Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Perkins Looks to Take Next Giant Step

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Perkins Looks to Take Next Giant Step

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD -- The season couldn't have ended any better for Giants running back Paul Perkins.

The rookie started the season near the bottom of the running back depth chart, but by Week 17 he had completed his climb to a starting role. And then it got sweeter: he became the first Giants running back this season to run for more than 100 yards.

Perkins called it an "awesome" ride. But it's not one he's content with.

"It doesn't mean anything if you don't improve on it," Perkins said. "That's been my mind-set for the whole year -- always ascending."

Perkins has followed that plan perfectly through December. In each of his final four games, he improved his rushing total culminating with his Week 17 explosion against the Redskins -- rushing for 102 yards on 29 carries. He'll likely start against the Packers in Sunday's wild card game.

"He's a guy that has fought tooth and nail week in and week out for a chance to play," Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said. "He's done his due diligence doing the scout team work and all the things that you ask a guy to pay his dues to get on that field."

Perkins will climb the next step on his staircase on Sunday, when he takes the field in Green Bay for his first-ever playoff game.

And he's ready for as big of a role as coach Ben McAdoo will give him.

"[Against Washington] we knew running was going to be a big part," Perkins said "And my expectations for this week are no different."

The Giants have been reliant on passing the ball throughout the season -- quarterback Eli Manning attempted a franchise record 63 passes in a Week 16 loss to the Eagles. But perhaps the Giants found something in a Week 17 win over the Redskins that they can carry over into the playoffs: a run game.

They ran the ball 40 times for 161 yards, compared to 27 pass attempts for 171 as they knocked Washington out of playoff contention. …

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