Giants running back Saquon Barkley is questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Philadelphia Eagles with a neck injury.
Head coach Brian Daboll said that’s no guarantee Barkley will play.
“I hope so,” Daboll said on Friday. But he couldn’t remove all doubt.
“I would say [we’ve] I probably have to see,” he said.
Barkley was restricted to practice on Friday for the second day in a row. He wasn’t in the Giants locker room afterward.
On Thursday, when Barkley was asked how he was feeling physically, he replied: “I feel like it’s week 14 of the season… It’s a grind. It’s the wear and tear on the mind, the body…I know people say I’m slowing down. I really don’t see it that way. I think we faced some tough teams.
Barkley’s production has dropped recently, however, due to a combination of tougher competition, less effective blocking in front of him and a seemingly less explosive version of the Giants’ upper back.
It is unclear whether Barkley’s right shoulder, which he injured in London in early October, created the neck problem he now has. It’s possible he got injured in last Sunday’s 20-20 draw with Washington when he slowed for just seven carries for three yards in the second half and overtime.
He also had a few runs in this game when it appeared he may have been protecting some part of his body rather than plowing.
Daboll admitted Barkley didn’t sustain the injury in training on Thursday. He said the team knew Barkley would be limited that day after a full practice on Wednesday.
Given the stakes of next week’s Sunday Night Football playoff in Washington, it would be understandable if the Giants were to tread carefully with Barkley this Sunday as stiff underdogs against the Eagles.
But Daboll said the scale of the game won’t impact how he handles the roster this week.
“No,” he said.
Barkley and Daniel Jones were the only two Giants to carry the ball in last week’s draw with the Commanders. So if Matt Breida or Gary Brightwell need to come in strong against Philadelphia, they’ll do so without having received a backfield carry since Thanksgiving.
NOT SO GOOD
Giants center Jon Feliciano was fined $10,500 by the NFL for taunting in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s 20-20 draw with the Washington Commanders, a source says.
Feliciano flexed his arms to Darius Slayton after the wide receiver’s 12-yard catch to Washington’s 35-yard line. Feliciano said he was watching Slayton and celebrating. He didn’t address any rude talk to Commanders players.
But he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and the Giants were penalized 15 yards. It cost them at least one field goal try which would have likely earned them 10 points and ended the game with about five minutes left.
Giants co-owner John Mara has helped lead the charge for the NFL to put more emphasis on limiting player taunts in recent years, so unfortunately the Giants have made their own bed here.
TEAM TEST ON GRASS
The Giants have two large patches of different types of turf sitting in a parking lot outside their practice facility. The Jets too. The reason? They’re going to ask players to test out potential new playing surfaces for MetLife Stadium.
Both franchises and stadium officials have already committed to changing the oft-criticized surface for the 2023 NFL season. Ideally, players want grass. But the first step will apparently be to test alternative grass surfaces. Mara has promised to involve the players in the process, and this is one way for him to do so.
NO TIME FOR TAE’S TWEET
A reporter told defensive coordinator Wink Martindale that Tae Crowder’s “FREE ME” tweet seemed to indicate the linebacker was upset about his bench.
“Yeah, well, life is about choices,” Martindale said bluntly.
Crowder said he apologized to the team for a tweet he said was misinterpreted, but clearly Martindale has zero tolerance for Crowder’s social media posting.
GIANT GAME STATUS
Out: CB Adoree Jackson (knee), LG Josh Ezeudu (neck), LG Shane Lemieux (toe). Doubtful: DL Leonard Williams (neck). Questionable: RB Saquon Barkley (neck).
WR Marcus Johnson (ill) sat out practice Friday with Jackson, Ezeudu, Lemieux and Williams, a group of four who haven’t practiced all week. Barkley was restricted for a second consecutive day.
EAGLES GAME STATUS
Out: LB Shaun Bradley (hamstrings)