The New York Giants’ offense has a new point of emphasis to go along with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Rookie running back Saquon Barkley, the second overall pick in the April draft, has the attention of Dallas Cowboys’ defense. Barkley rushed for 106 yards on 18 carries, including a 68-yard scoring run in the Giants’ 20-15 loss to the Jaguars in Week 1.
“Now it’s 1-2-3-4-5 punch,” Cowboys safety Kavon Frazier said of the addition of Barkley. “We just have to be sound and on our toes. Saquon is a heck of a player. He’s a different back. We have to be in our gaps and tackle well. That’s the story. As soon as you lose containment, he’s going to bust it.”
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli called Barkley’s speed rare and said his addition will require strict gap discipline along the line of scrimmage.
“He’s a home run threat. This guy is really good. He has the ability to get those jump cuts and he’ll break out,” Marinelli said. “Boy, if you don’t have the edges of the defenses set and your corners aren’t replacing correctly, he’s going to the house on you. We have our hands full. We have a lot of respect for him.”
Linebacker Sean Lee, who loved watching Barkley play for his alma mater Penn State, echoed Marinelli’s praise.
“Great runner, fast, runs routes out of the backfield. I think the stuff you saw at Penn State you see now,” Lee said. “They have a lot of guys who can make big plays.”
Beckham, who had 11 catches for 111 yards in Week 1, will only help take pressure off Barkley and vice versa, which poses an issue for defenses, Marinelli said.
“They spread it out well. We have to get them behind the chains,” he said. “We have to take the run away, we have to be able to do that.”