Hillis' role likely to increase for Giants

The SportsXchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have been forced to play musical chairs at running back this season, with Peyton Hillis positioned to receive the bulk of the workload for the second consecutive week.

Hillis rushed for 36 yards on 17 carries and had 23 touches overall in his Giants debut last week. With Brandon Jacobs listed as doubtful on Friday, Hillis will share the backfield duties again with Michael Cox on Sunday.

"The two guys that carried the load a week ago will have to do it to a certain extent," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Friday. "(John) Conner does know what to do in those situations if it ever came to that, and Bear (Pascoe) can play fullback, as you know, so we have a little bit of leeway there."

Coughlin said there is "some strategy involved" in determined which back is in the game at given times.

Hillis had his best success last week running behind the right side of the offensive line, but one of his main tasks is simply getting up to speed on a new playbook.

"It increases bit by bit every day," Hillis said. "Sometimes I'll take a drawback just depending on what formation the defensive line is in, are they a 3-4 or 4-3 team and what kind of presence they bring in third down situations, stuff like that. But, overall as a whole, I'm getting better and better every day."

Cox has a better grasp of the playbook, but he also has just 11 career carries for 23 yards - all come in last week's victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

"I feel better, especially after getting my first real game at running back out there," he said. "I definitely feel my confidence rising a little bit having more experience and knowing what it's like already."

With a minus-14 turnover ratio and opponents averaging nearly five more minutes per game in time of possession, the Giants are desperate to get more out of their 31st-ranked ground game.

So will Hillis and Cox have a similar distribution in carries this week?

"We'll see about that," is all Coughlin would offer.

--CB Corey Webster (groin) was listed as questionable after taking part in limited practice Friday.

--LB Spencer Paysinger (ankle) was listed as probable after taking part in limited practice Friday.

--CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring) is doubtful after limited practice Friday.

--TE Adrien Robinson (foot) was listed as questionable after taking part in limited practice Friday.

--S Cooper Taylor (shoulder) was listed as probable after taking part in full practice Friday.

--CB Terrell Thomas (knee) was listed as probable after taking part in limited practice Friday. He is on a managed schedule to monitor his knee.

--RB David Wilson (neck) will not practice and is out indefinitely.
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