*Saquon Barkley missed four games with ankle injury and tied Devontae Booker for the team lead with 593 rushing yards. Barkley was injured in his right knee in Week 2 and was unable to play for the 2020 season. Barkley’s numbers in 2020 were not as impressive as those he posted in 2018-19 when he became one of the Giants’ first players to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of his two first seasons.
Barkley was today questioned. “How sure are you that you’re going to be a better version of yourself next year?”
“I’m almost 100 percent sure, to be completely honest, because the only thing I can focus on is the things that I can control,”Barkley stated. “I can control my work ethic. I can control my effort and my attitude this offseason. This offseason is going to be all about getting myself in tip-top shape and getting my body back to the form where I need it to be, so I can be the player that I know I am.”
Barkley believes the Giants have not won more that six games in any of their four seasons. However, he is optimistic about the team’s ability to improve its performance and position in the standings.
“I do believe it can be done,”He said. “I think you see it every year throughout the National Football League, a team that did not do so well the year before and then the next year they’re in playoff contention. It’s the offseason. In the offseason as players, we’ve got to come in, we’ve got to work and ownership and coaches, they’re going to do the right thing to add key additional pieces that we need for our team. We’re going to get healthier with guys like (linebacker) Blake (Martinez) coming back and just going to keep working and do what is going to be necessary to happen for us to make us turn it around.”
*According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Barkley and Booker are the first pair of teammates to tie for a team’s rushing lead since Ray Nolting and Sam Francis each ran for 297 yards for the 1938 Chicago Bears.
*The two most significant transactions of James Bradberry’s NFL career were executed by Dave Gettleman.
Gettleman selected Gettleman’s cornerback in the second round, 2016 NFL draft for Carolina Panthers. He induced Bradberry to sign as a free agent for the Giants four more years later.
Today, Gettleman announced his retirement after four seasons as the Giants’ General Manager. He spoke with the team today.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,”Bradberry said. “When I hear about retirement, I think of that person’s legacy and also the hard work that they had to put in to get to retirement. So, now he’s going to be laying back, chilling probably on a beach somewhere and I congratulate him for that. But at the same time, I think about he gave me an opportunity to play for the Panthers. Then, he gave me another opportunity to come here and play for the Giants, so I’m very appreciative of him and I thanked him for that out there after the speech, congratulated him as well.”
Jones, whom Gettleman selected sixth overall for the 2019 draft had similar feelings.
“Obviously, tough to see him go,”Jones said. “He’s a guy who gave me this opportunity and brought me in here, so I’ll forever be grateful to him for that. I think the world of him as a guy and thought he did a good job. Tough to see him go and certainly wish him the best going forward. Just grateful for him and what he’s done for me.”
Gettleman chose Barkley for the second selection in 2018.
“It’s sad to see him retire,”Barkley stated. “I’m always forever going to be grateful and thankful for Mr. Gettleman. He gave me the opportunity to live out my dream and to come and play for an amazing organization. Obviously, I wish we were able to have a lot more success, but the things that he taught me and things that I learned from him, I’m going to continue to carry them on in my career and the messages that he kept giving me or the conversations that we have, I know I will take with me and help me kind of put my career in the right direction and finish it off the way I want it to be and how he perceived it to be, too.”
*Martinez was one of the six team captains who missed games due to injury. With 151 tackles in 2020, Martinez was the team’s leading tackler. He tore his left ACL in Week 3, against Atlanta. Martinez had been a part of every Giants and Green Bay game in the past four seasons.
“For my recovery, I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Martinez said. “Obviously, as a competitor, I’m doing everything I can and as much as I can each day to make sure I’m progressing in the right direction.”
Martinez also offered some thoughts about the team’s future.
“I got kind of a backseat viewpoint on this year,”He said. “I think every guy has the same frustration. We’re all competitors, we all want to win, we want to compete out there. For us, just looking ourselves in the mirror, figuring out what we could do better across the board, throughout the offseason, throughout training camp, throughout the season, to make everyone around us better when we’re out there on the field. I think moving forward, when we get back on the field, finding those little things where, kind of like Saquon hit, it’s just making those plays when they come to you, understanding scheme, and executing when we need to in crucial moments.”
*On Sept. 16 in Washington, another captain, center Nick Gates, suffered a serious lower left leg injury that required several surgeries.
“I’m doing good,” Gates said. Gates said, “I am making good steps and good progress in my…” rehab. I don’t have a timeline for when I’ll be back. I’m just taking things day by day, trying to improve each and every day, and listening to what the trainers have to say.
“My plan is to get back on the field as fast as possible. I don’t know if it’s going to be this year or whatever, but just taking it day by day.”
*The Giants signed eight players to reserve/future contracts. They spent the entire season on the practice team, while others were on the active roster.