Author Archives: Dan Soden

Giants RB Saquon Barkley helped off the field after an ankle sprain

Saquon Barkley “Ordinary” Ankle Sprain

Sunday afternoon, Saquon Barkley went for a routine run up the middle as the Giants began to eat the clock up at the end of their thrilling comeback victory. However, the end result feels like a story Giants fans know all too well: another Barkley injury, this time in the form of an ankle sprain.

Barkley emerged from the bottom of the pile up visibly annoyed as he limped to the sideline. We could see him upset, even at one point throwing his helmet down in anger over the setback, as trainers and team doctors looked over the fallen running back.

Barkley was KEY in the Giants comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals, showing why the claims of him being the best offensive player in New York remain true. All told, Barkley rushed for 63 yards and one touchdown, while putting up an additional 29 receiving yards and one spectacular, pylon-lunging touchdown before the ankle sprain.

Giants RB Saquon Barkley helped off the field after an ankle sprain
Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Another Ankle Sprain for Barkley

For the second time in three years, we’ve seen the Pro Bowler injured on a common play. Previously, two years ago, we saw him inadvertently step on the foot of a Cowboys’ defender, causing him to miss four games with a sprained left ankle.

Monday, we received some clarity on the ankle injury from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. An MRI showed that Barkley suffered just an “ordinary” ankle sprain, rather than something more serious. Sources say this is going to sideline him for three weeks. A big emphasis during his time away will be on how well the Giants do in his absence.

Barkley, 26, is playing on a one-year adjusted franchise tag. The deal is worth up to $11 million. However, $900,000 of it is based in incentives. The Giants were looking down at a pretty brutal path with a healthy team. Missing their main scoring option is going to leave the Giants in a pretty interesting position.

What Happens Now?

Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell, and fifth round rookie Eric Gray are currently the only other backs on the roster. With Barkley’s exit, we saw Breida come in to finish the game. Realistically, he won’t be a viable option to replace Barkley’s scoring. Besides him not being that guy, the schedule is rough a head of them.

Brian Daboll and company seem set on running with what they have. Earlier in the day Monday, they made sure to be vocal with supporting Breida. Breida, who spent time with Daboll in Buffalo, should be able to get by on the ground. However the scoring and ability to open the field are going to be missed.

Hopefully the team can survive off the pass game, fronted by tight end Darren Waller. In the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how the Giants ease Barkley back into the game. In the past, it’s felt like Barkley rushed his own return to help a drowning squad. Basically for nothing, but his own detriment. This is one of those time we will see just how good of a coach Daboll really is.

Giants RB Saquon Barkley sits on field after embarrassing loss to Dallas Cowboys

Can the Giants Overcome Embarrassment?

Embarrassment, we’ve all felt it. After last Sunday night, the assumption would be that the New York Giants have felt it as well.

The hype behind the Giants was REAL. The made a splash by trading for Las Vega Raider’s tight end Darren Waller. They finally worked out a short-term deal with Saquon Barkley, ending his holdout. Both assistant coaches returned after several interviews for head coach positions following their successful rookie year. Most importantly, Daniel Jones was coming off a career year and a big pay day.

Most assumed that the Giants would put up a fight against the rival Dallas Cowboys. That was not the case. In the main event of opening day, in their own building, the Giants lost 40-0. In front of Queen Latifah, too.

Giants RB Saquon Barkley sits on field after embarrassing loss to Dallas Cowboys
Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

It was rough. Jones was mauled by Dallas’ defense, which led to Waller and the wide receiver corps never really gaining any traction. Barkley also struggled to do anything of note against the very aggressive defense. Majority of defense aside, we can blame just about everyone.

No crew more is guilty than the offensive line. Which I feel like we can chalk it up to them just shitting their pants. Hey, it happens. And it’s embarrassing, I know.

Sometimes as a youth you order chicken tenders from IHOP, being blissfully ignorant to how they would devastate your stomach. Then, your mother decides to take the long way home and Mother Nature reminds you how unforgiving she is. A fart turns into a problem and next thing you know, you are stopping at your aunt’s house to clean up the crime scene.

Now sure that’s a little embarrassing, but when you hear the doorbell ring and a car load of people are asking to coming in to use the phone, it grows. Like the Grinch’s heart on Christmas morning. My embarrassment grew and grew. As I heard these poor people gagging as they called Triple A, I knew changes needed to be made.

There is a point to this story. Sometimes you shit your pants and you get embarrassed in front of a lot of people. While I didn’t do it in front of millions, Evan Neal just played bad. I think it evens out a bit.

I never wore khakis to go out to eat and never ordered something that wasn’t breakfast food from IHOP again. Just like I did, Brian Daboll and company will make adjustments and learn from their mistakes.

Daboll was vocal this week about making the changes needed to fix the problems that they saw during that bloodbath. Many expect to see a bit of a revamped offensive line come Sunday’s game with the Arizona Cardinals. Hopefully they remember not to order the chicken fingers in Arizona.

Is Darren Waller a First Round Fantasy Draft Selection?

