The New York Giants have made a precautionary move in their backfield ahead of Monday night’s showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On Wednesday, November 18th, the team added running back Jonathan Williams as a practice squad veteran signing.
Williams, 27, was originally a fourth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2016 out of Arkansas. The former second-team All-SEC selection has since bounced around the league, making stops in New Orleans, Indianapolis, Detroit and Washington (twice). His most prolific campaign came with the Colts in 2019 where he rushed for 235 yards in nine games — 220 of which came over a two-week span. In total, Williams has amassed 415 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns over his career.
Devontae Booker Trending Down?
The addition of Williams comes on the heels of Devontae Booker spending Wednesday’s walkthrough working on the side with trainers. Booker, New York’s leading rusher (315 yards), exited the team’s Week 9 victory with a hip injury. Per Giants.com’s Dan Salomone, X-rays on the injury came back negative for Booker who confirmed at the time he was “[feeling] great.” Originally, the belief was that Booker would be good to go coming out of the bye. Yet, he continues to miss practice time, as he was also absent from Monday’s session due to a “personal issue.”
Booker was the lone true running back active for the Giants in their most recent outing — fullback Eli Penny manned backup duties. Regardless of his health, the team should be a bit deeper in their backfield in Week 11 as Saquon Barkley appears to be trending towards a return. New York also recently activated rookie sixth-round pick, Gary Brightwell, from the Reserve/COVID-19 list after he missed Week 9’s contest following a positive test.
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Judge Continues to Point Towards a Timeshare
After coming out the gates rather slow, Booker has strung together two highly impressive outings, averaging 123.5 yards and firmly putting himself in position for continued usage — even in Barkley’s pending return.
“The focus for us will be more in terms of just splitting the time in terms of sharing it and making sure we’re fresh,” said head coach Joe Judge when asked whether Booker would share time with Barkley in the backfield. “I don’t really go into a game ever looking that we have to get this guy this many reps, this guy this many reps, this guy this many touches. It’s let’s keep our guys fresh. If we’re going to take six receivers to the game, let’s use all six. If we’re going to take four running backs to the game, use them all in their roles. Some guys have heavier roles in the kicking game than on offense, but let’s make sure we do what they can do to help us have production and let’s make sure we do enough within the game to keep them fresh.”
While Judge has mostly bit his tongue on Barkley’s status for Week 11, the former NFL Rookie of the Year appears on track to make his first game appearance since sustaining an ankle injury against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5.