New York Giants Notebook | Replacing the Irreplaceable, Carrying the Load and More
The aftermath of running back Saquon Barkley's season-ending ACL tear has certainly drowned out a lot of the Giants' preseason optimism and has left the team with a massive vacancy on offense.
For head coach Joe Judge, it is his job to navigate the team through this loss from an emotional and schematic perspective.
Judge has his work cut out for him ahead, but it is hardly the first ACL tear that Judge has had to overcome, as he himself once suffered a torn ACL.
It's not entirely on the same level of what the Giants and, in particular, Barkle are going through right now, but Judge is hoping that his experience helps keep the team and Barkley focused on the long term.
"The only thing I was able to share with Saquon are some of my own experiences," Judge said.
"I was a non-athlete, I tore my own ACL and I was able to get back on the field. It didn't really affect any way that anyone saw my play because I wasn't really any good to begin with."
Judge's subtle message is that if he could bounce back, a 23-year-old highly conditioned athlete like Barkley, who has access to the best medical care in the world and who has a work ethic to match, should be back better than ever.
Replacing the Irreplaceable
With Barkley set to miss the rest of the 2020 season with a torn ACL, the Giants have been left with a massive rift in their backfield.
There isn't another NFL player that can replicate what Barkley can do out of a backfield, but the Giants will have to find an answer at running back moving forward.
The two main options the Giants have on their roster are veteran Dion Lewis, who took most of the workload on Sunday after Barkley went out, and Wayne Gallman, who is in the final year of his rookie contract.
Neither Lewis nor Gallman has put together a 1,000-yard rushing season, but each is serviceable in their own right.
The Giants also have an option on their practice squad with Rod Smith and will work out veteran Devonta Freeman this week.
"In terms of who's available roster-wise, we're always looking at who's available on the street," Judge said.
"We're always looking at setting up workouts for free agents to get them in the program and get a look at them.
"We had the flex rules in our practice squad, that will impact some of the guys we have on our roster already, so we're exploring all of our options right now."
Golden Tate's Tarnished Opportunity
The Giants had a chance to win Sunday's game against the Bears until the final play when a pass to wide receiver Golden Tate fell incomplete.
Tate was hit with an offensive pass interference call, a penalty that appeared legitimate. But
The call was a contentious subject in the aftermath of the game. While Tate did commit a push-off, it looked as though Bears defensive back Eddie Jackson got to Tate early and committed a pass interference of his own that went uncalled.
Had Jackson been flagged, the Giants would have had one more play int he game, but instead, with the clock having expired, the game was over.
"I think it was a close call," Tate said. "I thought the flag had come out pretty late after the play. I thought it was on Jackson or whoever that was on my back, but that didn't happen to be the case."
Tate is one of the Giants' most experienced veterans and was very critical of his performance.
"I think we will be critical of this film," Tate said. "I know the receivers have watched it and have been very critical of what we could do better. I think everyone must be accountable, and everyone must know our assignments very, very well.
"You look back at this game yesterday. If you give us a few plays back and maybe the outcome is different."