Saquon Barkley

NFC East Notes: McCarthy, Eagles, Barkley

The Cowboys have spent this week clearing out some 2020 acquisitions, trading Everson Griffen and cutting Dontari Poe and Daryl Worley. Mike McCarthy does not currently have to worry about being a one-and-done coach. Jerry Jones expressed support for his 2020 HC hire, despite the team’s disappointing start.

One of the, without a question, reasons Mike McCarthy is the coach is because he’s been through it,” Jones said during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (via the Dallas Morning News). “… Certainly, we couldn’t have anticipated being at this stage with our team this year. But if I were going to hire for a head coach, that we’re going to be at this stage this year and work through this for the betterment of what’s in store for us for the rest of the year and for what’s for us in the future, I got my man.”

McCarthy has kept Kellen Moore as his play-caller and hired Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator. While the Cowboys’ offense was surging with Dak Prescott, it has cratered without him. Dallas’ defense ranks 30th in DVOA. Jones retained Jason Garrett for nearly 10 full seasons and has given all but one coach (Chan Gailey) at least three full seasons. Considering McCarthy’s Super Bowl-winning pedigree, it would be shocking if Jones ousts him after one season.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Eagles are currently down four offensive linemen, each of their three top receivers, their top two tight ends and Miles Sanders. But they are, despite being 2-4-1, in first place in the NFC East. A Jay Glazer report prior to the Eagles’ Week 7 win indicated they told teams they would listen to offers for their best players, but ex-Eagles president Joe Banner said (via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Paul Domowitch) Philly is interested in acquiring offensive line and linebacker help. The Eagles have been buyers in trades for years, and Ertz’s ankle injury halted trade talks. Despite the Eagles projected to be nearly $70MM over the 2021 cap, they may again be ready to acquire veterans.
  • On the subject of Eagles veterans, the news is not good for DeSean Jackson. Calling it a similar injury to Dallas Goedert‘s, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo said Jackson suffered a non-displaced ankle fracture and is expected to miss between six and eight weeks (video link). The 33-year-old deep threat has missed 16 games since returning to Philadelphia and looms as a near-certain 2021 cap cut, but Garafolo adds D-Jax does not intend to retire after this season.
  • Saquon Barkley‘s ACL reconstructive surgery is set for Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Interestingly, the World Series delayed the Giants running back’s procedure. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the operation, but since he is also the Dodgers’ team doctor, he was in the final MLB bubble and off-limits until the Series’ conclusion, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. No word has emerged regarding if Barkley’s surgery will need to be further tabled because of Justin Turner’s positive COVID-19 test. Barkley suffered the injury Sept. 20. Despite this delay, doctors are hopeful he will be ready for training camp, NFL.com’s Andrea Kremer tweets.
  • Washington first-year HC Ron Rivera finished up his chemotherapy and proton therapy treatments Monday. While he still has follow-up appointments on tap, per ESPN.com’s John Keim, this marks a major development in the veteran coach’s recovery from lymph node cancer.

Giants’ Saquon Barkley Tears ACL

The Giants’ fears have been confirmed. On Monday morning, the club announced that star Saquon Barkley has suffered a torn ACL. The running back will be formally placed on injured reserve, officially ending his season after just two games. 

The severity of Barkley’s knee injury was readily apparent when he was forced out early from Sunday’s game against the Bears. After an MRI of his right knee at the Hospital for Special Surgery, the former No. 2 overall pick now knows that he’ll be headed to the operating table. After that, Barkley will begin his road to recovery with an eye on 100% health to open the 2021 season.

Barkley was hampered by an ankle issue last year that limited him to only 13 games and had him hobbled in several others. In his full 16-game season as a rookie in 2018, the Penn State product notched 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He also added another 721 and four through the air while averaging 5.0 yards per carry. That was the kind of season that the Giants and Barkley were banking on.

Now 0-2 after falling to the Steelers and Bears, the Giants are left with Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman as their backfield leaders. Both players profile as capable backups — and Gallman has impressed on the practice field — but the Giants are still expected to scour the market for alternatives. There aren’t a ton of high-end free agent options at this stage of the season, but the trade market could provide the Giants with some opportunities.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Fear RB Saquon Barkley Has Torn ACL

Absolutely devastating news for the Giants, as it appears Saquon Barkley will be done for the year. New York fears their young running back has torn his ACL, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Schefter adds that official confirmation won’t come until Monday, but since field tests for ACLs are extremely accurate, it’s all but certain. Barkley was completely bottled up in the Giants’ Week 1 loss to the Steelers, and went down early in their game against the Bears. The Penn State product hasn’t always had a ton of room to run behind New York’s patchwork offensive line, but he’s still managed to be electric during his first couple of years in the league.

The second overall pick of the 2018 draft, Barkley quickly became one of the most recognizable faces in the NFL, and this is a huge loss. Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman are next up at running back for the G-Men, although it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if they went out and added a veteran in the wake of this injury.

