Moeller: Is Barkley Under Pressure This Season? Wait and See

Is Saquon Barkley under pressure this season? Barkley, really?

It will be how he handles it this coming season.

There are mounting pressures of an anticipated breakout season on and off the field as one of the game’s elite and one of the Giants’ field generals.

The third-year running back has been under the microscope since he was the controversial second overall pick of the 2018 draft.

However, it didn’t take long to silence the critics.

Barkley took the league by storm and ran for 1,307 yards and scored 11 touchdowns and padded his performance with an astounding 91 catches for 721 yards and 721 yards. In all, Barkley accounted for 2,070 yards of offense.

He had his litany of rookie records, and his presence in the metropolitan stood like a skyscraper. GM Dave Gettleman deserved a pat on the back.

It also didn’t take Barkley long to become undertake a leadership role on and off the field on a team that was spinning with transition.

Year Two was a mid-season nightmare. A high ankle sprain severely limited his production and the whispers of his durability began to surface.

What happens this season? You know he will begin playing under some different circumstances in roughly 10 days.

According to a local source, Barkley has sent the message of vindication with a continuous series of rigorous, focuses workouts.

There is a new head coach, a surging second-year quarterback, and a resurrected feeling of confidence surrounding the season with Barkley ready to lead the charge.

He’ll be further fueled by fellow back Christian McCaffrey, who has bested Barkley as the league’s highest paid back at $16 million, and further topped him as the best back in MADDEN 21 (That’s big!)

Barkley will step onto the field this summer with expectations of a heightened leadership role, and possibly the one to lift the Giants from the deepest depths of mediocrity. He already has welcomed that type of role and has taken the Giants’ issues under his wing.

With new run-oriented offensive coordinator Jason Garrett calling the shots, Barkley will be counted upon to carry a load above 1,300 yards this season as well as being as elusive passing option out of the backfield.

At 23, Barkley is the face of the franchise that was masked last season with his injury.

Healthy and confident, he’ll draw the comparisons to Eli Manning, who lead the team to an 11-game,  NFC East Title campaign in his second season, and fell to 8-8 the following year.

There also was a heralded Jets’ quarterback who had the same distinction and became the first quarterback to throw for 4,000-plus yards his third season before winning a Super Bowl the following year.

Very shortly, Barkley will compete with the Jets’ Sam Darnold for the right to own the keys to the city (Daniel Jones also might have a say in the matter).

British gold-medal winning middle distance runner Sebastian Coe once said, “All pressure is self-inflicted. It’s what you make of it or how you let it rub off on you.”

For Barkley, it will be interesting to watch.


About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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