New York Giants: This Daniel Jones statistic needs to change soon

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are relying a lot on Daniel Jones this season. Arguably, they’re relying on him too much. Everyone expected Jones to be a big part of the passing game, but not many would believe it if you said Jones would also be the leading rusher on the Giants come week four. But going into a game with the Rams, that’s the case. Jones is the leading rusher by a decent margin and the second place player, Saquon Barkley, is out for the season.

The Giants having rushing troubles in the first couple of weeks was somewhat understandable. The offensive line had changed and Barkley was injured early on. However, these troubles extending into the third loss of the season shows a bigger problem.

Poor performance for Giants running backs

The team just can’t get anything going in the rushing game. Devonta Freeman, the veteran back brought in after Barkley’s injury, only has 10 yards with the team so far. He was also limited in his role in his first game with the team, racking up only five rushes.

Freeman’s role with the team should expand in week four, but increased touches won’t mean much unless the offensive line gives openings and Freeman steps up and takes them. After all, Dion Lewis hasn’t performed well so far despite having an entire offseason to learn Jason Garrett’s system. Lewis has 12 attempts and one touchdown so far, but only 21 actual rushing yards.

The Giants will definitely have to rely on Daniel Jones to some degree on offense this year. But one area where they shouldn’t rely on him is the passing game. The Giants have a tough enough matchup against the Rams even without their rushing struggles.

If Jones is once again the leading rusher for the Giants and not one of the running backs, don’t expect the Giants to walk away with a win.

One essential for the New York Giants against the Rams in week 4

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants are gearing up to face off against the Los Angeles Rams in week four of the 2020 regular season, and it will be another difficult matchup for a New York team who has struggled early on.

Having been blown out by the San Francisco 49ers last weekend, the Giants will attempt to take a step forward against the Rams. The notable deficiencies fell on the running game and offensive line. Of course, the defense didn’t play at an adequate level either, considering they allowed 36 points. However, the Giants had 3x less time of possession compared to the 49ers, who schematically outgunned the Giants on all fronts.

The New York Giants have a tough task ahead of them:

Against a strong Los Angeles team, the Giants must increase their time of possession if they wish to at least remain competitive in the contest. Last week, the Giants only totaled 66 total rushing yards, in which only 17 came from the running backs. Devonta Freeman recorded the most carries with five and tallied 10 yards. Quarterback Daniel Jones led the team with 49 yards on the ground, mainly due to his protection failing to get the job done.

Establishing a running game opens up the offense on multiple levels, including taking risks downfield and play action. When a defense can essentially factor out the running game, they can stack the box and keep plays in front of them. Since the Giants rank near dead last in pass protection, the combination of cons is simply devastating.

In a season where NFL teams are scoring more than usual, the Giants have only put up 35 total points. The Rams, on the other hand, have put up 89 total points, scoring more in their week two win over the Eagles than the Giants have through three games. That should give you an idea of how poorly the Giants matchup against Los Angeles.

Nonetheless, week four offers an opportunity for the Giants to climb back into the NFC East, a division that is separated by just one win from first to last place.

New York Giants: The two RBs backing up Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants responded to the Saquon Barkley injury by signing Devonta Freeman. The former Falcons running back looks to be their starter for the rest of the year as Barkley’s ACL recovers. However, Freeman is one running back in a rotation of multiple. With the team’s best player out, it’s reasonable to assume the Giants will give more touches to their backup backs this year.

Who is manning those backup spots? Largely, that’s one new signing and one player that’s been with the Giants for the past three seasons.

Dion Lewis

Former Patriots and Titans running back Dion Lewis was signed during the offseason by the Giants. At the time, it appeared he was just a backup to Saquon Barkley. In this role, Lewis looked like a pretty good fit. After all, he had rushed for nearly 900 yards during his best season and while his performance fell off more recently, the Giants didn’t need him for a large role.

But Lewis might be getting more touches than expected thanks to the team’s current situation. This may be a chance for him to help revive his career. It’s been trending backwards for the past couple of seasons, but we have yet to see much of Lewis as a Giant.

During the 2019 season he fell from 517 yards to 209 while competing with Derrick Henry. It’s hard to tell just how much of that is because of Lewis himself, though. After all, Henry would be considered stiff competition to any back in the league.

In his two appearances for the Giants, Lewis has 11 rushes and 21 yards so far. Not the greatest numbers, but those may see a change. Lewis hardly would have expected to fill in for Saquon Barkley full time in week two against the Bears, but that’s what ended up happening. Presumably, being more mentally in the game next time will prevent such bad numbers in yards per carry.

Wayne Gallman

The other main option behind Devonta Freeman is Wayne Gallman. Gallman actually predates Barkley but he’s only shown flashes of potential, never starring for the Giants. Still, there’s something impressive about his ability to avoid the cut. Even this season when the Giants brought in Lewis, Gallman was able to keep his job for another year.

