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Giants ground game is making strides

12-29-perkins.jpg's Dan Salomone highlights the key takeaways from Thursday's Media Hour:

From the start of spring football, first-year coach Ben McAdoo hasn't been afraid to lean on his rookies. Over the last few weeks, that's come to include running back Paul Perkins.

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The fifth-round choice from UCLA leads the Giants in rushing yards since Week 12, including a season-high 68 yards last Thursday night in Philadelphia. That added up to the second of back-to-back games with exactly 114 rushing yards as a team, more than 30 yards above the Giants' season average that still ranks in the bottom five of the NFL.

"I think when you look at that Eagles game – obviously it was a while ago and in terms of the outcome, it's certainly not what we wanted – I think there were some things we did from the run game standpoint which were improvement," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. "There were some things that we liked what we saw, some things we didn't like that we saw from the run game in terms of some long runs that could have been even longer if we do a better job of finishing on the perimeter."

The Giants have one more game against the Redskins to boost those numbers as they get ready for the postseason, and Perkins could add an element to ensure that the run is a long one. He's averaging 3.9 yards per carry for 354 yards on the season. He also has 15 receptions for 162 yards, 67 of which came on a screen pass in Week 4 at Minnesota. It's his signature play of the season – so far.

"Well, we have three backs, as you well know, and each of them brings something to the table," Sullivan said. "[Perkins] certainly showed … an ability to make some guys miss, whether it's being able to have a move or be evasive, elude the tackle, or break some arm tackles. And so that's good. He continues to show improvement in his pass protection, both awareness and knowledge of who to block and technique." With the regular season coming to an end, here's the news of the day from the Quest Diagnostics Training Center:


For the Giants, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle) did not participate in practice. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (back), safety Nat Berhe (concussion), linebacker B.J. Goodson (concussion) and tight end Jerell Adams (shoulder) were limited. Tight end Will Tye (illness) was full-go.

For the Redskins, cornerback Quinton Dunbar (concussion), offensive lineman Vinston Painter (calf) and safety Su'a Cravens (upper arm) did not practice. Defensive lineman Chris Baker (ankle), running back Robert Kelley (knee), center Spencer Long (ankle), tight end Jordan Reed (shoulder), and linebackers Will Compton (knee), Ryan Kerrigan (elbow), Trent Murphy (foot) and Martrell Spaight (shoulder) were limited. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland (ankle) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (jaw) were full-go.



Cornerback Janoris Jenkins missed last Thursday's game in Philadelphia because of a back injury that he suffered in Week 15 against Detroit. Recently named to his first Pro Bowl, Jenkins was ruled out after traveling with the team and working out for the medical staff on the field before the game. Today, he said he's not in as much pain as he was a week ago.

"I don't know [if I'm playing Sunday]," Jenkins said. "We'll see what the coaches say. I've been practicing a little bit, getting in a rotation and getting a lot of reps. Continue to get the treatment."

Added Jenkins: "I feel better than I did last week. Coach made the decision not to play me and I went with it. I feel better this week."


Defensive captain Jonathan Casillas huddled up the team before practice today and delivered a speech to get everyone's mind right for the final game before the playoffs, something he knows a lot about. The veteran linebacker has two Super Bowl rings, one he earned with the Saints and another with the Patriots. "I think that was the first time this year where we kicked off practice with that," linebacker Mark Herzlich said. "It's a day where you're in Week 17 and you have pads on. That's rare for a lot of guys. I think what Jon was saying, it doesn't matter, the circumstances. We go out there and do what we need to do to create momentum going into the playoffs to get a win. We set our goals singularly and that's one week at a time. Just getting a win one week at a time. This week is no different."

These five players could make a key impact in Sunday's matchup with the Redskins

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