With Saquon Barkley injury, it’s on Daniel Jones now

The Giants fully believe Daniel Jones is their quarterback of the present and future. Now he must prove it on the field without Saquon Barkley.

Saquon Barkley’s injury has major repercussions for the Giants. Daniel Jones might feel his running back’s absence the most. Without Barkley, Jones will be counted on to become the unquestioned leader of his team’s offense.

Barkley was carted off during the first half of his team’s Week 2 matchup against the Bears. The team quickly informed the media that he would not return. Further testing will be conducted on Monday before making a firm diagnosis on the full extent of Barkley’s knee injury.

Losing Barkley for any sort of extended period of time is going to force the Giants to completely rethink their offensive philosophy. Dion Lewis is capable of giving the team a decent running back alternative without Barkley on the field, but he can’t carry the same sort of load as the team’s franchise player.

Jones will be counted on as the Giants’ next man up in terms of becoming the offense’s primary playmaker.

Jones was already a big part of the team’s offense before losing Barkley, but now he becomes the top player on the opposing scouting report. The Giants won’t suddenly become the most pass-heavy offense in the NFL, but they can’t rely as heavily on the run as they did previously. Jones will get more opportunities to showcase his arm without Barkley lining up behind him in the backfield.

It’s fair to wonder whether or not Jones can stand up to this sort of scrutiny. He shows flashes of real arm talent when he’s given time to survey his options down the field, but he’s also been turnover prone during his time as a starter. Fumbles plagued him during the 2019 season, but the two interceptions he threw in New York’s Week 1 loss against Pittsburgh reminded Giants fans just how much room Jones still has to improve.

If Jones is going to succeed, he’ll need improved play from the offensive line charged to protect him. The group was wretched against Pittsburgh in the opener. Opposing fronts are going to stack the box against the Giants without being concerned with Barkley’s ability to hurt them via the big play. The line needs to up their game in a hurry to give the running game extra juice while also giving Jones the time required to make plays down the field.

There will also be added pressure on the team’s skill players to prop up Jones with improved play. Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Golden Tate will all be asked to give their quarterback more support from the wide receiver position. Evan Engram might face even more pressure to elevate his game at tight end. Jones will need to count on Engram as both a safety valve and deep threat down the seam if he wants to keep this offense on schedule without Barkley.

Giants officials and fans will understandably hope for good news on Barkley’s injury. Jones is one player who must start to brace for the worst. His job leading the offense becomes infinitely more difficult without Barkley’s support.