When new Giants GM Dave Gettleman first spoke to the media on Friday, he said there are three things you have to do to be successful in the NFL: run the ball, stop the run, pressure the passer.
So when the Giants running backs combined for a season-high 260 rushing yards, which accounted for more than two-thirds of their total offense in an 18-10 win over Washington, Gettleman had to like what he saw in what has been a major weakness for the Giants this season and in recent years.
Orleans Darkwa, a pending free agent, rushed for a career-high 154 yards on 20 carries Sunday, including a 75-yard touchdown on the second play of the game.
GIANTS KEEP ‘EM, DUMP ‘EM
“The O-line, tight ends, wide receivers, they blocked their tails off today,” said Darkwa. “So once you got that crease I was able to hit it. Second play of the game, couldn’t ask for a better start. So definitely happy, but at the end of the day we still had more work to do and we were able to get it done.”
The Giants hold the No. 2 pick in the draft this spring and while the consensus is that they will select a quarterback, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who has declared for the draft, is also there for the taking and could be tempting for Gettleman, who clearly stresses the run game and picked Christian McCaffrey last spring as GM of the Carolina Panthers.
Darkwa, 25, said he does not know what the future holds for him but believes he can be an every-down, 20-carry back in the NFL and hopes he at least left a good impression for Gettleman to consider bringing him back.
“This is his first impression of us as a team, his first impression of us as players, individually and collectively as a team,” he said. “It’s important to always go out there and play with that fire and play with that heart and go out and put on an impression.”
Darkwa was not the only running back who hoped to have left an impression, either.
Wayne Gallman, 22, made his case to be the lead back for next season with 89 yards on 15 carries on Sunday, finishing his rookie season — which did not begin until Week 4 — with 476 yards on 111 carries, an average of 4.3 yards per carry.
“Anybody watching can see how I did,” he said. “I felt like I did my job to the best of my ability, and just know there’s more to come.”
Darkwa and Gallman did not do it all on their own, though.
Gettleman has already stated he wants to fix the offensive line and get some big men, or “hog mollies” as he likes to call them, in the trenches and the group in Sunday’s win certainly did its part in helping establish the Giants’ best running performance of the season.
The offensive line consisted of two rookie tackles and once right guard John Jerry left the game with a concussion early in the first half, there was not a single offensive lineman in the game who was starting at the beginning of the season.
Rookie left tackle Chad Wheeler, who filled in for an injured Ereck Flowers, said it meant a lot for that group to show what it can do.
“We’re all friends, so we all do stuff together, go out, chill, we’ll eat together,” he said. “So it feels kind of like family, they’re your brothers. So it feels good to have success with those guys.”
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