Barkley credits linemen
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Saquon Barkley doesn’t think he will rush for 1,000 yards this season.
Oh, sure, he figures to reach the statistical milestone. After 125 yards against the Bears last week, he is just 46 yards shy. There’s a pretty good chance he accomplishes that on Sunday against the Redskins.
What he doesn’t buy into is that “he” will do it.
“When you get 1,000 yards, it’s not just yourself getting 1,000 yards,” Barkley said this week. “It’s your team getting 1,000 yards, the offense, and especially the offensive line.’’
Which is why Barkley wants to cross the fourdigit threshold in his rookie season not for his own satisfaction, but as a sort of thank you gift for his blockers.
“I know we’re pretty close to it and that just speaks volumes to the offensive line,” he said. “Definitely want to get that for those guys.”
Those guys have helped Barkley rush for over 100 yards in each of the past three games. In the nine games prior to that, he’d done it just twice. It’s pretty clear to the naked eye that the Giants’ offensive line has improved since the bye week. They have settled in as a cohesive group after spending the first half of the season grappling with injuries and benchings. The addition of Jamon Brown, acquired off waivers and inserted at right guard, seems to have been a key piece to the puzzle.
“You definitely do sense it being different,” Barkley said. “Just because of injuries and people moving and replacing here and replacing here. Now we got a solidified five… [The rushing yardage] speaks volumes on their part and the way they’ve been playing and the confidence they’re having as they continue to grow through every game we’re playing this year.”
So what does blocking for a 1,000-yard running back mean to an offensive lineman?
“It’s very exciting for us,” said fellow rookie Will Hernandez, who has played every snap of the season at left guard. “Our job is to make these guys the best possible and let them make the most out of their careers, you know? That’s our only job, to make sure these guys are successful.”