Injuries and New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley have been synonymous as he has yet to play a full season since his 2018 rookie campaign. Another week removed from an ankle injury that sidelined him since Week 5, is Barkley playing against the Eagles this week?
Update 11/28/21: According to the Giants, Saquon Barkley will be active for their game against the Eagles today.
Is Saquon Barkley playing in Week 12 despite an ankle injury?
Barkley played only two games last year after suffering a season-ending ACL tear. As a result, we entered 2021 with the assumption it might take time for Barkley to reacclimate to the NFL. Well, unfortunately, we were right — and then some.
Barkley posted just 54 carries for 195 yards (3.6 yards per carry) and 2 touchdowns from Weeks 1-5. He did not look like his usual explosive self, culminating in a freak ankle injury where a Cowboys defender accidentally stepped on him.
After missing four games and resting during a Week 10 bye, many hoped Barkley would return to form in Week 11. As one might predict, that did not come to fruition. He carried the rock just 6 times for 25 yards and caught 6 passes for 31 yards against the reigning Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers.
Like last week, Barkley recorded limited practice sessions every day this week. Although he is listed as questionable, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports he is expected to suit up against the Eagles. That is a good thing … right? Not so fast.
Barkley’s support system is broken
The ancillary pieces are not helping Barkley. The Giants just fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and are replacing him with Freddie Kitchens. Outside of second-year LT Andrew Thomas, the offensive line has been one of the worst units in the league. Additionally, New York has repeatedly trailed in games, forcing Daniel Jones to play catch-up under center.
Speaking of Barkley’s starting QB, after starting out hot, Jones has cooled off. Along with average to below-average play, Jones’ turnover-prone nature has reeled its ugly head in the shape of 7 interceptions and 7 fumbles (3 lost). The offense is struggling, but the defense isn’t helping matters. They are 26th in yards per game allowed (375.4) and 24th in points (24.6). There is a reason why the G-Men are 3-7 and at the bottom of the lowly NFC East.
What to expect from the Giants’ backfield in Week 12 and beyond
Barkley isn’t 100% healthy, that is clear. He either doesn’t possess the same burst he once had, or he doesn’t trust his body to perform the same maneuvers. In either case, Barkley isn’t right and is not helping his team as much as he once did.
The Giants should use their remaining seven games to let their star RB regain his health and test out his legs. I don’t expect them to utilize him as a workhorse anytime soon, especially with Devontae Booker filling admirably. While I hope we see prime Barkley sooner rather than later, I don’t think we will see much more than a few flashes here and there in 2021.