Paul Perkins came to work on Tuesday as the starting running back for a playoff team and coming off a 102-yard rushing performance in Washington. Other than that, there wasn’t much difference.
“Everybody still treats me the same,” he said. “I’m still a rookie.”
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He doesn’t even know if he’ll be the starter in Green Bay on Sunday. The coaches haven’t told the players yet.
“They like to keep us on our toes,” he said.
Not that it matters much. Not to him, and more importantly, not to the man he replaced at the top of the depth chart.
Rashad Jennings, the starter for most of this season other than the games he missed with injury, was the second running back used in Washington last Sunday. He could not have cared less.
“I was excited for him to get his first start and get an opportunity to bat first,” Jennings said. “I let him know: ‘I’m here, man. I support you 100 percent. I have your back.’ ”
Jennings didn’t start, but he wasn’t completely phased out of the game plan either. He still had 18 carries for 52 yards and was on the field at the end of the game.
When he wasn’t on the field with the offense, Jennings said he was on the sideline getting ready for special teams snaps — “I’m a player,” he said — or rooting for one of the young running backs he has taken under his wing.
“I’m his biggest fan,” Jennings said. “I told him before the season started, ‘Look, see yourself as a starter. See yourself as the future of the team.’ That’s my job. I’m here to win but I’m also here to see the future. That’s my job . . . It rolls around. Chances come back. We’re all going to contribute to the game. But I’m happy to see his successes and be there when it happens.”
‘No stone unturned’
Defensive captain Jonathan Casillas delivered a fiery playoff-like address to the team before a practice last week as they prepared for the end of the regular season. Now that they are in the actual postseason, what is his message?
“Work as hard as you can this week,” the two-time Super Bowl champion said. “Prepare like you’ve never prepared before. Leave no stone unturned.”
Casillas suggested that nothing — nothing — come before football.
“If you have to cut communication off between your family and you, so be it,” he said. “This is it. We’ve got one week or five weeks, that’s how I look at it. You put everything into it. This is what we all want to do in the beginning, this is why we play the game. To get into this tournament.”
CB Janoris Jenkins said his bruised back will not limit him on Sunday against the Packers. “I’m good,” he said. Just good? “I’m great.” . . . WR Sterling Shepard had no regrets about grabbing Josh Norman’s face mask while breaking up a pass that looked like a sure interception early in the game against Washington. “I didn’t mean to do that, but hey, that’s how it went down,” Shepard said. There was no penalty flag, though the league may wind up fining him. That, Shepard said, is acceptable considering what could have happened had Norman caught the ball. A pick six? Shepard wasn’t giving him that. “I would have had to run him down,” he said.