Don’t expect an All-Pro season in Barkley’s rookie campaign
Saquon Barkley will be a star for the New York Giants. He will for Giants fans bring consistency to a position they haven’t had since the days of Tiki Barber and the three-header monster. However, it’s time to tamper expectations for Barkley in his rookie campaign. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
This isn’t to say that Barkley will struggle in his rookie season. He will get the majority of touches in the backfield, can play pretty much any position and will be used in the passing game as well. That being said, there are only so many touches he can get in the game with dynamic players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram. Here are three reasons why Saquon Barkley will not reach expectations in his first year;
There’s only one ball
There’s the old adage that there’s only one ball to pass around so teams with so many egos and dynamic players is not good for a team. While that may not necessarily be true and there has been plenty of success when two Hall of Famers share an offense (Harris & Swann, Smith & Irvin), it’s going to take a little time to figure out how to involve both Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley.
Barkley will be used in all situations on the field, but he can only get so many touches because Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and even Jonathan Stewart need to see the ball. The Giants are built completely differently than the Dallas Cowboys, who had a similar approach when they drafted Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall just a few years ago. The Cowboys have the offensive line to be a run-first team; The Giants don’t and will need to rely on spreading the ball around to sustain success.
Engram’s coming out party
As stated before, Saquon Barkley enthusiasts must tamper expectations because there’s another young stud who is itching to get the ball. His name is Evan Engram and he may become the new superstar to come out of New York.
Engram had a good season last year, catching 62 balls for 722 yards. He is built like a big wide receiver and runs like one. Eli Manning will rely on him like Drew Brees relied on Jimmy Graham for years. Having a tight end like that opens up the field for everyone else, but Manning will need to get his young tight end as many touches as he can before the league catches on.
The system doesn’t bode for it
The final and probably most important point is that Saquon Barkley is not in a run-first offense. Unlike the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys, the Giants have been a pass-first team for years and with new head coach Pat Shurmur at the helm it will be more of the same.
With a much lesser quarterback in Case Keenum, Shurmur utilized a more pass-friendly offense. He was able to get guys like Adam Theilen and Stefon Diggs involved, and had a two back system after Dalvin Cook went down. Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon were serviceable, but the offense didn’t revolve around them. It will be more of the same as Barkley will be used just as much as a receiver out of the backfield as he is a back. Most of the time he will be a check down option, which will open up the passing game and hopefully mark the resurgence of dynamic receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Once again, it’s not to say that Barkley won’t thrive in this offense, but to say that he will have an All-Pro season in his first year and will be the top running back in the league is foolish. There are still plenty of growing pains he needs to go through adjusting to the pro-style game, and it’s not a one man show in the Giants offense. One day, he will most likely be the bell cow for the Giants. For now, he’s just another piece of the puzzle.
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