Giants curtain call for Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones? Sizing up former top-10 picks under Brian Daboll – CBS Sports

Giants curtain call for Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones?  Sizing up former top-10 picks under Brian Daboll - CBS Sports

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

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

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

Production naturally suffered down the stretch as the offense collapsed with the Giants failing to get a win in their final six games without Jones. They finished as one of the league’s worst two-scoring units, with the highlight of the season coming in their final game at home against Washington, running up a quarterback sneak on third-and-9 inside their own 5-yard line.

Giants 2021 season: Winter woes













* Daniel Jones missed all six games (neck injury)

Giants 2021 offense: Bottom of the barrel




Total Yards/Game












Enter Daboll, the architect of the NFL’s second-highest scoring offense (29.8 PPG) over the last two seasons, who helped lead the Bills to back-to-back playoff victories for the first time since their run of four straight Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s. . The key to Buffalo’s resurgence has been Daboll figuring out how to get the most out of the Bills’ 6-foot-5, 237-pound quarterback Josh Allen, whom the team drafted seventh overall in 2018.

Employing looser formations (five receivers, only the quarterback in the backfield), pre-snap motion, play-action and mesh concepts/passing routes allowed Daboll to simplify the game for Allen, aiding him in making quicker decisions as a runner and a passerby Under Daboll’s tutelage, Allen became the only player in NFL history in their first four seasons with more than 100 passing touchdowns (103) and 30 rushing touchdowns (31).

The career growth of Josh Allen




Pass Yards/Game






Passer rating



* Top 10 in NFL

Between Daboll and new offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, who was Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks coach from 2018-21, Jones is relishing his opportunity to work with the Giants new offensive brain confidence going forward.

“They both bring a lot of ideas, new ideas from different systems, systems that have had a lot of success, had quarterbacks with a lot of success,” Jones. said in may “I think all those ideas here, new thoughts here, new concepts, new plays, I think all those things (will help him get better). Just trying to take those little things here and there and listen to some of their philosophy about playing. the position, playing offense, looking for opportunities to make plays at times they aren’t there and protecting the ball.

“I think that all those conversations, just learn from their experience and what they were around, the success they had.”

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

Comparing the first three seasons of Daniel Jones and Josh Allen

Comp Pct



Pass Yards/Game






Passer rating



However, Daboll made it crystal clear a day after he was officially hired as Jones’ head coach in January that he would not compare his new quarterback to his former quarterback.

“We’ll take it day by day,” Daboll said on January 31 “Look, we’re not going to make any predictions and I wouldn’t do that to Daniel or really any player. I don’t think that’s fair to compare him to another guy that I’ve worked with. He’s himself . We’re going to find out what he does well. We’re going to try to implement a system that fits 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 approach the high bar he set in his first two seasons in terms of production and health. He is the only player in team history with over 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons (2018-2019), but tearing his ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season caused Barkley to miss the final 14 games. Still shaking off the effects of that injury last season, he averaged 3.46 rushing yards per carry over the last two years, the fewest in the NFL among players with more than 150 carries. Despite his struggles the last two seasons, Barkley’s 14 career games of 50 or more yards are the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2018, three more than. Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry’s 11 in that span.

Saquon Barkley career statistics: Running down

Games Played



Scrimmage Yards/Game



Scrimmage Yards/Touchdown



Scrimmage TDs



Daniel Jones with and without Saquon Barkley*

Games Played



Pass Yards/Game






Passer rating



*As of Jones’ 2019 rookie season

“The last two years haven’t gone the way I wanted, I’ve been thinking about that a little bit,” Barkley said at Giants training camp on July 29. “Everything happens for a reason. So, the misfortune, the injuries that have been put in my path these last two years, God has a bigger plan and everything will work out. So, come. this year, fifth year, for me I just want , like I said in my first interview when I talked to you this year, I just want to show the Giants that the guy they drafted is still here. I can still go out there and make the plays and help my team to succeed. That’s the only thing I’m focused on. Take care of myself, take care of my body, take care of my mind, and try to be the best teammate I can be.”

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

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

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

Daniel Jones’ career statistics

Air Yards/Test




INT Percentage




Sack Percentage




To raise the ceilings of both Jones and Barkley in 2022, Schoen and Daboll acquired three new starters to plug on 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 Draft from Alabama), center Jon Feliciano (starter with the Bills the last three seasons) and guard Mark Glowinski (starter with the Colts the last four seasons).

“He is [Jones] got the right mindset,” Daboll said of his new quarterback. “He’s got good size. There’s a lot of things to like about Daniel and we’re just going to take it one day at a time. We’re going to work with him. We’re going to help him get better. We’re going to help him be a better leader. We’re going to help him be everything. That’s our job as coaching staff and as an organization. It takes everybody. It’s not just me. It’s the rest of the coaches on our staff. It’s the scouts. It’s the support staff. . It’s the ownership group. It takes a lot to grow a quarterback, if you will, and he’s been around the block here these last three years with a few different pieces. We’re going to try to give him some stability and just take it. from there.”

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

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