With no Barkley in the picture and an unfamiliar free agent as the starter, Gallman may get a chance to touch the ball more – at least to trial his skills and see if he’s worth putting in the rotation. He had 476 rushing yards in 2017 but was never able to repeat the performance as Barkley came in and took over the top spot.

The following seasons, Gallman had 176 and 110 yards. Not enough to stand out, but those numbers have been enough to allow him to keep his job. Gallman only has one carry this season so far, in the opener. That was a 14 yard run, but peculiarly, he received no carries against Chicago even after Barkley was hurt.

Don’t expect Gallman to become the main option – but this season may just be a chance for him to justify his continued presence as a backup.

Joe Judge Settling in to Life Without Saquon Barkley

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants lost star running back Saquon Barkley to a torn ACL for the season last Sunday in Chicago and now face the prospect of a running back-by-committee approach.

Then again, whoever holds the hot hand could end up getting the reps.

“He may be the guy for that moment,” head coach Joe Judge told reporters about the hot hand on Thursday. “Maybe he’s the guy for that game plan the way things are working and clicking. But I’d say within every specific game plan, we’re going to always look to use all of the players we have at the game, and make sure we have enough combinations to go ahead and create advantages for ourselves.”

Right now, the Giants have three players that will be vying for reps at running back – Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman and the newly signed Devonta Freeman.

“I think you just use whatever you have on your roster, whether it’s a guy like Saquon, we still have Dion Lewis who we rely heavily on, and Wayne Gallman who we rely heavily on,” said Judge. “Obviously, Saquon’s situation, we all feel for him. He’s going to work his butt off to get back here as fast as possible.

We’re happy to have Devonta. The thing I see with him is he’s a ball guy. You can tell this guy has a lot of passion for the game, he has a lot of experience, he plays hard, he practices hard. I was very impressed yesterday out at practice with the fire he practiced with, the attention to detail, how fast he picked up on a lot of our system. He’s an experienced guy, but sometimes experience in other systems doesn’t always translate over to knowing the alphabet of what you’re doing. But he really did a good job of understanding what we’re doing in practice, being able to get in the huddle, break the huddle, know what to do and do it very effectively. It was very encouraging on day one.”

Time will tell how this all pans out but one thing is for sure, all three can play and all three are currently healthy.

 

 

Niners’ Shanahan: Giants Getting ‘Helluva Player’ in Devonta Freeman

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants (0-2) host the San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at MetLife Stadium this Sunday afternoon in a game where both teams will be down several key players to injury.

The 49ers had five key starters go down against the Jets at MetLife last Sunday. Defensive lineman Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas both blew out ACLs and are gone for the season. Running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman suffered knee injuries and quarterback Jimmy Garappolo (ankle) aren’t likely to face the Giants this week. In addition, linebacker Dee Ford (back) is out and All-Pro tight end George Kittle (knee) is questionable for this week.

The Giants lost stud running back Saquon Barkley for the season to a torn ACL and starting wide receiver Sterling Shepard was placed on IR with an ailing toe.

To help defray the loss of Barkley, the Giants signed two-time Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to their roster. Freeman, an all-around back who rushed for 1,000 yards twice in his career, will join Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman in what will likely be a committee approach in the Giants’ backfield.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan knows Freeman very well, having coached him in Atlanta as their offensive coordinator during Freeman’s two Pro Bowl seasons (2015-16).

“They’re getting a hell of a player and a hell of a guy,” Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday. ” I love (RB Devonta Freeman), hell of a pickup for you guys at this time of year. He’s a really good runner, he’s really good out of the backfield as a receiver and a great teammate to have around.”

Freeman had a lost 2018 season due to multiple injuries and went unsigned this spring after having a bounce back season last year in Atlanta.

Should the New York Giants kick the tires on Devonta Freeman after Saquon Barkley injury?

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The worst part about Sunday for the New York Giants wasn’t losing to the Chicago Bears, it was watching star running back Saquon Barkley fall to the ground in pain. Just two plays before his knee evidently gave out, Barkley hyperextended his elbow and left the field for a split second.

Barkley’s return was welcomed with a sigh of relief, but it didn’t last long after jump-cutting to the right side of the field and making contact with Bears’ safety Eddie Jackson. By the time Saquon was engaged with the defender, his knee was experiencing searing pain.

Shortly after Barkley went down, he hobbled off the field and to the bench. He made his way to the locker room to receive x-rays on his knee, and early reports indicate that a torn ACL is likely the diagnosis. Saquon enjoyed four carries for 28 yards on the ground before the injury, but had a tumultuous start to the season, logging 15 attempts for 6 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one. The Giants’ offensive line didn’t do him any favors, but he started off week two, averaging 7 yards per carry.

