By Michael Stewart @golferbad
Should The Giants Risk Barkley on Special Teams?
Introduction: The New York Giants have invested heavily on rookie running back Saquon Barkley and expect to utilize his talents this season. Barkley did everything for the Nittany Lions during his three seasons from running the ball to receiving and also returning kickoffs. It was assumed that once Barkley got drafted, his kickoff days would end, but after yesterday’s practice, the Giants had Barkley along with Cody Latimer, Jawill Davis, Sterling Shepard and Wayne Gallman all showing their skill set on kickoffs.
Now maybe this was nothing to be concerned with as it was the first day Barkley was seen receiving kickoffs. Would the Giants really be foolish enough to risk Barkley on special teams, when his overall value outweighs returning kicks. Or am I overacting and assuming the worse possible scenario where Barkley could injure himself returning kickoffs. If so, then why would the Giants even entertain such a crazy notion and even have Barkley participating in the drills when they have no intentions at all using him?
Barkley would probably outperformed all the other candidates mentioned, but he is too valuable to be used on kickoffs. Utilizing him in the running and passing game should be efficient enough to give the Giants an offensive weapon out of the backfield that they haven’t had since Tiki Barber. The Giants once tried to make Jason Sehorn a punt returner, who was at the time one of the top players on the team and it back fired on them as Sehorn suffered a major injury; in which he really never recovered from.
Final Thoughts: This is a message from me and more than likely every other Giants fan to Head Coach Pat Shurmur, “Don’t even think about it”. Barkley and kickoffs should never be used in the same sentence and definitely should never be a consideration at all.