New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, appearing on the Pat McAfee Show, said several times on Friday that he believes the Giants are not far away from competing at a high level. He even referenced the Cincinnati Bengals and how they quickly turned around their franchise, after going 2-14 two seasons ago.
Barkley discussed the adversity the Giants have had in recent years - both personal to him and as a team. He mentioned how Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Daniel Jones, and himself were never really on the team together. Barkley also discussed the impact of losing a team leader like Nick Gates in Week 2.
“All these things (injuries), you can’t really say that because it sounds like excuses,” Barkley said.
Barkley sounded encouraged about the direction of the Giants’ offense.
“We just got to get the right pieces. Have a coaching staff that will put us in the right places, which I believe we do,” Barkley said. “Joe Schoen is doing an amazing job. We’ve got something going there, and I can’t wait to get back to work.
“We’ve got to keep the core...we have some very talented players, and we have to stay healthy. We got a whole new system, whole new coaching staff coming in, so it’s new. The energy will be different. We, as players, get to prove ourselves again, that’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Barkley reflected on a disappointing 2021 season that followed the 2020 season where Barkley tore his ACL in the second week against Chicago.
“I probably had one of the worst years of my football career, in my whole life,” Barkley told McAfee. “Now I have to go back to the drawing board.”
Barkley was asked if he felt like the same player he was prior to his injury, and if the talk of him “losing a step,” was valid
“It’s fair, you know why? Cause we’re prisoners of the moment.” Barkley went on to mention how the New York and Giants media have a right to question if he lost a step because he has dealt with several injuries to his knee and ankle over the last couple of seasons; and the production, while healthy, hasn’t been ideal.
Barkley was effusive in his praise of quarterback Daniel Jones.
“He’s a dog and I can honestly say that. His mentality and his work ethic, it’s unmatched. He’s a very talented quarterback, and we’re going to get the right pieces around him. I truly believe in Daniel Jones, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my teammate and my friend,” Barkley said. “I’m there every day. If you want good things in life, you got to work for it, and he has that mentality. He’s going to continue to work at it and get better.”
Many questions loom about Barkley’s presence on the New York Giants. Speculations surround the talented 25-year-old back, due to declining play, his contract situation, and the value he may return in a trade. I don’t know if Barkley will certainly be a Giant through 17 games next year, but it does seem like he’s ready and eager to get back on the gridiron and prove his capabilities.