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Saquon Barkley Unconcerned About Snap Count Reduction

The New York Giants coaches frequently state that they prefer to alter their offensive game plan based on the opposition and to maximize the playing time of their finest players.

Interestingly enough, though, despite his dual threat as a receiver and runner, running back Saquon Barkley—one of their finest players—has witnessed a decline in snaps. The opposition teams are forced to pay attention to him as a decoy even if he isn’t the play’s primary objective.

When asked about it, Barkley responded, “I think that’s a question better for (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kaf(ka) and all those guys.” “I’m not exaggerating things. I have complete faith in any guy that follows me, no matter what.”

That’s all well and good, but when Barkley is in the game, none of the men covering him offer the same threat or skill set. And while it’s plausible that, at least last week, the decision to restrict Barkley’s snap count was made because the score was growing out of control as the game progressed, it was still an odd choice given that other players were left on their own.

“I mean, yeah, clearly last week my snap percentage wasn’t as high,” Barkley stated. “It seems like the game got out of hand. In circumstances like that, I don’t play very much. I just carry out instructions. When my turn comes, I try to take advantage of the opportunities I have to make the plays that I can.”

After this season, Barkley—who says he feels OK physically—plans to negotiate a new contract, but it’s possible he’ll be assigned the franchise tag once more. The coaches will tell you that they pull Barkley out when he needs a blow, but they don’t know if it has anything to do with the choice to reduce his workload.

Head coach Brian Daboll stated, “I think that if Saquon needs a break, then he comes out.” “We let the next individual in. Saquon is a crucial member of our team. He engages in as much play as possible. We insert another guy if he needs a blow.”

As much as possible, we want Saquon on the field, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka continued. “Saquon will remain outside until he requires a hit. We actually work things out that way with him.

But why third down, where, according to Pro Football Focus, Barkley has only appeared on 49.5 percent of the team’s plays, as opposed to 65.9 percent on first and second down?

“I believe it’s just his utilization on first and second downs. If he can remain in there, he will run on third down. The other player will step up if he can’t, and he’ll come out for a play,” Kafka stated.

A plausible explanation for the “blow” could be Barkley’s lackluster pass blocking performance this season. Barkley has already given up six pressures this season, which is equal to the total number of pressures he gave up in 2021 and 2022, according to PFF.

Therefore, it’s probable that the Giants want to save Barkley’s legs as fresh as possible for the crucial first and second downs, saving his legs for the more demanding third-down duty, which they would then assign to younger, fresher legs like Matt Breida and Eric Gray.

Barkley doesn’t take the lack of playing time on third down personally, regardless of the circumstances.

“I don’t think my usage of third down is a negative thing or them viewing it as me not being able to be in there on third down,” he stated. “I believe I’ve demonstrated that over the years, particularly in the first two years that I’ve been with them. Well, whatever it is, keep going; all I need to do is figure out how to write better plays.”

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