EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Orleans Darkwa, listed as the New York Giants' fourth running back, finally got his chance to confirm to the coaches that his rushing prowess in the preseason - he led the Giants with 131 yards on 30 carries and one touchdown - was not a byproduct of playing against lesser competition.
Darwka led the running backs against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday with eight carries that yielded 48 yards and the team's game's only rushing touchdown of the week.
"He had an outstanding preseason," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "So during the course of the week, he had some carries in first and second down. The coaches felt strongly that he should be given an opportunity. It wasn't right away in the game, but eventually he played and he played well."
Darkwa, who was signed by the Giants off the Miami Dolphins' practice squad last November, disappeared from the offense's landscape once the regular season began, his role being strictly special teams.
While he embraced that opportunity, Darkwa kept hoping for the day he would be able to contribute to the offense.
"I'm not going to lie; it was hard at times, but I just tried to stay the course," he said.
"We have a lot of talented vets on the roster and I just had to wait on my opportunity and fortunately (this week) I was able to get my opportunity and make the most of it."
For Darkwa, Sunday's game was all in a day's work.
"I just acted like I've been there before; it was nothing new to me," he said of his success against the Cowboys.
"I was able to get some experience last year with running the ball and in the preseason, so it wasn't anything new. Just act like I've been there before; that was my mentality and I was able to make something good out of it."
In making something out of his chance, Darkwa now has challenged the coaching staff to find more ways to fit him into a rotation that includes Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams and Shane Vereen.
"We're fortunate to have four guys that can play. And of those four guys that can and do play, they also have special teams commitments, which is a huge plus for our team as well," Coughlin said.
"We have a number of guys who have game experience, who some of which have different roles and they'll continue in those roles, and they will continue to help us on special teams."
The plan regarding who gets what percentage of the snaps moving forward is one that Coughlin said will take shape over time.
"I think right now it depends on the plan and the type of game we expect and how we strategize and plan on using. But the four healthy guys... that's a great thing, believe me. When you look around at the different positions, four guys that continue to maintain good health, that helps an awful lot."
In the meantime, Darkwa just wants to improve on those little things he didn't do well so that when his number is called, he can be part of the solution.
"I always think I can do better. It's not a perfect game on my end so I'm going to check out the film and put meat on the bones."