By Alex Sabo
October 11, 2019
Alex Sabo is a senior in Sport Management with a minor in marketing at Bowling Green State University. Alex is from St. Charles, IL and is interested in Pro sports, but follows football, basketball, baseball, and college football.
The second overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, Saquon Barkley is now in his second season as a running back for the New York Giants. Coming off a hot start from his rookie season with 1,307 rushing yards (“2018 NFL Player,” 2018), Barkley and the Giants could find themselves in trouble for 8 weeks. If this is the case, the Giants will be without their star running back until week 12 with 75% of the regular season complete. The team is currently standing at 1-2 with a near win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 3. From the looks of things, it does not appear to be a positive start for the team and having their main playmaker injured will not help the team win games.
Struggling to find players to get the job done, they are trying to get their Super Bowl quarterback Eli Manning on track as his performances rapidly slipped, having seen their star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. switch teams, and the squad is left yearning for a way to win games. While the defense had already given up 95 points by week 3, the total points scored on offense was only 63 points by week 4. Eager to try and fix that ratio and put some points on the board, the team needs a key element to their offense which seems like their only hope. Saquon Barkley, the second year running back, was an eye opener in his rookie season, given that not many rookies gain over 1,000 yards in their rookie season. Unfortunately, Barkley came down with a high ankle injury week 3 against the Buccaneers and was fortunate that his team won by a hair to keep their fans’ hopes alive for week 4.
The issue with week four is the Giants will be missing Barkley as they battle the Redskins. We occasionally see elite athletes come right out of college and have a breakout rookie season, but that is not always the case. Given that the Giants need a playmaker desperately, they are in dire need of their running back. As a result, Giants coach Pat Shurmur told ESPN writer Jordan Ranaan (2019), “Rehab him and get him ready to go, see how that plays out” (para. 6). As desperate as the coach and the team is to have their only hope back, it is looking like a dangerous move, not for the team, but for Barkley. The 22 year old back is being rushed into the game by his coach and will not be put on injury reserve (IR). The reason the team won’t put him on IR is because this would bench him up to 8 weeks. Of course, the team can’t be without their running back!
No team wants to be without an integral part of their offense, and for a team which seems to be going downhill since week 3, the Giants are going to do all they can to win games. As explosive as Barkley is, “The second-year back won Offensive Rookie of the Year last season and was off to a strong start this year. He topped 100 yards rushing each of the first two weeks” (Ranaan, 2019, para. 10). Gaining just over 200 yards on 37 carries by week 3, he was entering what appeared to be an explosive season.
The question for Barkley is whether rushing him back into play if he is not fully healed could be a foolish move. Given that the team seems to be declining, could Coach Shurmur potentially be ruining things for his running back who is showing numbers and putting New York on the map for the running game? This highlights a risky move because Barkley’s numbers may never be the same if he gets injured again.
Raanan, J. (2019, September). Giants won’t place RB Barkley (ankle) on IR. ESPN. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27706974/giants-place-rb-barkley-ankle-ir
2018 NFL Player Rushing Stats. (2018). ESPN. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/stats/player/_/stat/rushing/season/2018/seasontype/2/table/rushing/sort/rushingYards/dir/desc