He caused a sensation.
“How did I make a splash?” Asked Tiki Barber.
Because you made some critical comments about one aspect of Saquon Barkley’s game.
“I just reported what I see,” Barber told The Post on Wednesday. “My philosophy is this: your critics are your friends because they show you your flaws. So don’t get angry, fix them. ”
Here it is. Best advice possible for the Giants’ most gifted player. Fix what is wrong.
No one is immune from this. Not even the guys picked the No. 2 in the NFL Draft. Not even those who are anointed as generational talent. Not even those who are stars by their first name. Not even those whose physical gifts suggest they can be touched by the hand of God.
“There shouldn’t be any heat on Saquon,” Barber said. “He’s going to be a great player. But if he wants to be on the field in third in obvious blitz situations, you’ve got to be a pass protector, period. And I know for a fact that Joe Judge is telling him the exact same thing. ”
How can Barber know this?
“You’re the head coach and you watch a running back miss a pass block, you can’t let your quarterback [get] hit. Running backs who let their quarterbacks get hit don’t play. ”
Barber is the greatest running back in franchise history – he’s 10,449 rushing yards, and no other Giants runner has 7,000 – and what he says carries weight. He took a peek at the horror show about Barkley’s 2020 season debut and didn’t trigger on the eyesore which was 15 rushed attempts for 6 yards in the 26- loss. 16 against the Steelers. This can happen when the blockage is lousy. Barber knows it. What Barber didn’t like at all was the way Barkley struggled to protect himself from passes. A glaring smell of Saquon led to a bag of Daniel Jones.
“He might not be an all-in-one great,” Barber said on CBS Sports Network’s “Tiki and Tierney” show. “He can’t move on to protect, and it’s starting to get glaring. ”
Barber on the radio also said, “Saquon is a great man. He doesn’t want to hit anyone. ”
The latter looked harsh.
“Yeah, but it’s sports radio,” Barber laughs.
An inaccurate poll over the past two years puts Barber’s positive comments on Barkley at around 95%. So he doesn’t have an ax to grind here. He’s paid to analyze and give his opinion, and he’s certainly not a shallow talker. He was there, did that in the field.
And he was a pretty lousy passing protector when he entered the NFL – a problem for a second-round pick who was supposed to fill a third-back role. It took him a while to get it right. He added strength – a whole lot of strength – and earned the trust of his head coach Jim Fassel, proving he could protect the quarterback.
Running backs coach Jim Skipper asked Barber to hit the defender with the same foot and shoulder or Barber’s body would pivot. Fassel told Barber he needed to hit harder, so Barber took boxing lessons to help with his body leverage.
“It’s part of the technique and honestly it’s a lot of desire,” said Barber, now 45. “You have to put your face in someone’s chest.”
The judge keeps his reviews private, and when he opened the door he didn’t take the bait and went after Barber, probably because he knows there is some truth to what Barber said.
“Look, people pay a price to watch us play, everyone’s opinion is valid if they’re a fan,” Judge said. “We have to make sure from the inside that we understand what we’re doing, and we prioritize what we need to work on.
“I respect Tiki, he’s obviously a guy who knows the game. He’s been a great player for this organization. But we’re going to go ahead and make sure everyone stands up. ”
The judge also said: “We have to do some things to help Saquon throughout the game. ”
Maybe a tight end is needed to help Barkley slow down a passer. If Barkley can’t make it, maybe he’s sidelined on the third down and veteran Dion Lewis is put in the backfield to pass to protect.
“Again, I’m prefacing this, he’s an incredible player,” said Barber. “But for now, his password protection is lacking.
“When you see someone [in] the hole, in your mind, is a decision that must be made. He’s my guy, I know he’s my guy, I have to hit him. I have to stop his momentum to be able to protect my quarterback. It’s a mentality. You have to be aggressive, you have to be mean, you have to be physical. ”
Barkley must be on the ground all three downs. He must solve this problem.