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New York Giants’ midseason review: Orleans Darkwa emerges at running back

Darkwa, Gallman helping rushing attack

Los Angeles Chargers v New York Giants
Orleans Darkwa is having his best individual season.
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Run, New York Giants, run! In recent weeks the Giants have finally seemed to figure out that they have to run to win, and have had a modicum of success doing so. Can they keep that up over the final nine games?

Let’s look at the running backs as we continue or position-by-position midseason reviews.

Coach Ben McAdoo named second-year man Paul Perkins the starter before the team had even gathered for OTAs. That, quite obviously, did not work out. Perkins has averaged 1.9 yards per carry (32 rushes, 61 yards) with a long run of 14 yards. The one-cut shiftiness and ability to make a tackler miss in the hole that excited everyone when he averaged 4.1 yards per carry (112 carries, 456 yards) as a rookie) hasn’t been there. He’s been out since suffering a rib injury Week 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His”Wet Willie” should be obvious.

It should be obvious that Orleans Darkwa is getting a “Kudos.” Darkwa is not a great back — he’s neither incredibly shifty nor fast. Darkwa, though, has finally been given a real opportunity and has shown that he is a legitimate NFL running back. He is fourth in the NFL in yards per carry at 5.4, with 274 yards on 51 rushes.

Darkwa runs with conviction and he isn’t afraid to use his 6-foot, 215-pound frame to punish defenders who try to bring him down. Darkwa has already set a career-high in carries and it’s long been thought that staying healthy was a problem for him, so let’s see what happens over the final nine games.

Rookie Wayne Gallman has flashed a nice all-around game primarily as second-fiddle to Darkwa. He has 36 carries for 141 yards (3.9 yards per rushing attempt) and 11 receptions. Does Gallman have the ability to one day be the Giants’ featured back? I don’t believe we know that yet, but you see enough to know he can be a useful player.

Shane Vereen has 22 receptions in 26 targets, but is averaging only 6.2 yards per catch and 3.7 yards on 20 rushing attempts. The veteran third-down back really hasn’t had much of an impact.

Overall grade: “Kwillie.” Suspect run-blocking, the lack of production from Perkins and the lack of impact from Vereen drag this grade down.