The year is 2002. It’s my sophomore year in high school. At this point in life my money goes to two things: wrestling and rap. I was still big into buying these things called CDs at the time. This particular Friday, I had my mind set on purchasing Nappy Root’s debut album “Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz”. I go to FYE, or whatever it was at the time. I discover another CD while I was there. For the life of me I can not tell you what the name of that CD was. This is very important to the story.

See, I was a dummy who over-thought everything, including this purchase. I walked out of FYE that night with this easily forgettable album instead of the sure thing. To this day I will still listen to “Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz”. It’s a comforting album, with plenty of hits and a familiarity that I know and love. See, on that day at the mall I overthought a sure thing and, well, I missed on a sure thing. Now, when I apply that unfortunate scenario to my fantasy draft and ask myself “do I draft Darren Waller?”, the answer isn’t to over-think. It’s to just draft.

Waller is going to be that comforting “get out of jail free” card for Daniel Jones all season long. These two have been connecting and building chemistry on, and off, the field since the Giants trade for him back in March. It’s been no secret that Jones enjoys having a good tight end around. Last season he ranked in the top five in quarterback rating, completion percentage, and first down rate when targeting a tight end. Targeting Waller should be no different, and may even help improve those numbers for the second year, Mike Kafka-run offense.

During his stint with the Raiders, Waller surpassed 1,000 receiving yards twice. However, I can’t bring up the past with out talking about the injuries. He’s only played in 20 out of his last 34 games due to injuries. I, too, call out of work more often when I hate it there.

Darren Waller Fantasy Draft Outlook

From the eyes of fantasy football, Waller has been great over the last three seasons.
On average he ran 32 routes per game, with 7.6 targets, 5.3 receptions, and 62.5 yards, which have him ranking as a top four tight end. This is prior to an entire offense being built around him.  

Waller is going to see a lot of targets; I would even step out on the ledge and say he leads all tight ends. This man has been unstoppable so far in training camp. The mad scientists that are Kafka and Brian Daboll have him lining up in every position that isn’t quarterback. 

With a chip on his shoulder and something to prove, it should really be a no brainer to target Waller in your fantasy drafts. I say forget the “If I don’t get Travis Kelce” narrative and draft Waller as your first overall tight end. Don’t be sophomore Dan sitting in the rap isle of FYE overthinking a no-brainer pick of Darren Waller and go home from your fantasy football draft happy.

The Most Perfect Duo in Giants History

Ideally I’d be deciding the most perfect duo in Giants history via a Mortal Kombat style tournament. The overlapping and blood made me save that idea for something less complex than this. There are several duos in contention for this made-up award, I’d list them but do you really want to read that?

I’ll save the time and effort for both of us and list my five finalists for this truly honorable award: Eli Manning and Shaun O’Hara; Brandon Jacobs and Ahmed Bradshaw; Lawrence Taylor and Leonard Marshall; Lawrence Taylor and Bill Parcells; and finally Phil Simms and Mark Bavaro.

I’m sure I left off plenty of your favorite duos. It’s bound to happen; not everyone can eat at the adult table for this meal, folks. Now, it’s time to start trimming the bird. I’ve got a series of requirements that will weed out the undeserving until we finally end up with just one duo left. I will then crown them “The Most Perfect Duo in Giants History” (insert firework sounds).

The first requirement is going to be incredibly harsh. Would Barry Allen go back in time to save you and mess up the entire timeline?

Brandon Jacobs & Ahmed Bradshaw were both incredible backs, truly some of the best they’ve ever had not named Saquon Barkley or Tiki Barber, but we need to keep it real here. They are running backs, and for that reason we have to chop them. Farewell boys.

The next requirement: Did they need each other? Are they WHAM! or are they Mobb Deep?

Lawrence Taylor and Leonard Marshall were going to be their own men regardless if they played with the other one. Marshall also fits the role of Andrew Ridgeley perfectly, because only the most diehard fan remembers his name — Even though he is talented in his own right.

Now we have three duos left it’s time to get to the meat and potatoes of this thing.

Who actually changed the franchise?

Phil Simms and Mark Bavaro are a fine QB/TE tandem. Arguably one of the best of their time. They did great things on the field, but in the long run they didn’t impact the franchise like the other two.

Eli Manning & Shaun O’Hara are the duo that I expected to pick to win this, but then I started to think about it. Can I give this duo the credit for what Eli and the skill positions did? I was trying to get too cute, and well, you can’t get cute in football.

The winners of the “Most Perfect Duo in Giants History” award are of course
Lawrence Taylor & Bill Parcells.

Parcells isn’t going to be getting a Christmas card from Taylor, and vice versa, but what these two were able to create was legendary. Actually, I would use the word iconic. Bill Parcells is known as one of the greatest coaches of all-time, and his ability to create the Taylor-led defense showed that off. His ability to channel Taylor’s feral energy and turn him into one of the most vicious linebackers of all time was game changing.

The Big Blue Wrecking Crew is the identity of this team still to this day. There is no duo in franchise history that deserves this award more than those two for setting the standard for New York football.