Despite being on a 1-7 team, Barkley is one of the clear bright spots for Big Blue. When the Giants took him second overall in this past April’s NFL Draft, expectations were unreasonably placed on his shoulders that he would set all type of rushing records.
While he won’t eclipse Eric Dickerson’s 1,808 rushing yards as a rookie in 1983 — a record that still stands today — it still can be a tremendous first year in the league for the Giants running back. He’s doing this on an offense that admittedly has struggled and with an offensive line that still needs some work in order to maximize his skillset.
Despite the labors of the offense this year, the Penn State running back is on pace to top 1,000 rushing yards and for 2,032 all-purpose yards this season. Those are very good, solid numbers and building blocks for the Giants’ offense in coming seasons.
Barkley is trending in a positive direction; he is on pace to have the third-most all-purpose yards in franchise history. He said the numbers aren’t important to him but his continued development is a big part of an offense and a team that is clearly rebuilding at the midpoint of this season.
“I don’t really look at that. I’m very active on social media, so I see predictions or if I’m on pace for this and that, which means nothing because nothing is guaranteed,” Barkley said. “I’m not one of those guys that says, let me see my stats, let me see how much I ran for this or that, I just play. As I said, I’m not going to stand here and lie, I am very active on social media, so there are fan pages of me and I can go on Instagram or even on my explore page and they just happen to pop up. I’ve seen predictions of what I’m capable of doing, but it means nothing to me.”
Coming off a bye week, the Giants are hoping that their offense can turn things around. While the playoffs are certainly a longshot at this point in the season, the team is hoping to sort out what they have on offense as they head into full-blown rebuild mode in a couple of months.
While there might be changes at quarterback and along the offensive line, there is no doubt that the team’s first-round pick is something to build around. Barkley can cement his status with the team by closing out the final eight games of this season with strong performances.
He is clearly the best rookie in the league to date. As of this week, Barkley stands at 1:5 odds to be named the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to Bovada.LV.
Like his answer about his personal statistics, Barkley said his focus right now isn’t on the rookie honor.
“No. That’s not how I operate,” Barkley said. “I’m a competitor and I would love to win that award, but the way I operate is set my goals that I set, to take care of the little things in here, take care of the little things on the field and in the weight room, whether it was in the offseason or wherever, every other thing comes along with that. [I don’t] have those goals of MVP, Rookie of the Year, this many yards or that many yards, I take care of this stuff first and everything else will take care of itself.”
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