Why did it take so long for the New York Giants to give Wayne Gallman the reins?

New York Giants, Wayne Gallman
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The New York Giants have had a revolving door at running back this season, and it was all sparked by Saquon Barkley’s torn ACL in week 2 against the Chicago Bears. Management went out and signed veteran Devonta Freeman, who has also suffered through injuries this season, giving more reps to back-ups Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris. However, quarterback Daniel Jones still managed to lead the team in rushing for a majority of the campaign until the Giants’ offensive line finally began to click.

When left guard will Hernandez tested positive for COVID-19, former Oregon lineman Shane Lemieux was inserted into the starting lineup. While he has struggled in pass protection, his ability to trap and pull to the strong side has been an important part of the Giants’ ability to run the ball the past few weeks.

The New York Giants are keeping their promise, dominating in the run game:

The Giants have gone five consecutive weeks with 100+ rushing yards and two consecutive weeks with 150+ yards on the ground. Gallman has been a massive part of that, racking up 68 yards on 14 carries against Washington in week nine and 53 yards on 18 carries against Philadelphia in week 10. While his yardage numbers might not convince you of his abilities, the Giants have committed to gaining more time of possession and running out the clock on the fourth quarter, which is why his totals are low.

Interestingly, this is the first real opportunity Gallman has earned since his 2017 season with Ben McAdoo. He has already recorded more touchdowns in four weeks this season than he had in his entire career.

But the question I keep asking myself is, why hasn’t Gallman received opportunities before this?

Former running backs coach Craig Johnson had an answer as to why Gallman wasn’t earning any reps back in 2018:

“I can tell you and I would tell Wayne the same thing: We have not had the ball (lately) as much as we’ve had sometimes, especially in the first half we haven’t been able to stay on the field.”

Finally, the former Clemson stand out is earning significant starting time with the offense, and he isn’t letting it go to waste. He has five touchdowns in four weeks and is averaging 4 yards per carry. He has an 81.3% catch rate and hasn’t lost a fumble this year, which has been a problem in the past.

Receiver Sterling Shepard had motivating words for his teammate.

“Wayne and I had a talk whenever it was his week to be the starting back and I told him straight up, ‘This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Go get it,’” Shepard told reporters on Wednesday. “I’ve always had faith in Wayne ever since they beat up on us in college, so I’ve seen him run the ball for years now and I couldn’t wait for him to get this opportunity.”

Gearing up to face off against a struggling Cincinnati Bengals team, Gallman is in line to have another solid week. However, the teams only get more difficult after week 12, as the Giants are preparing to play the Seahawks, Cardinals, Browns, and Ravens consecutively. However, even if Freeman makes a return in later weeks, Wayne shouldn’t lose significant carries.