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New York Giants star Saquon Barkley is poised to have a bounce-back season

Jason Leach

With the exception of Daniel Jones, no other New York Giant is under pressure to perform at a high level this season than Saquon Barkley.

The 2018 second-overall pick is in the final year of his contract, and there’s a cloud of uncertainty regarding his future with Big Blue. Many feel this will be his final season with New York, and that he could be possibly dealt before the in-season NFL trade deadline.

If you flashed back three years ago, no one would’ve envisioned the situation that Barkley is currently in. He had over 2,000 all-purpose yards, tied a rookie franchise record for receptions in a season (91), and was named NFL Offensive Rookie of The Year.

But then Barkley’s career was derailed by injuries. A sprained ankle caused him to miss three games in 2019 and hampered him all season long. Then, a torn ACL in 2020 forced him to miss the final 14 games. While trying to work his way back from his ACL tear last season, he suffered a sprained ankle in the Giants Week 5 44-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys that caused him to miss four games.

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Saquon Barkley looking to overcome injuries and prove himself again

Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

When a player suffers this number of injuries early in his career it can be difficult to overcome as they tend to happen more frequently as you get older.

But at the Giants’ OTAs last week, Barkley was running and cutting at full speed. Now of course running at OTAs is completely different than playing in a game. But when asked about how he feels, Barkley noted that it’s must better than around this time in 2021.

‘I’ll tell you, I feel a lot better than I felt at this point last year. My body feels good. My body feels strong. Feel like I got my strength back. Feel like I got my speed back. Feel like I can trust my knee again, trust myself to make plays and not think about it.”

Saquon Barkley to reporters, via Giants.com

Now New York can only hope that he remains healthy and becomes the dynamic playmaker that he was as a rookie.

One thing that was evident at OTAs is that head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka will rely heavily on Saquon Barkley as a runner and a pass-catcher. If he can stay healthy for 17 games, he can once again eclipse 2,000 all-purpose yards.

In addition to having a new head coach and offensive coordinator that believe in him, another thing that bodes well for Barkley having a bounce-back season is that he’ll be playing behind the best offensive line of his career.

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The addition of free agents Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano, along with seventh overall pick Evan Neal will help make the line vastly better than it was a season ago.

Giants fans should be optimistic heading into this season about their team and their star running back. But there will always be detractors that will say Barkley’s best days are behind him. Barkley has a message for those who are doubting him.

 “When the tables turn, just make sure you’re on the side of that table. Just stay on that side.”

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