It’s well known by now that the New York Giants aren’t rushing back Saquon Barkley. The running back’s status has been in the news for months as his recovery is closely watched by fans and the national media, but even after all this time we still don’t have a definite return date. Barkley might be back for week one, or he might sit it out. Barkley claims he doesn’t know the future outcome himself, and the team has backed up that ‘day by day’ approach.
However, we now have some more official confirmation from Joe Judge himself about what the Giants are thinking with their strategy in regards to Barkley. Judge had an interview with ESPN and shot down the idea of planning Barkley’s return around an artificial timeline.
Judge’s statements on Barkley’s recovery
“We’re thinking long term with Saquon; long term in the season, long term in his career. And by taking care of him individually, that is going to help our team long term as well. We’re going to make sure when we get him out there we can keep him out there,” Judge told ESPN.
The long term approach isn’t what some fans will want. After all, the Giants struggled rushing last season without Barkley and moved on from top backup Wayne Gallman. If they don’t get Barkley back in the number one spot right away, the Giants may very well see their early season results impacted by having to rely on an unproven stable of new backups.
But we’ve more or less heard the same story from the Giants every time the issue of Barkley’s timeline comes up. It seems that, unpopular or not, the Giants are committed to the current plan.
“And we’ve got to make sure we do the best thing for him as we go along the way and make sure we make decisions based on his body and not some artificially anticipated timeline,” Judge continued. “When he’s ready to go, that is when he’s going to be out there.”
The hope is that Barkley will be ready to face the Broncos, but that looks like less of a certainty as the offseason continues. With so many statements like this, it’s possible that the franchise is well aware of that and is focused on priming the fanbase to not be alarmed if Barkley turns out to miss the opener.