With hyper-athletic playmakers at every offensive skill position, how could the offense NOT improve? Unfortunately, the Giants’ offense has yet to realize its potential through the first quarter of the season.
The fault for the offensive slog isn’t at the feet of Barkley, however. He has racked up at least 100 all-purpose yards in each game so far, and scored a touchdown in three of them. He is doing his part on the field, and he also seems to be blossoming rapidly off the field as well. Despite the way the team has started the season, Barkley sounds like the mature “Face Of The Franchise” he was drafted to be.
He insists that the way forward for the team is to be optimistic, but also realistic about the hole they have dug for themselves.
“Obviously you’re 1-3, the season is obviously not over,” he said. “It’s a long season but you can’t say it’s a long season forever because you get to a point where you get redundant and you keep saying that, then there’s no chance for you to make the playoffs. Everything that we still want, all of our goals are still in reach. Coach said something perfect today, he said the only thing that we’re not capable of doing this season is an undefeated season, and that only happened one time. I don’t know if everybody expects to win every single game, but most likely not going to win every single game. You’ve just got to continue to work, not get down like I said, have positive energy, come into the building and continue to work and like you said examine yourself, watch film, learn what you can do to help the team, learn what you can do better to help yourself better in certain situations and get ready for the next week.”
On the offensive struggles
Despite having players like Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram on their offense, the Giants have struggled mightily on offense. They have struggled with execution and mental mistakes, they have struggled with consistency, and they have struggled to find an identity.
“We’ve got to get back to the basics. We’ve got to kind of do what we did the first drive against other teams, continue to have that momentum, that first drive epitomizes what we’re capable of doing on the football field and we have to have that mindset,” Barkley said.
They showed in their first game that that they have the talent to match up and be a problem for any defense in the NFL. But what the Giants need to do is find an identity on offense.
“Yeah, it is that simple,” Barkley added. “We’ve got to get back to playing Giants football. I don’t think really any team so far that we’ve played, obviously at the end of the game they had the win and they had more points than we had, but there’s a lot of things we did ourselves to put us in that situation. If we can fix ourselves and just focus on ourselves, I think the rest of the season will take care of itself.”
‘Giants Football’, as Barkley referred to it, is “just being consistent, running the ball, making efficient plays, maximizing on the opportunities when we get the opportunities, stay away from mistake-free football – obviously you’re going to make mistakes, but make less mistakes than the other team, not turn the ball over.”
On his rookie season
Barkley himself has had a good start to his NFL career. So far he has proven his ability as a runner and receiver, shown that he can create on his own in both facets of the game, and be the playmaker the Giants drafted him to be. But that doesn’t mean that he is satisfied.
Barkley said, “Even when you win, win or lose, I’m always going to be my biggest critic because I have the passion, I want to be great, I want to be a great player in this league and I have to hold myself to that standard. When we lose, you’ve got to look back on yourself.”
That passion, the high standards to which he holds himself and the work ethic with which he drives himself to meet those standards, bordered on legendary in college. Despite having the kind of start to his rookie season of which any player would be proud, Barkley wants, needs, to be better.
“I’ve got to be better,” he said. “I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of breaking tackles so far, I’ve got to find a way to break more tackles. I was brought here to be an efficient player and when the opportunity comes, create big plays, and I’ve got to do a better job there. A lot of the reason we haven’t been successful is we haven’t been able to run the ball, we haven’t run the ball as well as we are capable of. That’s where my job kicks in and that’s where myself and the O line, we’re kind of a whole when it comes to that, where we’ve got to take that as a personal challenge and continue to work and get better. When the next game comes, when the opportunity comes, capitalize on it.”