Obviously and rightfully so, Garrett’s hire stole the headlines in New York as well as around the league. However, Garrett’s hire was not the one that caught the attention of Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram. No, instead it was New York’s additions of lesser-known running backs coach Burton Burns, that piqued the Pro Bowler’s interest.
Mark Ingram on Giants’ Burton Burns “Best Coach I Ever Had”
Per Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio, the New York Giants added a little known assistant on Friday, yet one who carries lofty commendations. Burton Burns was brought on to Joe Judge’s freshly assembled coaching staff to serve as the team’s new running back coach.
Burns is a long-time University of Alabama assistant who, over his 13-year tenure with the Crimson Tide, helped coach the team to numerous National Championships as well as developing numerous running backs into the NFL stars that we know them to be today.
Burns served as the position coach to two Heisman Trophy winners, Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram. The latter took to Twitter on upon hearing of Burns’ hiring to heap praise on his former coach and inform the Giants’ Saquon Barkley how “blessed” he was to have such a phenomenal coach.
That’s awfully high praise coming from a player who has been coached by the likes of Nick Saban, Sean Payton, and John Harbaugh, some of the most well-respected coaches in the history of football.
Aside from coaching Ingram and Henry to Heisman awards, Burns also helped Henry as well as Trent Richardson claim the rights to Doak Walker awards, which are handed out to the top running back in College Football for a given season.
Overall, Burns coached, developed, and guided seven different running backs to NFL careers over his collegiate coaching stint.
Much like the majority of hires made for the Giants this offseason, Burns has a past working relationship with head coach Joe Judge. Judge and Burns both served as coaches on Alabama’s staff for three seasons together from 2009 through 2011.
Will 2020 Be Saquon Barkley’s Best Season to Date?
While the hiring of Burns is certainly appealing for Saquon Barkley’s production moving forward, the real question is have we already seen Barkley’s ceiling?
Barkley’s rookie campaign was one for the ages, rushing for 1,300+ yards, hauling in 90+ receptions, and hitting paydirt on 15 separate occasions. However, a sophomore slump hit the former Pro Bowler in a major way this past season. Barkley’s 2019 campaign was riddled with injuries, and frankly poor performances, for the majority of the year.
Yet, Barkley endured an eight-game span where he averaged fewer than 48 rushing yards and scored just one rushing touchdown, certainly not the type of production you expect from a player of his talents.
Thankfully, a healthy Barkley emerged towards the latter part of the 2019 season, averaging a superb 179.6 total yards per game, including a franchise-record 279 yards from scrimmage performance in the Giants’ second to final game of the year.
Barkley seemingly looked more and more like himself during the final stretch of this past season. Team up his upward trajectory with the fact that he’ll be just 23-years old come the start of next year, with potentially a few upgrades on the offensive line, an ever-improving quarterback, and now a positional coach whose resume speaks for itself, and the sky is the limit for Barkley in 2020.