NY Giants’ Saquon Barkley about to be unleashed on Broncos?

New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

NY Giants star running back Saquon Barkley appears to be on track to return for Sunday’s Week 1 showdown with the Denver Broncos

Barring an 11th-hour setback, it appears NY Giants running back Saquon Barkley is set to return for Sunday afternoon’s Week 1 clash with the Denver Broncos.

Giants head coach Joe Judge told reporters Friday that Barkley has “one more hurdle,” to clear before being medically cleared to play Sunday, and that is getting through Friday’s final practice of the week.

Presuming all goes well during Friday’s practice, the focal point of the NY Giants’ offense should be back in action for the season opener on Sunday afternoon.

During Friday’s practice, Barkley sure seemed fired up, ahead of his final test before possibly being cleared to play in his first NFL game since tearing his ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season against the Chicago Bears.

Can Saquon Barkley be a catalyst for NY Giants offense?

If Barkley gets the final approval Friday, he could play a significant role in the opener on Sunday.

"“He’s one of those dynamic players,” NY Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett told reporters Thursday. “Both in the running game and in the passing game. He’s one of those players who can make a three-yard run and a four-yard run and a two-yard and a one-yard run, and then he catches a screen and goes for 65 yards.“We’ve lived that trying to stop him, so it’s great to have him on our side and, again, we’ll try to give him opportunities. He’s worked really, really hard to get back, to come back from a serious injury. He’s done a great job and demonstrated great leadership about how you respond to adversity.”"

Barkley’s presence has the potential to jumpstart the offense, against a Broncos’ rushing defense that finished last season ranked 25th in the league, allowing an average of 130 yards per game.

The NY Giants have taken a cautious approach to Barkley’s rehab this summer, bringing him along slowly throughout training camp and holding the star running back out of the team’s three preseason games.

It would seem that approach is paying off, ahead of Week 1.

"“I’ve seen Saquon push through that with how he works and I think the confidence comes from what you demonstrate through your rehab and then build into the team as you get it to go on with them,” NY Giants coach Joe Judge said Wednesday. “I’ve seen him improve his movement skills, I’ve seen his football conditioning really improve. Obviously, as he got into just playing football with us towards the tail end of training camp and through these last couple of weeks, that’s probably been a daily increase and improvement for him and a lot of that’s just natural. You’re out of football for that length of time, you got to get back into the movements, the execution of plays, there’s a lot of things that go into that, but I have seen him progress on a daily basis. I’m very pleased.”"

Trending. Bold predictions for Giants' 2021 season. light

Matt Lombardo is FanSided’s National NFL Insider and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday. Email Matt: Matt.Lombardo@FanSided.com.