Paul Perkins was supposed to be the New York Giants’ bell cow back. Instead, he may have played his way out of a job entirely after just four games.
(Photo Credit: giantswire.usatoday.com)
Not a lot has gone right for the New York Giants this season. The offense is a horrid mess. The coaching has been suspect at best. Even the supposedly elite defense has been porous from the front four back. At 0-4, it should feel obvious that nothing is going right.
One spot on the roster that was supposed to be on the rise entering the season was running back. Sophomore Paul Perkins was going to be given the reins to the offense. He showed bursts of bright spots in very limited use in 2016 and into the ’16 postseason. 2017 was the pending breakout.
Through a quarter of the regular season, not only has that not happened, but Perkins has been so ineffective he may be out of a job soon.
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Perkins has 32 carries for 61 yards this season. He is averaging an unfathomably bad 1.9 yards per carry. Somehow even worse is the realization that he has yet to break any carry for longer than 14 yards in four games.
The offensive line and play calling have been rightly blamed for the invisible running game. But if those were the only issues, every runner on New York would struggle to find space. On the contrary, other runners have looked much more explosive and impactful than Perkins every chance they get.
First it was Orleans Darkwa, who was vulturing carries from Perkins from the jump. Fans wanted Darkwa to be given more touches because it actually felt like he could do something with them, unlike Perkins.
Then, when Darkwa was sidelined in Week 4 with an injury, rookie Wayne Gallman took the low-bar crown as the most impressive runner in the NY backfield. His final numbers against Tampa Bay weren’t anything special, but Gallman felt like he was doing things. It’s an innocuous distinction, but Perkins has not passed the eye test one time this season.
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It remains to be seen how the Giants will split carries moving forward. Assuming Darkwa’s back injury isn’t severe, he should be right back in the fold next week. Gallman also earned himself an extended look in the coming weeks. Assuming he can stay on the field on passing downs, there is no reason to keep Gallman on the bench.
As for Paul Perkins, his days of being the team’s lead back are already over. He has blown that opportunity. The interesting thing is, Perkins’ time as a main asset in this offense may be over as well. There has been nothing to show he is capable of making his own running room, breaking first contact, and grinding out positive plays behind a bad offensive line. Not every back has a skill set designed to succeed when given so little space at the line of scrimmage. Perkins may be a little less talented than Giants fans hoped. And he may be a bad fit for this team. Four weeks of evidence lean in that direction.
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Todd Salem is a Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also the New York Giants Lead Writer at Pro Football Spot, a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, and a Featured Columnist at College Sports Madness, among others. Follow him on Twitter.
Additional New York Giants and Paul Perkins photo courtesy of nj.com