The New York Giants have surely acquired a generation talent in running back Saquon Barkley, but he’s a rookie after all and will surely endure a few growing pains.
Unsurprisingly, Barkley hasn’t displayed too many issues in regard to running or catching the football. The primary issue he has experienced is picking the right holes to exploit and grinding out extra yards.
New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley most glaring weakness:
Before being drafted to the NFL, Barkley’s one knack was his tendency to bounce outside and run the risk of not gaining any positive yardage in hopes of a big play. Fortunately, that risk has paid off to start his young career, but teams will begin to expect that moving forward.
The second-overall pick of the draft has just one wrinkled issue to iron out, and it’s one that will become a strength with experience and live-action. He has the ability to break a big play at any moment and teams will begin to allocate additional resources to containing him. Defenses have attacked the Giants’ biggest weakness thus far in the season – put pressure on the offensive line.
The recipe for containing Barkley is to scare Manning into checking down to short passes. The linebackers play close to the line of scrimmage and drop back about 7-9 yards until Manning checks down. The very second the ball leaves Eli’s hands the linebackers swarm to the ball carrier and contain for short gains.
This reality is the primary reason head coach Pat Shurmur has struggled to open up his play book to its entirety. With the acquisition of right guard Jamon Brown, the offensive line has looked far better. This will give Manning the time he needs to operate at a high level and open up the playbook for Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. If the line can continue to play well, we should anticipate a much improved offense moving froward.