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Giants Now: Big comeback season for Saquon?

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Big comeback season for Saquon Barkley?

While his status for Sunday's game is still up in the air, Giants star running back Saquon Barkley has made great progress towards his official return to the field over the last few weeks.

ESPN recently conducted a survey of NFL executives, scouts and coaches ahead of Week 1 to get predictions on which players and coaches will succeed this season. When it came to the Comeback Player of the Year Award, Barkley was the consensus choice.

Despite suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last year, "many evaluators still look at Barkley as the best pure talent at the running back position, and in his first two seasons, he averaged a stellar 119.6 total scrimmage yards per game despite being slowed by an ankle issue in 2019."

Barkley won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2018 after finishing the season with over 2,000 total yards and 15 touchdowns. He would once again top the 1,000-yard rushing mark in 2019, becoming the first player in franchise history to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.

"Assuming he's healthy, he's got a chance to have a big year and put himself back in the conversation of the best backs," an NFC exec told ESPN. "The attention he gets from defenses makes him elite. And if they have enough weapons around him to give them some balance, his natural ability can take over."

View photos of Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

Rookie Kadarius Toney tracking toward Week 1 debut

Is there any reason Kadarius Toney shouldn't play for the Giants Sunday in their season opener against the Denver Broncos in MetLife Stadium?

"No, unless you want to go make one up," Toney said with a smile today.

Toney also said, "really that's on the coaches. I'm here to play, I'm here to do my job, so it's whatever they say."

Well, they would certainly like to see their rookie wide receiver play. Toney, the Giants' first-round draft choice this year, missed much of training camp and did not play a down in the preseason after spending time on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and then suffering a hamstring injury. He was officially limited in practice today but expects to be in uniform on Sunday.

"I'm good," Toney said.

Giants fans have yet to see Toney in action. What can they expect from him?

"Early on, I really just expect to contribute as much as I can to the team," he said. "There is not a really definite answer to that, I guess you could say. You've just got to go with the flow, I guess, how everything goes so far."

Nick Gates gets 'chills' from being voted captain

His hair and jersey both soggy with sweat shortly after walking off the practice field, Nick Gates told reporters, "right now, I'm getting the chills."

Uh oh. Was the Giants' center catching a cold?

Nah, he was just getting emotional. On Monday, Gates learned his teammates had selected him one of the Giants' seven captains for the 2021 season.

"It's an honor just to be a captain, especially for this great organization the Giants have," said Gates, a fourth-year pro and second-year starter. "Just the people that have come before me that are captains, just to be able to be a part of that legacy, it's awesome. I'm really excited and really honored."

Gates was not expecting to hear his name called when coach Joe Judge revealed the results of the players' vote after practice on Monday. He is joined as a captain by some of the team's most prominent players: Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Blake Martinez, Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers and Graham Gano.

"Definitely a surprise," Gates said. "I mean, I've been in a couple meetings with the guys and everything, but I was definitely surprised. I'm real honored to be a part of the guys and that the guys see me as that kind of person. I've just got to keep coming to work and keep doing what I'm doing to show them why they picked me."

📸 Practice Photos: Giants prep for Broncos

Check out the gallery below to view photos from Wednesday's practice as the Giants prepare for their Week 1 matchup against the Broncos.

View photos from Wednesday's practice as the Giants prepare for their Week 1 matchup against the Broncos.

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Limited Tickets Available for Giants vs. Broncos

Limited tickets are available for the Giants' home opener vs. the Broncos on Sunday

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