By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: Saquon Barkley had an outstanding rookie season in 2018 by gaining over 2000 total yards from scrimmage. To put this into retrospect, he is only the third running back in NFL history to accomplish this feat (Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James).
Keep in mind that Barkley played behind a line in 2018 that was not as talented as the lines that Dickerson and James ran behind in their rookie season. The Giants 2019 offense is going to be centered around Barkley and his 261 carries as a rookie should increase at least 10-15%; which would give Barkley at least 300-335 carries this coming season and beyond.
With this in mind, it got me to thinking if Barkley could challenge the all-time single-season mark of total yards from scrimmage of 2509, set by Chris Johnson in 2009? It seems logical as the Giants GM Dave Gettleman did make moves to improve the offensive line this off season with the trade of Guard Kevin Zeitler and the signing of Tackle Mike Remmers to improve the right side of the offensive line; which was unproductive in 2018.
Barkley’s window to achieve this milestone is not just for 2019, as he should be physically able to have at least the next 3-5 season’s to accomplish this. Over the next few years, GM Dave Gettleman should have a plan of replacing Nate Solder and Mike Remmers at the tackle positions and possibly adding other pieces through the draft and possibly free agency to ensure the success of their star running back.
When Chris Johnson had his record-setting season, he needed 408 combined touches (358 carriers/50 receptions) and he averaged 5.6 per carry and 10.1 per reception. In contrast, Barkley’s outstanding rookie season in both of these categories was slightly lower with 5.0 per carry & 7.9 per reception. Needless to say, everything must fall into place perfectly in order for Barkley to break this record; which is possible.
Final Thoughts: I project Barkley will have his carries increase over the next few seasons and his reception totals per season decrease slightly. I also believe the Giants game plan for not only this season but as long as Gettleman is the GM will be old-time football with the run setting up the pass.
Having a superstar in Barley as your running back is a good start and as long as Gettleman keeps a priority on having quality offensive linemen in front of Barkley (which should be the plan) will ensure his success and the opportunity to put his name in the record books.