Saquon Barkley's fairly unique perspective has put him in an interesting position for analyzing his team's play as of late.
Barkley, the injured star who has been forced to watch his team from a comfortable, rehab-friendly seat not on the sideline, sees the impact his team's still-new coach has had in his first season at the helm. As Joe Judge's Giants appear to take the first steps around the corner toward contention, Barkley likes what he's seeing.
"I think it starts with coach [Joe] Judge and all the coaches," Barkley said during an appearance on Good Morning Football. "I think they're doing a tremendous job of keeping the main thing the main thing, and that's coming in every day, focusing on the little things, focusing on getting one perfect better that day.
"Obviously we know right now we're sitting at the top of the NFC East, but sadly, we wish it was today, the playoffs don't start next week. We still got the rest of the season, so we've got to focus on getting better, finish the season strong and everything that we wanted from the beginning of the year, our goals are still on line ... but we've got to stay focused on the little things."
The little things might have been difficult to focus on amid an ongoing pandemic that has forced all NFL teams to significantly adjust operations and has even prompted a handful of schedule changes. We haven't even mentioned the lack of fans at Giants home games as a result of the pandemic, either.
Yet, Judge has found some momentum for his Giants with a little over a month left in the regular season. As a result, New York is positioned to contend for the NFC East, which is clearly the worst division in football, about which the Giants will not complain.
"I think he's been doing a tremendous job, just the way he asserted himself in that leadership role from the beginning," Barkley said of Judge. "It's probably a lot harder to do because we had to do it over Zoom. 2020 has not been ideal for anyone. But he did a great job and continues to do a great job.
"Not only him, all of the coaches, all of the new coaches that came forward are doing a great job of leading this team. Everything that we said we wanted to accomplish this year is right there and it starts with those guys with all the coaches."
Barkley is making these observations after spending his first two professional seasons under Pat Shurmur, whose ship was listless for most of his tenure. Though Barkley can't participate this season, he sounds more excited than ever about what the future holds for the Giants.
While Wayne Gallman has carried the load in his absence, these Giants are best when Barkley is involved. They might be more than a few strides ahead of where they were in early 2020 by the time he returns.