The Giants’ re-signing of Orleans Darkwa to a modest one-year deal this spring was a blip on the radar compared to the splashes Jerry Reese made with Brandon Marshall’s free-agent acquisition and a blockbuster contract extension for Jason Pierre-Paul.
But Darkwa, 25, now is splitting first-team reps with presumed starting running back Paul Perkins and seeing even more work than usual with Shane Vereen hobbled and unavailable. And with Rashad Jennings gone and veteran Shaun Draughn (foot) also not practicing, Darkwa quietly seems to be challenging for a feature role.
“I’ve said this for years now: At the end of the day, my mentality is to want to be the starter on this team and be an impact player on the offense,” Darkwa said after Thursday’s practice. “That’s not gonna change. That chip on the shoulder is not gonna go anywhere. So I’ve just got to prepare myself like that and keep getting better.”
Darkwa, a fan favorite the Giants signed off Miami’s practice squad in 2014, has shown flashes of production as a runner in the two-and-a-half seasons and 33 regular season appearances.
He has averaged 4.01 yards on 71 carries as a Giant (285 yards) and scored four touchdowns. That included 10 carries, 53 yards and a TD in Week 3 against Washington last season, and 12 carries, 48 yards and the Giants’ lone TD in Week 4 in Minnesota.
If this is truly the case, it puts a dent in the upside of Paul Perkins, which is already capped due to Shane Vereen's presence on third downs.
Carlos Hyde is just 12 rushing yards from the first 1,000-yard season of his career.
And he might not get there.
The 49ers’ running back left in the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ 22-21 win over the Rams on Saturday when cornerback E.J. Gaines slammed into his left knee after he caught a short pass. Hyde lost a fumble on the play and it initially appeared he might have suffered a horrific injury.
As the story said, Hyde was able to walk to the locker room, with just a slight limp, and he was hopeful that the MRI exam he’ll have Sunday will provide good news. He didn’t rule out playing in the season finale against the Seahawks next Sunday. Obviously we can't take a players optimism too seriously. With a week to go and the season lost, there isn't much reason to play Hyde if he's not 100-percent. Harris played well with Hyde out earlier this season, but Draughn and Davis could also figure in should Hyde miss time.