New York Giants superstar Saquon Barkley is looking to take his game to the next level in 2023. Despite having a memorable 2022 season where he played 16 games, the most since his rookie year, had numerous career highs in rushing attempts (295), yards (1,312), and touches (352), he wasn’t able to secure a long-term contract. But the star running back is putting his disappointment to the side and is ready to prove why he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2018.
Saquon Barkley looking to return to form
Barkley wants to become more dynamic in the passing game and he even shed a few pounds in the hope of returning to “Penn State Barkley.” At Penn State as a starter for three years, Barkley caught 102 passes for 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns.
In 2022, Barkley had 57 catches on 76 targets for 338 yards in the first year of head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka’s new offense. These stats were a regression from Barkley’s dominant rookie season in which he set a new franchise rookie record with 91 receptions, while also adding 721 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Barkley’s versatility as a rusher and receiver propelled him to lead the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage and ultimately win the 2018 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
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How the Giants will deploy Barkley in the passing game
With the acquisitions of standout TE Darren Waller and speedy WRs Parris Campbell and Jalin Hyatt, the Giants have added dynamic elements to their offense that will only open up new opportunities for Barkley and the team as a whole.
One of the key ways Barkley is set to benefit is through increased space in the passing game. With defenses preoccupied with the explosiveness of Waller and the speed of Campbell and Hyatt, they’ll be forced to make tough decisions about how to split their coverage schemes.
If they choose to double-team Waller, Barkley will be left in favorable one-on-one matchups with linebackers or safeties. Barkley’s agility, speed, and hands make him a nightmare for defenders in open space.
Barkley’s versatility as a receiver allows him to line up all over the field. Whether he’s in the backfield, split out wide, or in the slot, Barkley will continue to create mismatches.
Saquon is back and better than ever
With his knee fully healed and a substantial contract on the line, Barkley has every reason to push himself to new heights, making him a formidable weapon for the Giants in 2023. Defensive coordinators across the league should take note: Saquon Barkley is back, and he’s ready to make an impact in the receiving game like never before.