Saquon Barkley hasn’t been Saquon Barkley since returning from his ankle injury.
The second-year star running back for the Giants had a dismal day against the Jets on Sunday when he rushed the ball 13 times for one, single yard.
It was the worst game of his career during a stretch that has seen him tail off within the Giants offense.
In the four games since his return from an ankle injury suffered during the second quarter of Week 3 against the Buccaneers, Barkley has looked mortal. He has posted 165 rushing yards on 64 attempts for a lackluster 2.58 yards per carry.
In his first two games of the season, he ripped through the Cowboys for 120 yards on 11 carries before going for 107 on 18 rushes against the Bills.
The ankle injury was expected to sideline last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year for anywhere between 6-8 weeks. Barkley, however, was back in just four.
He hasn’t looked nearly as explosive since his return, but head coach Pat Shurmur and the Giants’ supporting cast isn’t doing him any favors.
According to ESPN, Barkley was hit before he got to the line of scrimmage on 11 of his 13 carries against the Jets, who pummeled the 22-year-old.
He was seen walking gingerly into the Giants’ x-ray room after the game. The apparent injury is undisclosed, leaving everyone in the dark.
But the Shurmur — who is making no friends in New York this season — is playing with fire.
When asked if there was a plan to shut Barkley down for the rest of the season, the second-year head coach said: “Absolutely not.”
While the much-maligned head coach quickly shot down such an idea, one could make an argument about why it isn’t a bad idea.
This after Shurmur was called out on multiple occasions for underutilizing his star rusher while healthy.
The lifespan of running backs in the NFL is quite short. Especially when it comes to their prime seasons.
For a Giants team that is 2-8 and has an offensive line that continuously leaves Barkley out to dry, the risk of running a hobbled back out every week to finish a lost season is an unnecessary one.