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Giants Optimistic Running Game Will Be Improved

McAdoo encouraged by what he has seen thus far

NFL: New York Giants-Training Camp William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Could the New York Giants have a real running game in 2017? The Giants finished 29th in the league in rushing yards per game (88.3) and 30th in yards per carry (3.55) last season, and upgrading their has been a major focus.

The Giants made some personnel moves, adding blocking tight end Rhett Ellison and toying with the idea of keeping a true fullback. They released Rashad Jennings and handed the lead back role to Paul Perkins.

Since pads have come on in practice, the Giants have worked diligently at the running game, including the use of “half-line” drills.

With defenders unable to fully tackle during practice (well, unless your name is B.J. Goodson, apparently) it is sometimes difficult to tell what is truly a successful running play and what isn’t. Coach Ben McAdoo, though, believes he is seeing signs of progress.

“I think the offensive line is developing confidence in each other, they are coming off the ball. The tight end group is improving and that helps. Perkins is a young back who’s grown, but we have some other young backs who aren’t afraid to hit the hole,” McAdoo said. “There have been some shots of the offense knocking a hole in the defense and that’s encouraging.”

Center Weston Richburg said on Tuesday that he has also been encouraged by the running game.

“I think we’ve done some good things so far. There’s still lots of things to clean up, but I think we have made some good strides so far,” Richburg said. “I think we just understand the run game as a whole better. We’ve had time in the off-season to talk about it and think it over, go over some things that didn’t go well last year and put those things into practice this year. I think we’ve made some good strides so far.”

Richburg said that players understanding assignments, as well as the ability to mix personnel groups more than the Giants did last year, is helping.

“It’s going to take all 11. So I think we’ve done a better job of all eleven guys being on the same page, and we’ve just got to continue with that consistency and carry that in through the preseason and regular season,” Richburg said.

Even though starters will likely play little, if at all, Friday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers that’s when we will begin to find out if all of that optimism is well-founded.