The Giants made a big change last season when they replaced Eli Manning as the team’s starting quarterback and they made another after the season when they fired Pat Shurmur as their head coach.
Shurmur had two years on the job after taking over for Ben McAdoo, who didn’t even make it that long, and the Giants have gone to the playoffs just once in the last eight seasons. Both of those hires came with the kind of high hopes about the future that have accompanied Joe Judge’s hiring this offseason, but why will this time be different?
Running back Saquon Barkley answered that question during a session with reporters last week. He pointed to the presence of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett as part of that response.
“What tells me this could be different, one, it’s a brand-new year. It’s a fresh start,” Barkley said. “From what I have seen in these first couple of days is we are steps ahead, in my opinion. We are coming in, we’re locked in. Are mistakes being made, yes, that’s part of the nature of learning a system and learning a new offense. We have what I believe is really great coaching staff starting with Coach Judge to Coach Garrett and so on down the line. They are doing a tremendous job of having us focusing on the little things and focused on situational football, which I think is a part of our game we can improve on from this year to last year.”
Barkley missed three games last year, but still topped the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in as many seasons. That’s put him alongside quarterback Daniel Jones as the lead on-field reasons to think better days could be coming for the Giants.