New York Giants: Saquon Barkley Receives BTN All-Decade Honors

There’s not many running backs in the NFL more prolific right now than New York Giants star Saquon Barkley, and this season, Barkley might break through and establish himself as the top running back in the league as a whole. However, Barkley’s history of dominance stretches back to before his NFL career. The Giants drafted him at number two overall because of his accomplishments as one of the top backs in the country at Penn State.

More recently, Barkley was recognized by the Big Ten Network for his play in college which saw him lead Penn State in their revival as one of the top programs in the country. Barkley played at the same time as multiple other influential running backs in the conference, Ezekiel Elliot included, but at the end of the day it was Barkley that was selected by BTN for their All-Decade Team.

Over the course of his college career, Barkley played for the Nittany Lions for three years and achieved 5,038 total yards rushing and receiving and 51 touchdowns. He averaged an impressive 6.5 yards from scrimmage per play over those three years, showing just how big he was as a member of the Penn State offense.

Barkley, of course, made a big splash and was one of the top rushers in the league after coming out into the NFL from Penn State as a second overall draft pick with the Giants. His second season was slower because of injury, but Barkley is expected to be back to full speed for the 2020 season as one of the main offensive weapons of the team.

And as we get ready for the upcoming season, it’s worth looking back at Barkley’s college highlights. They say a lot about just how lethal Barkley can be to the other team when fully healthy.

Fireside Giants Ep 29: A New York Giants podcast – Saquon Barkley will explode in 2020, James Bradberry quotes, more!

New York Giants, Fireside Giants

To start off episode 29 of Fireside Giants, Alex and Anthony take a look at Saquon Barkley and why he can have an extravagant season with the New York Giants in 2020. First of all, bashing Pat Shurmur tends to be a consistent trend for the Fireside Giants hosts, considering his lack of efficiency playcalling and the utter dismissal of time management.

We reflect on some of his poor decisions as the Giants’ head coach, notably against the Philadelphia Eagles, when he pulled Barkley out of the game plan and gave up a fourth-quarter lead to lose the game.

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Before Barkley had been put in the backseat, he had dominated the first half. This only scratches the surface on how bad Shurmur was in managing games and controlling the clock. You would imagine a head coach would be capable at the very least of running the ball in the second half when you have a lead, but Shurmur clearly was not on the same wavelength.

Nonetheless, new head coach Joe Judge will not take over offensive playcalling to duties, leaving it to offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett. He will essentially be a walk around head coach establishing consequences and disciplinary tactics to ensure his team remains focused. With that being said, Barkley should have a better season based on the heavy 12 personnel sets Garrett likes to run and a strong offensive line.

Alex and Anthony also dive into James Bradberry and how he compares to Janoris Jenkins. Bradberry is a solid corner coming over from the Carolina Panthers, and he posted productive numbers last season compared to Jenkins, who faced off against lesser talent.

This is a fantastic episode full of knowledge and information that you will want to know going into the 2020 campaign. Make sure to subscribe on YouTube for the video portion and more content, as well as on iTunes for immediate updates and notifications.

New York Giants: New Offensive Scheme Will Lead To A Dominant Season By Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants have one of the NFL’s most talented players on their roster. The second overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Saquon Barkley, is one of the NFL’s up and coming stars and, in only two seasons, he is one of the top running backs in the league.

Barkley, nicknamed “Saquads” for his massive leg muscles, is a superhuman athlete. Saquon’s offseason workouts recently made waves on the internet:

Since the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley, they have found little success in the win-loss column. Barkley has been a human highlight reel but his incredible performances have rarely led to team victories.

An Injury-Riddled 2019

Saquon Barkley was nearly unstoppable as a rookie in 2018. In his first season, Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 total yards from scrimmage. He also racked up 15 total touchdowns. Saquon’s main job is to run the football, yet he still managed to break a Giants franchise record with 91 receptions in his rookie season.

Giants fans did not see that same version of Saquon Barkley in 2019. In the team’s Week 3 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saquon suffered a high ankle sprain that would keep him sidelined for three games. Upon his return to the starting lineup, Saquon struggled to replicate his prior success.

Even though he missed three games in 2019, Saquon Barkley still managed to top 1,000 rushing yards on the season. But it was not hard to notice that Saquon was not at full health during the 2019 season. Saquon admitted this offseason that the injury nagged him and kept him from performing at his highest level.

“In the first game I came back I ran a rush to the right side of the field and I kinda got rolled up on it again,” Barkley said. “Luckily it was wet, it was a rainy game, so I didn’t get stuck on anything but it was just nagging. It happens.

