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Orleans Darkwa Has Had Production, But Not Health

Running backs coach Craig Johnson talks about his group

New England Patriots v New York Giants Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Orleans Darkwa has been getting a lot of looks during the OTAs media has had access to thus far this spring. On Wednesday, New York Giants running backs coach Craig Johnson indicated that isn’t an accident.

“Every time you’ve watched him on the field he’s been a productive player,” Johnson said. “He hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to stay on the field. When he’s been able to do that, he’s been a productive player. Obviously, availability has been an issue. He’s going to work towards that. Right now, when he’s been available he’s been a good player. Hopefully he will continue to keep that up.”

Here are a couple of other takeaways from Johnson.

On Paul Perkins ...

“What he’s shown is that in our system, you need three phases. You have to be able to run the ball. He was an effective runner last year. You have to be able to catch the ball. He did a good job in that and you have to be able to block people because they’re going to try you out. I thought that he probably improved the most in that situation. Guys were testing him out to get to the quarterback and he held up very good in protection. He is continuing to do that. If you could do that, it allows you to be a possible back on all three downs.”

On rookie Wayne Gallman ....

“Coming from college, he was a very productive runner. Stats don’t lie. So far what I’ve seen in practice is that he has been effectively able to run the ball in the runs he’s been given. The pass protection, he’s coming along in. He’s certainly made a big improvement in the last week or so. He’s been able to catch the ball effectively. Again, as a young back, he’s trying to figure it all out. The game is a little too fast for him, like they are for every back right now when they’re young. The game starts to slow down and he’s starting to get it. I’ve seen a couple bursts. I think he will continue to get it in the future.”

On Shane Vereen ...

“Last year was a tougher year for him because he wasn’t able to stay on the field. He had to overcome injuries. Right now, he’s working through that. I’ve watched him in the offseason and he is getting back some of his quickness. We have to make sure that he is ready for the next season.”