Saquon Barkley gave Giants the best news out of their Week 1 dud

Saquon Barkley came out of the game just fine.

That is about the best news the Giants can take out of their 27-13 season-opening loss to the Broncos.

How fine did Barkley feel after his first game in 11 months, coming off reconstructive knee surgery? He is in the game plan to play in Thursday night’s meeting with Washington at FedEx Field.

“I thought he responded well, for all accounts,’’ coach Joe Judge said. “He came out of the game good for us. I didn’t see any setbacks and didn’t get any reports for anything medically with him.

“I would say unless the medical team tells us something else our intention is to keep on progressing this guy throughout the season, unless there’s some kind of setback.’’

Barkley carried the ball 10 times for 26 yards and caught one pass in his 29 snaps in the game.

Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley
Getty Images

WR Kenny Golladay played 85 percent (52 snaps) of the offensive plays in his first game with the Giants, coming off a strained hamstring that limited him most of the summer. He said he should be available to play on Thursday.

“Definitely going to have time to take care of my body with the short week, but I’ll be ready to go for sure.’’ he said.

The Giants did not practice Monday, so their injury report is a projection. TE Evan Engram (calf) would not have practiced. The same with G Shane Lemieux (knee) and LB Cam Brown (hamstring). Barkley (knee) was projected to be limited.

Pat Shurmur, the Broncos offensive coordinator, did not get a game ball from head coach Vic Fangio, but Shurmur did get a cooler of water dumped on him after the victory. Getting doused probably never felt so invigorating for Shurmur, who was fired by the Giants after going 9-23 in his two years as their head coach. Shurmur’s play calls kept the Giants’ defense off balance and he was able to scheme enough pass routes to find gaping openings in what is supposed to be a tight defensive backfield.

What happened to Jabrill Peppers? The guy never came off the field in 2020 and yet in this season opener was on the field for less than half (30 out of 66) of the snaps on defense. Logan Ryan, as usual, rarely came off (61 snaps). Xavier McKinney played 63 snaps and started along with Peppers and Ryan in a three-safety look.

“In terms of Pep, I wouldn’t read anything into that, at all,’’ Judge said. “Pep’s a guy that’s gonna play a lot of ball for us. A lot of it was kind of based around making sure we try to thin some of the load out for this guy. The plan was for his best interest in mind, making sure he could stay fresh with all the responsibilities he has on our team.’’

Lemieux, dealing with patella tendinitis in his knee, started at left guard, but played only 17 of the 61 snaps on offense. The replacement was Ben Bredeson, acquired late in the preseason in a trade with the Ravens. Bredeson played 44 snaps.

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