For the first time since tearing his ACL in September of 2020, superstar running back Saquon Barkley will likely make his presumptuous return to the Giants’ backfield in this game.
Barkley, who sat out the entire preseason, as the Giants eased him back into action, passed all the tests necessary in order to be ready for the regular season.
Along with Barkley, the Giants also anticipate having No. 1 wide receiver Kenny Golladay, tight end Kyle Rudolph and rookie Kadarius Toney active for this contest.
While each player’s workload is currently unknown after they spent the summer making their way back from their respective injuries, just their presence alone will make a significant impact for a Giants offense that ranked in the bottom of the league last season.
However, this trio of pass catchers will have to shake the rust off, and build chemistry with their new quarterback in Daniel Jones, which might be difficult in their first contest together.
All eyes will be on Jason Garrett’s offense in his second season as the Giants’ offensive coordinator. Garrett has been often criticized for his conservative style of play, which rarely takes shots down the field.
His offense also played a role in Daniel Jones’ step back as a passer last season. But the hope is that the return of Barkley, along with the upgrade in personnel (Golladay, Rudolph, Toney) will turn this flaw into a strength in 2021.
In the Giants’ preseason finale with the Patriots on August 29, Garrett’s offense looked similar to last year, with all of their new additions, plus Barkley, sitting out of the game.
On Sunday, we shall find out if these added pieces make a difference, or if Garrett’s system will be short-lived for the Giants.
With a number of impact players listed as questionable this week, one key offensive weapon has already been ruled out.
Tight end Evan Engram will not play against the Broncos, as he continues to work his way back from a calf strain, suffered in the Giants’ final exhibition matchup.
While Engram’s inactive tag comes as no surprise, it is disappointing for both the player and the Giants, after the fifth-year pass catcher had a promising camp.
With Engram out, the Giants will be relying on more production from Rudolph and fellow tight end Kaden Smith. But Rudolph is coming off offseason foot surgery, which landed him on the PUP list for most of the summer, and Smith is dealing with a knee injury.
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