Running Back Saquon Barkley
August 6, 2018
Q: Will Hernandez complimented you on going out of your way to have a great personal relationship with each member of the offensive line. Can you elaborate on that a bit more?
A: Yeah, definitely been going out of my way to develop friendships and relationships with each and every guy on the team. Obviously, thereís so many right now Ė especially with the offensive line. The offensive line are the guys who pave the way for you. Definitely getting a relationship with them, and when the season starts, Iíve been talking to Nate (Solder) about doing dinners with them. Just getting everyone in the room and talking, going out with each other. Thatís something that I have been doing, and Iím glad that theyíve noticed it.
Q: Howís your relationship been with Eli (Manning)?
A: Still asking him a lot of questions. Every time a question gets brought up that Iím not sure about and heís there on the field, I ask him. I try to prepare myself as much as I can, whether itís in the Ďpass-proí (pass protection), or itís in the run game, or in the pass game, so I can be as prepared as possible to help the team as much as I can.
Q: Did you ever get this much down time in training camp at Penn State?
A: No, not really. I would say the big difference is the time. The time that you have, you can take care of your body, you can get in the cold tubs, you can get treatment. In college, your first week Ė at least at Penn State Ė weíre worrying about finals. We still have two finals to worry about. Last year, I was in an attentive Spanish course, and just finishing up Spanish 3 for the first week of camp. So, definitely a big difference.
Q: Are you looking forward to the first hit in the game?
A: Yeah, definitely looking forward to the first hit. The first hit in the game is the thing that knocks everything out Ė whether youíre nervous, youíre overthinking stuff. So, it definitely helps. Like I was saying out there, I havenít really got the time to really sit down and think about playing in my first NFL game. But, Iím definitely looking forward to the opportunity.
Q: What are you looking to accomplish in the preseason?
A: What Iím looking to accomplish in the preseason Ė take every rep that I get and try to maximize it to the best that I can. Iím not looking for this amount of yards or this amount of touchdowns. Just try to be at the right spot where I need to be. Definitely I think as a rookie, probably a lot of rookies make some mistakes in their first game. But, Iím going to try to stay away from that. Just continue to get better throughout the game.
Q: Is it hard when youíre not practicing because the coaches are managing your reps?
A: Itís not really hard for me. Obviously, you know, I want to be out there every single rep and every single play. The times Iím not out there, thatís the time you have to take mental reps. Be locked in and focused, and watch the rep, and ask that question to the Jonathan Stewartís or the Wayne Gallmanís of the world and see what you see in that player Ė why you did this on that play. When you get in, you maximize your reps to your best effort.
Q: Is your body feeling tired where the coaching staff feels as if they need to manage your reps?
A: No, physically I feel fine. Coaches, they have a game plan. They have an idea of what they want to do, and Iím just here just trying to follow that idea, and whatever reps they want me to take, I get in. Whatever reps they want me to take. You got to understand, weíre in a room with five or six running backs. You definitely want to see everyone and get to rotate everyone, and everyone get a chance. Iím just following and doing my job, seeing whatever coach wants me to do. While my reps are there, just try to maximize it.
Q: Are you hoping to play on Thursday night?
A: I plan to play, I think. I donít know. I know I havenít experienced an NFL preseason game yet, but hopefully Iím good to go for that game. Iím more than capable of playing right now. Iím just happy and excited that Iíll be able to play in my first NFL game, and hopefully I can maximize every rep.
Q: Can you talk about Coach Bettcher and how his defense is preparing you for this season?
A: Definitely, I think theyíre very aggressive on the defensive side of the ball. I think thatís definitely helped me as a rookie. But not only myself, the offense. Preparing for teams like that. They disguise their schemes and their blitzes so well. Obviously, you got a talented, talented defensive core over there. Being able to watch them and practice against him and learn from them every day is not only helping them, but itís shaping me into a better player.
Q: Defensive players have seemed to gravitate towards you and are willing to learn from you. How has that helped your progression so far?
A: I think thatís whatís needed on a team. When you have the chemistry, the willingness to go up to your teammates and say hey, what do you see on this play? For instance, if Landon (Collins) beats me on a blitz, and say he knocks my hand down, he would tell me, ďCome here, you would lean and you were doing this or doing that.Ē Or say if I beat (Alec) Ogletree on a route, I would tell him what you were doing wrong there. Itís about helping each other, because at the end of the day, weíre competing against each other right now, but the main goal as a team is to win every game that we can possibly win. Feedback from each other is only going to help us get better as a team. Thatís something I feel thatís important. I think the fact that we have that right now as a team definitely is going to help us in the future.
Q: From leaving Penn State, to different workouts, to the Combine, to the Draft, to signing your contract Ė do you feel happy to be in sort of a scheduled routine now?
A: Yeah, definitely happy to be in a routine. But still trying to find that right routine. In camp, I kind of got a routine down right now. But then after the switch from camp, weíre going to a preseason mindset. Then, we go into a regular season mindset. Then playoffs, and etc, etc. Now, Iím just trying to continue to find the right routine Ė whether if its little things like take a nap here for 15 minutes. Get in the cold tub here for 15 minutes, hot tub here for 15 minutes. Just trying to figure out all what to do. On an off day, how much time I want to come in and do that. Then, spend time with your family. Itís hard, as an NFL player you got to balance. Especially me being a young father. Definitely want to spend as much time as you can with your family. But, you also have to spend as much time as you can inside the facility so you can be the best player you can be.
Q: What have you learned from the beginning of camp to right now?
A: The biggest thing Iíve learned Ė if youíre asking the biggest thing Iíve learned since college Ė just the answers you have for blitzes. In college, you may or may not have one or two. But in the NFL, you can have six or seven and blocking them six or seven different ways. Thatís the biggest thing Iíve learned. Also, disguising blitzes. Our defense does a really good job of disguising blitzes. In college, they may not have done that in college. But in the NFL, they do that at an extreme level. Just seeing the field and seeing the whole thing. Once you can get an understanding of the scheme, every single day gets better, and better Ė whether itís in the run game or the pass game. Also, developing a relationship with the offensive line. Continue to get reps with those five guys or whoever is rotating in or out. Continue to get reps because, for me, I came from a shotgun offense. The only time I was ever in ďIĒ (formation) was freshmen year. And now having a fullback in front of me, obviously is a little bit different. But the reps, I continue to take, just continue to help me and get better.
Q: Do you ever blink in a situation when you are lined up outside against a pressing corner?
A: No, I really donít blink about it. Offseason, thatís what I trained on. I kind of started working on that in college. When we had our team stuff, weíll do one-on-ones and I would go against the DBs. I feel very comfortable with running routes against anybody. I think thatís where I can also help this offense by being able to be an all-around, every single-down back. Thatís obviously something that I have to improve on too. I hope throughout camp and throughout the years here, just continue to get better at that.