It hasn't been easy being Brandon Jacobs lately.
His 2009 season was a massive disappointment, raising questions about how much he's got left in the tank after a couple of taxing years spent banging bodies in the middle of lines across the NFL. Over the last couple of weeks he's gone from splitting time with Ahmad Bradshaw to being a clear backup who can't even get on the field during preseason games. He vented his frustration with that state of affairs late last week, then caught hell from Tom Coughlin and made a fairly unbelievable backtrack earlier this week to say that he was perfectly happy with everything.
Reporters asked him about that after practice on Wednesday and Jacobs made it even clearer that he wasn't pleased as punch to be relegated to the second string. He stood in silence after one question about the situation and then snapped when another reporter asked about it before storming away from the interview. The Star-Ledgercaught it all on video.
Opinions might vary on how big a deal any of this is, but there's clearly something amiss in the Giants backfield. If Jacobs was truly happy about everything that was going on, why wouldn't he just say that and keep saying that until the question stopped being asked? Instead, he asked if reporters thought he was stupid when they asked if keeping egos in check was important in a shared backfield, which indicates that airing his true feelings would get him in more trouble with the boss.
Compare that response to the one offered by Deon Grant after he learned that Kenny Phillips has completed his remarkable comeback from last year's knee injury and returned to the starting lineup. Grant has started 144 straight games in the NFL and hasn't done anything to lose the starting job this summer. The news was a surprise, a much bigger one than any change in Jacobs's status after such an awful 2009 season, but Grant was somehow able to put words to his feelings.
"All I can tell you is I’m going to support my man. If Kenny (Phillips) is out there, I’m going to make sure he’s getting the best look he can get. But as far as me personally, we’ll see. That’s something I can’t answer right now. .. I can’t sit here and give you an answer because I’ve never been in that position so I can’t give you an answer. I could sit here and lie to you, but I’m authentic. I’m going to support my man, and teach him everything I know and have seen, but as far as me personally, we’ll see."
Two things jump out: Grant is being brutally honest, which is always appreciated, and he is separating his own feelings from things that affect the team. There are a lot fewer chances for a safety to get into a game than a running back, yet the first thing out of his mouth is that he's going to support and help Phillips any way he can while admitting that the whole thing is tough for him personally.
That's a pretty strong contrast, especially when you take into account that Grant had a lot less time to deal with the news than Jacobs had before his little tantrum on Wednesday. One is a lot more disruptive than the other because only Jacobs guaranteed that this story won't die.
Does any of this matter? It's hard to say, but it certainly didn't help anyone when Osi Umenyiora played this card last season.