Saquon Barkley had a fast start to the 2022 season — in more ways than one.
Sure, he rushed for 164 yards to spark the Giants to a 21-20 upset victory over the Titans last Sunday in Nashville. Barkley, who ripped off runs of 68 and 33 yards, was clocked at 21.1 miles an hour by NextGen Stats, the fourth-fastest he has ever run in his time with the Giants.
“I mean, the Giants clocked me at 20.9,’’ Barkley said. “They shorted me a little bit.’’
The display was meaningful for Barkley in that it showed he has fully regained his speed after surgery to repair a torn ACL early in the 2020 season.
“It felt good,’’ Barkley said, referring to his 68-yard run. “I got an opportunity, the O-line blocked it up great, got me a one-on-one, I was able to make the guy miss and kind of go up on the sideline. Only thing I can think about that play is find a way to score.’’
Barkley’s big game was noticed around the league, and he was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
In addition to his 164 rushing yards and a touchdown, Barkley caught a team-high six passes for 30 yards. Barkley’s 194 yards from scrimmage was the most for any player in Week 1. He also converted the game-winning two-point conversion.
This is Barkley’s third Player of the Week award, and his first since December 2019, when he amassed 279 yards from scrimmage in a victory at Washington.
Rookie OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) was listed as limited in practice Wednesday. He was off to the side with trainers during individual drills, but he was able to run on the side. The other starting edge rusher, Azeez Ojulari (calf) looks further behind Thibodeaux.
Rookie WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) wore a brace on his right leg and did not practice.
Head coach Brian Daboll said Robinson has made “pretty significant’’ progress since injuring the knee during the opener. The receiver looks as if he will miss some time.
Safety Dane Belton was a full participant in practice. He missed the opener after breaking his collarbone in training camp.
It seems as if the rotation at left guard will continue. Starter Ben Bredeson (32 snaps) and rookie Josh Ezeudu (28 snaps) shared the role in the opener. Daboll said both players earned the right to play based on their work this summer.
“They both, we feel, give us a chance to win,’’ Daboll said. “We think that was the best thing to do for that game. Now, does that change in Week 2 or Week 3 or Week 4? Certainly it could.’’