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.

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.

 

 

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.

Lewis, Gallman Ready to Step Up After Barkley Injury

The New York Giants are likely to be without star running back for the reminder of the season. Especially if the reports about his injury are correct. A torn ACL wold require surgery and extensive rehab.

Head coach Joe Judge would not speak to the extent of the injury after the Giants 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

“I don’t have a diagnosis on his knee,” Judge told reporters. “He’s going to see some doctors tomorrow. We’ll wait and see what that is. Obviously we’re all praying for the best. I would just say this, regardless of whatever the outcome is going to be and what the doctors say tomorrow. I wouldn’t fall asleep on 26, it’s going to be a hell of a story either way.”

The Giants have just three healthy running backs on the active roster: Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman and fullback Eli Penny. They also have Rod Smith on the practice squad, but they will be in the market for running back depth come Monday when they get the diagnosis on Barkley’s knee.

Until then, the Giants will have to go with that trio. Gallman was not active on Sunday (a healthy scratch) but those days are over now. Lewis got the call after Barkley went down, gaining just 20 yards on ten carries but did score the Giants’ only touchdown on the afternoon. He also caught four passes for 36 yards. Lewis was asked if he was prepared for the heavy workload on Sunday.

“Gotta stay ready,” he said. “I prepare every week, all week, like I’m going to be in there every play because you never know what’s going to happen. So, I always stay prepared and, unfortunately, I had to go out there a little more than I normally would have to, but I was ready.”

Asked if he spoke to Barkley, Lewis said that he did.

“Yeah, I spoke with him,” said Lewis. “I just told him to keep his head up, stay positive, believe in God. Nobody knows what’s really going on right now, so just try to keep his head up. He’s a great kid, and we’ve grown extremely close since I’ve been here, so you know, definitely feel for him.”

Looking towards the future, Lewis forecasted what the running backs plan on handling the loss of Barkley.

“It’s going to take all of us. We got Wayne, myself, we all gotta step up. Obviously, you know, Saquon is one of the best running backs in this league, so nobody’s going to be able to do what he does, what he’s done. We gotta do what we can do, be ourselves, and do whatever the coaches ask us to do and work hard every day.

I mean, he’s Saquon Barkley, so you lose a guy like that, it’s a huge loss. But you know, as a team, everybody’s gotta step up. Receivers gotta step up, O-line’s gotta step up, running backs have gotta step up, quarterback’s gotta step up, defense has gotta step up, everybody has gotta step up. It’s not going to be one person who steps up to make up for what he’s done, it’s going to take all of us.”

That may not be enough. The Giants may have to explore a trade if they can’t find any options on the waiver wire.

 

 

New York Giants: Positions To Keep An Eye On With Cuts Around The Corner

New York Giants

The New York Giants will set their fifty-three man roster in a week from today. Over this next week, the team will be determining who will stay and who will go. The Giants do have a few positions of need, and they also have few positions of strength. Ahead of camp cuts, which positions are worth keeping a close eye on?

UDFA Wide Receivers

Behind Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate, the Giants have a positional battle at the wide receiver position. Corey Coleman will be competing with a number of rookie wide receivers to win the fourth wide receiver position.

New York has four undrafted free agent wide receivers currently on the roster. Derrick Dillon, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and Cody White were all signed by the Giants this offseason. They have all had their fair share of ups and downs in camp, but Victor and Mack have had a few more standout plays.

There are also two other receivers making their names known in camp: David Stills and Alex Bachman. Both players have impressed in practice and could earn themselves a spot on the final roster. For all of these wide receivers, this next week of practice is crucial.

New York Giants: What To Expect From The Backup Running Backs?

New York Giants, Dion Lewis

The New York Giants are a struggling and rebuilding team that lacks star talent. Except for the running back position. The Giants have one of the best running backs in the NFL in Saquon Barkley. Some may argue that he is the best running back in the NFL. But last season, Barkley was injured and sidelined for three games.

The Giants struggled to run the ball without Barkley in the lineup. They even struggled to run the ball upon his return to the lineup. Barkley returned extraordinarily fast from his high ankle sprain and played through the “nagging” ankle injury the rest of the season.

If Saquon Barkley were to go down again, are the Giants prepared? Even if he is healthy, is there a competent backup running back on this roster to play in relief of a fatigued Saquon Barkley?

Be sure to check out this video below for a better understanding of why Saquon Barkley struggled in 2019:

Dion Lewis

This offseason, the Giants signed former Patriots and Titans running back Dion Lewis as a backup running back. Dion Lewis had his best season in 2017 with the Patriots, rushing for 896 yards and receiving for 214 yards to go along with 9 total touchdowns. Lewis has been a reliable receiver out of the backfield throughout his career and was a fine complement to Derrick Henry’s hard-nosed running style in Tennessee.

