Recall of the giants for Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones? Evaluating former top-10 picks under Brian Daboll

It may be a cliché to say that for many players the NFL does not mean the National Football League, but rather “Not For Long”, but the New York Giants are living proof that the saying has merit. . Flashback to their 2019 training camp: running back Saquon Barkley had just lived up to the hype of being selected second overall in the 2018 draft with a historic rookie season. He led the NFL with 2,028 scrimmage yards, third as a rookie in NFL history behind Hall Famers Eric Dickerson (2,212) and Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999) en route to winning the league’s offensive rookie ‘year. At quarterback, the G-Men thought they had their young Clone of Eli Manning after selecting Duke’s Daniel Jones sixth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Today, Barkley and Jones are both at a crossroads, each looking to the final year of rookie contracts in 2022 while playing for a new head coach in former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and general manager. of former Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen, neither of whom have to employ their starting backfield beyond this season to keep their jobs since both were drafted by previous schemes.

The hope for both players is that this coming season just can’t be as ugly as 2021 was for the Giants across the board. Former head coach Joe Judge’s final season in charge was marred by injuries, including Jones (six games missed due to neck injury), Barkley (three games, ankle injury/COVID protocol), highest-paid free agent wide receiver of the 2021 offseason Kenny Golladay (three games, knee injury), center Nick Gates (15 games, broken leg), guard Shane Lemieux (16 games, knee injury) knee) and tackle Andrew Thomas (four games, ankle/foot).

Production understandably suffered during the streak as the offense crumbled, with the Giants failing to earn a win in their last six games without Jones. They finished as one of the two worst units in the league, with the exclamation mark of the season in their final home game against Washington, running a stealth quarterback on third-and-9 inside their own 5 meter line.

Giants 2021 season: winter woes

WL

4-7

0-6*

GPP

18.4

9.3

Gifts

14

16

Take away food

19

3

* Daniel Jones missed all six games (neck injury)

2021 Giants Offense: Bottom of the Barrel

GPP

15.2

31st

Total yards/game

287.3

31st

Turnover

30

Last

Yards/game

4.7

31st

Yards/Pass

5.8

Last

Enter Daboll, the architect of the NFL’s second-highest offense (29.8 PPG) over the past two seasons, who helped the Bills to playoff wins in consecutive seasons for the first time. since their run of four straight Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s. Key to Buffalo’s resurgence was Daboll figuring out how to get the most out of the Bills’ 6-foot-5, 237-pound quarterback Josh Allen, who the team drafted seventh overall in 2018.

The use of emptier formations (five receivers, only the quarterback in the backfield), pre-snap movement, play-action, and mesh/crossing route concepts allowed Daboll to simplify the game to Allen, helping him make quicker decisions as a runner and a passer. Under Daboll’s tutelage, Allen became the only player in NFL history in his first four seasons with over 100 passing touchdowns (103) and 30 rushing touchdowns (31).

The rise of Josh Allen’s career

WL

15-12

24-9*

Pass Yards/Game

184.4

271.2*

TD-INT

30-21

73-25*

Passer Ranking

78.2

99.2*

* NFL Top 10

Between Daboll and new offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, who coached Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes from 2018-21, Jones is relishing his chance to work with the Giants’ new offensive brain going forward.

“They both bring a ton of ideas, new ideas from different systems, systems that have been very successful, have had very successful quarterbacks,” Jones said in May. “I think all these ideas here, new thoughts here, new concepts, new parts, I think all of that (will help him improve). Just trying to pick up these little things here and there and listening to some of their philosophy on the game position, playing attacking, looking for opportunities to make plays in times when they are not there and protecting the ball.

“I think all of these conversations, just learning from their experience and what they’ve been through, the success that they’ve had.”

Jones has a similar physical build (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) to Allen, and slightly better efficiency numbers (completion percentage and passing yards per game) than Allen had during his first three seasons.

Comparison of the first three seasons of Daniel Jones and Josh Allen

Offset Percentage

62.8%

61.8%

Pass Yards/Game

221.0

220.6

TD-INT

45-29

67-31

Passer Ranking

84.3

90.4

However, Daboll made it clear a day after he was officially hired as Jones’ head coach in January that he wouldn’t compare his new quarterback to his old quarterback.

