Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was defensive line coach in Tampa Bay while Barry Sanders was in Detroit, and Marinelli found out the hard way how hard stopping Sanders can be. Now Marinelli has similar concerns about Giants running back Saquon Barkley heading into their meeting on Sunday.
“It’s like Barry Sanders,” Marinelli said of Barkley, via the Dallas Morning News. “You may have a lot of plays where you keep him to a minimum, five-yards here and then [he] has the ability to break the long one. And you got to be on top of it, detailed the entire game. You got to be disciplined. Guys got to do their job before they release blocks.”
Marinelli knows all about Sanders’ ability to break the long one. In a 1997 game when Marinelli coached against Sanders, Sanders had an 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and an 82-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. That’s the only game in NFL history when a player had two runs of 80 yards or longer.
That’s the kind of big-play ability Marinelli sees in Barkley as well.
“He’s got great vision but the decisiveness, when it’s there for him to take it, in space, he’s always tough. He’s been tough all [last] year in space. So you got to really work as a defense,” Marinelli said.
Marinelli hopes Barkley doesn’t look too much like Sanders on Sunday.