Saquon Barkley jump-cut to his right, then jump-cut to the left as he zigzagged across the field before leaping over Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and lowering his shoulder to run through Avonte Maddox for another four yards. It was a thing of beauty, a dance routine on a football field so pretty J-Lo likely would have approved of its astounding choreography.
The play from last October gets filed among the prettiest nine-yard runs you'll ever see. Now, the natural inclination is to marvel at the brilliance of the New York Giants running back on these forays. He seemed to produce them with regularity during his rookie season, and again Sunday in the Giants' Week 1 loss at the Dallas Cowboys.
Barkley could easily watch the tape in awe like the rest of us when he went through every play from his rookie season, which he did. Only he looks at things differently.
"That can be a 20-yard gain," Barkley said during a film session with ESPN during which he viewed five randomly selected plays from last season.
It was like Picasso critiquing his own work. It had the feel of someone who had just traveled to the moon, then commented that it wasn't far enough.
Most would have been content turning that Week 6 play against the Eagles into a positive gain considering the defensive lineman he needed to avoid in the backfield. But maybe this is why Barkley is so great, and can be even better fresh off 2,028 total yards in his rookie season. He's looking at details, and it's this next-level self-analysis that fueled his offseason.