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Getty Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants

“I have to be better, I have to be better for the team. We have to find a way to get the run game going. That’s how I truly believe.” That was New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley shouldering the blame for his abysmal six-yard rushing performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Monday night.

However, if you happened to tune into the Steelers’ 10-point victory in Week 1, you know that Barkley was dealt a poor hand from the opening whistle, as Big Blue’s offensive line was toyed with by the Steelers’ front-seven for most of the Night. A sentiment which, whether you like it or not, happens to align very much with the likes of the NFL’s most infamous Hall of Famer, O.J. Simpson.

O.J. Simpson Calls Out Giants

The five-time Pro Bowler took to Twitter on Tuesday to come to Barkley’s defense. Simpson noted that Barkley “deserves better,” while slamming the Giants’ lack of toughness, a fault which Simpson places mostly on offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

@saquon deserves better!!!

— O.J. Simpson (@TheRealOJ32) September 15, 2020

“He didn’t have a chance,” Simpson said of the Giants running back. “Watching that game, I can tell you I, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders. . . none of us could have gained any yards.”

Barkley notably finished Week 1’s matchup with a mere 0.4 yards per carry average. Even worse, the former No. 2 overall pick averaged negative-0.7 rushing yards before contact per attempt on the night, per Pro Football Focus.

Simpson points to coaching, namely Garrett, as the main culprit for the offense’s inability to force their will on the opposition.

“The difference between myself, Walter and Barry is that I had Lou Saban and Jim Ringo coaching, Walter had [Mike] Ditka and Barry had Wayne Fontes. Tough guys,” Simpson noted. “Guys that coached the offensive line not to do fancy blocking, but to take that [helmet] and stick that [helmet] on some [expletive].”

“I do think Jason Garrett, I felt this way at Dallas, they were always talented on offense. But I always thought despite the points that they scored, when they got into big games they underachieved because they didn’t play physical — it was all about the scheme,” Simpson said of Garrett, who New York added to their staff this offseason. “And that seems to be what they’re doing with the Giants.”

Do Giants Need to Make Scheme Changes?

Simpson continued on, pleading with the Giants to give Barkley a lead-back to help free up running room. While New York does employee a fullback, they very rarely deployed one this past Monday. Elijhaa Penny played just four offensive snaps vs. the Steelers.

“They need to give Saquon a fullback. They need to give a running start at the line and let him break off a fullback’s block or double-team blocks. Stop with this fancy scheme crap and start hitting people.”

Simpson signed off with a bang, “Giants, you’re soft! Anybody who looks at that [film] can see how soft the linemen are. They’re not driving anyone, they’re just getting in the way.”

Simpson makes more than a few strong cases in his argument. However, what he failed to touch on was the combination of talent and positional questions along the Giants’ offensive line. New York trotted out three new starters on the o-line vs. Pittsburgh, Andrew Thomas who made his NFL debut, Nick Gates who made his first career start at center and Cam Fleming at right tackle. That latter of which has served as a reserve 49 more times than he has as a starter during his NFL career.

The Giants are hoping the unit can continue to gel as they head into Week 2 faced with a daunting matchup against Khalil Mack and a stout Chicago Bears front-seven.

Follow the Heavy on Giants Facebook page for all the latest stories, rumors and viral content!

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Adam Gase under pressure as Jets head into 49ers challenge

The good news for the Jets is, improving off last week should not be too difficult.

After laying an egg in Buffalo, the Jets play their home opener against the 49ers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, looking to show they are not going to be the pushover they appeared to be in Week 1.

The pressure is already on coach Adam Gase, whose team looked ill-prepared in the loss to the Bills. Team CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson gave Gase what may have been the earliest vote of confidence in NFL history this week. Johnson called Gase a “brilliant offensive mind.”

It’s time for Gase to show the rest of us that brilliance.

“We don’t have a choice, we have to get better, we have to improve,” Gase said. “We have to make sure that we do a better job next week because we are playing another team that’s really good on offense, and they are really good on defense and really good on special teams, so we cannot play like we did this last game.”

The schedule makers did the Jets no favors with two playoff teams to open the season. San Francisco was the NFC champion last year, and the Jets can’t even hope to catch them napping after they lost their season opener to the Cardinals last week.

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Though a Jets win would be a major surprise, most fans just want to see this team compete. Last week, the Jets went three-and-out on their first three possessions, and the defense allowed three touchdowns in Buffalo’s first four possessions. It was 21-0 before you could open your first beer.

Early season struggles were expected from the Jets, who had seven new starters on offense and five new starters on defense last week, and no preseason to work out the kinks. Still, it gets late early in the NFL, and the Jets need a good showing Sunday.

“We’ve got a great group of guys who come to work every day and with the right mindset,” quarterback Sam Darnold said. “The last couple of practices have been really good, the attention to detail has been up there. So, we’re just going to continue to work hard and again, we’ve put the amount of time in this week that you need to to beat a team. So, for us it’s just holding each other accountable and doing everything that we possibly can throughout the week to prepare ourselves for Sunday.”

Filed under adam gase ,  christopher johnson ,  new york jets ,  sam darnold ,  san francisco 49ers ,  9/19/20

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