After a solid rookie campaign, New York Giants running back Andre Williams entered the 2015 season with high expectations. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned for neither he nor the Giants, but Williams expects to bounce-back in 2016.
Andre Williams went into the offseason potentially uncertain about his future with the New York Giants. The team wasn’t thrilled with his 2.9 yards per carry in 2015, and spent a few dollars here and there adding new faces to their offensive backfield.
Undeterred, the already fit Williams went into overdrive, shedding 12 pounds of fat and shrinking his waist size from 36” to 31 1/2”.
“It was drastic,” Williams told Giants.com about his physical changes. “I feel like I’ve had a great spring. I think the offense came back as a whole as a more cohesive unit. I feel like we’re gaining a greater appreciation and understanding of the offense, and it’s showing in everybody. I feel like I’m definitely coming into my own.”
Although Williams wasn’t able to secure the No. 1 spot despite the opportunities given to all running backs a season ago, head coach Ben McAdoo has decided to wipe the slate entirely clean. And during the NFL Scouting Combine back in February, specifically pointed to Williams as a player people shouldn’t be so quick to give up on.
“Andre and I have had some conversations,” McAdoo said at the time. “I think a lot of people may be willing to give up on Andre. I think it may be early for that. I look forward to Andre bouncing back this year and having a bounce-back year.”
For his part, Williams has remained determined to prove his first-year head coach correct. And in the process, he’s making absolutely no excuses — he has owned his poor performance from a year ago and vows to put the ball in the endzone as much as possible this coming season.
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“It’s my fault that I didn’t necessarily do enough to set myself apart and tell the organization that I was the guy,” Williams said. “I know this season that I want to get into the end zone as often as possible. I want to score a lot of points. I’m going to work as hard as I can to make that happen.”
Despite McAdoo’s faith in Williams, the team may still move forward with a running back by committee. Accordingly, Williams might be on the right track as he focuses on getting into the endzone.
After a strong finish to the 2015 season, Rashad Jennings is still likely to lead the way this coming season. Additionally, Shane Vereen will continue to act as the team’s pass-catching running back, while Orleans Darkwa will battle it out with rookie Paul Perkins, Marshaun Coprich and Bobby Rainey for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Ultimately, that leaves Williams and the role that was always intended for him: short yardage.
At 220-pounds, Williams should be able to maintain the power he’s always had in his lower body. However, with a smaller frame and whatever speed he’s able to pick up, it’ll help him maneuver in tight spaces and hit the holes with a bit more burst than he demonstrated in 2015.
At the end of the day, while some remain skeptical, Williams deserves the benefit of the doubt. He’s put in the work, accepted responsibility for his previous limitations and has the right attitude heading into the season.