Saquon Barkley-Todd Gurley comparison isn’t going away

The comparison was made when the Giants took Saquon Barkley with the second-overall pick in the 2018 draft. Barkley could be an offensive weapon the likes of Todd Gurley, a running back who can take a handoff or catch a pass and be a difference-maker.

Barkley often embraced hearing his name linked to Gurley, the Rams star. Both running backs enjoyed immediate success as rookies then tailed off in year No. 2. Barkley has not spoken to Gurley about this, but he knows what transpired with Gurley and how it can be correlated to what he is experiencing this season.

“Yeah, he went, what? 1,000 yards, then 800 yards, then 1,000, then got banged up again,’’ Barkley said. “I just know that, just doing research on running backs and being a fan of running backs.

“I don’t care for the numbers. I don’t care for the stats. I don’t care if I finish the season with 1,000 yards or not. This season is a disappointment just because we’re not playoff contenders. That’s the whole mindset. That’s the whole focal point.’’

Part of the reason the Giants are 2-11 heading into Sunday’s game against the Dolphins is Barkley’s drop in productivity. He ran for 1,307 yards, caught 91 passes and scored a total of 15 touchdowns as a rookie. He missed three games with a high ankle sprain this season and his numbers have plummeted: 610 rushing yards, 41 receptions and three total touchdowns.

Gurley ran for 1,106 yards as a rookie in 2015. A year later, playing in three more games, he dropped to 885 rushing yards. Barkley is heartened that the Rams went 4-12 in 2016 then finished 11-5 and 13-3 the next two seasons with Gurley as a major contributor.

“They turned it around, right?’’ Barkley said. “That’s why I keep preaching, believing. Keep coming into work every single day, because I’ve got to keep preaching to you guys, keep preaching to the team, that this thing will turn around. Obviously, it’s not going the way we’d like it. But just because it’s not going the way you’d like it, and you’re facing adversity, doesn’t mean you’ve got to change your ways or should succumb to, I guess, the losing culture.’’


Misery makes strange bedfellows. The Giants and Dolphins have a combined five victories this season, but these two bad teams lead the NFL in something. The Giants are first in the league with 27 fourth-down attempts on offense. The Dolphins are second with 24. Clearly, these teams have been down and in desperation mode far too often.


The Giants have converted 12 of their 27 fourth-down attempts.

“Most of the time, it has played out in our favor,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said. “If the situation — spot on the field and time of the game — dictates it, I think it’s important that you go for it. In many cases, it gives you a better chance of winning the game.’’

For more on the Giants, listen to the latest episode of the “Blue Rush” podcast:

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