“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.” – Saquon Barkley on his 2019 injury

A New And Improved Scheme In 2020

Saquon Barkley was not only held back by his ankle injury in 2019. He was also held back by the Giants’ offensive scheme. Former head coach Pat Shurmur served as the team’s play-caller on offense. Considering Shurmur was fired after this past season, it is safe to say he was not doing the best possible job as the team’s play-caller.

Pat Shurmur’s rushing offense was bland. When a coach has a back like Saquon Barkley on his roster, it is the coach’s job to call plays that maximize the back’s talents. One way that some of the best NFL teams get the most out of their running backs is through the use of pre-snap motion. Teams with top rushing offenses, like the Ravens, Chargers, Rams, and 49ers, use pre-snap motion a high percentage of the time. All these teams rank in the top-ten team rates of motion at the snap for the 2019 season.

The New York Giants’ offense ranked on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Giants emplored pre-snap motion on 5% of their offensive snaps, ranking 27th in the NFL. While pre-snap motion does correlate to rushing success, the Dallas Cowboys’ offense did not feature pre-snap motion enough to rank them in the top-ten. However, they were not in the bottom ten either. Jason Garrett’s offense does feature more pre-snap motion than Pat Shurmur’s did, but he still does not use pre-snap motion at an extremely high rate.

One area wherein Jason Garrett will help the Giants’ rushing offense is the diversity of the rushing direction. The Giants ran the ball up the middle 63% of the time in 2019, one of the highest rates in the NFL. The Cowboys ran the ball up the middle 50% of the time, one of the lowest rates in the NFL. The Cowboys ran the ball off the left tackle at one of the highest rates. Compared to league averages, Dallas ran the ball off the right end, right tackle, and left tackle at a higher rate than average. They ran the ball up the middle and to the left end at a below-average rate.

The Giants ran the ball off the left tackle at one of the lowest rates in the NFL last season, another opposite to the Cowboys’ rushing scheme. The Giants ran the ball to the left end only 5% of the time. They ran the ball to the left tackle, left end, and right end at a below-average rate. They were well above average in their rushing percentage up the middle and also well above average in their run percentage off the right tackle.

Saquon Barkley is one of the hardest players to tackle in the NFL. Very rarely does a defender tackle Saquon Barkley in a one-on-one, open field situation. Barkley is a professional ankle-breaker. For this reason, the Giants would be wise to run the ball outside and get Saquon out in space. Shurmur preferred to shove Barkley down the middle of the defenses’ throats. In 2020, the Giants will run the ball outside more often. This will lead to a breakout season from Saquon Barkley.

New York Giants: Is Dion Lewis the right man to back up Saquon Barkley?

New York Giants, Dion Lewis

Coming off a challenging sophomore season with the New York Giants, Saquon Barkley is poised to make a booming return in 2020.  Following a strong draft that revitalized a struggling offensive line with bright, young talent, everything’s in place for Barkley to have his best season yet.  Back to his ridiculous workouts and staying as active as he can, Barkley is ready to be the weekly 20+ rushing attempts running back the Giants have been in need of.

Although Barkley certainly seems to be almost inhumane with his athleticism and talent, everyone saw last season that injuries can sideline even the best of the best, including Barkley.  To prepare for the worst, the Giants signed running back Dion Lewis, a veteran who not only compliments Barkley’s skill set but also brings tremendous versatility.  At only 5’8”, Lewis has a low center of gravity that provides him with remarkable quickness, shiftiness, and balance that is very difficult to defend against.  Playing with the likes of LeSean McCoy, Tom Brady, James White and Derrick Henry, Lewis has learned from some of the best players in the league.  And coming off three straight seasons where he’s played all 16 games, Lewis has shown why he’s such a valuable and resilient asset (ESPN).

But ever since the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017, Lewis’s numbers have certainly taken a hit and so has his role.  Transitioning more and more into a second or third-string running back, there’s a reason behind Lewis’s decline in productivity and it’s fair to question his worth.  James White outplayed him and took his role in New England and Derrick Henry virtually showed last season that the Titans really don’t need him.  With Barkley’s role only growing in size to the likes of Henry, it’s certainly hard not to wonder if Lewis may find himself in a similar situation that he had in Tennessee, which led to his inevitable exit.

That being said, Lewis makes for one of the most underappreciated running backs in the league and offers plenty of talent the Giants could use on offense.  Even though Lewis is a running back, what really makes him so special is his ability to catch the ball.  In fact, Lewis rarely failed to catch a ball thrown his way last season.  If you look at his game log, he went 3-4 against Cleveland in week 1, 4-5 against Atlanta in week 4, 3-3 against Denver in week 6, 5-5 against Carolina in week 9, and he also logged in another six games where he went 1-1 (ESPN).