Lewis is the oldest running back on the roster and likely the best in pass protection. Barkley has struggled in that department through his first two professional seasons. Dion Lewis could help improve the Giants’ pass protection in 2020.

New York Giants: 3 Players Who Could Surprise in 2020

New York Giants, Julian Love

Every year there are always 1-3 players that surprise fans and go on to have a career year. This new New York Giants team is as young and exciting as it’s ever been.

Here are three New York Giants players who could surprise in 2020:

Dion Lewis

Dion Lewis had a decent year in 2019, backing up the beast Derrick Henry. Lewis recorded 209 rushing yards on 54 carries and had 164 receiving yards on 25 catches. You may sit there and say, “well, we have Saquon Barkley, and he’s better than Derrick Henry, so how would Lewis have a surprising year?.”

In comes newly acquired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett; Jason Garrett loves using his running backs. Ezekiel Elliott has run the ball over 300 times, three times in his 4-year career. I can easily see Dion Lewis commanding 90-100 carries with the New York Giants, and be more of a threat in the passing offense. Lewis is a shifty Darren Sproles type player, Garrett will make sure to use Lewis to his full potential. I predict that Lewis will have 402 yards on 88 carries for three rushing touchdowns, and have 34 catches for 210 yards and 1 receiving touchdown.

Julian Love

Julian Love had a very confusing year last year. Love was told he would be the starting Nickel cornerback when he was drafted. Then he got moved to safety, then back to cornerback, finally, Love was moved back to safety. Even with all of this controversy, Love still recorded 37 tackles, five tackles for loss, three passes defended one interception, and one forced fumble.

Love only started in 5 games last year. Imagine if he had a full season. Assuming there are no positional controversies, Julian Love is set to play as a third-safety in Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme. Adding Xavier McKinney will bring changes to the secondary, but Love is a valuable piece on defense who can supplement injuries at multiple positions. I predict that Love will have 79 tackles, eight tackles for loss, six passes defended, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions.

Ryan Connelly

Ryan Connelly was definitely one of the few bright spots in a very dark year for the Giants. Connelly was one of my favorite players last year. It’s sad that Giants fans only got to see him start three games before tearing his ACL against the Washington Football team. In only three games, Connelly recorded 20 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, two passes defended, and two interceptions.

If Connelly stays healthy, and he starts all 16 games, Giants fans may very well be seeing the next phenom for the Big Blue Wrecking Crew. Also, with the addition of Blake Martinez, Ryan Connelly is primed to find his groove once more. I predict Connelly will record 90 tackles, five tackles for loss, six sacks, two passes defended, one forced fumble, and three interceptions.

Conclusion

There is so much untapped talent on this new New York Giants team; I could probably list 10-15 players who could break out this year. Giants fans should be very excited to see all these young players in action.

New York Giants: Why Dion Lewis is an upgrade over Wayne Gallman

New York Giants, Dion Lewis

The New York Giants’ front office made big moves this offseason to improve both the offense and defense. During free agency, the Giants’ signed veteran running back, Dion Lewis to a one year deal which is worth 1.5 million. The Giants needed a running back who is reliable and can give Saquon Barkley well-deserved rest. Luckily, the Giants found the perfect guy, no disrespect to Wayne Gallman, but he is just not the answer.

Wayne Gallman’s 2019 stats

In 2019, Wayne Gallman started in two games after Saquon went down with a high ankle sprain. Throughout the season, there was not much to cheer about, Gallman had 110 rushing yard and only two touchdowns. Even when Barkley was healthy, Gallman would only average 11 rushing yards a game. As you can see, Gallman was never a go-to option like Saquon is, Daniel Jones had to rely on throwing the ball often. This was no easy task for Jones, Saquon was out for three weeks after his first start and Gallman never was. Overall, Gallman had one standout game in the absence of Barkley. In my mind, Gallman is a backup NFL running back. He’s better off on another team that needs a backup because Dion Lewis is going to take all his touches.

Dion Lewis’ 2019 stats

Dion Lewis played a much smaller role in 2019, he was backing up star running back, Derrick Henry in Tennessee. In 2019, Dion lewis only started in one game and ran the ball 54 times for 209 yards. This is not the Dion Lewis most people are used to seeing, but he still is an upgrade over Wayne Gallman for multiple reasons.

