EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brandon Jacobs is once again the New York Giants' No. 1 running back.
Frustrated with Ahmad Bradshaw's inability to hold the ball, Giants coach Tom Coughlin on Wednesday demoted Bradshaw and gave Jacobs the starting job for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For his part, Jacobs didn't know what to make of the promotion.
"To me, this is just a temporary thing," the six-year veteran said. "I think people are making a little too much out of it. We know what Ahmad brings to this football team with his carries and hard work, and he knows that as well. If you ask me, it's just temporary. I don't know what the reason for the whole thing is or what they are trying to prove."
Coughlin has one reason for the switch: Bradshaw has fumbled too much, leading the NFL among running backs. While Bradshaw is fifth in the league in rushing with 867 yards, he has fumbled six times and lost five, with most of the turnovers happening when he struggles for extra yardage.
"The No. 1 consideration is to try to stop beating ourselves," Coughlin said of the change Wednesday. "That's one area that we should be able to improve. It's very frustrating not to improve in that area."
Coughlin plans to continue giving Bradshaw carries, but Jacobs will start and receive more work. Bradshaw has 185 carries this season. Jacobs has been limited to 78 carries for 387 yards.
"I can't say frustration is the word," said Bradshaw, who said the only thing he has been told was he is no longer the starter. "Like I said, all I can do is play my game."
Coughlin said Bradshaw obviously wasn't happy about the change, but the coach believes the fourth-year pro will fight his way through it.
The change has to be awkward for Bradshaw and Jacobs, who are roommates and best friends.
"He knows I am here and I support him 100 percent on everything," said Jacobs, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2007 and '08 before slipping to 835 in an injury-plagued 2009 season. "I know he does the same."
Jacobs and Bradshaw had been the Giants' 1-2 punch the past two years. The 264-pound Jacobs would wear down defenses with his bruising style, then the quicker and nimbler Bradshaw would run past them late in the game for big gains.
All that changed in training camp. Bradshaw got the first carry in Albany, N.Y., and his style seemed to fit with an offensive line that was opening cracks instead of gaping holes.
Jacobs will take the majority of carries now.
"I know once I get my opportunity, no matter if it's starting or second or third, I am going to show people that I am still worthy of having on the football team, and I can help my team win," Jacobs said.
Jacobs isn't the type of back who will break the big run, although he is capable of doing that once he gets up a head of speed. Bradshaw can score on any handoff, something the Giants might need these days with receivers Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks sidelined with injuries.
"I know if we want to win, we're going to give him the ball," Jacobs said. "If we want to win, hand it to him and he's going to get it done."
With an average of fewer than eight carries per game this season, Jacobs said he is very healthy heading into the 11th game.
"I just want to win, I am tired of coming into this locker room with droopy faces," he said. "We used to have fun in this locker room and fun at practice. I am just sick and tired of not being able to do that because we are beating ourselves. I just want to get this thing on the right track and get rolling. It's getting cold and we have a chance to punish people, and that's what I want to do."
Quarterback Eli Manning said the change isn't a major one.
"Brandon has obviously run the ball well for us this year, he knows what it's like to get the bulk of the carries, so it should be good," Manning said. "We'll mix in Ahmad. He's going to stay focused, stay ready and he'll be in there. We've still got the same tandem and they'll be working together, so whoever is in there knows how to run the ball."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press