Giants’ Saquon Barkley optimistic heading into 2022 season, coming off injury: ‘F— everybody, I’m ready to go crazy’

The New York Giants have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL for five straight years. In that span, running back from Saquon Barkley’s Rookie of the Year win was a lone bright spot, but after another promising 2019 season, Barkley was limited by injuries.

The Giants themselves, meanwhile, are 22-59 across the range and about to start a new season with Brian Daboll as their first-time head coach and Daniel Jones in a make-or-break season. Barkley, who was dealing with an ankle injury and COVID last year, will no doubt hope to be a focus for the Giants’ offense.

However, it is not treated as the center of anything. Barkley’s stock has slumped as a preseason fantasy pick and the Giants are being viewed as rebuilders ahead of rivals.

Could the lack of hype help Barkley regain its premium back status? He certainly thinks so.

“Do I feel like back? I feel like I’m doing better.”

We sat down @Saquon for the first episode of @2ndwindpodcast1 spoke about his second convolution after the cruciate ligament tear, his motivation and his attitude for the coming season.

Tune in on FRIDAY to see the full episode

— 2ndwindpodcast (@2ndwindpodcast1) August 23, 2022

MORE: No, blocking injured Kayvon Thibodeaux wasn’t illegal

In an upcoming appearance on the 2nd Wind Podcast, set for release Friday, Barkley spoke passionately about his prospects for next season.

“Do I feel like I’m back? I’m feeling better,” Barkley said. “…I’ve always had this mindset of always getting counted out, but actually now it’s there, it’s really real, people are really trying to count me out. People are trying to write me off.”

Barkley also opens up about his injuries over the past few seasons and how they’ve changed his mentality this year.

Last year it was rather ‘dang, the game was taken away from me. I’ve never had a season that I didn’t play football. Now it’s called kill mentality. Now it’s like, “You know what, f— everybody.” I’m ready to go crazy. And I’m ready to let the world feel me.

How well that comment resonates with people will ultimately depend on how much they care about preseason platitudes, but the potential for Barkley is undoubtedly there. If he can get back to his 2018 and 2019 form, he is perfectly capable of having a great season.

Saquon Barkley’s fantasy projections in 2022

Sporting News isn’t too optimistic about Barkley’s potential to get back in shape.

On a new offense with a quarterback more or less trying to keep his job, he’s ranked 4th among running backs — solid players who can serve as RB1s if you’re missing out on real premium options.

At his best, Barkley can be a Tier 2 type. Someone you can reliably pick in the first round and expect round 1 productions from. But he wasn’t at that level yet, so he has to earn it back. It’s going to be hard for a team that’s barely brimming with talent to take him out of focus.

Barkley had over 200 carries in each of his first two seasons. We’ll see if Daboll attempts to build completely around him and attempts to force-feed the ball to Barkley to replicate that production.

How will the Giants use Barkley in 2022?

The Giants don’t seem shy about using Barkley in that capacity, mind you. In fact, this year he is considered the focal point.

MORE: Meet Ravens rookie Isaiah Likely

“Barkley should be more involved in the passing game this season and there’s not a lot of depth behind him,” ESPN’s Jordan Ranaan reported of Barkley in training camp. “So his workload is going to be huge… as long as he’s healthy. That is the question: can you trust him to stay sane?”

And there’s the catch.

Despite playing 13 games last year, Barkley was often hobbled after rolling his ankle against the Cowboys’ Jourdan Lewis just a month into the 2021 campaign. When it comes to running backs, being on the field is what matters most.

Saquon Barkley’s injury history

MORE: Why Baker got Mayfield Panthers QB job and what it means for Sam Darnold

Barkley’s injury history dates back to Penn State when he missed two games as a freshman with an ankle injury.

In the NFL, he was injured before snapping with a hamstring sprain, but he was ready in time for Week 1.

The first time Barkley missed games was in 2019 after spraining his ankle against the Buccaneers. He would miss three games. He then played two games in all of 2020, tearing his ACL against the Bears in Week 2. Last season, Barkley missed four games with the aforementioned ankle injury he sustained against the Cowboys.

He hopes not to be able to fill in this already long story in 2022. Barkley himself sounds optimistic. But when it comes to boot camp babble, it’s all to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *