Running Backs Coach Craig Johnson
September 16, 2016
Q: I think the stat is that Rashad Jennings leads the NFL since Week 14 last year in rushing yards. What do you think has clicked for him?
A: He's obviously gotten into a great rhythm. Early in the year, a lot of opportunity for a lot of guys. But, right at the end, he's been in a great rhythm, we've been in a great rhythm with him. He's done a good job of finishing his runs and he's been very reliable and available. I'm really pleased with what he's been doing.
Q: Only Shane Vereen and Jennings got carries last week. What can you say about the development of the other guys now that they've made the 53 and have ventured into the season.
A: I'll talk about Orleans Darkwa, who's not gotten a chance this year. For two years in a row in the preseason, he's been tremendous. He's really done a good job. He got a chance to play a lot last year, was very impressive. But the way the game went, our opponent did a good job of controlling the ball so it was hard to get another back in the rotation. Both guys are really doing well, but I really look forward to watching him play. He's been very good. Bobby Rainey, I thought, did a really good job. He came to us this offseason. He made a lot of plays in the offseason, he made a lot of plays in the preseason. He's veteran, he's been there, he's been through it. I'm also looking forward to seeing him get on the field and see what he can do. And then we're still developing Paul Perkins, our rookie draft choice. He's getting a little bit better every day. He missed a lot of the offseason, so he's still trying to get to the little details of some of the small things in our offense. In the big picture, he'll hit you, he can catch, he can run, and he can make moves. I'm looking forward, when that time comes, for him to make a difference for us.
Q: Do you think Bobby or Orleans could find their way into the rotation this week against New Orleans?
A: I think that it's always possible. I don't know quite how every game goes. Every game is a game within itself. But I think both those guys will do a good job of what's asked of them. I expect that, I demand that and I think they'll be ready.
Q: Is Bobby a guy that you have to make a concerted effort to find him spots because you have Shane as the third down back, you have Rashad who's established himself.
A: I'd probably answer the same thing for Orleans. Bobby did a really good job in the preseason. He had a shaky first game, but he understood what he had to do and he got a lot better all the way through. He brings certainly some explosiveness to the position. Look forward to letting that happen. Bu, he earns his reps through how he practices and then when that time comes, I expect him to be able to run, catch and block. That's what it's all about in our system and I expect that he'll do a good job of that when he gets in.
Q: What can Paul Perkins show you?
A: What Paul's done, I'm looking forward to watching him when he gets on the field. But the biggest thing I would say for him in the preseason, since he hasnít had as many behind the line of scrimmage reps and playing as running back. But, the first thing that I think you find your way, and Rashad proved this also as a younger play, is what you do on special teams. On special teams, I want to see a guy who's going to have good change of direction and is not afraid and will go out there and either can make a tackle or he'll hit somebody when he's blocking and Paul's definitely showing that. I look very forward to the day that he gets on the field.