Lewis has some of the best hands in the league for his position and when it comes to passing third down plays, remains to be an excellent weapon for quarterback Daniel Jones to pass to, be it on screenplays or dump off tosses.  To give you an idea, Lewis had 25 receptions out of 32 targets last season, essentially reining in a little over 78% of the passes thrown his way (ESPN).

Out of those 25 receptions, he caught 10 of them for 61 yards on 3rd down, averaging 6.1 yards per catch (ESPN).  Although Barkley can be put in on third-down passing plays as well, Lewis makes for a better fit for this role and will make it nearly impossible for linebackers to defend him out of the backfield.  In addition, Lewis is also pretty clutch when called upon, collecting 9 receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown all in the 4th quarter last season (ESPN).

At the end of it all, Lewis is the full package.  Whether the Giants choose to line him up in the slot or use him out of the backfield, Lewis knows how to maximize his skill set in whatever situation you put him in.  Furthermore, with Barkley handling the vast majority of the run game, the Giants needed another running back that can excel at everything else Barkley doesn’t do or provide for his team, and Lewis is the right man for that job.

Moreover, Barkley is still quite young, and Lewis brings excellent knowledge and insight that could really elevate Barkley’s understanding of his position to another level.  Prior to his arrival, Barkley had Wayne Gallman and Jonathan Hilliman as his backups, two running backs who don’t bring a whole lot of experience and flexibility to meld around Barkley’s role.  But with Lewis, it’s a completely different ball game.  Providing a level of balance that compliments Barkley’s play exceptionally well, Dion Lewis was a great find and has everything at his disposal to thrive as a backup with the New York Giants.

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley is tearing up the offseason workouts

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

New York Giants’ star running back Saquon Barkley is a man on a mission this offseason.

All over social media, you can see videos of Saquon Barkley putting in that work! Whether it’s in the weight room or the football field, Saquon wants to be the best of all time. There is no doubt in my mind that he wants to prove a lot of people wrong, everyone talks about how the New York Giants drafted him and how it wasn’t the right move.

Saquon will be looking to prove the haters wrong in 2020. Barkley is a generational talent that very few teams would pass on. During the 2019 season, Saquon went down with a high ankle sprain injury; he ended up only missing three-game and still ran for 1,000 yards. Around the NFL, there were a lot of reporters who doubted Saquon. He’s coming for them in 2020.

Saquon hitting the weight room

Not only is Saquon griding on the field, but he is also working hard in the weight room. As we all know, Saquon is a different breed, he can squat over 500 pounds with ease! In highschool, Saquon was not the biggest fan of working out.

“Going into my junior year, I kind of had the idea I was going to be the starting running back. I was a little smaller, so I decided to gain weight and try to get faster. I wasn’t a fan of the weight room. I thought just the God-given talent would take you where you needed to go. Now I understand that you need hard work.”

As you can tell, the weight room has worked wonders for Saquon. For a running back to be 230 pounds and run a 4.39 40 yard-dash is unheard of. However, Saquon is a mentor to the rest of the team and wants to be the leader.  Furthermore, I have huge expectations for Barkley in 2020. With a much improved offensive line, the possibilities are endless. People may call me crazy when I say this, but I think Saquon can be the next person to rush for a 2,000-yard season. The kid is that good and the Giants finally are helping him out. For example, Saquon did everything on his own his rookie season.

New York Giants: 4 things need to happen for Dave Gettleman to save his job

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants are heading toward the 2020 season with question marks all over the roster. Improvement is always a priority, but guaranteeing it is impossible. General manager Dave Gettleman allocated ample resources toward bolstering the offense of line, the defense, and bringing in an entirely new coaching staff.

On paper, it seems as if the team has taken a step forward, but development comes with its problems. The secondary ranked as one of the worst in the NFL last season, but with a year of experience under their belt, adding James Bradberry and Xavier McKinney, we can expect the group to improve their production and efficiency.

Ultimately, the Giants and Dave Gettleman need to see an improvement next season. Gettleman is on his last leg, and if the team fails to compete and show a desire to win, he will likely be out of a job.

Here are four factors that could play into Gettleman getting the acts by the New York Giants:

1.) Daniel Jones needs to improve

Jones had a solid rookie season, posting 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He showed above-average accuracy in the intermediate/short passing game but did have his fair share of struggles along the way.

