Generational talent is a term that people toss around these days, but Giants coach Pat Shurmur says Saquon Barkley has a generational spirit.
It’s that competitive drive that has the rookie running back up for yet another pair of awards coming off the Giants’ 30-27 overtime win over the Bears, leaders of the NFC North. This time, Barkley is up for FedEx Ground Player of the Week and Pepsi Rookie of the Week, both of which are decided by a fan vote.
“I said it early and I really believe it, he’s got a generational spirit in terms of how he competes,” Shurmur said. “And I have not been -- we have not been -- disappointed in [any] way. He’s extremely talented running the ball, catching the ball, he blocks well, we’re doing what we can to give him the football so he has an impact on the game, and I think he has.”
For 16 years, FedEx has been recognizing the top quarterbacks and running backs with weekly awards. When the winners are announced, FedEx will donate $2,000 to the USO in each of their names through FedEx Cares. The weekly $4,000 donation will support USO Pathfinder and other programs that help service members transition back to civilian life. Barkley, who won this award in Week 11 when he was also named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, is nominated along with Denver’s Phillip Lindsay and Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams.
As for the rookie award, Barkley’s nominations are becoming as common as his 100-yard games. Barkley has reached 100 yards from scrimmage in 11 of 12 games, including three consecutive weeks with 100 solely on the ground. His 1,556 scrimmage yards are third in the NFL behind Gurley (1,649) and Ezekiel Elliott (1,573).
Numbers like that make him the frontrunner for AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, an award Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. won in 2014 for the first time in franchise history. Barkley is also surging at the ballot box. As of Nov. 28, he was fifth overall in Pro Bowl voting. Here is a look at the top vote-getters:
|QB||Drew Brees||New Orleans||725,736|
|QB||Patrick Mahomes||Kansas City||679,775|
|RB||Todd Gurley||Los Angeles Rams||580,997|
|RB||Saquon Barkley||New York Giants||539,456|
|QB||Jared Goff||Los Angeles Rams||508,372|
|RB||Alvin Kamara||New Orleans||452,385|
|TE||Travis Kelce||Kansas City||422,877|