EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Saquon Barkley wants Pat Shurmur to keep feeding him the ball.
The Giants' sensational rookie running back is shouldering one of the heaviest loads among NFL offensive players. His 242 touches (171 rushing attempts and 71 receptions) place him third in the NFL, behind only Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott and the Rams' Todd Gurley (253). The 171 carries is the league's seventh-highest total.
Barkley is averaging 22 touches a game, which projects to 352 over an entire season. At this pace, he will finish with 248 rushing attempts. In his three seasons at Penn State, his high totals were 300 touches and 272 carries, both in 2016.
With five games remaining, Barkley is very happy with how often he has the ball in his hands.
"I think it's perfectly fine," he said today. "With me, with the workload and my mindset - and I think I've said this multiple times - is whatever it takes.
"That's just my mindset. I know you guys (reporters) keep bringing up the questions, because of how many times I touched the ball in the second half (five times on Sunday in Philadelphia), but if we finished the game and we win that game, I don't think that's going to be this topic or the story. I know what people are thinking, but like I said, I'll continue to believe in the coaches, continue to believe in the offense and this system, and continue to come in working and take it one day at a time."
View the projected starters for this Sunday's game against the Bears.
Barkley will not campaign for more opportunities to carry or catch the football. He is not ready to approach Shurmur and suggest specific plays.
"I try not to do that, because you believe in what your coaches are going to call," Barkley said. "Like I said, after the game, everyone wants to be the coach and everyone thinks they know what should be called in that situation or how we should do this or we should do that. They're there for a reason, so I just believe in those guys and they've been putting me in position to do well and everyone has been loving it or hyping me up like, oh rookie this, rookie that. It starts with the team, starts with the offensive line, but also starts with the coaches are putting me in position to make plays and I think they've been doing that not only with myself, but with everyone on this team this year."
Barkley will happily accept another heavy workload when the Giants host the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
*Seven players were on the Giants' injury report today, or six more than were included last week.
Tight end Evan Engram did not participate in practice because of the hamstring injury he suffered during pregame warmups three days ago in Philadelphia.
Six players were limited, including defensive lineman Kerry Wynn (concussion), the lone player on the list last week. He was joined by linebackers Lorenzo Carter (hip), Tae Davis (ankle) and B.J. Goodson (neck); cornerback Grant Haley (hamstring); and safety Curtis Riley (shoulder).
*Wide receiver Cody Latimer, who has been on injured reserve since Oct. 16 with a hamstring injury, returned to practice today. Latimer has missed five games and must sit out eight before he is eligible to return to the active roster. The eighth game will be against Tennessee on Dec. 16. The Giants will have the three days following that game (Monday through Wednesday) to decide whether to activate Latimer or keep him on injured reserve.
Before going on I.R., Latimer caught six passes for 108 yards.
Latimer joins running back Jonathan Stewart as players on injured reserve who have been designated for return/returned to practice. He is eligible to rejoin the roster now. If the Giants do not make that moved by Dec. 6, Stewart must remain on the I.R for the rest of the season.
*The Giants, New York Cares and Hoodies for the Homeless are inviting Giants fans to help those in need by donating new or gently worn coats and hoodies to their 23rd annual Coat and Hoodie Drive on Sunday, when the Giants host the Chicago Bears. Coats and hoodies can be dropped off with the New York Cares and Hoodies for the Homeless volunteers, stationed at stadium entrances, as well as in the carts circulating the parking lots.