Fumbles remain a major issue, as he fumbled 18 times, losing 11 of them in 2019. Jason Garrett will bring a much more detailed offense to the Giants, featuring plenty of 12 personnel and pre-snap motions. Jones will have to learn a ton in a short amount of time, but the offense has the talent to succeed moving forward. If Jones can improve and utilize his playmakers appropriately, he could be a significant reason Gettleman retains his job in the future.

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley Faces Toughest Fantasy RB Schedule, Says PFF

The NFL season will soon be upon us. Along with it will come fantasy football. Annually, the most important players in fantasy football are running backs. Running backs are typically the most drafted position in the first round and, usually, the best running back in the NFL is picked first overall.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will receive plenty of consideration from fantasy football players holding the number one overall pick in their respective leagues. Barkley is entering his third season behind an improved offensive line and a new, run-heavy offensive scheme.

In his first two seasons, Saquon Barkley was dominant. As a rookie, Saquon totaled a league-high 2,028 scrimmage yards. Barkley played through an injury in 2019, but he still managed to top 1,000 rushing yards. Saquon was also one of the best players in all of fantasy football during the fantasy playoffs. Saquon’s dominant performance against the Dolphins in Week 15 was worth 30.30 fantasy points. He then topped that in Week 16 with 43.90 points against the Washington Redskins. For me, personally, these two performances by Saquon Barkley were the reason I won my fantasy league.

As fantastic as Saquon Barkley is, his 2020 outlook is not as promising as one might think. Pro Football Focus’s fantasy football experts urge buyers to beware of the stud running back entering the 2020 season.

PFF’s “Buyers Beware” On Saquon Barkley

According to Pro Football Focus, Saquon Barkley faces one of the toughest schedules out of any running back in the NFL. PFF says, “The Giants, Titans, and Browns have the three hardest schedules for opposing running backs this fall, so buyers beware if you are considering Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, or the combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.”

The Giants do face a tough schedule in 2020. This schedule will be especially tough for the team’s backfield. New York is set to face off against some of the best run defenses in the league this season. Saquon Barkley is an extraordinary talent, but this tough schedule could hurt his fantasy football draft stock in 2020.

New York Giants: Top Three 2021 Pro Bowl Candidates

The New York Giants were one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2019. Despite playing in the biggest market and being one of the league’s most popular teams, the Giants laid a goose egg in Pro Bowl voting. Not a single Giants player made the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl, held in Orlando, Florida.

The NFL recently announced that the 2021 Pro Bowl will be played in Las Vegas. The question now is whether or not any New York Giants players will be in Las Vegas with the rest of the best players in the NFL. That being said, who are the Giants’ top candidates to make the 2021 Pro Bowl?

Saquon Barkley

Superstar running back Saquon Barkley is entering his third NFL season. Saquon put the league on notice in his rookie season, totaling a league-high 2,028 scrimmage yards. Barkley also made the Pro Bowl and won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018.

2019 was a bit less exciting for Barkley. The Penn State product suffered an ankle injury in Week 3 that kept him sidelined for weeks. Even when Saquon returned from the injury he was not fully himself.

In 2020, a fully healthy Saquon Barkley should have another monstrous season. He had a new and improved offensive line, along with a new offensive coordinator in Jason Garrett. Garrett led the Cowboys offense to numerous rushing titles during his time in Dallas. Saquon Barkley could break out in a major way this season in Garrett’s offensive scheme.

Leonard Williams

One of Dave Gettleman’s most controversial decisions as general manager of the New York Giants was trading a third and fifth-round pick for impending free-agent defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The former New York Jet made the trip to the other locker room and immediately had a significant impact on the Giants’ defense.

“Leonard Williams ranked 11th in total pressures among interior defensive lineman in 2019. Only Williams and two others in the top 20 had fewer than 4 sacks last season. Leonard Williams led the NFL with 19 QB hits, with the 2nd ranked player recording 14.” – Pro Football Focus

Year after year, Leonard Williams has been a great defensive lineman. However, he has only made the Pro Bowl once (2016). If Williams could turn more of those pressures into sacks, he could make his second career Pro Bowl in 2020.

Kevin Zeitler

Kevin Zeitler is one of the best pass-blocking offensive guards in the NFL. In 2019, in 61 combined pass-blocking snaps against Ndamukong Suh, Fletcher Cox, and Kenny Clark this season, Zeitler allowed just one quarterback hurry (PFF). The Giants acquired Zeitler in the Vernon and Odell trade with the Cleveland Browns, and he has been one of the team’s best players ever since.

