Reading too much into the preseason can be a big mistake. But New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley gave many a reason to smile.
Yes, it’s just one game and basically only one moment. But there was certainly a little excitement at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night when the second overall pick in April’s draft first got his hands on the football.
If you are looking for one reason the New York Giants finished with a 3-13 record this past season and set a franchise mark for losses in a season, look no further than an unbalanced offense that relied far too heavily on the passing game and veteran quarterback Eli Manning. Hence the decision in April by new general manager Dave Gettleman to grab Penn State running back Saquon Barkley after the Cleveland Browns opted for quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Ironically, these teams kicked off the preseason against each other. And how amazing was it to see Barkley do his thing for a 39-yard gain on the game’s first play from scrimmage?
A year ago, only six teams in the NFL averaged fewer yards per game on the ground than the New York Giants. Big Blue ran for only 96.8 yards per contest. And that number may have been a whole lot worse if the team didn’t close the season rushing for 260 yards in a victory over the Washington Redskins.
It’s easy to understand the reason for optimism when it comes to the Giants and their rookie runner. And yes, he also gained only four yards on his other three carries. But add in the fact that the team also add some key components on the offensive line (left tackle Nate Solder and rookie guard Will Hernandez) and things are already looking better for new head coach Pat Shurmur and his offense. And Barkley’s home-run potential is certainly reason to keep an eye on this team.