“He had a heck of a game and was big time for us,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “I think (it was) just giving him an opportunity to make a play.”
The coaches are working hard to create blocking schemes and call plays that will enable Barkley to find open space and maximize his impressive skills.
“(Offensive coordinator) Mike (Kafka) and (offensive line coach) Bobby (Johnson), (assistant line coach) Tony Sparano (Jr.), Bisch (tight ends coach Andy Bischoff), (running backs coach) Deandre Smith – those guys work hard and try to come up and develop a run-scheme each week,” Daboll said. “And that’s different week to week based on who we play and matchups, and that’s what we need to be. And Saquon just has to trust the blocking and run the way he knows how to run.”
About the only person who seemed unimpressed with Barkley’s performance was the player who dazzled everyone else. He has acknowledged he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder after hearing whispers his skills have diminished since he was the first back in Giants history to run for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.
Twenty-four touches and 194 yards from scrimmage will not dissolve it.
“It’s just one game, to be honest,” Barkley said after the game. “That’s how I look at it. Obviously, at the end of the day, I’m excited to get the win. Personally, just got to keep coming in. Something that just keeps tickling me that coach Dabs says, ‘Just enjoy the process.’ And that’s something I’ve been battling in the last few years with rehabbing and injuries. That’s been my mindset. So, no matter what – win, loss, tie – I just want to come here with the same mindset and just keep enjoying the process and come to work every single day. We had a great week of practice, and no matter what the result was going to be, we can’t let that alter what happens this week. So, we’ve got to keep grinding and keep leaning on each other.”
Barkley’s physical skills are evident. But he said the success he had yesterday, and whatever good comes for him in the coming months, is the result of something greater than power, speed and a nose for the end zone.
“Mindset. More confidence,” Barkley said. “An arrogant mindset, when you are coming from rehab and everyone is telling you, ‘The first year is tough. But the second year is going to be better,’ and you just put your mind – I’m not listening to all that. Especially when you see a guy like (former Minnesota Vikings running back) Adrian Peterson come back and blow up after his ACL. So, using a mindset you’re just like, ‘I don’t care. I want to be different. I’m going to be different.’
“That doesn’t affect me, but I’m human at the end of the day. I learned a lot from the previous year. Keep trusting that process made me be able to go out there today and not even think about it. I knew we were going to have a great game, and we were going to make some plays. It was just when the timing was right. It wasn’t really just a mindset change, it’s going out there and just believing in myself, trusting myself, and letting my God-given ability show.”
If he keeps showing it as he did yesterday, the boost to the Giants will be huge.
*Daboll said rookie wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson is “day-to-day” with a knee injury suffered in the game.
*The Giants today signed tackle KC McDermott to fill a vacancy on their practice squad created Saturday when Max Garcia was signed to the Arizona Cardinals’ active roster.
McDermott, 6-5 and 330 pounds, spent the previous four years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who signed him as a rookie free agent in 2018 from the University of Miami. He was released on Aug. 29.
McDermott played 16 games for the Jaguars – seven in 2020 and nine last season, including a start at right guard at New England on Jan. 2.