August 14, 2022

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LOS ANGELES — Saquon Barkley thinks things are finally looking up for him and the...

LOS ANGELES — Saquon Barkley thinks things are finally looking up for him and the Giants.
The franchise running back is on his third head coach and third offensive system since arriving to the Giants in 2018. Every time a new regime comes in, a feeling of renewal and change comes with it. But the losing remains, and is there any reason for Barkley to feel this new group, led by head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen, will be any different?
No one can know for sure, but at least Barkley is encouraged after his first interactions with Daboll.
“I love the energy, I love the conversation I had with him,’’ Barkley said Friday as he made the rounds at Radio Row at the site of Super Bowl XLI, his first comments about the Daboll hiring. “I think he and the GM Joe Schoen they’re doing an amazing job right now. I can’t wait to get back in April.’’

Why will these new guys, Daboll in particular, usher in a new direction for a franchise that has lost 73 percent of its games the past five years?
“I think one, the energy that he’s bringing and the conversations about the way he’s going to relate the offense to the players and make the system work for the players,’’ Barkley said. “Obviously I think with Joe Schoen, what he’s going to do in free agency and the draft to build the team. I think we have the talent on the team. I truly don’t think we’re that far. We just have to keep working.’’
Earlier in Barkley’s career, there was no thought that he might leave — heck, he was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018. Barkley is preparing as if he will be with the team that made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Coming off another injury-riddled season, he said he is “training, rehabbing, rehabbing, trying to get the body right and get the little things going.’’
Brian Daboll will be Barkley’s third coach since he was drafted in 2018.Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
The Giants last year picked up Barkley’s fifth-year option that will pay him $7.2 million for the 2022 season. The reality and inevitability of a new, long-term extension no longer exists. Not after Barkley missed 14 games in 2020 after tearing his ACL and missed four games last season with a sprained ankle. 

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His production has taken a nosedive after his 1,307 rushing yards and 91 receptions in his debut season. His average per gain has dropped from 5.0 as a rookie to 4.6 in 2019 to 3.7 in 2021 – he only had 19 rushing attempts in 2020.
 Barkley turned 25 on Wednesday.
The Giants are strapped for salary cap space, with Schoen saying he needs to shed $40 million before the start of the new NFL year in March. If Barkley was traded it would take his entire $7.2 million salary off the Giants’ salary cap — with no dead money charge.  There are no indications the Giants are thinking this way and there is every reason to believe Barkley will stay with the Giants.
The discussions he had with Daboll, Barkley said, were all standard stuff, as if the running back would be on the roster and have a prominent role in Daboll’s attack. Barkley met his new head coach for the first time the day Daboll came in for an interview and after the hiring, the two spoke by phone.
“We never really had that conversation,’’ Barkley said. “It was never really brought up like if I’m leaving or if I’m not going to stay. We just had a conversation, as normal.’’
 Normal for Barkley once meant highlights and production. The most recent normal for Barkley meant something else. He is trying to get back to the normal he prefers, the normal the Giants need from him.


Brian Daboll’s ‘energy’ is what Giants offense needs appeared first on

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