Injured running backs are a frequent occurrence in the NFL, which is an argument used to justify drafting them in the later rounds. However, a talent like New York Giants‘ Saquon Barkley cannot be overlooked.
Barkley had a record-breaking rookie season, logging 1307 yards on the ground, 721 receiving yards, and 15 total touchdowns. This season, he just broke 1,000 yards and tallied 438 receiving yards. Barkley did miss three games during the 2019 season due to a high ankle sprain, which typically has a six-week recovery time.
There’s no question the injury played a part in Barkley’s statistical output, even if he denies the claims. He went eight consecutive games without recording over 100 rushing yards, but he managed to defeat the challenge in week 15 against the Miami Dolphins.
The former 2nd overall pick finally broke free from the injury chains that had been holding him down, logging 393 yards on the ground in the final three games of the season. His influence was finally maximized after the high ankle sprain dissipated.
Should we expect Saquon Barkley to bounce back for the New York Giants?
We should expect Barkley to return in 2020 with a bang, especially in the passing game. Former head coach Pat Shurmur not only mitigated his efficiency on the ground and through the air, but he designed predictable plays that limited his ability to find holes in the defense. It wasn’t until later on in the season that he finally broke free against teams with weak run-stopping units. However, it was great to see his usual burst on display and the ability to bounce it out to the boundary and make something out of dead plays.
Saquon Barkley FINALLY found his groove late in the season for the Giants in 2019.
He went 8 consecutive games without topping 100-yards rushing after the high ankle sprain.
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) January 11, 2020
Depending on who becomes the Giants’ offensive coordinator, Barkley’s usage could vary. Judge is well versed in the utilization of running backs in the passing game with New England. Having acted as the WR coach for the Patriots, he might have essential advice and fundamental wisdom for Saquon, who’s always keen to improve upon his existing skills.
Ultimately, it boils down to getting the ball in Barkley’s hands with solid blocking and space out in front. Whoever Judge brings in to call offensive plays, must have specific designs dedicated to Barkley.