What if the most pivotal player in the Washington-vs.-Dallas battle to win the NFC East doesn’t even play for Washington or Dallas?
“I’ve been asked a lot,” running back Saquon Barkley said recently. "I guess that’s what the theme of this summer is gonna be, when I’ll be back. But no, I don’t have an answer, to be honest.”
Barkley (quoted here via the New York Post) is of course the star player for the New York Giants who went down in Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season, thus ruining the Giants' year in a way that was similar to Dak Prescott going down in Week 5 of the Cowboys' campaign.
QB Prescott‘s healthy return - he leads the Dallas Cowboys into their training camp arrival at Oxnard today - is obviously one of the NFL’s most critical storylines. And the Washington Football Team, as the defending division champion, deserve all the eyeballs cast its way as well.
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But Barkley, working to return from tearing his ACL, is when healthy as talented a player as exists in the NFC East. He won Rookie of the Year in 2018 after leading the league with 2,028 yards from scrimmage, including 1,307 rushing. In 2019 he finished with 1,003 yards rushing and 438 yards receiving with eight total TDs.
There is no reason for Giants panic yet. Just Giants caution.
“I’m not trying to … blow something up,” Barkley said, meaning he’s not trying to be dramatic or coy. “I don’t have an answer. It’s a fun process, but it’s a tough process at the same time. So I’m excited to continue to listen to my body, listen to the trainers, listen to the coaches, and just take it day-by-day.”
Barkley is unsure when he’ll be able to participate in training camp. And maybe this won’t be a problem for New York. This much is certain: a healthy Saquon Barkley gives the Giants a chance to compete with Washington and Dallas in the NFC East- or at the very least give the Giants a chance to knock some dents into the armor of the two divisional favorites.
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