With the New York Giants ravaged with injuries, head coach Pat Shurmur has to decide whether he should let Saquon Barkley play Thursday night.
They lost Wayne Gallman in the first quarter due to a concussion, and on Monday, it was revealed that Sterling Shepard is back in concussion protocol. This is the second time this season Shepard has entered the protocol. He’s expected to miss significant time.
The rash of setbacks couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Giants. They have a Thursday night matchup on deck against the 5-0 New England Patriots in Foxborough, MA.
So far this season, the Patriots defense has been No. 1 in yards allowed-per-game (238.4) and in points allowed-per-game (6.8). The Pats are also only giving up just 78 yards-per-game on the ground. That statistic places them as the third-best defense in that department.
With Gallman already ruled out for Thursday night, the Giants will have to rely on Jon Hilliman and Elijhaa Penny to be the ball carriers. Against the Vikings last week, Hilliman and Penny gained a combined 35 yards on 12 carries.
It’s hard to fathom that duo finding sustained success against the stingy Patriots defense on Thursday night. However, there’s another option for Big Blue, and that’s letting Saquon Barkley suit up after missing the last two games with a high ankle sprain.
Barkley suffered the injury on Sept. 22 in the midst of the team’s 32-31 Week 3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was believed that Barkley would be out the following four to eight weeks. But Barkley has been adamant that he wants to play on Thursday night and practiced on a limited basis with the team on Tuesday.
Following practice on Tuesday, reporters asked Barkley if he expects to play against New England.
“That’s my mindset, continue to go out there for my team, play at a high level for my team, that’s the way I have been approaching this thing,” he said. “Just approaching every week and attacking film, attacking rehab, and just try to do whatever I can to help my team win.”
It would serve the Giants best to sit Barkley and wait for their Week 7 matchup against the Cardinals to play him. This is due to the fact that they’re more than likely to lose to the Patriots.
But coaches and players can never come into a game with a loser’s mentality. They will have their best players on the field if they can physically perform near their maximum ability. If Barkley’s able to play, it should give the offense a spark in having their best player back.
Here’s today’s injury report for the Giants. pic.twitter.com/vpM2oItnGU
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) October 8, 2019
The Giants will travel to Foxborough on Wednesday which means Barkley’s game status won’t likely be determined until Thursday.
Coming into this season, the Giants were confident their skill players consisting of Barkley, Engram, Golden Tate, Shepard, and Cody Latimer could prove to be a high-powered offense. But, due to Tate’s suspension and injuries to Barkley, Shepard, and Latimer, this unit has never seen the field together this season.
The Giants are hopeful that they’ll at least have Barkley, Tate, Latimer and possibly Engram on the field Thursday night.