Paul Perkins is the starting running back, but Orleans Darkwa is right on his heels.

“I have 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,” said Darkwa, who has been a backup with the Giants for most of his career. “That’s not going to change the chip on my shoulders, it is not going to go anywhere, and so I just have to prepare myself like that and keep getting better each practice.”

Darkwa has been getting an opportunity this camp. With Shave Vereen sidelined with a leg injury and Shaun Draughn on PUP, Darkwa and Perkins are the only healthy running backs with NFL experience and they’ve been getting the bulk of the reps.

The key to getting those reps in actual games, Darkwa said, is staying healthy. That’s something he has not always been able to do.

“Obviously I wasn’t there toward the end of the season last year,” he said of missing the second half of the year on injured reserve. “[It’s about] just being a complete back and staying on the field.”

OV impressed by Flowers

The Giants are hoping that Ereck Flowers improves this season. The guy who lines up across from him the most believes he has.

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“As far as his hands, his hands are getting better,” DE Olivier Vernon said of Flowers. “As far as technique, he’s improved a whole lot, I’ll say that.”

When he is not playing against Flowers, Vernon spends a lot of time talking to him and going over details from their experiences on the field.

“He’s always working on his technique and asking questions about what he’s doing wrong or what he’s doing good on,” Vernon said. “So, that tells me he’s somebody just trying to get better . . . We talk all the time. Anything to help each other get better.”

Giant steps

LB B.J. Goodson missed the last few drills of practice after he had his foot stepped on. McAdoo did not seem concerned by the injury . . . LB Keenan Robinson is in the concussion protocol after experiencing symptoms following Wednesday’s workout . . . McAdoo said that RB Shave Vereen and DE Devin Taylor, both of whom have missed the last three practices with leg injuries, are expected to return to the field on Friday . . . Rookie K Aldrick Rosas was 4-for-4 on FGAs, including a long of 55 . . . The healthy day off on Wednesday seemed to suit Jason Pierre-Paul well. He was dominant on Thursday, batting down a pair of passes and harassing the quarterback pocket . . . C Weston Richburg was limited and Brett Jones took some of his workload with the starters. McAdoo said that was part of the plan to rest some players through camp.