Barkley was hampered by an ankle issue last year that limited him to only 13 games and had him hobbled in several others. In his only 16-game season as a rookie he had 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, adding another 721 and four through the air while averaging 5.0 yards per carry.

The Giants are now 0-2 on the year, and will be missing the heart of their offense moving forward. It certainly won’t help Jason Garrett’s first year as offensive coordinator, and Daniel Jones will now be without his safety blanket. Here’s to hoping Barkley makes a full recovery in plenty of time for the 2021 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Barkley, 49ers, Lockett

The Giants may be a long shot to make the postseason, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to shut down their star players. When asked if the team would rest running back Saquon Barkley, head coach Pat Shurmur responded with an emphatic “absolutely not” (via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY).

Shurmur had previously acknowledged that Barkley was a bit banged up, and that was evident after the running back compiled a single rushing yard on 13 carries during the Giants’ loss to the Jets on Sunday. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports that Barkley had an X-ray on his shoulder after the game. There was some thought that the 22-year-old was suffering from an ankle or leg injury, but Barkley acknowledged that his legs are still feeling good.

The Giants and Barkley will look to get back on track when they return from their bye week. The team will visit the Bears on November 24th.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • We’ve got some updates on key 49ers skill players. ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes (on Twitter) that wideout Emmanuel Sanders‘s s-rays for a rib injury were inconclusive. The veteran was set to undergo an MRI today to determine the extent of the “damage.” Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that running back Matt Breida will get a second opinion on his sprained ankle. While the injury isn’t thought to be serious, Breida may still be sidelined for several games.
  • Seahawks wideout Tyler Lockett was at the hospital last night getting treatment for a leg contusion, but Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com passes along that the receiver is alright. Coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN that the bruise caused a “pretty severe situation” thanks to the subsequent swelling, and Lockett didn’t return with the team to Seattle. The 27-year-old is having another productive season, hauling in 62 receptions for 793 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Some good news out of Indy: Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters that wideout Devin Funchess should return to practice this week. “Technically, he could be cleared to play the game,” Reich said (via Jim Ayello of the Indy Star). “But he’s got a few more boxes to check. We have to make sure he’s good to go because this will really be his first week of practice. Then we still have to see how much he’ll be able to do Wednesday. We’re really encouraged. I think there’s another box he has to check before we can go full boar on the practice.” Funchess landed on the IR after breaking his collarbone during the season opener.
  • Bengals tight end Drew Sample suffered a high ankle sprain this past weekend, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The 2019 second-rounder will undergo additional tests to determine how much time he’ll miss, but Rapoport notes that he’s a candidate for the injured reserve. The rookie has hauled in five catches for 30 yards in nine games (two starts) this season.

Extra Points: Vinatieri, Callaway, Barkley

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri has struggled mightily this season, and those struggles continued on Sunday. Vinatieri missed a crucial extra point, and the team ended up losing to the Dolphins by four points. Indy ended the game on Miami’s 16-yard line, and would’ve been able to attempt a game-tying field goal if not for Vinatieri’s miss. The organization has stuck by him throughout, but there were signs after the game that their patience might be wearing thin. “We’d been committed to him, but like everybody. … we’re going to always evaluate. Everyone gets measured, everyone’s held accountable. From top to bottom, that’s always the case. Nothing meant to read into that, that’s just the reality,” head coach Frank Reich said, per Joel A. Erickson of The Athletic (Twitter link).

On extra points, Reich said “there is an expectation there. Whatever percent it is to make an extra point, 97 percent, or 96.whatever it is to make that, we need to make those,” Erickson noted in a separate tweet. Vinatieri has now missed six extra points and five field goals on the year. It’s certainly not for sure, but the Colts appear to be inching closer to a divorce with the legendary 46-year-old kicker.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Browns receiver Antonio Callaway was a healthy scratch during Cleveland’s win over the Bills, and it appears there could be something interesting here. Callaway warmed up in uniform as if he was about to play, but then wound up inactive. When asked about it after the game Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said it “was between him and Callaway and repeated the response when asked if it was a disciplinary matter,” according to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. Alper notes that Baker Mayfield said Callaway was in the game plan during the week, but that “things happen.” Since it’s the Browns, it will probably turn out to be something of note.
  • The Giants suffered a tough loss to the Jets on Sunday, and things might get even worse. Star running back Saquon Barkley was spotted getting X-Rays after the game, according to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. Head coach Pat Shurmur conceded Barkley got “banged around pretty good,” but neither the coach nor player was willing to talk about what was wrong. Barkley, of course, just recently returned after missing time with an ankle injury.
  • In case you missed it, some in the Browns organization wanted to hire Kevin Stefanski instead of Freddie Kitchens.

Injury Updates: Saints, Brees, Giants

Saints quarterback Drew Brees wants to return sometime before the team’s Week 9 bye, but the team wants to exercise caution and push that off until Week 10, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweets. The Saints’ position makes sense, given Brees’ importance and Teddy Bridgewater‘s recent performance.

