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Giants Now (7/30): PFF ranks top backfields


Giants' running backs land in Top 10 of PFF's backfield rankings

It is no secret that Saquon Barkley is widely considered one of the top running backs and overall players in the NFL. This week, his NFL peers voted him as the No. 31 player in the league's "Top 100 Players of 2020" rankings after he rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, despite missing three and a half games due to a high ankle sprain. Barkley became the first running back in team history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark in each of his first two seasons.

The Giants signed veteran back Dion Lewis this offseason to join Barkley in the running backs room. While he accumulated nearly 400 yards from scrimmage last season, Lewis had totaled just over 2,000 yards from scrimmage from 2017-2018 with 11 total touchdowns.

Additionally, Wayne Gallman returns for his fourth season with the team. Gallman saw limited action in 2019, but did find success when filling in for Barkley in Week 4. Going up against Washington at MetLife Stadium, the former Clemson Tiger carried the ball 18 times for 63 yards and a touchdown while catching six passes for 55 yards and an additional score.

Pro Football Focus recently ranked all 32 backfields across the NFL, and the Giants found their way into the top 10, coming in at No. 10.

As Steve Palazzolo of PFF writes, "Few running backs have the big-play potential of Saquon Barkley, as he can seemingly take it to the house at any time. Last season, he was unable to sustain the breakaway runs that defined his rookie season — he had seven 40-plus-yard carries that season — but such is the volatile nature of running back production. Barkley still must improve when it comes to just taking what is there, but one of these years the Giants' run blocking will improve, and he could go off for a monster statistical season. Most importantly, though, Barkley is a weapon in the passing game, and he's forced 42 missed tackles on only 143 career receptions so far.

The Giants also add Dion Lewis into the mix. Lewis is another elusive back who is coming off a 59.8 overall grade with the Titans, a career-low mark. He is capable of taking some of the pressure off Barkley when it comes to catching passes out of the backfield, however, as the former Patriot has two seasons in which he forced at least 15 missed tackles after the catch. Wayne Gallman then rounds out the group as the No. 3 option who is set to enter the last year of his rookie contract.

Barkley is one of the league's best all-around running backs, so if Lewis can return to past form, this duo could give the Giants one of the most dynamic units in the league."

Nate Solder opts out of 2020 season

Giants left tackle Nate Solder, who started every game the previous two seasons, has opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the agreement reached last week between the NFL and the Players Association, players can choose not to play in the upcoming season without penalty. The opt-out is irrevocable.

"My family and I have been praying, wrestling and listening to God about our current circumstances and whether it is best that I play football this season," Solder said in a statement he posted on Twitter. "Our primary goal is to pursue God and listen to the Holy Spirit in everything we do. As hard as that can be and as daunting as what He asks us to do can seem, we have come to believe, trust and wait on the Lord. That is why we have chosen to pause for this season. Our family has health concerns, most notably our son's ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer. We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy. With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children's health and the health of our neighbors comes before football.

"We fully recognize that being able to make a decision like this is a privilege. I will deeply miss my teammates, coaches and everyone in the Giants organization. I want to thank them and all my friends and fans who continue to support me and my family through the highs and the lows. As scary and bleak as it sometimes can be, we know that the God of the universe has all things under His control, and His plans are and will always be for our good."

The Giants are fully supportive of Solder's decision.

"We have great respect for Nate as a person and player," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "When he called today, I told him it is faith, family and football. He is doing what's best for his family."

Solder was with New England for the first seven seasons of his career, including the last six (2012-17) when Giants head coach Joe Judge was with the Patriots as an assistant to Bill Belichick.

"I spoke with Nate this morning," Judge said. "We were together in New England, obviously, and he has always been a thoughtful, conscientious person. Ultimately, he made this decision because it is the right thing for him and his family. We support Nate and Lexi and their children (son) Hudson, (daughter) Charlie and (son) Emerson. Our concern is for their health and well-being."

View photos of Giants offensive tackle Nate Solder.

Photos: Players begin to arrive at training camp

Giants players have begun to arrive in East Rutherford for the start of training camp.

Check out the gallery below for photos of Giants rookies, quarterbacks, and several veterans arriving for the start of camp.

View photos of Giants players as they arrive at training camp.


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