Paul Perkins spent the last few weeks studying for finals, just like most of the other students at UCLA. After he was done with that each day, though, his agenda changed and he began studying for his job.
The fifth-round pick of the Giants wasn’t able to participate in any of the offseason programs other than the rookie minicamp in early May, but the team would send him film and footage of the daily practices which he could watch on an iPad and start to learn his new offense. He also spoke regularly with running backs coach Craig Johnson, who tried to keep him in the loop as much as possible.
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Is that any way to learn a playbook?
“I definitely wish I was here, but it definitely helped me more than not having it,” he said.
Something is better than nothing, but only a little.
“There is no substitute for the reps,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “Obviously if guys could just get it off of film or off of a book, then I wouldn’t have a job. They wouldn’t need us [coaches]. He needs to be out there and get those reps.”
He is now.
Perkins arrived in New Jersey from California on Sunday afternoon and has participated in both of the minicamp practices so far. There’s a lot to learn, a lot to pick up, but he seems eager to do it. He refuses to take the playbook in small bites, insisting that he’ll digest “the whole enchilada.” And already he is finding his footing. After a nervous start on Tuesday, he said he felt much more comfortable on Wednesday.
He has teammates who are helping him, too.
“He’s kind of getting thrown into the fire here, but he’s a smart guy and I think he’ll come along well,” veteran running back Shane Vereen said. “He’s mixed in with the group real well. He has a good personality. He seems to have the same temperament as the rest of us, so we like having him there.”
Perkins is expected to be part of the running back rotation this year, however that shakes out. There are a lot of players and only a few spots. The backfield will get even more crowded if Orleans Darkwa is able to return from a leg injury for training camp.
By then, Perkins expects to be caught up and ready to compete himself. He said every time he watched a practice on his iPad he wanted to jump into the screen and put himself on the field.
From now on, he won’t have to.