A number of New York Giants needed the preseason period to show the coaching staff what they could truly bring to the table.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the number of life-changing aspects that have come alongside it, the NFL has decided to make multiple alterations in regard to its 2020 season. And one of the biggest ones happens to be bittersweet: the league has officially canceled this year’s preseason.
Sure, this keeps the players safe ahead of the 16-game slate and cuts out the meaningless matchups fans have wanted the league to decrease for years. But many young players around the league who aren’t set-in-stone active-roster participants needed those games in order to prove to their respective coaching staffs what they can truly bring to the table.
These three individuals within the New York Giants organization are no exception to that, and they must look to portray their skills in some alternate form this summer.
Giants running back Wayne Gallman is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and although he found playing time in each of his first three NFL seasons, a roster spot under the Joe Judge regime isn’t exactly guaranteed. Big Blue employs a multitude of running backs behind Saquon Barkley on the depth chart, and each could bring something unique to the 2020 version of this franchise.
Dion Lewis is that veteran pass-catching back who could provide assistance on special teams as well as become a mentor for the young Barkley. Elijhaa Penny can continue to play the fullback role in short-yardage scenarios. Undrafted rookie Javon Leake, on the other hand, could become the team’s next No. 1 kick-return specialist.
Gallman doesn’t possess a concrete role within this ballclub, which may not warrant the Giants saving a roster spot for him. Not to mention, he hasn’t exactly developed much over the last pair of seasons.
Overshadowed by Barkley, Gallman racked up 286 combined rushing yards during the 2018 and 2019 campaigns. Even in the midst of Saquon’s in-game rest periods along with the trio of contests in which the star back sat out with a high ankle sprain last year, the Giants didn’t utilize Gallman as much as they potentially could’ve. He only notched 29 carries on the ground to go with 15 targets in the passing game in 2019.
Gallman doesn’t seem to hold extensive value on this team. Because of this, he certainly could’ve used all four (and at one point, all two) of the Giants’ exhibition matchups to prove he’s more worthy of a roster spot than guys like Lewis, Leake, as well as second-year player Jon Hilliman, who may be his main competitor in training camp.
It’s tough to not feel sorry for what happened with Corey Coleman ahead of last year’s campaign. It looked as if he was finally going to find his niche with the Giants, who decided to bring him back on a one-year restricted free agent tender after employing him for part of the 2018 season.
Some believed it could’ve possibly been his time to shine, until a torn ACL suffered on the first day of training camp concluded any of those hopes.
Coleman will enter the 2020 season on another one-year contract, but will surely endure a difficult task in regards to making the final roster, especially with no preseason matchups.
Among a deep receiving core, Coleman will need to outplay the likes of Da’Mari Scott, Alex Bachman, David Sills (if he’s practicing), and undrafted free agents Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and Derrick Dillon.
The entire period prior to the regular season may not encompass enough opportunities for the former first-round draft pick to impress wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert more than the aforementioned competitors. The Giants likely would’ve needed in-game matchups against opposing teams’ cornerbacks to see if Coleman could live up to his short-term contract and, more importantly, stay out of the medical tent.
If Big Blue decides to cut him, they’d only possess a dead cap hit of $100,000.
Since the Giants selected defensive lineman RJ McIntosh in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, he hasn’t been horrible but nowhere near talented enough for the organization to want to make a long-term or even short-term investment in him.
Through 18 career games, he’s racked up just 18 combined tackles and a pair of sacks, having only notched 179 defensive snaps across those matchups.
Therefore, significant value isn’t truly existent within him right now. This puts him near the bottom of the depth chart amid a position group that already includes three concrete starters in Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, and Leonard Williams along with one reliable backup in B.J. Hill.
The unit encompasses an additional defensive lineman who may be in the same situation as McIntosh when training camp practices commence though. Second-year man Chris Slayton might also be in the mix, and McIntosh could’ve utilized the exhibition matchups to prove to the coaching staff why he ultimately deserves a roster spot over the former Syracuse Orangeman.