There's nothing all that novel regarding the notion that Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones are the faces of a new era for the New York Giants.
However, as Barkley knocks upon the doorstep of his third NFL season, it's become clear that this is very much a new-look Giants team, roster and coaches alike, that he's ready to run with.
"I would definitely say it's a fresh, new start," Barkley said Friday via team transcript. "I heard you guys talking with [Sterling Shepard] earlier about history. I do think we are doing a great job of, especially when we are in zoom meetings, understanding the history, understanding the guys before us. There is a tradition here. Like you said, Shep is the longest tenured Giant and he has only been in the league for five to six years, I guess. It's a fresh new start, we are learning every single day, on the offensive side and on the defensive side. Learning a new scheme and system and trying to focus on the little things to get better every single day."
After two seasons under Pat Shurmur, Barkley is preparing for his first season under new head coach Joe Judge, who's likewise preparing for his first season as a head coach. There's a new offensive coordinator and a new defensive coordinator. Most notably, perhaps, there's no Eli Manning on the Giants roster for the first time since 2003. Zak DeOssie, a special teams standout with two Super Bowl titles and a pair of Pro Bowl selections to his credit, retired Friday after 11 years. As aforementioned, Shepard, who's only played four seasons with the Giants, is the longest-tenured member of Big Blue.
A new day, a new dawn and a new start, indeed.
Wins have been hard to come by for the Giants in Barkley's two years, which includes last season's emergence of Jones, but promise has been glimpsed.
Barkley's the first Giants running back in the franchise's long and esteemed chronicle to begin his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns, per NFL Research. Jones is coming off a debut season in which his 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns were franchise rookie records.
"Definitely excited for DJ. We definitely got a lot closer from this point where we are from him being a rookie to us actually hanging out, working out together and stuff," Barkley said. "He's a hard worker, he's a heck of a player, he's very talented. You just grow, not just saying system-wise, but as a player. Being more comfortable from your rookie year to your second year. I know for myself from my first year to my second year how much more comfortable I was just being in the locker room and talking with the guys. That's where you are going to grow, and you are going to continue to see him grow in that area. He's a talented player and hard worker and I'm really excited to see what he is going to do this year."
For as fresh and new of a start the 2020 season might bestow upon the Giants, there aren't all that many prognosticating it will come with immediate success. Barkley believes the contrary thanks in large part to the new faces on the sidelines.
"What tells me this could be different? One, it's a brand-new year. It's a fresh start," Barkley said. "From what I have seen in these first couple of days is we are steps ahead, in my opinion. We are coming in, we're locked in. Are mistakes being made, yes, that's part of the nature of learning a system and learning a new offense. We have what I believe is a really great coaching staff starting with coach Judge to [offensive coordinator Jason] Garrett and so on down the line. They are doing a tremendous job of having us focusing on the little things and focused on situational football, which I think is a part of our game we can improve on from this year to last year."