Jacobs could help lighten Barber's load

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Here are five observations on the New York Giants, based on their Aug. 15-16 practices:

1. Remember the "Thunder and Lightning" appellation attached to the tailback tandem of Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber earlier in the millennium? People forget the combination of the power back (Dayne) and the runner with wiggle (Barber) actually worked for two seasons, with Dayne logging more carries in both 2000 (228-213) and 2001 (180-166), before the career of the Heisman Trophy winner deteriorated. And before Barber emerged as one of the most productive all-around backs in the league. But there came a point when, given Dayne's well-documented struggles, the nickname should perhaps have been "Blunder and Lightning."

Well, even as Dayne moved on to Denver this spring as an unrestricted free agent, the Giants' brass was plotting "Thunder and Lightning II," and this time around it might have a tad more staying power. Arguably the most talked-about new player in camp here is tailback Brandon Jacobs, a fourth-round draft pick who has rare size and an intriguing skills set, and who might, even as a rookie, help relieve Barber of some of his workload.