Barkley helps lead NYG to victory
Former Whitehall head football coach Brian Gilbert read the movements of the Giants’ Saquon Barkley who nearly rushed for 4,000 career yards as a Zephyr.
Gilbert also had a good read on Barkley when the rookie ran for a career-high 142 yards and scored three overall touchdowns in his team’s 38-35 victory over Tampa Bay at Met Life Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Barkley’s 142 yards were the most by any running back in a game this season, and the rookie phenom has a team-high 586 yards on 131 carries and five touchdowns this season. He also leads the team in receptions with 62 for 530 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
“He looked strong and quick,” said Gilbert about Barkley’s performance against Tampa Bay. “He is such a threat out of the backfield to catch the ball. I noticed how he is running down hill.
“I am very proud of him.”
Like he has all season, the former Penn State product took the victory in stride, but he did blame himself for dropping El Manning’s only incompletion down the sidelines, as Manning was 18-for-19 on the afternoon for 231 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Barkley did catch two balls for 10 yards.
“I told him that I owe him one,” said Barkley. “He really put so much time into this game and he has really helped me. I definitely respect him and people inside this locker room and around the league do as well.
“With the help of Eli, I am seeing the field a lot better.”
Barkley realized his 27-carry performance opened the door for the Giants’ offense.
“We definitely got our running game going,” said Barkley. “Our offensive line did a tremendous job. When you get your running game going, it helps everything. It also gives the offense the ability to take some shots down field.
“I’ll never be satisfied. I do feel that I can get better. I didn’t really change anything today expect for my pace. I think I found a pace that I like.”
Gilbert believes Barkley’s increased workload will help him.
“I think he needs 20 to 30 carries is what he needs,” added Gilbert, who is the current athletic director at Palisades. “The (offensive) line is getting better each week.”
With the Giants’ win and Eagles’ loss, there will be an interesting matchup between the two team on Philadelphia Sunday. New York suddenly is in the running for the NFC East with games against Washington and Dallas still left on their schedule.
“I’m not that excited to get back to Pennsylvania,” said Barkley. “I played there in high school and at Penn State. We just have to go in there and get our job done.
“We don’t want to look too far into the future. We just want to take one day at a time.”
Barkley is the second pro running back to come out of the Lehigh Valley over the past five years. Parkland’s Andre Williams had a stellar career at Boston College before he was drafted by the Giants in the fourth round in 2014.
However, Gilbert sees them as backs with different styles.
“No, there is no comparison to Williams,” said Gilbert. “(Williams) is a different type of back. It is cool that two neighboring schools produced running backs for the Giants.”