The New York Giants’ running game is thought by many to be dead on arrival this year. The injury to star back Saquon Barkley has slowed them somewhat but the numbers aren’t too much off from last year when Barkley rushed for 1,307 yards. The Giants are currently ranked 26th in the NFL, averaging 93.8 yards per game. That’s quite a bit lower than they were last season when they were 24th and averaging 103.1 yards per but it seems like it should be more.
The backfield has taken on a new dynamic this season. Barkley missed three games with a high ankle sprain and hasn’t been able to crack the century mark since retuning to the lineup in Week 7.
His primary backup, Wayne Gallman, has been eclipsed on the depth chart by Javorius “Buck” Allen, who the Giants signed as a free agent in mid-October. Last week, Gallman was a healthy scratch against the Eagles.
“I know it’s a very tough situation for him I’m sure,” Giants running back coach Craig Johnson told reporters about Gallman on Friday. “As I told him, and I tell all my guys in my room, you’ll cheer for your teammate. I know that’s hard for him to do but we’re giving him a look, you just have to be ready to play. Any time you are not a starter you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically like you are a starter. When your opportunity comes get ready to play. You have to battle through that adversity.”
Allen, meanwhile, only touched the football once on Monday night in Philadelphia for a gain of four yards. Johnson explained why he jumped Gallman on the depth chart.
“He’s really done a good job on the practice field. I think he’s shown some good physical running, he’s very good in pass protection and he’s caught the ball well. Since he’s shown so much, we just want to give him a look, give him an opportunity to get out there and play and see what he can do. He’s done well with what he’s had so far. Obviously, the more chances he gets to touch the ball, he’ll get even more comfortable.”
So, what does Gallman have to do to get his spot back?
“I don’t know if he necessarily needs to do anything better,” said Johnson. ” I just think it’s more of Buck has been on our roster for a long time, he’s done a lot of good things and we are rewarding him with some playing time.”