uglies on the defensive line and mash his way for extra yards through defensive backs and often linebackers. Bradshaw was able to use his quickness to rapidly exploit holes.
I think that we'd all agree that Brown has neither the quickness of Bradshaw nor the raw power of Jacobs. But he has been successful. There were 2 medium-sized gains against Carolina that I think were noteworthy. On both of them, there was not much of a hole and the blocking took a long time to develop. On one of these plays I hit rewind 4 times because I could see no hole at all. It seemed like Brown had to move sideways and exhale to get through the hole. Yet he did and turned in a nice gain.
My point is that the new Giants line, whether Diehl or Locklear is at right tackle, there won't be many gaping holes. Neither has the size and power of McKenzie. My guess is that the holes going forward will be slow to develop and require a back with good vision and patience. Basically, a boxer, not a fighter. The good news is that even though the Giants offensive line is average, at best, the other lead blockers (Bennett and Hynoski) are superb.
If the offensive line can hold off and slightly turn the defensive line, Bennett and Hynoski are a great blocking tandem in front of a running back.
While Andre Brown may not be flashy, he's hungry, reasonably talented, finishes well and seems to be a good runner. Let's hope that his mini-streak continues.