We have detected signs of life.
The pulse of the Giants’ running game without Saquon Barkley was weak and barely discernable, until last week. Sure, they ran for 136 yards against the Rams, but quarterback Daniel Jones got 45 of those yards on designed or non-designed scrambles.
Wayne Gallman, two weeks ago, ran six times for 45 yards. In last week’s 37-34 loss to the Cowboys, Gallman averaged 4.8 yards, rushing five times for 24 yards to augment Devonta Freeman’s 17 carries for 60 yards (3.5 yard average).
This week’s opponent, Washington, allows 129.6 yards per game on the ground, making this an opportune time for Gallman, a 2017 fourth-round pick out of Clemson, to again show he deserves to be on the field and that he can be a suitable option.
“Wayne has hung in there really good with us,’’ running backs coach Burton Burns said. “He’s getting better each day by focusing on what he has to do to improve. That’s the one thing we challenged Wayne with from Day 1, let’s just focus on what you have to do to get better and let’s just take it one step at a time. I think you’ve seen some really good things from Wayne. He’s running the ball hard, he’s learning how to control his body better. I’m really pleased with his progress at this point.’’
Wayne GallmanGetty Images
The Giants have been terrible in recent years against the NFC East, but have a three-game winning streak versus Washington. … Kyle Allen made his first start of the season, replacing benched Dwayne Haskins, but was forced out with an arm injury in last week’s 30-10 loss to the Rams. That meant Alex Smith made his first appearance in a game since his horrific lower leg injury in 2018. Allen practiced this week and will start versus the Giants.
Something to watch: Washington allowed eight sacks to the Rams. Of course, the Giants do not have anyone close to the caliber of Aaron Donald, who got four of the sacks. Washington’s offensive line should be bolstered by the return of guard Brandon Scherff from injured reserve.
The Cowboys lead the NFC East at 2-3, followed by the Eagles (1-3-1), Washington (1-4) and Giants (0-5). No one expected this to be a world-beater division, but this is brutal.
“Well, first of all, you have three new head coaches,’’ Washington coach Ron Rivera said. “Philly’s been beat up. They’ve lost a lot of good players, so physically they’re not the team they were before they got hurt. As they get those guys back, they’re going to be better. We’ve got some young teams in our division — when I say ‘young teams,’ I look at us and New York, I think they’re very young. I think Dallas is still learning who they are with the new head coach. They’ve got some veteran guys and they lost their quarterback, so I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the rest of this division unfolds.’’’
The Giants signed LB Trent Harris to their practice squad earlier in the week and, on Saturday, promoted him to their roster. Harris played last season for Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham when the two were with the Dolphins. The Giants are thin at outside linebacker, with Lorenzo Carter out for the season following surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon and Oshane Ximines (shoulder) on IR.