Coach Ben McAdoo had hinted that there could be major alterations before the Giants played the Philadelphia Eagles last week. But there wasn’t much to see, aside from a faster-paced offense that got the ball out at lightning-quick speeds to protect the offensive line. There were no major personnel shake-ups.
There might be against the Bucs, in part because of injuries and coaching decisions. Safety Andrew Adams, guard D.J. Fluker and running back Wayne Gallman could be the beneficiaries and make appearances.
Andrew Adams at free safety
Adams started 13 games last season as an undrafted free agent and performed admirably. He spent the summer behind Darian Thompson, but after a hiccup last week from the second-year safety, Adams’ workload will increase this week.
“Yeah. I mean, everybody is going to play,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. “Those guys were a little bit on rotation. Andrew is probably going to play more. I would expect that would happen a little bit this week. … We’re going to need everybody before it’s all said and done. But there will be other guys in there playing.”
Don’t be surprised to see Thompson and Adams split time this week. The Giants alternated safeties almost every drive at times last year.
Thompson, 24, struggled last week, missing four tackles in Philadelphia. But the Giants aren’t just going to bury their third-round pick from 2016. This is still the equivalent of his rookie season in terms of game action, as he missed most of last year with a foot injury.
“Well, what I tell him is I haven’t lost any confidence in him, because I haven’t,” Spagnuolo said. “We need him back there as a communicator. We need him back there kind of running the show and getting guys lined up and he has to play better when the ball carrier shows up in his alley and we have to make a tackle and he has to do that.
“But I think he’ll get better. We’ll all improve. I mean, that’s what you go through -- go through some tough times and pick each other up and hopefully we find a way to win. I mean, this whole thing gets cured by winning a football game, so all we’re worried about is here’s what we’re doing. We’re worried about winning today and then winning tomorrow and just winning the day and hopefully on Sunday we can win a game.”
D.J. Fluker at guard
Right tackle Bobby Hart (ankle) just returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis. Guard Brett Jones (hip) was a late addition to the injury report and didn’t practice at all. That could leave Fluker in line to start at one of the guard positions if Justin Pugh continues to play at right tackle for at least another week.
Fluker has been waiting patiently for his chance. This might be it.
If the Giants start Fluker, it could be an asset to the run game. He’s the biggest and most powerful lineman on the roster.
“He’s a strong man, and if we have certain concepts where he is at the point of attack, that has been a strength of his in the past and it has been a strength when you look at some of the things he did in the preseason,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “It certainly could be an asset, you can say.”
Don’t be surprised to see Fluker start. It might actually be trending in that direction right now, depending on how Hart feels after Thursday's workout.
Wayne Gallman at running back
If either isn’t able to go, Gallman will be active for the first time in his young career. The fourth-round pick would likely be part of the game-day mix if that happened.
The Giants like Gallman’s running ability. It’s elsewhere -- pass blocking, receiving -- where he needs some work.
“He’s a young player who’s in his book, working on his fundamentals and takes a step each week,” McAdoo said.
It still seems unlikely Gallman would have a significant role on Sunday even if he's active. Paul Perkins remains the starter, and either Vereen or Darkwa is likely to be ready. Gallman would be the third option. Still, it could be the first glimpse of Gallman in a real professional game.