As the 5-1 Giants prepare to face off against the Jaguars on the road in Jacksonville, head coach Brian Daboll will continue to have one of his biggest weapons on offense. That’s running back Saquon Barkley, who has been bothered by a shoulder injury since Big Blue’s comeback win in London against the Green Bay Packers.
There was a question as to his level of involvement in New York’s Week 6 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. That was answered well in advance of the opening kickoff, and as usual, the 25-year-old running back produced.
Barkley was on the field for 57 offensive snaps in the Giants’ win over Baltimore. He collected 83 rushing yards on 22 attempts and caught three passes for another 12 yards. If it feels like Saquon Barkley has been on the field an awful lot so far this season, it’s because that’s exactly what’s happened.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Christian McCaffrey is the only other running back that’s been on the field for more offensive snaps than him:
From @ESPNStatsInfo: Christian McCaffrey has played 85.1% of the Panthers offensive snaps this season. That's the highest usage rate of any running back this season. Saquon Barkley (84.6%) is the only other RB over 80%.
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) October 21, 2022
Barkley’s shoulder is still bothering him, but he’s not concerned about it. He’s also not going to let it get in the way of what’s becoming a big comeback season. Here’s what he said about it all (quotes via GiantsWire):
It’s annoying, but it’s not something that’s going to stop me from going out there and being able to produce. Just like anything throughout the season, it’s every year — it’s football, something is going to happen. Just got to stay with it.
It just sucks that I play running back in the National Football League (laughs) and kind of every time I touch the ball I’m getting hit in my shoulder. Like I said, it’s really nothing that I’m really concerned about. Do I get worked on? Yeah, not just only that, but all of my body. I’m big on rehab and big on trying to get my body right not just for the game but throughout this whole season and that’s what I’m going to continue.
It’s good that this is something Barkley can work through because the offense needs him on the field as much as possible. The Giants’ receiver depth chart has looked quite barren over the first six weeks. Wan’Dale Robinson did just return and had a role in New York’s Week 6 win, which was encouraging to see.
However, it looks like Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney aren’t close to returning. With a matchup against a Jacksonville squad that’s effective against the run and more susceptible to the pass, quarterback Daniel Jones needs everyone possible at his disposal. That includes Barkley, and if it’s not as a rusher, it’ll be to get more involved in the passing game.
The running back said the coaching staff has preached consistency and falling in love with the process this year. It certainly sounds like Barkley has bought in and wants to be a part of it.