“I wouldn’t fall asleep on 26. It’s going to be a hell of a story”-Joe Judge
It’s been 366 days since Saquon Barkley tore his ACL on the grass of Soldier Field. The Giants have eased him back, giving him no snaps in the preseason, and slowly increasing his snaps through the first two games. With 10 days off between games, and the Giants heading into an absolute must win situation, the time is now to unleash him. Give him a full workload, use him not only in the run game, but the pass game as well, and let Saquon Barkley do what Saquon Barkley does.
Saquon has looked rusty through the first two games, there’s no way around that, but he looked much better in game number two compared to game number one. He still commits some of the same errors in that he dances around rather than hitting the hole. This is something that Saquon needs to improve upon, but he has been able to overcome this fault in the past by making absolutely jaw dropping plays. Although he has yet to have done much outside of one 41-yard rush last week against Washington, I did notice that he was taking more of those “dirty runs” in week two. Joe Judge, Jason Garrett, and Burton Burns have had ten days to try and remedy this problem and get Barkley ready to be himself. There is no better week to get him going then this one going against a very exploitable Falcons defense.
Besides Barkley hurting himself at times, there is another issue: the offensive line. The Giants took a big hit last week losing starting center/starting guard/captain, Nick Gates. Joe Judge said today that he can’t rule out Shane Lemieux being out for the season. This leaves the offensive line with even more questions than it already had. The starting line will likely be Andrew Thomas, Ben Bredeson, Billy Price, Will Hernandez, and Nate Solder. Backup tackle Matt Peart (who is now taking snaps at guard), and Matt Skura, who has mainly been a center throughout his four-year career, are the remaining depth on the line at this time. Although this isn’t an ideal situation, this line did enough to keep Daniel Jones upright in the second half against a vaunted Washington front, and although Daniel Jones was able to rush for 95 yards, the running backs did not do as well. Well, this line is facing a very favorable matchup to get the run game going. The Falcons have given up 195 yards combined to the Eagles and Bucs running backs, at 4.8 yards per carry. Last year, the Falcons defense ranked 24th in run defense, giving up 127.5 yards per game. Not to mention, Saquon Barkley was able to perform behind a less than stellar line in the past under Pat Shurmur. I’ll give Jason Garrett credit where credit is due in that last week, he called a pretty solid game. Well this week, and the rest of the year for that matter, he needs to build on that, and it starts with a healthy dose of number 26.
All I heard last year during training camp was how this offense was going to run through Saquon. Once, he went down, I heard Saquon’s injury as an excuse for Garrett’s faulty offense. Well Saquon is back, rested, and ready to go. Unleash the monster that is SaQuads. Get that run game going, involve him in the pass game, put him in the slot, do whatever it is that you have to do to get Saquon going. If Barkley gets going, then the rest of the offense will open up. It’s so easy to forget how dominant of a player Saquon is because it has been nearly two years since we saw Saquon Barkley in full force. The time is now for Barkley to explode.
Take the leash off of Saquon and let him create the comeback story that the entire NFL is waiting for, and the Giants need more than ever.
(Photo: Dan Benton/GiantsWire)