Also according to Pro Football Focus, Zeitler finished with the sixth-best grade among guards and posted a strong 75.0 pass-blocking grade — the sixth-straight year he’s achieved that mark. Kevin Zeitler provides the Giants with consistent, and reliable pass protection- something hugely important for a young, developing quarterback like Daniel Jones. If the Giants are winning games with an improved offensive line, Zeitler will deserve to go to his first career Pro Bowl in 2020.

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley Expected To Get The Biggest RB Contract

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

It costs to keep talent in the NFL, and the New York Giants aren’t going to be able to escape that fact. The team is building around a young core and has a limited window to turn things around results wise before it’s time to pay up for certain players, and if some of these players walk away in free agency for bigger deals, the fans aren’t going to be happy with team management.

Saquon Barkley is probably the best example of this simple fact. Assuming the Giants choose to pick up his fifth year option, the window that they have to win before Barkley is an unrestricted free agent will last until 2023. But the subject is already being discussed in 2020, with Christian McCaffrey’s large new contract serving as a baseline for what the Giants can expect to pay down the line.

If they want to keep Barkley, they’re going to have to pay a premium. According to The Athletic, they’ll likely have to pay Barkley more than any other running back in the league is making right now.

“I don’t think the Giants can escape a monster contract unless Barkley has a poor year,” [Over the Cap’s Jason] Fitzgerald said. “Christian McCaffrey getting a monster contract with Carolina pretty much sets the stage that Barkley will be the highest-paid running back.”

Projected contract: 4 years, $70 million

That deal would be even bigger than the deal McCaffrey has with the Panthers, making Barkley the highest paid running back in NFL history. The price is also the reason why there’s some support within the fanbase for moving on from Barkley entirely rather than signing him to a new contract – it’s not the majority opinion yet, but it’s becoming a more common one.

The move that the Giants make, of course, will probably depend on the team position and their salary cap situation by the time Barkley is due to become an unrestricted free agent. If Barkley is the centerpiece of a winning team that’s rebounded from the poor years in the past, there will be more of a case to make him the most paid running back ever. If the Giants are still in a rebuilding stage, however, there may just be more sentiment to press the reset button rather than tying up a great amount of cap space by keeping him around.

All of this is still on the horizon rather than an immediate issue, but with Barkley being the team’s arguable best player at the moment, it’s only natural that this offseason the matter is already being discussed by fans and experts.

Two NFL Analysts believe the New York Giants are a playoff-caliber team in 2020

New York Giants, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

From a progression standpoint, the New York Giants are in no place to reach the playoffs and push for a Super Bowl appearance. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t on the upswing with quality players developing on both sides of the ball. Hiring head coach Joe Judge was a solid first step in establishing a set of fundamentalist rules and disciplinary actions.

Judge brings ample experience and knowledge to the Giants, having spent time under Nick Saban and Bill Belichick in Alabama and New England, respectively. His mentality and experience with successful teams will hopefully translate over to Big Glue, who have failed to establish a positive culture in recent years.

Ultimately, it starts with the offense, consisting of Daniel Jones in Saquon Barkley, two of the more exciting players on the team, and who will be leaders moving forward. Expectations for Barkley are massive entering the 2020 season after suffering a high ankle sprain, which limited his production in 2019. Jones, on the other hand, is coming off a promising rookie campaign and has the tangible traits to improve significantly in year two.

“I look at Judge. I like the receivers,” said Kyle Brandt of NFL Network. “We’re all very encouraged by what Daniel Jones looked like at the end of last year, but listen, we got to talk about the rock star. I will quote the words of Nicole Richie’s dad in ‘say you, Saquon, say it together, naturally.’ That’s my man right there. He’s going to do it all night long.

“Welcome my friends to the year of Saquon Barkley when he will emerge nine months from now as the best running back on the planet. I have stock in him and guys I don’t know if you’ve noticed, the Dow Jones is up for the year. It’s a miracle and if you do not own Saquon stock it might be too late.”

The New York Giants need to focus on Saquon Barkley:

For a player with a high ankle sprain, Barkley still managed to breach 1,000 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns. He can be one of the more polarizing players in the NFL when healthy, and solidifying the offensive line was a major step forward for the Giants this off-season. Landing Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick should give them more security at the left tackle position, subsequently moving Nate Solder over to the right side, theoretically.

Nonetheless, Brandt believes the Giants could be a playoff-caliber team, based on the efficiency of their offense. Nate Burleson is also on the hype-train of Jones and Barkley, also giving credit to their wide receiver corps. Burleson believes the Giants are capable of earning a playoff spot as well.