After being named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week, Saquon Barkley is beginning to show exactly why he is a generational pick at running back.
Amazing how some improved offensive line play can showcase the talent of such a dynamic player.
And with Barkley’s strong play the past two weeks, the New York Giants (3-7) are suddenly buoyant with consecutive wins.
In this past Sunday’s 38-35 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Barkley had 142 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. He showcased his ability to be a bell cow out of the backfield, an every down running back who is as steady as he is a playmaker.
And while Odell Beckham Jr. is on pace for another outstanding season, it is Barkley who will be the one to pace this team.
Behind an improved offensive line, Beckham’s numbers have steadily risen. It wasn’t an easy start to his rookie year as the No. 2 overall pick struggled to find lanes and consistently get into the second level. Most of his runs were hard churns of two or three yards, supplemented by an occasional big play born out of his brilliance and sheer athleticism.
But now with holes opening up for him, Barkley has been as steady as he is outstanding.
In Sunday’s win, Barkley started the game with three straight runs. The momentum built from there.
“It definitely helps, but you got to be in the rhythm just from the start, from the jump,” Barkley said after the game. “You got to be ready to go because there’s going to be some games where you get the ball three times in a row and then there’s some games where you may not carry the ball that much. So when your opportunity comes, you got to be more than ready and that’s something I’m aware of. I got to keep continuing to watch film, keep continuing to come to practice and trying to get better.”
And while Beckham is this team’s star and likely still their biggest playmaker, it is Barkley who will set them up to be a dynamic offense for years to come.
The establishment of a run game will take the pressure off Beckham, who routinely has faced extra attention from safeties over the top and linebackers when he crosses over the middle. If opposing defenses need to respect the Giants ability to run the ball, then the focus on Beckham will be lessened.
The establishment of the playaction, and a viable running game, helps no one more on this team than Beckham.
The Giants signed guard Jamon Brown during their bye week two weeks ago, a move that coincides with this recent resurgence of the offense…and a couple of wins by this Giants team. Two weeks ago in a 28-23 win at the San Francisco 49ers, Barkley had 100 yards in total offense. Then there was Sunday where he balled out against Tampa Bay. This week against the Philadelphia Eagles will be a challenge, but hope is brewing for this offense.
Interesting how all the talk about the Giants striking out in the draft by not taking a quarterback in the first round has died down the past two weeks as Barkley’s potential is beginning to show.
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