Da'Rel Scott posted a 4.33-second 40-yard dash time in his final season at Maryland -- the fastest of any running back on the team. He was the fastest back at the combine in Indianapolis (4.34 seconds) before being selected by the Giants in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft. So it's only natural that the former sprinter is growing antsy after being stuck in neutral for the bulk of training camp.
“It was frustrating when it happened,” Scott told CBSSports.com. “Got the ankle first, then did the quad, and that set me back again. So I barely practiced during training camp. That really set me back a lot.”
A series of leg injuries kept Scott out of the first preseason game, and when he did take the field against the New York Jets last Saturday he picked up just seven yards on three carries as the fifth running back to enter the game for the Giants (it's worth noting that New York averaged 1.8 yards per carry as a team, so nobody had a good day).
On top of that, Scott admitted to a few unspecified errors as well.
“For my first game, I mean, I made some mistakes -- something I shouldn't be making,” he said. “First game, a little excited because I'm anxious after I missed the first game, so that's something that I can definitely fix. I just kind of blew something, but it's nothing I can't fix and I'll just go from there.”
Scott believes the Giants “know” what he can do on the field, but the addition of first-round pick David Wilson and injury issues at other positions could conspire to limit the team's depth in the backfield. That leaves Scott in a bit of a predicament.
He isn't practice squad eligible -- and he wouldn't clear waivers even if he were -- so Scott needs to pin down as many roles as he can before the final cuts.
Fortunately for him, Scott began serving as the Giants off returner last season, which is a position he says comes “pretty naturally” to him. And just to ensure he's strong enough to block on kickoffs, Scott added five pounds during the offseason (that puts him at 214).
“As of right now, I just got to treat this like last year,” he said. “So, I mean, it was a numbers game last year and I'm kind of in the same boat right now, being that we're deep at running back. So I just got to make a spark on special teams and try to earn my way there, too.”
But if Scott is going to make the Giants, he'll have to revive the promising image of his 2011 preseason. Scott's 97-yard scoring run against the Chicago Bears and his 114-yard game against the New England Patriots seem like ages ago now. Unfortunately, many Giants fans' last memory of Scott was his fumble in the late-November loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Of course, Scott insists the Giants decision makers know what he can do. They just don't know how often he can do it.
“I think I just need to be consistent in showing them,” Scott said.
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