Giant Spring Observations: Saquon Barkley, Brian Daball, Kadarius Tony, Julian Love, Evan Neal and more

Saquon Barkley’s confidence, health, and creativity were the biggest positives of the Giants’ spring program on the field.

Barkley has been more of a wide receiver than a running back during open OTAs and mini-camps. When he did start in the backfield, he often moved to or out of the slot.

Barkley said he hadn’t navigated the formation this way “since college,” and as he watched his film Penn State for a refresher course, he noticed something else exciting that he thought would be coming to fruition this fall.

“I was a much more confident player in college and early in my career than before. [2020] and then last year,” Barkley said last week after the second and final workout of the mandatory mini-camp. “Now I’m starting to bring that back, starting to bring that swagger back.”

Barkley, 25, is entering a critical season for his career. He plays in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract with no provision thereafter. His injuries prevented the type of production and leverage in previous years that could have led to a new deal.

The new Giants mode is not positioned as the type that intends to pay big bucks. But they need Barkley to have a big season to win games in 2022, and Barkley has everything to win – either with the Giants or another suitor – after having a monstrous year.

So it’s nice to hear Barkley say, “My body feels good. My body feels strong. I feel that my strength has returned. I feel like I got my speed back. I feel like I can trust my knee again, trust myself to play and not think about it.”

And it’s funny that Barkley didn’t miss the opportunity to remind all doubters of his new mantra: “When the tables change, just make sure you’re on the side of that table. Just stay on the other side.”


It was disturbing to see Brian Daball eliminate competitive period from his second mini-camp workout and then cancel the third practice altogether.

Other teams have cut back on OTA practice or mini camps in some places, or lightened the load on players in certain areas. But the Giants are not some other team.

It’s a reeling franchise with a lot of young players, a lot of new players, a new front office and coaching staff, and a lot of injured players. Quarterback Daniel Jones is due to play this fall or become a free agent.

They need all the practice they can get to compete this fall.

All of this is the reason why Daball’s light workload should be directly linked to the main medical plan in order to deal with the organization’s rampant trauma. Because there is no football reason to limit their work on the field.

Dabol canceled his final minicamp press conference, so he never responded to the decision. But ahead of his latest mini-camp workout, Daball hinted at a load management plan when asked about so many players, including Kenny Golladay, being restricted in red jerseys.

“Guys, on June 8th we need to take them off a bit so that they are fully ready for work on July 26th, I think that makes sense,” Daboll said. “All we’re trying to do is try to be as healthy as possible when training camp is here.”

Daboll said the Giants’ decision on how to deal with injuries was “very collaborative,” hinting at significant input and direction from the medical staff — the same staff who have long worked for the organization.

“Of course I have ideas, but I’m not a doctor or a coach,” Daboll said. “But sports science, analytics, I think there are really good compromises. As a trainer, you always want to have as many reps as possible.

“Probably 10 years ago I would have thought, let’s go out here and do a thousand reps, but I think it’s important to get all the information and make the right, informed decisions,” the coach added. “I learned a lot in my time at Buffalo about how they did things in that regard, about the reps, what we did with the players, and it really paid off.”

It’s a separate matter to wonder if the best way to heal an injured player is to have them do nothing or do very little, as many injured players in the red jersey did this spring.

However, the full blame for the injuries no longer lies with the former regime. The best choice Kaivon Thibodeau was on the shelf some time after a training injury in OTA.

Other players have also suffered undisclosed injuries at some point this spring, including CB Aaron Robinson, WR Collin Johnson, edge Quincy Roche (apparently exacerbating his previous problem), DB Jarren Williams, CB Darnay Holmes and CB Darren Evans .

Daboll also declined to say if Kadarius Toni’s widespread knee problem was new, and the timing of Golladey’s undisclosed injury is also unknown.

Bottom line: giants are not healthy. Left tackle Andrew Thomas’ slow recovery from his second left ankle surgery in two years is probably the most worrying.

However, does this justify closing the source early? Time will tell.


Tony, 2021 Giants first round pick. has not yet been released to local media this calendar year. I believe the last interview he gave to the local media was November 10 of last season.

So we haven’t had a chance to directly ask Tony about his response to calls from the organization until now. I want to trade it at the beginning of this off-seasonamong other developments.

His only noteworthy comment during mini-camp week was an Instagram post that read: “They praise and ride meat in basketball and make music… But be careful.” [picture of an eggplant]. … [pictures of corn on the cob] “corn ball” [laughing emoji]”.

Last year, the Giants had a controversial player they never released to the media: offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson.

Tony was a distraction and he was also kept away from the cameras. But he will be an important part of this team if he gets into the squad and is healthy this fall.

“I think it’s great that I have it,” Daniel Jones said last week. “I think when he was there last year you saw what he can do, how special he can be with the ball in his hands. I think that his appearance greatly aggravates our attack. We need him.

“I think he did a great job at the meetings and learned and learned the system very well. He can be a special player and we will definitely need him.”

Giants expect Tony to be ready to play after interseasonal arthroscopic knee surgery. Whatever the case, Tony’s latest look for spring is shirtless rehab on the touchline in Daball’s free and easy final practice.


I think defenseman Julian Love should and will captain the Giants this year. He comes across as the conscience of the locker room in many ways. He stepped forward after a laugh in Philadelphia last December to challenge his teammates: “Guys who are ready to work, who are ready to put this team first, will show up on Wednesday.” And he stuck his neck out last week to say, “I didn’t think we had enough chances to compete” in that last mini-camp easy workout. The release of Logan Ryan set out to change the dynamics of dressing room management to suit this new regime. Love, which is positioned as a starting strong security at the moment, has the intangibles to step into that role…

As loud as Thibodeau is, we recently learned that he is not the alpha outside of the midfield room. It would be veteran Jihad Ward who said of Thibodeau, “I’m on his ass. I’m on him.” Ward referred to outside patrons as “my boys” and said of Thibodeau, “He’s definitely going to be ready and I can’t wait.” Ward also said that “we need more culture here”, referring to the Giants in general. Asked to explain what he meant, he said, “When you come here ready to go, it’s time to go. It’s kind of like sea lions. So you just need to come together to win games. I cannot come to Kaivon and not know anything about him. You must know my past, know his past. It’s deeper. So everyone just needs to come together as one. I’m more human, you ride for me, I ride for you. So if you don’t follow me, I won’t be able to be with you. …

Expect GM Joe Shawn to continue to look for deep gains in positions such as running back, inside midfield and fullback (corner/safety). It will be an ongoing process for Sean, right up until the day of the cut, to put together a roster that will not only be able to compete, but also withstand the inevitable injuries of the starting lineup. …

Evan Neal himself ran sprints in the Giants’ backfield after both mini-camp sessions. This is the biggest player on the team and 7th overall pick and rookie, daily extra work. Encouraging a work ethic paired with impressive talent and a physique in the right gear while the Giants rest before training camp begins at the end of July.


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