When you have a running back like Saquon Barkley on your team, utilizing him to the most of his abilities is a priority. The New York Giants maximized his talent 2018, which happened to be his rookie season. Fast forward to 2019, and the Giants were forced to lessen his workload due to a high ankle sprain. Nonetheless, Barkley rushed for over 1000 yards and totaled 1441 yards from scrimmage. He fumbled the ball just one time, the only time he has done so in his first two seasons in the NFL.
What makes a Giants’ Saquon Barkley so effective?
Not only is Barkley a phenomenal runner, but he also has some of the best hands at the position in the league. He dropped 5.5% of his pass targets last season, and for comparison sake, that matches up closely with Odell Beckham Jr.’s. at 5.3%.
With Jason Garrett taking over offensive coordinator duties, I fully anticipate seeing Barkley’s production skyrocket. A heavy usage of 12 personnel sets will open up running lanes, and an upgrade at the left tackle position should benefit him as well.
However, the primary reason I believe Barkley will excel in 2020 is the alleviation of his high ankle sprain. Barkley stated recently on an Instagram Live session with Golfer Brooks Koepka that the injury was extremely tough to get over.
“It was more nagging than anything,” Barkley said. “It was tough to deal with. Once we got to the offseason and I got some time to myself to work on it and be happy with it, it made me feel a lot better.”
Being the type of player he is, Barkley tried to rush back from the injury, which ultimately hurt his timetable for return and severely limited his cutting ability.
“When I first got hurt, I had it in a boot, I was in the boot for like two days,” Barkley told Koepka. “My whole mindset was coming back early. I was jumping on the ‘dirt thing’ — you’re really not supposed to be doing that.”
“I was trying to (test) myself to see where my strength is and how bad it actually hurts. With injuries, there’s always a deadline for everyone. Like, the high ankle sprain takes 6-8 weeks or something like that. But I wanted to try and get it moving and try to get it as good as I can to get back.”
The 2020 season offered him a fresh start at full health, not to mention the bolstering of the offensive line and experience with Daniel Jones under center. Add a blocking specialist in TE Levine Toilolo, and Barkley should be in line for a legendary season.