Q&A: Running Back D.J. Ware

AD-Blaze:  Did the dislocated elbow in week 1 and the time off affect your rhythm for the 2009 season?

Yes. I guess so. I mean, I feel like I worked so hard and I was right where I wanted to be. I had a good preseason and the injury set me back. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t hold the ball. I couldn’t run. I couldn’t sleep. It hurt me.

Ed A:  After an injury-filled 2009 season, are you healthy now and do you plan on staying with the Giants?

Yes I’m healthy and yes they will tender me for the 2009 season. I plan on playing a very active role for the Giants this season.

GiantFilthy:  How intense is the competition between you and the other running backs on the team for playing time?

It’s definitely intense but we need each other and we work better because if we have guys rotating in with fresh legs it helps the team, but of course everyone wants to be that guy. It’s strenuous and gets intense but we leave it all on the field. We’re brothers off the field.

BlueLou:  How would you describe your relationship with the other Giant running backs – Jacobs, Bradshaw, Brown, and Johnson?

Brothers. We’re all brothers. We hang out as much as we can cause we realize we need each other. We try and spend as much time together as we can.

Fred in Atlanta:  The Giants running game seems to be by committee with different running backs playing different roles that play to their abilities. What role do you see for yourself on the Giants that is different from the other running backs and what do you see in the other running backs on the Giants that make them unique?

Jacobs – power downhill runner and is smart and knows everything.

Ahmad – small, shifty tough back that grinds out every yard he gets.  He’s a threat at all times.

Me – speed, can use power, run good routes and I pick up protections pretty well.

Andre – have seen tapes…he is a tough downhill runner, has speed to make people miss, run through people. He’s a north south type runner.

We all have the same qualities but are different in certain areas (running routes, run pass protection etc.).

Semipro Lineman:  What areas of your game have you been working on this off-season?  And how are your workouts coming along?

Workouts are going great, thanks. Getting stronger everyday. Getting to 220/225 (weight they want me to be). Working on pass protections, route running (to make it more crisp so that I don’t round off routes). Overall working on getting everything as sharp as I can.

Semipro Lineman:  Can you tell us what segment of the blitz-pickup assignment the running backs are responsible for?  By that I mean how much of it is pre-snap designation by the QB and how much of it is recognition by yourself in the back field?

Eli will give us signals and protection schemes. If he changes something on the play, our protection changes. It’s kind of hard but once you learn it, it sticks with you.

walterb:  The Giants do not throw to their backs often. What in your skill set could help change that? And, what does it take for a back to get open in passing routes, especially against the types of coverages NFL defenses throw at the Giants?

We’re kind of the last option. It’s our role to get open. We have a man-beater route to try and win. We’re the last option so that’s what it doesn’t come to us that often.

Optimus-NY:  About the fumble in the Denver game last Thanksgiving?  How did Coughlin and Ingram assess your problem on that play when they looked at the film?  Were you holding the ball wrong?  What was their evaluation?

It was just one of those things. It kills momentum. Us as RBs we hate it but there are those times that it happens and you can’t do anything. They were cool. They understand. They just tell me to cover the ball up at all times when I’m in traffic.

UberAlias:  What were the primary factors that led to the decline in rushing performance last season?

The defense was putting 8 and 9 guys in the box because they thought our wide receivers were young and couldn’t do much. Turns out they were wrong thanks to Steve, Hakeem, Mario, and the crew stepping up. Defenses were just trying to tell us we weren’t going to run the ball. We’re making great strides this year though.

UberAlias:  What are your thoughts on the CBA issues and general pulse on this among your contemporaries around the league?

Nobody wants a lockout but at the same time we want a fair deal. People have to make a fair living for what they are worth. A lot of us feel that we generate a ton of money for the NFL. I don’t really know how I feel, but I do know that I want to play ball and continue to do what I love. We trust they’re working hard to work something out.

rasbutant:  DJ, who are you break out players (1 for Offense and 1 for Defense) who you think will step in 2010?

Myself and Kenny Phillips. I think he’s gonna come back stronger than ever from his injury. He got cut short cause of his injury and I think he’s going to come back hungry.

SwirlingEddie:  What’s the biggest misconception the average fan has about the NFL and its players?

Football in itself is a game that takes a lot of skill and brainpower. I could break down different plays and responsibilities, but there’s just so much thinking in addition to the athleticism. It’s not just going out there hitting each other. There’s a lot more to it than that. I hope people don’t think we’re just dumb jocks, because we are also good people off the field too.