Giants wrap up OTAs without Odell Beckham, Olivier Vernon
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants wrapped up organized team activities the way they started — with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Olivier Vernon missing the voluntary workouts.
Coach Ben McAdoo declined Friday to discuss attendance. He has not talked about it since the first media availability, when he said he would coach those there.
McAdoo said he expects everyone to attend mandatory three-day minicamp, which starts Tuesday.
He refused to talk about the status of defensive end Owa Odighizuwa. The third-year player hinted that he wants some time away from football. He also has missed the OTAs.
One other issue that McAdoo sidestepped was the arrest last weekend of second-year receiver Roger Lewis Jr. on suspicion of driving while impaired in Ohio. The coach plans to let the legal process run its course.
“We are looking forward to minicamp next week, but we got a lot of teaching and learning done,” said McAdoo, who led the Giants to an 11-6 record last season and their first playoff berth since 2011. “That is the goal and it looks like we have some chemistry going.”
The one thing that was obvious during the OTAs was the Giants’ plan to make second-year running back Paul Perkins the starter. They released starter Rashad Jennings in the offseason, and McAdoo didn’t hesitate to say that Perkins was No. 1 on the depth chart.
Perkins played in 14 regular-season games with one start last season, rushing for 456 yards on 112 carries, while catching 15 passes for 162 yards.
Running back coach Craig Johnson called him an effective runner, saying he did a good job of catching the ball and improved with his blocking. He also likes his explosiveness.
“He puts his foot in the ground and bursts through the hole,” Johnson said. ’I like that. It helps both in the run and in the pass protection. That really helps his versatility.”
Perkins, who was the Giants’ only back to rush 100 yards in a game, believes he is ready for his new role. He knows the offense and has learned to take care of his body.
“I have to have confidence in myself, so I go out there and just try to make plays,” said the 2016 fifth-round draft pick, who knows he has to protect Eli Manning to keep his job.
How well Perkins performs will depend on a line that struggled last season. The group (left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Justin Pugh, center Weston Richburg and right guard John Jerry) is back with the exception of right tackle Marshall Newhouse, who signed with Oakland.
“I love those guys up front,” Perkins said. “We didn’t do as good as we wanted to last year, but I felt all those guys had a tremendous year, from beginning to the end, obviously becoming stronger at the end. This year the guys are coming back, cohesive group. I think the sky is the limit.”
Perkins will face competition for the starting job from veteran Shane Vereen, who is back from a triceps injury, rookie Wayne Gallman and veterans Orleans Darkwa and Shaun Draughn.
“Always competing, that’s the glory of our offense, and that’s the best part of our running back room,” Vereen said Friday. “There is no set position; everyone is competing for play time. I think that when you have that type of healthy competition, it brings out the best in everybody.”
What should help the running back is the addition of tight end Evan Engram, a first-round draft choice who can stretch defenses, and the signing of big outside receiver Brandon Marshall. With Beckham and second-year slot receiver Sterling Shepherd in the mix, it gives quarterback Eli Manning a lot of options.
“I think the more weapons an offense has, the more you keep the defense off balance,” said Vereen, who took a $1 million pay cut to return after playing only five games last season.