Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants offensive line will look to bounce back against the Chicago Bears in Week 2.
After a disappointing 26-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night, the New York Giants are in search of their first win of the season on Sunday as they travel to Chicago to take on the Bears (1-0).
Without playing any preseason games, head coach Joe Judge finally has some game film to better assess his team, and identify corrections they need to make.
The biggest and most glaring issue that was on display, was how overmatched the Giants offensive line was against the Steelers in the ground game.
Everyone knew that it would be difficult to run the ball against one of the best defenses in the league, but no one could fathom Barkley being held to six yards on 15 carries. The Giants have inexperience on the offensive line with rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas and center Nick Gates, but you know Judge and offensive line coach Marc Colombo didn’t expect for the Giants to lose the battle of the line of scrimmage the way they did.
Often when Barkley would get the ball in his hands, there were two or three defenders in his face. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen the Giants line overmatched in this fashion.
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 15, 2020
In the Giants Week 10 34-27 loss to the New York Giants, they completely shut down Barkley holding him to one yard on 13 carries.
Now the Giants take on a Bears defense that has traditionally been difficult to run on. When the Giants and Bears played in Week 12 last year at Soldier Field, the Bears held Barkley to 59 yards on 17 carries.
The Bears defense did show some vulnerability last week in their 27-23 win over the Detroit Lions as the Lions ran the ball 29 times for 138 yards. Adrian Peterson did most of the damage as he carried the ball 14 times for 93 yards.
The Giants are hoping Barkley will have similar production on Sunday.
While the offensive line received the brunt of the blame for the Giants being unable to run the ball on Monday, in the past Barkley has received criticism for losing yardage trying to make a big play instead of putting his shoulder pads down and grind out a few yards.
On Wednesday, Judge was asked to assess Barkley’s performance on Monday night.
“I think I saw a small sample of what Saquon is going to be able to do,” Judge said. “We’ve got to do some things to help Saquon throughout the game. He’s a key part of our team, he’s an integral part of our offense. We’re going to keep feeding him the ball and he’s going to make some plays for us. I’m happy with the way he works
“I’m very pleased with his attitude. He’s a team-first guy who brings everybody along with him. All of our players have the mentality of whatever we have to do to be successful. Sometimes our own individual success comes off being someone who helps somebody else make plays. I’m pleased with Saquon right now.”
Barkley might be the most dynamic player in the NFL. But if the offensive line doesn’t win the battle of the line of scrimmage and open holes for him, Barkley will never reach his full potential.
To his credit, Barkley has always been a true professional and has never thrown a lineman or teammate under the bus. But it’s only natural to think that he’s starting to get frustrated.
All eyes will be on Barkley and the offensive line this Sunday in Chicago to see if they can rebound from the debacle against the Steelers, or if it will be another repeat performance. If the Giants are going to have any success this season, the line and Barkley have to get going.