It’s Saquon Barkley’s offense now – Fixie News
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It’s Saquon Barkley’s offense now

Leading into the start of training camp (rookies report July 22, veterans July 24) The Post will provide Giants fans with a position-by-position look at the roster. Next up: The running backs.

Star power is alive and well in blue with Saquon Barkley in the fold. The guy is too good to be true, with no missteps on or off the field. He gives off an aura of supreme confidence and genuine humility, a rare combination. When you have a player of this magnitude you do not need much else and the backups behind Barkley are appropriately modest in terms of pedigree.

Key returnees: Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman

Key additions: Rod Smith

The rundown: It sure seemed as if general manager Dave Gettleman set Barkley up for failure by labeling him as “touched by the hand of God.” Then Barkley went out and lived up to the incredible hype with 1,307 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns along with 91 receptions for 721 yards and four TDs. Once Barkley adjusted to the NFL game and added increased decisiveness to his overwhelming physical gifts, he was a beast. The guy simply looks different than anyone else with a body that could have been created by the animators at Pixar. Barkley set a goal in year No. 2 to be more of a leader. He is not loud by nature and with Odell Beckham Jr. gone, this is Barkley’s offense and his locker room, and he knows it. The only impediment facing Barkley is outrageous expectations and the coaching staff must resist the urge to overwork him. He was on the field for 852 snaps as a rookie, and although he looks invulnerable, he is human, we suspect.

Key camp battles: Rod Smith spent the past four seasons with the Cowboys, the last two years as a backup to Ezekiel Elliott. So, Smith knows what the deal is playing behind a stud runner. At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Smith is a banger and brings more size than the other backs he his competing with. Gallman should be safe as a versatile reserve; he progressed last season as far as making the most of his limited work, getting into the flow of the offense right away. Paul Perkins opened the 2016 season as a starter but hasn’t been heard from much ever since and spent all of 2018 on injured reserve. Perkins and Smith could be vying for one spot on the roster. Eli Penny is a fullback but Smith is actually a bigger athlete and if Smith can handle some of the blocking chores, perhaps that gives him an edge. Jon Hillman, undrafted out of Rutgers, will try to get himself into the mix.

The verdict: As long as Barkley remains healthy, the Giants possess one of the most versatile offensive weapons in the league. Barkley does not catch passes as much as he inhales them as effortlessly as most of us breathe. If the offensive line is sufficiently upgraded, there is no limit to what he can do. Still, the numbers he put up in 2018 are going to be tough to match, considering how productive he was as a rookie. It is not easy to take him off the field, but coach Pat Shurmur must give Barkley breaks, even if Barkley balks at spending time on the bench.

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