The Giants may very well have been haunted by thoughts of “what if” after Thursday’s 22-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The internet has indicated that their fans certainly have.
There were several prominent opportunities for the Giants to clinch a win that instead became painful “what-if” afterthoughts. Still, one of the more interesting to think about is the thought of the Giants possibly getting in range for a game-winning field goal in the final 40 seconds.
However, it’s not the most bubbly thing to think about as kicker Graham Gano seemingly tweaked his leg on his final kickoff of the night and limped over to the sideline.
Still, head coach Joe Judge believes that Gano would have been good from his typical distance even with the apparent leg issue.
“We had no plans of changing anything we would have done with him differently,” Judge said. “We’ll see where he’s at physically today. But he kicked the ball well for us last night.
“You can easily see a lot of times with kickers based on their kickoffs. In terms of the plan on kicking a long field goal, you look at Graham, the hang time and the distance he had on the kickoffs, I think that kind of shows you where his leg was at last night.”
Daniel Jones vs. The Internet
The reaction to quarterback Daniel Jones” 80-yard sprint and stumble on Thursday night has made its way into the Giants’ locker room and even the ears of Judge.
Judge and the Giants are more than aware of the viral nature that moments like that have in the NFL and hopes that the team can look back on it and laugh in the not-to-distant future.
“In terms of the social media part of it right there, look, the internet is undefeated,” Judge said.
“There are funny things all over the place. You just need to have a sense of humor. When someone sends you something or shows you something, you have to be willing to laugh at yourself sometimes.”
What To Do With Evan Engram
It has understandably been a difficult 24 hours for tight end Evan Engram, who became one of the team’s biggest scapegoats for Thursday night’s defeat with a late drop on a pass that would have iced the win had he caught it.
Judge, who previously supported Engram publicly after the game, has been consistent in protecting the 26-year-old tight end and has reiterated his stance on not throwing players under the bus to the press after mistakes in a game, despite what other coaches might choose to do.
“I think everyone has their own style right there. To me, across the board, it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback for a lot of people,” Judge said.
“I have no complaints on how Evan comes to work, what kind of teammate he is, and what he’s helping us build going forward right there. With how some other head coach wants to handle that, that’s on them.”
That’s not to say Engram will be coddled by Judge either. Engram is a critical part of the Giants offense, and the team will lean on him to have a short memory and get back to work in trying to improve.
Despite an overall underperformance this season, Judge has faith in Engram and will ensure that he continues to get touches moving forward.
“I’m not going to try and be a psychologist with him. I’m going to let him know right now, he’s an important player for us,” Judge said.
“We have all the confidence in him possible. We’re going to keep giving him the ball, keep making him the focal point of our offense. We expect him to keep showing up.
“We expect our players to perform in critical situations.”
Running back Wayne Gallman had his best game of the season on Thursday, racking up 34 rushing yards, two receiving yards, and his first touchdown of 2020 in place of veteran Devonta Freeman, who had to leave the game with an ankle injury.
Freeman’s status for the next game is iffy at this point. If he can’t go, that would mean more snaps for Gallman and Dion Lewis.
The Giants running game has made steady strides in previous weeks after a stagnant start to the season. For Gallman, it’s all a matter of getting in rhythm.
“Rhythm comes with plays, of course,” Gallman said. “For me and my situation, I just come in and try to do my best when my number is called. I have to stay ready.
“That’s really the big thing with me, staying ready staying locked into the game. Not trying to make it too big, but just sometimes, take the base hit and see what happens. Just playing smart.”
Gallman is one of the longest-tenured Giants on the current roster as a member of the 2017 draft class but never really got the opportunity to emerge as a primary running back.
Gallman was benched for the better part of last season by the previous coaching staff and dealt with injuries at inopportune times, and even admitted that it was frustrating at times.
But he was given a fresh start by the new regime this season.
“All I can naturally feel is that we’re so close to getting over that edge,” Gallman said. “I think we’re over the edge, I just think we have to fix a couple things. I love this team, I love the position we’re in. It’s the best team we’ve had in the past couple of years.”