Effective in the passing game

Back in New England, Dion Lewis was used in the short passing game. A lot of screen passes were used along with some out routes that fit lewis’ playstyle well. I can see Dion Lewis helping the Giants with his versatility, I see Jason Garrett calling a lot of screen passes, and bubble screens. With an upgraded offensive line, the Giants offense will have more time to set up screen passes and routes designed for Lewis. This signing of Lewis was huge, the Giants haven’t had a solid running back duo since Jacobs and Bradshaw.

Will give Barkley well needed rest

All Giants’ fans know that Saquon is the star running back, but it will be nice having Lewis as a backup. A guy who is effective in both ground and passing game will allow Saquon to be at his best late in games. Last season, Barkley played on every offensive down basically. If the Giants want him to last seven-plus years, they need to start protecting him. Finally, Dion Lewis will be a huge factor for the Giants in 2020.

New York Giants: Is Dion Lewis the right man to back up Saquon Barkley?

New York Giants, Dion Lewis

Coming off a challenging sophomore season with the New York Giants, Saquon Barkley is poised to make a booming return in 2020.  Following a strong draft that revitalized a struggling offensive line with bright, young talent, everything’s in place for Barkley to have his best season yet.  Back to his ridiculous workouts and staying as active as he can, Barkley is ready to be the weekly 20+ rushing attempts running back the Giants have been in need of.

Although Barkley certainly seems to be almost inhumane with his athleticism and talent, everyone saw last season that injuries can sideline even the best of the best, including Barkley.  To prepare for the worst, the Giants signed running back Dion Lewis, a veteran who not only compliments Barkley’s skill set but also brings tremendous versatility.  At only 5’8”, Lewis has a low center of gravity that provides him with remarkable quickness, shiftiness, and balance that is very difficult to defend against.  Playing with the likes of LeSean McCoy, Tom Brady, James White and Derrick Henry, Lewis has learned from some of the best players in the league.  And coming off three straight seasons where he’s played all 16 games, Lewis has shown why he’s such a valuable and resilient asset (ESPN).

But ever since the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017, Lewis’s numbers have certainly taken a hit and so has his role.  Transitioning more and more into a second or third-string running back, there’s a reason behind Lewis’s decline in productivity and it’s fair to question his worth.  James White outplayed him and took his role in New England and Derrick Henry virtually showed last season that the Titans really don’t need him.  With Barkley’s role only growing in size to the likes of Henry, it’s certainly hard not to wonder if Lewis may find himself in a similar situation that he had in Tennessee, which led to his inevitable exit.

That being said, Lewis makes for one of the most underappreciated running backs in the league and offers plenty of talent the Giants could use on offense.  Even though Lewis is a running back, what really makes him so special is his ability to catch the ball.  In fact, Lewis rarely failed to catch a ball thrown his way last season.  If you look at his game log, he went 3-4 against Cleveland in week 1, 4-5 against Atlanta in week 4, 3-3 against Denver in week 6, 5-5 against Carolina in week 9, and he also logged in another six games where he went 1-1 (ESPN).

Lewis has some of the best hands in the league for his position and when it comes to passing third down plays, remains to be an excellent weapon for quarterback Daniel Jones to pass to, be it on screenplays or dump off tosses.  To give you an idea, Lewis had 25 receptions out of 32 targets last season, essentially reining in a little over 78% of the passes thrown his way (ESPN).

Out of those 25 receptions, he caught 10 of them for 61 yards on 3rd down, averaging 6.1 yards per catch (ESPN).  Although Barkley can be put in on third-down passing plays as well, Lewis makes for a better fit for this role and will make it nearly impossible for linebackers to defend him out of the backfield.  In addition, Lewis is also pretty clutch when called upon, collecting 9 receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown all in the 4th quarter last season (ESPN).

At the end of it all, Lewis is the full package.  Whether the Giants choose to line him up in the slot or use him out of the backfield, Lewis knows how to maximize his skill set in whatever situation you put him in.  Furthermore, with Barkley handling the vast majority of the run game, the Giants needed another running back that can excel at everything else Barkley doesn’t do or provide for his team, and Lewis is the right man for that job.

Moreover, Barkley is still quite young, and Lewis brings excellent knowledge and insight that could really elevate Barkley’s understanding of his position to another level.  Prior to his arrival, Barkley had Wayne Gallman and Jonathan Hilliman as his backups, two running backs who don’t bring a whole lot of experience and flexibility to meld around Barkley’s role.  But with Lewis, it’s a completely different ball game.  Providing a level of balance that compliments Barkley’s play exceptionally well, Dion Lewis was a great find and has everything at his disposal to thrive as a backup with the New York Giants.