EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)After missing three games with a high sprain to his right ankle, halfback Saquon Barkley returned to the New York Giants with some old bad habits.
The most glaring was the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year trying to make something out of nothing. The result was plays for negative yards in the Giants’ 27-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
After being limited in practice on Wednesday, Barkley was a full-go on Thursday as the Giants (2-5) prepared for Sunday’s game in Detroit against the Lions (2-3-1).
Barkley had 18 carries against the Cardinals for 72 yards, but half of them were for 3 yards or fewer. Three were for minus yards.
”The only thing I felt personally, in the beginning I think I tried to do a little too much, I went back to my college habits, my old habits a little bit,” Barkley said Thursday after practice.
”But I guess that was just more excitement. But as the game went down, I felt like I settled down in the run game, but I didn’t make enough plays to help my team win. That happens, so you go back and you watch it, you learn from it and move on. Now you get ready for Detroit on Sunday.”
Barkley could have had a much better game if a 32-yard run had not been nullified by a holding penalty against guard Will Hernandez.
Coach Pat Shurmur said Thursday that Barkley might be given a little less work, especially in practice, to keep him healthy the rest of the season.
Barkley, who irritated his right ankle during the Arizona game and returned, isn’t worried about the injury.
”If it’s anything like it was when I had it in college, I don’t want to put a time on it, but it didn’t last a whole season in college,” Barkley said. ”The rest of the season in college I felt it for a little bit, but the more time you give to relax it and treat it, the better it feels throughout the year. But nothing that I’m concerned about.”
Shurmur said receiver Sterling Shepard remains limited while in the concussion protocol and it appears he will miss his third straight game. Backup cornerback Corey Ballentine is not practicing because of a concussion.
The biggest concern for the Giants this week will be getting rookie quarterback Daniel Jones to cut down on his turnovers. He has 11 since replacing Eli Manning as the starter in the third week of the season.
Offensive coordinator Mike Shula said Jones is being reminded to keep two hands on the ball and to get rid of it faster on passing plays.
That can be a fine line to walk, the coordinator said.
”It’s easy to say, `Yeah, get the ball out faster,”’ Shula said. ”But there are times, and that’s what’s really cool I think about this position, where you have to hang on to that first guy because if you do, he’s going to come open and it’s going to be a big play.”
NOTES: Defensive coordinator James Bettcher says his unit has to start making plays on third down and get off the field. … With Ballentine probably out, rookie WR Darius Slayton will continue as a kickoff returner, special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said.
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