Saquon Barkley quickly earning New York Giants respect
By Henry Buggy
Saquon Barkley has been a member of the New York Giants for less than two months but that hasn’t stopped him from earning the respect of his teammates and coaches.
New York’s rookie running back continues to show why he was considered the top prospect in the year’s draft class. He’s even getting the attention of Big Blue’s new defensive coordinator, James Bettcher, via New York’s team website.
"“He’s a special player. Special player. Guy that, any single down, is going to create a lot of matchup nightmares for coordinators in this league and players in this league.”"
Bettcher knows better than most what a game-changing running back can do for an offense. He was the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator when David Johnson was named a first-team All-Pro in 2016.
Big Blue’s defensive coordinator isn’t the only one giving praise to the rookie running back during the team’s mandatory minicamp. Giants newly acquired inside linebacker Alec Ogletree also sees something special in Barkley, via New York’s team website.
"“He’s a true professional, even at a young age. He’s always asking questions and you can just tell he loves football and loves to learn and do the right thing. So, we’re definitely excited to have him and looking forward to see what he does on Sunday.”"
Through three seasons at Penn State, Barkley amassed 5,038 total yards and scored 51 touchdowns. But as Damon Harrison notes, Barkley is no longer playing college football.
New York Giants
"“The guy can play, man. ‘Saquad’, that’s what they call him, or something like that. I’m excited to get out there in training camp, so I can hit his ass [laughs]. See what he’s made of. I told him, it’s not Penn State. He’s not going up against [defensive tackle] Josh Banks at Wake Forest. But no, the guy’s explosive, you can see how they will use him in the offense, which will be to our benefit.”"
From two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning to Big Blue’s All-Pro defensive lineman, Barkley is quickly earning the respect of his teammates and coaches.
Attention To Detail
Part of what makes Barkley so special is his attention to detail. The No. 2 overall pick knows he has plenty of room for growth at the next level. He isn’t letting the high praise get to his head.
That was clearly visible after Wednesday’s minicamp practice, as Barkley addressed a dropped pass.
"“I did. I dropped one. That is something that I pride myself on. You come out here every single day and you want to be perfect. When I mean perfect, I don’t mean a perfect player, but you want to go through practice without drops. Sometimes it reassures you that you have to get back on the jugs and catching after practice. There is a ball that I caught 100 times and I dropped it, because I was trying to turn up field instead of securing the catch. I kind of worked on that after and it has not happened since. That is just a part of the game. I hate making mistakes, but I love making mistakes. I love having MA’s (missed assignments) and drops. It reassures you and makes you get back on your grind, lock in and focus a little more. It is better to happen now and in practice than in Week 1 against Jacksonville or preseason against the Browns.”"
Barkley’s ability to be critical of himself and his attention to detail should only help him develop at the next level.
The Giants had far too many self-inflicted errors in 2017. From lack effort to dropped passes, the Giants were a team quick to point fingers rather than look in the mirror.
There has already been a sense of change under new head coach Pat Shurmur this offseason. Accountability from all players on the final 53-man roster will be crucial to the team’s success in 2018.
Next: Don't Count Out Hunter Sharp
Barkley clearly has no problem with accountability. His biggest critic may just be himself.