Saquon Barkley is a household name who has respect across the NFL fanbase. Barkley took the NFL by storm in his rookie year, rushing for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns en route to the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year award. After a down year in 2019, Barkley is more motivated than ever to prove the doubters wrong and embark on his revenge tour.
What Saquon Barkley Can Accomplish In Year Three
Rookie season recap
Barkley was taken with the 2nd overall pick in the 2018 draft, a move that made many question the New York Giants decision making. Barkley sure ended the debate with his stellar play on the field. While the team went a measly 5-11 and once again missed the playoffs, Barkley delivered unforgettable moments that fans will remember for a long time. He led the NFL in broken tackles and had 13 games with 100+ yards from scrimmage. Highlight plays like jumping over then Chicago Bears safety Adrian Amos and former Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins will be embedded in Giants fans’ minds forever. From breaking the rookie running back reception record, previously owned by Reggie Bush, along with zero fumbles all season long, Barkley’s rookie year will rank among one of the best in league history.
In his first year in the NFL, Barkley finished with:
352 touches, 2,028 all-purpose yards, 15 touchdowns
Rushing: 261 attempts, 1,307 yards, 11 touchdowns
Receiving: 91 receptions, 721 yards, 4 touchdowns
A slump for Saquon Barkley is considered just over 1,000 rushing yards. Barkley’s highly anticipated second season was riddled with injury and bad games. He was off to a good start, rushing for 227 yards and one touchdown in his first two games. The downfall began in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he suffered a high-ankle sprain after just 23 snaps.
Being the physical freak that he is, Barkley somehow only missed three games and returned in Week 7, rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown at home against the Arizona Cardinals. After the Giants next game away, against the Detroit Lions, a string of bad games began, including a one-yard rushing performance against the New York Jets.
Barkley would go on a tear in the final three weeks of the season, totalling 393 rushing yards and four touchdowns in those games. Barkley’s best game of 2019 came against the Washington Redskins in Week 16, where he rushed for 189 yards and a touchdown while adding 90 receiving yards and another score.
Barkley’s 2019 campaign finished with the total statistics of:
269 touches, 1,441 all-purpose yards, 8 touchdowns
Rushing: 217 attempts, 1,003 yards, 6 touchdowns
Receiving: 52 receptions, 438 yards, 2 touchdowns
While this was a rather disappointing season, Barkley had managed to put together a decent stat line.
What to Expect from Saquon Barkley in Year Three
The Giants cleaned house in terms of their coaching staff this off-season, which included hiring former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett to be the new offensive coordinator. Garrett brings a run-heavy offense to New York, one that Barkley knows too well.
“I played against Garrett for two years,” Barkley told the New York Post in January during the Super Bowl’s Radio Row. “I know how he likes to use his running backs. There’s only so much Zeke can tell me that I haven’t seen with my own eyes.”
NFL analyst Greg Cosell, who appeared on a recent episode of the “Inside the Birds: A Philadelphia Eagles Podcast,” expects Barkley to receive 270-300 carries. The most carries Barkley received in one game was 27 in Week 11 of the 2018 season when he torched Tampa Bay with three touchdowns. Many say Barkley was used incorrectly with former Head Coach Pat Shurmur, who gave him 20 plus carries in a game only six times in two years.
Ezekiel Elliott received way more carries in his first two years than Barkley, including a 33 carry performance in 2017. Hence the term, “Feed Zeke,” must be applied to Garrett doing the same with Barkley in New York. The more Barkley gets the ball, the more he will produce.
Another thing to look at this season is Barkley’s physique. Barkley seems to have taken advantage of quarantine by focusing on working out. Seeing recent workout photos and videos on his social media, Saquon looks to have taken the approach of Christian McCaffrey, who came out last off-season looking more muscular. Barkley seems to have copied the exact same blueprint heading into his third season.
This year will be big for Barkley. Now that he is fully healthy and has a new tackle in Andrew Thomas to open up holes, Barkley will flourish in Jason Garrett’s new offense. Barkley is eligible to receive an extension after this season. After watching Christian McCaffrey receive one this off-season, Barkley must be motivated to accomplish the same. Nothing will stop Saquon Barkley from having a stellar season and getting back to what he does best: terrorizing opposing defenses.