If you thought the New York Giants‘ running game couldn’t get any worse, think again. Big Blue has been embarrassingly bad in 2017.
In 2016, the New York Giants were one of the worst teams at running the ball.
That is not an understatement, as the G-Men were 29th in rushing yards per game. In the offseason, it was made clear that getting the running game going was a priority when the team signed fullback Shane Smith and tight end in Rhett Ellison, known for his blocking ability.
Well, let’s just say that in 2017, the rushing attack is not exactly fairing much better.
Thus far, the Giants offense has managed to scrape together 97 rushing yards through two games. That is an average of 48.5 rushing yards per game, both of which are dead last in the NFL. New York is also averaging 3.2 yards per carry which is 26th in the NFL. On the bright side, the Giants running backs have yet to fumble.
But the lack of a running game all stems from the offensive line’s struggles.
Ereck Flowers has been a mess at left tackle ever since being drafted ninth overall in 2015. On the other side, right tackle Bobby Hart was ineffective when healthy but suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 and was only able to play three snaps against the Detroit Lions before re-aggravating his injury.
With Hart unlikely to play Sunday against Philadelphia, the Giants figure to play with that reconfigured offensive line once again. That doesn’t bode well for the running game, though the running backs haven’t done much to help things.
Paul Perkins was named the starting running back heading into the season, but it appears as though his starting job may already be in jeopardy a mere two games into the season.
Despite getting 14 carries, which is more than Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa combined, Perkins only has 26 rushing yards. That works out to an embarrassing 1.9 yards per carry, which like the former number is last of the three backs.
Perkins has been on the field for 40.7 percent of the offensive snaps, while Shane Vereen has been on the field for 42.4 percent of the snaps. However, in Perkins’ defense, the Giants have been down a lot and forced to throw the ball more often than not. Which may be the reason that Vereen is receiving a higher percentage of snaps.
That could also explain why the team has 30 rushing attempts on the season, dead last in the NFL.
There is no real solution to the Giants running problem. The offensive line is not good and as long as the O-line is not good, the offense will struggle. It is as simple as that really.
But since it is highly unlikely that general manager Jerry Reese decides to go out and trade for a difference maker, let’s go over one way the Giants might patch up the running game.
Start Orleans Darkwa.
He leads the team in rushing, averaging 5.2 yards per carry despite only getting six rushing attempts and seeing just 16.8 percent of offensive snaps through two games. When Darkwa has played, it’s clear that he is the best rusher that the Giants have.
Consider this: The Giants have picked up just three first downs on the ground so far. Darkwa was the running back who got all three.
Just stick with the hot hand. I won’t lie, I have always been a huge Darkwa fan. He has proven himself multiple times, but for some reason, he has not been given the opportunity he deserves. This may finally be his shot.
If Big Blue is going to get their rushing attack on track, they will need to do it quickly. Starting Darkwa might be the only thing that keeps the 0-2 Giants from becoming the 0-3 Giants.