Once again, it looks like the success of the New York Giants this year could hinge largely on Saquon Barkley. The third year running back’s success seems to be a good indicator of how the team is doing overall – after his first season where he’d competed for the rushing title and beat out all other offensive rookies in performance, there was still some hope for the Giants despite their bad results.
Last season, however, Barkley’s injury struggles caused his performance to drop for much of the year and the Giants went on a losing streak that was far worse than what they had experienced the year prior. It’s also no secret that the team’s surge towards the end came after Barkley’s recovery in the later second half of the season, further showing how connected Barkley’s success is with the Giants’ success overall.
There’s a lot of pressure, obviously, on Barkley to play more like he did in the late part of the season this year, and not like in the games immediately after his return from injury. Fortunately, Barkley does have some words of advice from a Hall of Fame running back who happened to play at the same college as Barkley – this, of course, is former Steelers running back Fanco Harris, who spoke to NJ Advance Media.
“The secret comes down to your conditioning. Your offseason training makes all the difference to your health and avoiding injuries,” Harris said.
The Giants seemingly had a problem with that area last season, based on the injuries – player after player went down with injury or concussion over the season, something that doesn’t happen on teams with proper conditioning.
“Offensive line helps. We had a great offensive line in Pittsburgh where we ran a lot of traps that suited my style really well… You have to be lucky. Every single play in the NFL could be your last.”
Barkley found out last season just how quickly major injuries can happen, thanks to an injury he picked up early in the season that would affect him through the rest of the remaining games. The hope this year, of course, is that with no such injury, Barkley will return to the production standards of his rookie year… Which might just be necessary if the Giants are to be competitive as a rebuilding team.