Giants head coach Pat Shurmur confirmed that Saquon Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain during Sunday's game against the Bucs. So the star running back will now be missing around 6-8 weeks, a source told SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, which is obviously a big blow to the offense.
But that doesn't mean the team still can't run the ball.
That's what head coach Pat Shurmur did, though, when Wayne Gallman took over Barkley's duties in the backfield. He only ran the ball five times for a total 13 yards, as the Bucs defense swallowed up Gallman. Barkley didn't have much success either, rushing for only 10 yards on eigth carries before leaving the contest.
The circumstances -- Big Blue was down 28-10 at the half -- may have changed Shurmur's game plan to go pass heavy in the second half. However, to run the ball just five times doesn't create any deception for an offense. That's why defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was aggressive in sending his players at rookie QB Daniel Jones, who was consistently dropping back to pass.
And those passes weren't short or quick ones, either. If you abandon the run game, mixing in quick screens to either Gallman or receivers out wide could make up for it. Instead, the Bucs had time to get after Jones, and it did work with a fumble caused right after the Giants' defense had just hauled in its first interception of the season.
Moving forward without Barkley (for now) definitely puts a big wrinkle in Shurmur's plans, but that doesn't mean he needs to give his rookie quarterback 50 pass attempts.
Gallman is no slouch as the team's backup running back, and can be versatile both on the ground and through the air. Giving him touches not only allows the run game to hopefully open things up for Jones, but it's also a great way to kill clock and keep drives going.
Knowing Barkley, he will be working tirelessly to get back on the field as soon as possible. In the meantime, Gallman will take over and he should get his fair share of touches. If he doesn't, defenses will surely be sending the house at Jones -- something the Giants don't want to necessarily see happening each week.