It’s easy to assume that New York Giants’ first-round pick, Saquon Barkley, will handle most, if not all of the duties on offense. But there’s one question I want to raise as we take a look the roles of each player: Should we conserve Barkely’s health and not throw him into the fire immediately?
Often times, I will watch a rookie running back succumb to injury in their first season as a professional, why? Because they try to do too much and end up hurting themselves in the process. More times than not, it’s a non-contact injury. Resort back to Dalvin Cook and others.
For Barkley, he will be the lifeline for Eli Manning and the offense along with Odell Beckham Jr. Without him, the Giants revert back to their 2017 self – a bad version that we don’t want to experience again. So, being that we want to ensure Barkley remains healthy and fresh for the entire season, it’s important to assign rules to each running back on the active roster.
Let’s start out with Barkley:
The Giants will rely on their first-round pick to pick up the slack in the running, receiving, and blocking game. His abilities are unparalleled and offers the team the best chance at success and points. Having him on the field as much as possible is a priority, but giving him a rest at the right times could be the difference in him sustaining and injury or not.
Barkley is a three-down running back, and he will play the majority of drives, with the exception of a few here and there.
Jonathan Stewart’s role:
The Giants signed veteran back Jonathan Stewart with the idea that he would mentor Barkley and teach him how to protect himself from unnecessary hits, but also to take them in short yardage situations. There’s no doubt that Barkley can be the power back to carry defenders for several yards to pick up the first-down, but taking those head-shots can take a toll on a running back.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 29, 2017
We should anticipate Stewart taking the short yardage runs and suffering the big hits from spear-headed linebackers. This will keep Barkely fresh and allow the veteran to wiggle his way for first-downs. He has a similar frame to Barkley and will ultimately be about as effective running into the pile.
Wayne Gallman’s role:
Second-year running back out of Clemson, Wayne Gallman, will play an important role on the offense. He will be considered the change of pace back. While Barkley likes to bounce the ball outside and use his lateral agility to leave defenders in his wake, Gallman prefers to run downhill and exploit gaps in the defense. He’s not as athletic or strong, but he is surprisingly quick and shifty in the open field.
We should see him in the passing game more-so than on the ground where Barkley will take most of the snaps. He could play a third-down role or even stand alongside Eli Manning in a two-back stance.
Here’s a solid clip showing his ability to run straight through the defense while protecting the ball. His slim frame almost offers him an advantage to squeezing through the gaps and finding extra yardage.