Giants coach Pat Shurmur wants Saquon Barkley to get a little more “dirty.”
The rookie running back has dazzled everyone with his knack for big-play gains through nine games this season but the Giants head coach said there is plenty more to learn for Barkley.
“He’s had success bouncing runs in the past and gotten big gains out of them, but there also is what I call a dirty 4-, 5-, 6-yard run that he has the be willing to take as well,” Shurmur told reporters earlier this week. “It’s a fine line.”
Barkley has accumulated 1,116 yards from scrimmage — third most in the league — but has done so with boom-or-bust type plays.
He has rushed for 20 yards or more on seven carries and 40 yards or more on three carries this season but only has 22 carries between four and six yards while 19 carries for negative yards and 15 for no gain.
Of course, there are issues with the Giants offensive line that are well-documented and could be a contributing factor to some of those numbers, but Shurmur is confident Barkley will continue to improve in this area as he grows.
“It’s the judgment and the vision of the ball carrier,” Shurmur added. “Like anything, he’s getting used to it. He’s a rookie, and he’s certainly done a great job for us, but there’s still a lot to be learned. As he runs the ball more and more and more, he’ll get a feel for when it’s right to bounce it and right to stick it up in there.”
Meanwhile, Barkley says he is not trying to overthink things.
“It is tempting (to make an extra cut),” he said. “The way I’ve been trying to play is take what the defense gives you, and when you get a chance, try to make them pay for it. I just got to continue to trust the system, and trust the team, and trust the offensive line, and trust myself, and just play how I play.”