Saquon Barkley is primed to bounce back in 2022


Saquon Barkley
Aug 21, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) warms up before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley is primed to bounce back in 2022.

Saquon Barkley 2022 projections

After bursting on the scene his rookie year with 2028 yards from scrimmage, 14 total touchdowns and the offensive rookie of the year award, Barkley’s career has stalled out as of late. A series of injuries coupled with consecutive years of incompetent coaching has left Barkley as somewhat of an afterthought when you think of the top running backs in the league. However, with the New York Giants hiring offensive wizard Brian Daboll as head coach, Saquon Barkley is in prime position to reintroduce himself in 2022.

Drafted second overall out of Penn State in 2018, Barkley did the almost impossible task of rewarding the Giants for drafting a running back so high. Barkley recorded 1307 rushing yards on 261 touches with an average yards per attempt of 5.0 yards. He also had 91 receptions in the passing game for a total of 721 yards.

Make no mistake, Barkley was an all purpose powerhouse of offence.

Take a look at this highlight from Week Five of the 2018 regular season. On an inside zone against the Panthers, Barkley manages to spin, jump cut, bounce it outside, break two tackles and snatch a cornerback’s ankles. A 30 yard gain was made out of nothing. This is why some coaches still value running backs. The ability to create an explosive play, without the risk of an interception or a sack, is invaluable.

 

Barkley’s physical make up is so compact, strong and powerful that he is able to cut on a dime and generate forward mobility in an instant. Again, this play by the Giants should have resulted in no gain, but Barkley’s physical, yet elusive, running style earns six hard yards.

A large portion of the Giants air attack from Barkley’s rookie year consisted of screen passes out of the backfield. Barkley averaged 81.7 rushing yards per game in 2018, coupled with 45.1 average receiving yards per game. Combined, Barkley averaged 126 yards from scrimmage in 2018. This illustrates Barkley’s ability to operate as an all-round offensive machine in the correct circumstances. If Barkley is to bounce back in 2022, his capability to stay on the field will be paramount.

 

In Brian Daboll’s four years as offensive coordinator in Buffalo, running back was not a main feature in his offence, but there are a number of reasons for that. First of all, the Bills never had the talent of a Saquon Barkley in the backfield. Josh Allen led the Bills in rushing (631 yards) during Daboll’s first year as OC in 2018. Devin Singletary then took over as the Bills leading rusher in 2019, 2020 and 2021, accruing 2,332 rushing yards over three seasons. That’s an average of 777 rushing yards per season.

The second reason running backs did not feature much in Daboll’s offence was the presence of Josh Allen in the run game. We all know what Josh Allen can do in the passing game, but as a runner, standing at 6’5, 230lbs, Allen is the most physical quarterback scrambler since Cam Newton. From 2019-2021, Allen scored 23 rushing touchdowns (31 if you count 2018). In contrast, Singletary scored only 11 touchdowns in that same timeframe.

While Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is capable of scrambling and scoring with his legs, he’s not quite the goal line threat Josh Allen is. I’d expect Barkley to be a main reason the Giants drive down the field and definitely the main reason why they score in the red zone.

On the eve of the 2022 season, Saquon Barkley is in “eff you” mode per Giants beat reporter Dan Duggan. Whether it’s in fantasy football or the real thing, Saquon Barkley is in prime position to bounce back this season for the New York Giants and, along with the help of Brian Daboll, ready to show the NFL what he’s truly capable of.





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Aug 21, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) warms up before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports Saquon Barkley is primed to bounce back in 2022. Saquon Barkley 2022 projections After bursting on the scene his rookie year…