With Shane Vereen out for at least two months, can New York Giants rookie running back Paul Perkins step up in his absence?
After the loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the New York Giants suffered another loss to a pivotal part of the offense in Shane Vereen. Reports indicate Vereen may be out for the season with a triceps injury. Replacing Vereen will be impossible, but can rookie running back Paul Perkins step up in his absence?
The Giants announced on Monday that Vereen will require surgery. According to SNY, “the team initially announced the injury as a ’season-ending’ one, several sources indicate the Giants have hope that Vereen can return in late November.”
Either way, his injury leaves a significant void in the backfield. This season, Vereen was more than a third-down pass catching running back. He was becoming a presence in the running game averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Orleans Darkwa has been the first running back on the field after Jennings and Vereen in the first three weeks. Even Bobby Rainey made an appearance in Week 3 with Jennings out. But after plenty of hype during the offseason, it’s time for Perkins to play a part in the offense.
Time For Perkins To Step Up
“Perkins is ready to step up,” head coach Ben McAdoo told reporters during a Monday conference call.
Perkins had a decent preseason despite his delayed development due to missing some of the Giants offseason. He rushed for 50 yards on 16 carries and had four receptions for 33 yards. The former Bruin was inactive for the first two weeks of the season.
In June, Pro Football Focus forecasted Perkins could eventually be the starting halfback this season largely because of his ability to elude defenders. “He led the country in PFF’s elusive rating at 114.7. He forced 85 missed tackles on 265 touches.” Also, PFF notes that Perkins was one of the best in college football at gaining yards after contact. In this regard, he was second to only Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama.
The question for Perkins, and what may end up keeping him off the field, is his “below-average” pass blocking ability. Perkins is also somewhat unproven as a pass catcher, which makes a seamless transition from Vereen hard to imagine.
Perkins will likely see the field Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings. He may not have an impact this week, but Giants fans will finally get to see what the offseason hype was all about.