With Eli Manning and the New York Giants struggling to rush the ball, running back Orleans Darkwa needs to be rediscovered.When the New York Giants acquired Rashad Jennings as a free agent, it was to re-establish the traditional foundation of the club, outside of its defensive tradition, the running game. Ever since the exits of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, they simply haven’t been able to field an effective running game.
They turned into a passing team and did great things, but without the balance a running attack brings, it’s only a matter of time before the offensive line bends from the never ending pass rushes and the defense, which already underperformed, will never get a breather setting them up for late game collapses.
Going into this week’s crucial division match against the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s essential for the Giants to get production here. But with the walking wounded, among them Jennings, opportunity is in the air.
In the spirit of the election month, everyone has a vote and an opinion. If you ask Steve Serby of the New York Post, it’s rookie Paul Perkins, a jack of all trades, master of none type. Bobby Rainey has his moments. But it’s a quiet storm that came out of Tulane two years ago who has shown the ability to make more with less.
He is Orleans Darkwa.
The Giants acquired him in 2014 but injury has been the only thing that could stop him. A tibia injury in April did nothing to stop him from running with power and explosive speed with cutting ability who has shown to be a big tackle breaker who is able to accelerate into late opening lanes.
Darkwa is a big back with speed that can find openings where there are none. Chris Snee, former Giant offensive lineman, in describing Orleans after an impressive game against Dallas in 2015 said this while critiquing him for NJ.com: “I was impressed how quickly he hit holes, particularly when it wasn’t blocked particularly well.”
“Offensive linemen love seeing their backs get these extra yards.”
It seemed that the Giants were sold when they gave finally gave Darkwa a start.
For a running game that has averaged only 70.3 yards a game, which ranks last, there is a lot of room for improvement. When you compare against the league average it’s quite glaring. Darkwa touches the ball infrequently yet has already scored two touchdowns, racked up 111 yards on the ground while touching it only 30 times in six games.
He has reached double digits in carries only twice in those games. Those numbers on a game-by-game basis would be elite starter numbers.[graphiq id=”jBbdYwNh5Fr” title=”New York Giants Total Net Yards Per Game Comparison” width=”600″ height=”511″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/jBbdYwNh5Fr” link=”http://nfl-teams.pointafter.com/l/12/New-York-Giants” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]
This implies that there is so much to tap here. But just as suddenly he is reduced to seven tries against Green Bay, sits against the Ravens when Jennings returned and doesn’t see the ball in the Los Angeles Rams game before the BYE.
The Giants won those two games. But with secondary injuries now prevalent on a defense that has struggled, the need to control the clock is mandatory. Eli Manning needs to get someone who can move the heavy lumber even if there are no wagons. Darkwa has already proven it on a small scale.
It is worth exploring the option of Darkwa in the backfield. He could become as much of a sensation as Ezekiel Elliott has been for Dallas. The line cannot run block well and that calls for someone who can compensate for that. Orleans can do that. No Giant runner has rushed for 100 yards this year and Eli Manning passing over 30 times a game is a novel most Giant’s fans have read way too often the past few years.
When the topic is brought up to Giant’s Head Coach Ben McAdoo he points to play calling and confidence and the need to open bigger gaps, though he has smaller guys on the line where it is not conducive. He has not really said much about Darkwa aside from the general “game by game” approach.
Simply stated, Orleans Darkwa is the only back you can pound square pegs into triangles and make it fit. It’s not the usual pattern but it will be the only way to achieve that balance necessary to make the Giant Offense fly again enough to cover the defensive holes and give a fighting chance in the stretch run to end four years of playoff-less football.