With Barkley in his third season, he was expected to earn a massive contract in 2021. That will obviously be on hold, as he will try to reinstate his form in the NFL and make a come back from this unfortunate injury.

Should the New York Giants consider Devonta Freeman as a replacement?

Freeman is a capable NFL running back who enjoyed Pro Bowl seasons in 2015 and 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons. He has failed to remain healthy the past couple of years, rushing for 656 yards and two touchdowns in 2019. He would be a welcomed addition to the Giants, who could use a strong running back that can move the chains adequately. He’s also a fantastic receiving threat, enjoying 410 yards and four touchdowns last year through the air.

Over six seasons in the NFL, Freeman has 1000+ scrimmage yards in four of them. While he might be a bit pricey on a one year deal, he is the best option available on the market and would hold down the fort in the meantime. Otherwise, the Giants will rely on Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman to lead their backfield, which is certainly a realistic possibility. However, kicking the tires on Freeman isn’t a bad idea, considering his past success and the multifaceted approach he brings to the game.

New York Giants Fear Saquon Barkley Knee Injury Is ACL Tear

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

An ACL tear is possible to recover from, but it’s also one of the most feared injuries in sports. Positions such as running back, wide receiver, and linebacker are extra liable to get that injury thanks to their constant movement and the stress put on their knees. And according to Adam Schefter, the Giants fear that Saquon Barkley tore his ACL on Sunday.

The verdict isn’t in yet about the injury but it doesn’t look good. Until there’s further tests, we won’t have a full picture of the situation. But an ACL tear isn’t out of the realm of possibility, according to the report. If that is the case, Barkley will be out for the rest of the season.

How an ACL tear may affect Barkley

The surgery required to fix an ACL tear involves replacing the ACL with a graft taken from a different source. The athlete must then regain their full range of motion through rehab. The recovery timeline usually has at least six months between the surgery and getting back to practice.

That’s not to say that everything is gloom and doom. A lot of players have bounced back from the injury. That includes Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater, and even Giants pass rusher Markus Golden. There’s no doubt we’ll see Barkley on the field again, and he’ll probably still be just as threatening of a running back to opposing defenses.

However, it may change what the Giants and other teams think about Barkley’s longevity. The Giants are midway through Barkley’s contract, and whether or not the team gives him a huge extension may depend on how long they think he’ll last in the league – and that’s impacted by health.

Other options for the Giants

Right now, the Giants only have limited alternative options at running back. Luckily, they brought in Dion Lewis during the offseason to back Barkley up. Having a true backup for Barkley looks like a smart decision now, but Lewis only registered 20 rushing yards in 10 attempts during the Bears game.

It doesn’t look like Dion Lewis is the main man for the Giants during the 2020 season. 28 year old former Falcons back Devonta Freeman is set to visit the Eagles, but after the injury to Barkley, the Giants may want to consider him as an option if they can reach a deal.

There’s not so many other options that can walk in and become the number one running back, so if the Giants can afford the cap space, they may want to make a deal. Otherwise, we may be looking at a season where the running back position is played by committee.

Why are the New York Jets connected to free agent running back Devonta Freeman?

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Jets have no need for another starting running back, but reports have indicated their interest in Devonta Freeman. He formally played for the Atlanta Falcons over the last six seasons. Freeman has had immense success with Atlanta in the past, but he fell off in 2018, playing in just two games due to injury.

The Jets’ interest in the veteran running back comes as a surprise, but Freeman is capable in some categories. In 2019, he posted an 84.3 catch rate, attesting to his success in the passing game. Aside from Le’Veon Bell, the Jets don’t have another elite pass-catching running back, and while Frank Gore could fit that role, his age will undoubtedly take its toll.

Why would the New York Jets even consider signing Devonta Freeman?

Signing a player like Freeman would indicate the Jets are all in on winning in 2020, and considering the amount of money they invested in their offensive line, it seems they are prepared to leave it all on the field. They have a solid defense, a new left tackle, a healthy quarterback, and a new possession wide receiver in Denzel Mims.

Nonetheless, despite Freeman’s adequacy in the passing game, he’s coming off one of his worst seasons as a bonafide starter. He averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and 46.9 yards per game in 14 appearances. He’s four years removed from his best season in the NFL and playing at a level worthy of top running back consideration. At 28 years old, he still has plenty of untapped potential, but it seems he might be out of his prime after injuries hurt him in 2018.

While I believe this is just due diligence by general manager Joe Douglas, it can’t hurt to explore all options, especially if Freeman is available on a cheaper deal. I fully expect Adam Gase to implement a multiple running back scheme that includes Gore consistently on specific plays.

I would like to see Perine get some live action at some point, but I anticipate Bell will be the workhorse and act as so. They might try to take some of the pressure off his shoulders, considering the beating he took last year behind a terrible protection scheme.