Varying expectations hover over Saquon Barkley ahead of the 2024 Eagles season

So, what version of Saquon Barkley will we see in 2024? Everyone has an opinion. Here are a couple.
Saquon Barkley (L), Jalen Hurts (R), Philadelphia Eagles
Saquon Barkley (L), Jalen Hurts (R), Philadelphia Eagles / Aubrey Lao/GettyImages

The 4th of July is long gone. As great as celebrating the holiday was, we're pumped up now for a different reason. The 8th day brought another birthday. Our Philadelphia Eagles are 91 years old. As July wears on, we are ensured of another training camp. Preseason follows. Then, we tackle Philly's 92nd year of regular-season football.

The predictions vary depending on who you talk to. Some are more bold than others. We wouldn't be surprised by a great season or one that disappoints us, but naturally, we hope for the former.

Saquon Barkley is an Eagle now. We still can't believe that, but we are convinced this will be a good thing.

Can you imagine him behind Philly's O-line? Can you imagine a backfield featuring him and Jalen Hurts?

QB1 has all of the weapons that you can ask for. Some, including ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, say Saquon can be to the Eagles' offense what Christian McCaffrey has become for the San Francisco 49ers (more on that in a second). That still doesn't mean there won't be challenges. One unnamed NFL coach suggests one. Buckle up. This is interesting.

One head coach's theory suggests Saquon Barkley may have lost a step.

While the running back position is the most punishing in the NFL, teams learn the importance of one when theirs is deemed ineffective. Others rely on committees because they realize the shelf life might be shortened by wear and tear.

Hence the question... Why invest massive amounts of money into these guys? After all, availability is a skill. Barkley, since 2018, has missed 25 of a possible 99 regular-season games. He sat during the 2022 regular-season finale versus Philly to prepare for a Giants postseason appearance, but that's still a lot of missed time.

Philly signed him to a three-year, $37.7 million dollar deal on March 13. The possibilities seem endless because no one believes the Eagles are bringing him to town to sit.

Remember that Christian McCaffrey angle we referenced. Check out Jeremy Fowler's recent dig on ESPN.

Fowler is trustworthy. He is ESPN's Senior National NFL writer, so we can find interest in a recent report. An unnamed NFL head coach suggested to him that the two-time Pro Bowler may have lost a step.

"(He's) probably not as fast as he used to be. He has the ability to make people miss in space, which is sometimes bad since you think you can bounce it and outrun people, but when he does get downhill, running in between tackles, he's so strong naturally that he's hard to tackle. He runs through arm tackles. (He) just has to decide to do it."

Barkley is still young, though the running back position ages guys faster than normal. The former Penn State star hasn't been free from injury. Some were more serious than others. He pulled a hamstring in 2018 and missed eight days ahead of the regular season but was ready for Week 1 action.

We have seen ankle injuries as recent as last season. The most recent forced him to sit out of three games in 2023. An ACL tear ended his 2020 season after just two games. So, what are realistic expectations? As you can see, everyone has their own theories.

Here are ours. Spare him as often as possible. Keep him healthy. We need this guy for the postseason.

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