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Giants in no rush to be critical of running game

Shane Vereen of the New York Giants runs

Shane Vereen of the New York Giants runs the ball in the first half against Antoine Bethea of the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Giants haven't had a 100-yard rushing game so far this season.

No, not by an individual. That's as a team. The most they have gained on the ground in any particular game was the 99 they had against the Cowboys in the opener. On the year they average 91.2 yards per game, which is 26th in the NFL.

Clearly, that's an area that has to be fixed for the team to succeed.

Or is it?

Justin Pugh doesn't seem to think so. The starting left guard said he was happy with Sunday's rushing performance against the 49ers even though the Giants only ran the ball 21 times for 84 yards.

"Averaging four yards a carry, I think we'll be all right," he said of that game's numbers (they are at 3.6 on the season, which is tied for 28th in the NFL).

The truth is the Giants didn't need to run the ball much in the last few games to get by with wins.

"We've been throwing the ball really well," Pugh said. "We're just looking to execute and make plays. If people are in the box and stacking the box, we're going to throw the ball. That's fine. We've been doing that successfully.

"I don't really care how we win games," he added.

That's not everyone's philosophy. Tom Coughlin has long stressed the importance of balance in the play-calling. And even though his running backs have accounted for 31 of the team's 131 receptions and 320 receiving yards, he'd like to see more traditional uses of the position.

"I think it has been something that we've utilized as you would the run game," he said of throwing to running backs. "Not that I wouldn't rather have the run, but that's been said."

There have been times when the inability to run has handicapped the Giants. They had to settle for a field goal against the 49ers in the first half when they could not convert a third-and-1. And of course there was the late drive against the Cowboys in which they were unable to score from the 3 (whether they were trying to or not being another question).

"Obviously as an offensive line we want to run the ball better," Pugh finally admitted. "In the green zone we can do a better job of getting movement and that will help our green- zone efficiency if we can run the ball better down there when it gets tighter. That's an area we have to get better at and are actively working on it."

The rest of it?

It's just numbers, Pugh said. When teams force them to run, they'll run. Until then, they'll happily keep passing. And winning that way.

New York Sports