The one, and maybe only, bright spot for the Giants may be running back Saquon Barkley. And maybe he should be burning even more brightly.
In each of his six career regular-season games, Barkley has generated more than 100 yards from scrimmage. He’s one game short of the all-time record of seven 100-plus-yard games to start a career, set by Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt a year ago.
Last night became Barkley’s best performance yet, with 130 yards rushing on 13 carries and another 99 yards on nine catches.
But there’s something that isn’t quite right about Barkley. More specifically, there’s an issue with how the Giants use him.
Other great running backs become the focal point of the offense, the guy who is presumed to be getting the ball, and who indeed gets the ball until safeties crowd the line of scrimmage and defenses become susceptible to play-action passes. In Dallas, for example, that’s precisely how Ezekiel Elliott has been used.
In New York, Barkley feels less like a workhorse and more like a role player who happens to make the most out of his opportunities when they come. So maybe more opportunities need to come his way, with Barkley being the focal point of the offense and the Giants using his skills to get defenses to swarm to him, exploiting the holes that necessarily will emerge elsewhere among the 11 guys available to try to slow the offense down.
If nothing else, fake handoffs to Barkley, after Barkley pounds the defense repeatedly, will take some steam out of the pass rush, giving quarterback Eli Many some/any time to throw. Currently, he has nearly none.