New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley spent the majority of his summer being doubted by members of the media. He was left off of Pro Football Focus’ 50 best players list entering the 2020 season. Ex-rushing champ Maurice Jones-Drew excluded the former NFL Rookie of the Year from his top-five running backs rankings. EA Sports’ Madden 21 originally followed suit with MJD’s thinking, that was, until a mass outcry among fans led to a rating alteration.
The constant doubting of Barkley has now evidently seeped into the regular season, and in the case of Tiki Barber’s concerns, has little to do with Barkley’s six-yard performance in Week 1, but rather his pass-protection skills, or rather lack thereof.
“I will say that Saquon Barkley, he might not be an every-down back.” Barber said on the Tiki and Tierney Radio Show this week. “He cannot pass protect, and it is starting to become glaring… it’s gonna be a liability, cause people see it now, it’s on tape, and it’s gonna come out.”
Joe Judge Responds to Tiki
Giants head coach Joe Judge was asked about the franchise’s all-time leading rusher and his hot take on the Giants’ top offensive weapon following the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice during a Zoom call. Judge, as expected, opted to take the high road, expressing his respect for Barber in the midst:
Look, we’re all working hard every day to get better at everything we do. We’re coming out of training camp, we’ve got one game under our belt… There’s not a player or coach on our team that doesn’t have to improve going in Week 2 and then consistently throughout the season. We’ve got to make up some ground quickly, but we’ve got confidence in all of our players. We’re going to work on every technique we have to in all aspects of the game.
You know, look, people pay a price to watch us play. Everyone’s opinion is valid if they’re a fan. We’ve got to make sure on the inside we understand what we’re doing and we prioritize what we have to work on. But I respect Tiki. Obviously, he’s a guy that knows the game and he was a great player for this organization. But we’re going to make sure we have everyone rising up.
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Saquon is Self-Aware of His Struggles
Saquon’s pass-blocking faults are an ever-growing concern for a Giants team already pressed with questions along their offensive line. However, Barkley will be the first to tell you he needs to improve his play, not only as a blocker, but in all aspects of his game.
“I have to be better, I have to be better for the team,” Barkley said after averaging just 0.4 yards per carry on 15 rushing attempts during last Monday night’s loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Barkley will need to prove his worth as a pass protector, and quick, if he hopes to continue seeing the field on passing downs. With that said, it would likely be wise not to bet against a player of Barkley’s talents to figure things out.
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