“We’re going to take it day by day,” Daboll said Jan. 31. “Look, we’re not going to make predictions and I wouldn’t do that to Daniel or really any player. think it’s fair to compare him to another guy I worked with. It’s himself. We’ll find out what it does well. We’re going to try to put a system in place that works for him and then it’s our job to bring in pieces that help him be the best version of himself and the best quarterback for us.”

For Jones to be the best version of himself, the Giants need Barkley to get closer to the high bar he set in his first two seasons in terms of production and health. He’s the only player in team history with 1,000+ rushing yards in each of his first two seasons (2018-19), but tearing his ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season has fact that Barkley has missed the last 14 games. Still shaking off the effects of that injury last season, he averaged 3.46 rushing yards per carry over the past two years, the fewest in the NFL among players with 150+ carries. Despite struggling over the past two seasons, Barkley’s 14 career games for 50 yards or more are the most in the NFL since entering the league in 2018, three more than Derrick Henry’s 11 of the Titans. Tennessee during this period.

Saquon Barkley Career Stats: Downhill Descent

Games played

29

15

Melee/Game Course

119.6

63.3

Melee Yards/Touch

5.6

4.2

Melee TD

23

4

Daniel Jones with and without Saquon Barkley*

Games played

20

18

Pass Yards/Game

243.6

195.9

TD-INT

29-15

16-14

Passer Ranking

87.3

80.3

*Since Jones rookie season in 2019

“The last two years haven’t gone the way I wanted, I kind of reflected on that,” Barkley said at Giants training camp on July 29. “Everything happens for a reason. So, the adversity, the wounds that have been inflicted my way for the past two years, God has a bigger plan and everything is going to work out. So coming this year, the fifth year, for me, I just want, like I said in my first interview when I talked to you guys this year, I just want to show the Giants that the guy they drafted is still there I can still play and helping my team succeed. That’s the only thing I focus on. taking care of my body, taking care of my mind and trying to be the best teammate I can be.”

Getting Barkley back on track is a top priority for Daboll as he integrates the Giants into his offensive system.

“You see it [Saquon Barkley] run here; he’s a pretty talented player,” Daboll said at training camp on July 29. “Our job is to find ways to use him, whether he did it last year or the year before. , two years, at university [at Penn State]. When you develop into a system, you sort of determine what these guys do best and challenge them to do more. And if it doesn’t look great, then you see if you want to keep chasing it. And if you want to keep chasing it, you have to improve them. And if it’s not, then you throw it away and do something else.”

One thing Jones has worked hard to shed is his high turnover as he has the third-most in the NFL with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (49), since entering the NFL. league in 2019, behind Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (52). ), and recently acquired Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (51). To cut back, he started attempting shorter, faster throws, and as a result Jones was fired at a career-low rate last season.

Daniel Jones career stats

Airyards/Attempt

8.0

7.6

7.3

INT percentage

2.6%

2.2%

1.9%

Percentage of bags

7.6%

9.1%

5.7%

In order to lift Jones and Barkley’s caps in 2022, Schoen and Daboll acquired three new starters to plug into the offensive line alongside Thomas at left tackle and Lemieux at left guard: projected right tackle Evan Neal (selected seventh overall in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Alabama), center Jon Feliciano (a starter with the Bills the past three seasons) and guard Mark Glowinski (a starter with the Colts the past four seasons).

“He is [Jones] has the right mindset,” Daboll said of his new quarterback. “He has a good size. There’s a lot to love about Daniel and we’ll take it one day at a time. We will work with him. We will help him get better. We will help him become a better leader. We will help him be everything. This is our job as coaching staff and as an organization. It takes everyone. It’s not just me. It’s the rest of our coaching staff. It’s the scouts. It’s the support staff. This is the ownership group. It takes a lot to raise a quarterback, if you will, and he’s been around the neighborhood for the past three years with a few different pieces. We’ll try to give him some stability and go from there.”

Stability would be welcome for everyone involved with the Giants, who are now on their fifth head coach in six seasons and stuck in a five-year playoff drought with a 22-59 record since 2017, tied for the worst in the NFL with the New York Jets. Making the playoffs will likely be a daunting task considering the Giants are expected to pass two playoff teams from a season ago in their own division, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. However, determining whether or not Barkley and Jones can be their long-term future alongside Daboll will help the team take its next big step in rebuilding a once-proud franchise.

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