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Saquon Barkley Is Not the Problem – Blame Jason Garrett

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:31 PM
James Dudko
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:31 PM
  • Saquon Barkley wasn’t to blame for gaining just six yards rushing vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett called a predictable game.
  • Garrett’s formations made it easy for the Steelers to zero in on Barkley.

Saquon Barkley said, “I have to do better for the team ” after the New York Giants running back rushed for six yards on 15 carries against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.

Barkley is being a good teammate, but he’s not the one to blame. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is the real problem.

Garrett had to get Barkley on track, even against a defense as tough as the Steelers’. Instead, what followed plumbed new depths of ineptitude for the struggling Giants:

One of the NFL’s best runners couldn’t match quarterbacks for rushing yards in Week 1. | Source: Twitter 

The presence of Ben Roethlisberger on that list only underscores Barkley’s ineffectiveness.

Garrett’s Dallas Playbook is Bad News for Barkley

Barkley beware. Garrett brought his playbook from Dallas with him to New York. Play-calling and design were significant issues when Garrett was head coach of the Cowboys, and the pattern continued with the Giants.

Fielding a suspect offensive line against a powerful Pittsburgh front seven, Garrett opted for a three-tight end offense. The extra tight ends tipped the Giants’ hand that a run from Barkley was coming.

It also didn’t help that Evan Engram and Kaden Smith struggled to block. Neither set the edge, leaving Barkley routinely exposed to tacklers behind the line.

Barkley was left exposed by weak blocking and poor play designs. | Source: Twitter 

Saquon Barkley Needs Creativity

The Steelers naturally focused on Barkley, but their job was made easier by the predictability of the Giants’ offense. Sequences usually went like this: pass on first down, handoff to Barkley on second down.

Everybody on the Steelers D’ knew what was coming. So did people watching, because Garrett was reading from a familiar script.

Barkley wasn’t given the ball in optimal situations. | Source: Twitter 

Similarly, Garrett’s tight end-heavy sets bunched the Giants together and made it easier for the Steelers to stack up against the run. Spreading out the defense with receivers in the slot would’ve made it easier for Barkley to find room inside.

There was also no disguise to the Giants’ running plays. Fellow runners Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman, along with fullback Elijhaa Penny, only played a combined 12 snaps .

Pairing Barkley with Lewis or Gallman would have created doubt among the Pittsburgh defense about who would get the ball. Faking a few jet sweeps and using misdirection would pull attention away from Barkley.

Garrett must get more creative and daring; otherwise, Barkley’s talents will go to waste.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.