Can Paul Perkins Resurrect Giants Running Game?
When the Giants have been the last team standing at season’s end there were two characteristics all four Super Bowl winning teams had. First, was a strong defense whether it was Lawrence Taylor or Michael Strahan hunting down opposing quarterbacks. Second, was a power running attack which would help Big Blue control time of possession and open up the play action pass.
In the last few seasons, the Giant running attack has grown dormant and become a non-factor in the Giants offensive scheme. This is most evident when the Giants are unable to convert on 3rd and short or must settle for a field goal within the red zone. Some point out the Giants need help on the offensive line, some might even question play calling but entering the 2017 season Paul Perkins will be given the opportunity to lead the ground game for the G-men.
A lot of Perkins attributes and part of his narrative are similar to another former Giant running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Perkins and Bradshaw were taken near the end of the draft with Perkins selected in the 6th round and Bradshaw in the 7th round. Both Perkins and Bradshaw would be running backs who rely on speed and quickness rather than power.
Bradshaw was a dual threat for the Giants. During his time Bradshaw was the perfect complement to bruising running back Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs would smash the opposition and drag linebackers for a few extra yards while Bradshaw used his burst and quickness to pick up extra yards. This tandem was essential in winning two Super Bowl victories even though Bradshaw scored the only unwanted touchdown in Super Bowl history in Super Bowl XLVI.
How Paul Perkins can impact the Giants franchise history is to be determined. But during the 2016 season, Perkins was given an opportunity and made the best of it. With running back Rashad Jennings and Shave Vereen being injured Perkins added another dimension to the run game. Showing explosiveness and power that has not been seen at running back in a while for Big Blue, Perkins performance was enough for him to be the number one running back coming into camp for the Giants this year.
Even though the Giants have not made a major move on the offensive line Perkins can still benefit from upgrades Big Blue made at receiver and tight end. Brandon Marshall provided the big-bodied receiver the Giants need in the red zone and rookie Evan Engram brings size and speed to the tight-end position. With these new additions added along with Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, the Giants can establish the pass first. Many teams will have a difficult time matching up with these four Giant receivers and while the defense prepares to stop the passing game, the Giants ground game will face less resistance. With safeties and linebackers eyeing up the big play threats of the Giants Perkins can take advantage of this by having an easier time making big plays in the running game for big blue.