Tiki Barber has had his fair share of hot takes on his former team the New York Giants over the years. More recently, he’s geared his opinions towards a place that he knows awfully well, the team’s backfield.
Barber made waves at the start of this season after being highly critical of running back Saquon Barkley following his abysmal Week 1 performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team’s all-time leading rusher even went as far as to question Barkley’s abilities as an every-down back.
However, since then there’s been a changing of the guards in the backfield, not due to Barkley’s play, but rather due to injuries. Barkley and teammate Devonta Freeman have each landed on injured reserve this season, opening the door for a previously shunned Wayne Gallman to shine in their absence.
Firmly on the roster bubble this summer, head coach Joe Judge challenged the ex-Clemson standout to “prove that he belongs with the Giants.” Safe to say he has, and safe to say that Barber approves, not only of Gallman but also of the team for utilizing their “asset.”
“Coaching wins in the NFL. Their record doesn’t show it – yet – but the Giants are so well coached,” Barber tweeted. “Garrett has coached the turnovers out of DJ and finally realize the asset they have in Wayne Gallman. Well done, GMen!”
Barber’s appreciation for Gallman’s play this season is nothing new, as he’s been known to fire off a tweet or two, such as the one shown below, highlighting his fondness of the running back:
I really like Wayne Gallman!
— Tiki Barber (@TikiBarber) November 8, 2020
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Gallman’s Production: More Than Meets the Eye
Gallman entered last week’s bye tied with Dalvin Cook for the most rushing touchdowns (5) in the NFL from Week 7 through Week 10. His 275 rushing yards on the season currently place him second on the team behind quarterback Daniel Jones’ team-leading 384 yards.
While it’s true Gallman has averaged just 3.67 ypc or fewer in three of his last four games, it’s evident from the eye test that he adds a jolt to the Giants’ previously sluggish rushing attack. Not to mention, GiantsWire shared an in-depth breakdown of how Gallman’s knack for finding the endzone has actually skewed those numbers quite substantially.
Gallman avgd 2.9 ypc on Sunday but his two TD runs accounted for 3 yards. He was also hit by an unblocked defender in the backfield twice for -7 yards.
Eliminate those plays and he averaged 4.1 ypc.
You obviously take the TDs, but this shows how the box score #s can be skewed.
— TheGiantsWire (@TheGiantsWire) November 16, 2020
Coach Judge Sings Gallman’s Praises
No matter how you spin it, Gallman has produced behind a spotty offensive line and in a situation that even a blue-chip talent such as the aforementioned Saquon Barkley had struggled in this season.
Safe to say, coach Judge and the Giants are more than pleased with what Gallman has brought to the table in recent weeks.
“I think Wayne is a tough dude, and I think that’s what is showing up in how he plays,” Judge told reporters after the Giants’ Week 10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. “He’s running the ball tough, he’s got a lot of mental toughness to him, we ask him to do a lot of things, and he’s responding really well. This isn’t the scheme he has played in throughout his entire career, but he’s done a good job of learning and adapting to it and being a very productive player for us. He does a lot of things, he’s improved a lot throughout the way.”
“There’s a lot of little things we have to emphasize along with all of our players, but I’ve seen him really improve fundamentally, in ball security, in open field running, in the goal line type runs, making sure he gets across the goal line, reaching with our pads and not reaching the ball out.”
“So I’m very pleased with how Wayne is playing.” Judge added, “I know the team gets a spark whenever he is in there, he gets a lot of yards.”
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