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Will Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones take Giants to next level?

In many ways, the days of Danny Dimes leading the Big Blue offense began in earnest in 2019.

Still, 2020 will be the first season since 2003 without Eli Manning on the New York Giants roster.

Indeed, the era of quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley is here for the Giants and the question of whether the first-round duo can take New York to the next level will become clearer in the season ahead.

A season ago, Barkley was hampered by an injury and while Jones' replacement of Manning was met by initial excitement and windfall, struggles and growing pains became an issue thereafter.

Nonetheless, though the two are returning talents, 2020 will mark a turning point in the franchise.

When last Manning wasn't on the roster, it was 2003 – Kerry Collins was the starting quarterback and Jim Fassel was the head coach.

Now, rookie head coach Joe Judge is at the helm, Jones is the incumbent starter at quarterback and Barkley is back as one of the most talented offensive players in all the NFL land.

New York is coming off a 4-12 campaign – it's third losing season in a row and its third straight failing to make the postseason.

While the Giants franchise finds itself amid hard times, the future will be forged by players in Jones and Barkley who have already penned their names in franchise chronicle.

Does Gotham have a dynamic duo?

(By NFL Research)

*Daniel Jones With/Without Saquon Barkley in 2019                *

With   >Without

Pass YPG       271.3   189.3

*TD-INT         21-6    3-6 *

Passer Rating  95.5    59.9

> Barkley missed Weeks 4-6

In the 2019 campaign -- for the first time in franchise history -- the Giants had a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher who were each younger than 24 years old, per NFL Research.

Those 3,027 yards passing – along with 24 touchdown passes – via Jones were the most by a Giants rookie quarterback. They were also a rookie-high among 2019 first-season signal-callers.

As for Barkley, though he missed three games and was noticeably slowed after returning from an ankle injury, he hit 1,003 yards rushing and became the first Giants running back to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in each of his initial two seasons.

The terrific tandem was also better together as evidenced by Jones' passer rating of 95.5 with Barkley being monumentally better than his 59.9 without the talented tailback, per NFL Research.

Nevertheless, New York has ranked outside of the top 10 in points per game in six of the previous seven seasons, per NFL Research. Big Blue's modest 21.3 points per game last year tied for 18th in the league. Jones' 18 fumbles and 11 fumbles lost also led the NFL.

Most obviously, there is room for improvement and lots of it.

Still, Jones and Barkley have produced statistical starts never before seen in Gotham.

They have done so while dealing with injuries, they have done so while dealing with the distractions of superstars being traded, benched and retiring and they have done so while the cast around them continues to be rebuilt.

So the question remains as to whether 2020 will be the season in which Barkley and Jones take the Giants to another level; it's unequivocally their team now as Gotham looks to its new dynamic duo to rescue it from its doldrums.

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