The Saints are 4-1 following Sunday’s win over the Bucs and they’ll look to make it four straight with a win over the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon.

Here’s more on some notable injuries around the NFL:

  • The Giants officially ruled out running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (knee), and running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) for Thursday night’s game against the Pats. The Giants showed some new signs of life following Daniel Jones‘ takeover of the offense, but they fell to the Vikings over the weekend and the odds may be stacked against them in New England.
  • Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul will be able to resume practicing with the team next week. JPP has not missed a game over the last two seasons, but he has yet to make his 2019 debut thanks to a fractured vertebra in his neck. Recently, he restructured his deal with the Bucs, allowing him to reach free agency after the ’19 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Rams, Matthews, Giants, Engram

There’s still no official word on when Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews will return to action, but a realistic return date for him would be after the team’s bye week, head coach Sean McVay told reporters. That would line the veteran up for a Week 10 return on Nov. 10 against the Steelers, restoring one of the Rams’ defensive stars for a second-half push.

While Matthews’ busted jaw heals up, the Rams will face the 49ers in an intrastate matchup on Sunday.

Here’s more on some notable injuries from around the NFL:

  • Giants tight end Evan Engram is dealing with a sprained MCL, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). It’ll be a challenge for Engram to play against the Patriots on Thursday, Schefter hears, which would leave the club with Rhett Ellison, Garrett Dickerson, and Kaden Smith at TE. Meanwhile, wide receiver Sterling Shepard is out and running back Saquon Barkley is considered unlikely to play.
  • 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk suffered an MCL injury on Monday night against the Browns, a source tells NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The team should know more after an MRI on Tuesday. Juszczyk may not be a household name, but he’s a key part of SF’s offense.

Giants Targeting Week 6 Return For Saquon?

Although the Giants haven’t officially ruled out Saquon Barkley for Week 5, the club’s “real target” return date for the star running back is Week 6 against the Patriots, a source tells Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Barkley, of course, suffered an ankle sprain in Week 3 and was given an initial recovery timeline of four-to-six weeks. However, nearly every report on Barkley’s progress has been glowing, and he now looks poised to easily outperform that schedule. He’s already been running and cutting on the sidelines during practice, and the Giants are “amazed, but not completely surprised” by Barkley’s recovery. If it were Barkley’s choice, per Vacchiano, he’d be on the field for Sunday’s matchup against the Vikings.

“I’m a competitor and definitely want to be out there for my team,” Barkley said. “But when you say team, it’s not just only in this building or on the football field. I have to trust my team in there.”

If Barkley can return for Week 6, he’d be a boon to a Giants that’s now helmed by rookie quarterback Daniel Jones and will see the return of suspended wide receiver Golden Tate this Sunday. For now, Wayne Gallman — who scored two touchdowns in relief of Barkley in Week 4 — will continue to hold down the fort at running back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Surgery For Giants’ Saquon Barkley

Excellent news for the Giants. Saquon Barkley will not require surgery on his injured ankle, according to specialist Dr. Robert Anderson (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).

Barkley’s high-ankle sprain is expected to shelve him for 4-8 weeks. Initially, a “tightrope” surgery was considered as an option. It’s the same surgery that Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had late last year and sometimes can aid in recovery for ankle injuries. Still, surgery is never fun and the fact that Anderson is not recommending it for Barkley suggests that his sprain is not of the more serious variety.

At minimum, Barkley will miss games against the Redskins, Vikings, Patriots, and Cardinals. It has been suggested that the Giants could keep him out for a longer stretch, giving him the club’s Week 11 bye week to recuperate. After that, Barkley could return for the team’s final six games.

The Giants are 1-2 thanks to Daniel Jones‘ late-game Week 3 heroics and the Bucs lack of defensive awareness. Next up – a Sunday matchup against Washington with Wayne Gallman as the primary tailback to try and improve to .500.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants’ Saquon Barkley To Miss 4-8 Weeks

Giants running back Saquon Barkley could miss anywhere from 4-8 weeks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Right now, the longer timeline is considered more likely, given the nature of his high ankle sprain and the timing of the Giants’ bye. 

The Giants will have off in Week 11, so the smarter play for the G-Men might be to give the young star a full two months to recuperate. In the interim, Wayne Gallman figures to take over as the team’s primary back. He’s not on Barkley’s level, but Gallman does have a career 4.0 yards per carry average to his credit. Gallman might also benefit from the additional running threat that new starter Daniel Jones provides.

Meanwhile, Barkley is intent on getting back on the field ASAP.

I’m not out for the season,” Barkley said on Sunday. “I’m going to do whatever I can to get back as quickly as possible.”

Barkley, 22, averaged 5.0 yards per tote last year and also caught 91 passes for 721 yards. At minimum, he’ll miss contests against the Redskins, Vikings, Patriots, and Cardinals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.