Mixed messages continue to permeate from New York Giants camp, but all signs continue pointing to Saquon Barkley suiting up for Big Blue on Sunday against the Denver Broncos for his team’s 2021 season opener.
The star running back was listed as the No. 1 running back on the team’s first unofficial depth chart for Week 1 as the rehab from surgery last year to repair a torn ACL looks as though it’s complete.
Giants head coach Joe Judge tried to pump the brakes on a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Monday stating that the 24-year-old was “gearing up” to suit up for his first game since Week 2 of the 2020 season.
“I know the next question coming is where is Saquon,” Judge said on Monday (h/t New York Daily News). “Look, that won’t be decided until later in the week. I want to see how he responds to a couple of things physically within his body and make the best assessment for him this weekend and going past that.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Barkley will be on a snap count considering the significance of the injury he’s coming back from, but another major potential hurdle — other than seeing no game action since the game he tore his ACL — is the fact the Giants have just five days between their season opener and a Thursday-night Week 2 matchup in Landover, MD against the Washington Football Team.
“In terms of Saquon specifically talking about the second game, we’re really focused on this first game right now,” Judge said. “The second game’s obviously a real thing, being a short turnaround. But the reality is we have the Broncos coming this week, and we’ve gotta have all of our attention on them.”
But the fact that he’s listed as RB1 for Week 1 is quite an indication that the Giants expect the All-Pro to be available this Sunday.