Andre Williams has played just one NFL season, but he already knows how quickly the depth chart at running back can turn shallow.
"We started last year five running backs deep and at several points I was the last man standing," Williams told Newsday. "That can be a scary place to be."
One he'd like to try to avoid, if possible, in 2015. Which is why he said he was happy when the Giants signed free agent Shane Vereen in free agency this week. While others will be figuring out who gets the mantle of "starter," how the touches will be divvied up between three starting-caliber backs (Rashad Jennings being the other), and what kind of role each of them will play with their own unique skill sets, Williams said he'll be focusing on making his new teammate feel at home when the players begin offseason training next month.
"Each of us are talented backs and we lean on each other," Williams said. "I hope Shane feels welcome so he can have the success that we need to win a Super Bowl."
Williams said he has never spoken with Vereen, but he got to watch some of his Patriots career while Williams was playing at Boston College. From those observations, he knows Vereen will be able to work and play well with others.
"I liked watching Shane and what he did with [Stevan] Ridley in tandem," Williams said. "They were great together. I think he brings a valuable skill set to us and I'm glad he is with us."
That skill set is catching the football. Vereen caught 10 passes in Super Bowl XLIX; the last Giants running back to catch 10 passes in a single game was Tiki Barber, who caught 13 in the finale of the 1999 season. Williams and Jennings, who combined to handle most of the reps at running back for the Giants last year, totaled 48 catches in 2014; Vereen had 52 by himself.
"I'm looking for an opportunity to get the ball in my hands any way possible, whether it is running the ball or catching the ball, anyway," Vereen said after signing his three-year contract on Wednesday. "I'm sure we are going to find ways to be effective with it."
So, too, is Williams. He said that while he doesn't consider himself a "seasoned" veteran, he is far beyond where he was a year ago when he was on the verge of his rookie season. And if the Giants can have three healthy running backs in a rotation -- something they never had last year despite the numbers they started with -- Williams believes that it will lead to some impressive results.
"I'm very excited," he said. "This is going to be a great season, I can feel it."