Giants Can Add Free Agent at Forgotten Position Thanks to Carmen Bricillo

Carmen Bricillo

Getty The New York Giants can add a Super Bowl-winning free agent familiar with OL coach Carmen Bricillo.

Letting Saquon Barkley test the market isn’t the only way the New York Giants can change their running game in 2024 NFL free agency. They can sign a fullback familiar with new offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, veteran Jakob Johnson.

As Dan Duggan of The Athletic noted, “The Giants could add a fullback as they revamp their rushing attack. New Giants offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo has spent the past five seasons with Johnson in New England and Las Vegas.”

Putting a proven blocker into the rushing attack when Barkley’s searching for a new team would look like strange timing. Yet, Barkley’s replacement is more likely to succeed as the Giants’ new RB1 with Johnson knocking open running lanes in front of him.

The presence of a fullback could also inadvertently ease the pressure on struggling quarterback Daniel Jones.

Jakob Johnson Offers Multiple Advantages for Giants

Having Johnson lead the way for Barkley’s replacement, possibly Zack Moss, a favorite of head coach Brian Daboll, would not only make the ground game the Giants’ best method of attack. That emphasis on running would also create quick reads and easy throws off of play action for Jones.

The latter has been at his best in the play-action game. He tallied 984 yards from 141 play-action attempts, while also running a career-high 48 RPOs during his banner season in 2022, per Pro Football Reference.

Getting Jones back on track will be easier with a Johnson-led running game as the focal point of the Giants’ offense, with or without Barkley. Fullback has become a forgotten position, but Johnson remains one of the best holdovers after some exceptional seasons with the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders.

One of those campaigns ended with Raiders’ running back Josh Jacobs topping the NFL rushing charts. Jacobs amassed 1,653 yards behind Johnson’s blocking in 2022.

Johnson sprung Jacobs for several big gains. Like with this crushing lead block against the Seattle Seahawks, highlighted by the Pro Football Journal.

Long runs were common for both the Patriots and Raiders with Johnson in the lineup. The Pats produced 11 runs of 20-plus yards, including three of 40 or more, when Johnson appeared in every game in 2021.

Jacobs ripped off nine runs of 20-plus and two of 40 or more yards the following year. Johnson was a key factor in those runs, along with Bricillo’s blocking schemes.

Carmen Bricillo Can Change Giants’ Rushing Attack

The obvious selling point for hiring Bricillo was his Raiders line giving up 45 fewer sacks than the Giants in 2023. Yet, the 47-year-old’s greater impact will likely be in the running game.

Jacobs rushed for 2,458 yards on Bricillo’s watch. The line coach helped the Raiders operate a power-based running game.

Plays like this Johnson-led lead draw against the Los Angeles Chargers, highlighted by Ryan Holmes of “Put On Raiders,” summed up the concepts the Raiders ran.

This kind of straight-ahead ground attack could also help bring out the best in a struggling offensive line. Linemen are usually happiest when knocking open running lanes, and core holdovers like left tackle Andrew Thomas and center John Michael Schmitz Jr. will surely thrive in Bricillo’s rushing schemes.

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