RB Saquon Barkley
Postgame vs. Jaguars September 9, 2018
Q: How do you balance the excitement of your first game versus losing?
A: I was excited, obviously. It was fun to get out there and play in my first NFL game, it was a dream of mine, but I feel like that we left it out there. We couldíve done a little bit more as a team to finish the game and win the game, but you have to give credit to Jacksonville and that team over there. Theyíre a heck of a defense and a heck of a team and we have to continue to grow from this game and get better.
Q: Saquon, what made the difference when you were able to break free and find that seam and go for the touchdown?
A: Yea, that touchdown run was a great call, first of all, and it was blocked up perfect. The O-line did a great job on the front side creating movement, Evan [Ingram] did a great job on the backside with a cut block and I was able to get one-on-one with the guy and make him miss and use my speed on the sideline to get in the end zone.
Q: What was it like seeing that, especially against a defensive line like that, for your first NFL game?
A: Yeah, definitely, definitely. It definitely was a challenge and a challenge that I was excited for and excited to go against and it definitely was a test; not just the defensive line, but their defense as a whole. I think that you see the potential that we have on this offensive side of the ball as a team, and we just have to eliminate the mistakes and I have to eliminate my mistakes and find a way to get that two-point conversion and on those short downs, I didnít get those downs, and we have to continue to get better and learn from it.
Q: On the touchdown, was that just simple execution and everything coming together? Were there any adjustments that you had to make that resulted in that?
A: It was simple execution. The coach made a great call; we felt that we had a great read there with the running game and like I said, the O-line did a tremendous job of blocking not only that play, but all day and Evan [Ingram] made a huge block. If you go back and watch the film, that kind of opened it up and that backside block was huge. It created space for me to make a move one-on-one with the guy and Shep [Sterling Shepard] also made a great block at the end of the play also to give me that space on the sideline to find a way to score.††
Q: How were you dealing with the speed of the linebackers of the Jaguars and also the defensive linemen and just mentally transitioning to not be able to break it the way you wanted to prior to the touchdown run?
A: Yeah, definitely watching on film, they were as advertised. They have like seven or eight Pro Bowlers over there and theyíre heck of players and definitely fast. There was one play when I like made a guy miss, it was on a flag, I broke outside and 39 [Tashaun Gipson Sr.] came and tackled me and I was like ĎIn college, thatís a touchdowní, but it was a great play by him and to the mental point of a running back, everything is not going to come on one play. You have to continue to work on it. The first carry in the preseason, I popped one for 40 [yards], but even when I played the rest of the game, you still have to work on it. Today, we didnít pop one until like the fourth quarter or end of the third, so you just have to continue to stay with it. Thatís what I kept saying, the offensive line and also to just stay with it, something is going to pop, and when they give us that chance, we have to make them pay for it.†
Q: How did your mindset and your thinking change as the game went on and you got to see more of that defense?
A: Your mindset changes just throughout the game because you get a feel for it; you get a feel for the O-line, you get a feel for what their defense is doing, how theyíre attacking you and how theyíre playing you and itís kind of just repetition and play-by-play. I feel like, personally, as I continue to go out this season, itís a long season and I continue to get reps, Iím only going to continue to get better.††
Q: It seemed like most of the game was two yards or three yards and then all of a sudden, itís 65 yards. I mean, is that just something as a running back you expect at some point?†
A: Yeah, obviously you wish that they were all 75 [yard runs] and 80-yard runs, but it wasnít like that in college and I didnít expect it to be like that in the NFL. You have to take what they give you, itís kind of like playing chess; when you get your opportunity, you have to execute.
Q: It seemed like Shep [Sterling Shepard] gave you a pretty good escort down that sideline, right?
A: Yeah, he made a heck of a block. We came back to the sideline and he said ĎI got you, two-sixí, and he made a heck of a block. The O-Line made a heck of a block, the tight end made a heck of a block, and when you think about it, on those long runs, the only thing you really see on the highlights is the running back making a play or the wide receiver making a play, but itís the little things, the little blocks. If Shep doesnít make that block and if Evan [Ingram] doesnít make that block, thatís not a touchdown. You have to give credit to those guys.
Q: What did your teammates say to you after the touchdown?
A: They said ĎCongratulationsí, but right away, we had to go do a two-point conversion [attempt] and kind of sparked us back up. The next focus was to try and find a way to do it again; get into the end zone again because we were so close and we were making a lot of plays moving the ball. We kept hurting ourselves, but you still have to give credit to the Jacksonville defense and that is something that we have to continue to grow on and get better as an offense and as a team.
Q: What was your realistic expectation coming into today? I mean, a 68-yard run, over 100 yards, but in a loss.
A: My realistic expectation was that I expected to win. Every game you come into, you expect to win by any means. It didnít matter if I had 100 in the air or 100 on the ground, or if I had 20 rushing yards; Iím not really a stats guy, I donít really care about stats. I want to get the win and that was my expectation, but sometimes you fall short on your expectations and it means you have to continue to work and we have to go back to the drawing board and go back to practice and get treatment, recover and get our bodies right and continue to get better.†
Q: Saquon, after a little bit of a slow start and not having those big plays that you were looking for, can you talk a little bit about the confidence that it gives you when your teammates just keep feeding you the rock?
A: Yeah, definitely. It definitely gives you confidence when you have a team and an offense and offensive system and an offensive coach that believes in you, but that comes from being a running back. If you ask any of the great running backs or any running back in general, not every run is popping for 10 yards or 40 yards. If it is, youíre just having your night, but usually, especially against a team like that, every run is not going to be 40 yards, not every run is going to be 10 yards. Some are going to be five, some are going to be two, and some might even be negative-two. You have to continue to stay with it and stay on the offensive line and stay with the running game and when you get the running game going, it creates other things and we have to get better in that field and I believe that we have the talent and the coaching staff and just the team in general that we can get better and continue to develop in the running game and continue to develop the offense as a whole.
Q: What happened on the fourth-down play where you went diving over the pile and came up short? Why did that play kind of break down?
A: Fourth-and-one is always tough to get, especially when you have a defense like that. Fourth-and-one mentality is you have to get it no matter what by any-means-necessary. I jumped and I thought I had it, I thought I did enough to keep the sticks moving, but I didnít and that is something where thereís no excuses that Iím a young player, and I have to realize how important that is. I have to continue to grow in that area and continue to get better and the only way you can get better is by taking reps at it and continue throughout the year and find a way; find a way to make that play happen.††
Q: What do you think you needed to do better on that play?
A: Get the first-down; it was just simple as that. If itís jumping over, do it a smart way; you donít want to stretch there also because that can cause a turnover. Lowering your shoulder, whatever it takes; find a way. You have to find a way.
Q: Do you think you wouldíve done something differently on that play now?
A: In that certain situation, I wouldíve jumped a little bit further, I guess thatís the only thing that I can really think of. The O-Line did a really good job of washing it back and I got kind of one-on-one with somebody. Maybe not dive, but maybe I wouldíve lowered my shoulder there and fight for it. I would maybe do it a different way, but thereís so many things you could do in that scenario, I can go back and play that in my head so many times, but whatever the case may be, I have to find a way to make that happen.†
Q: What was that like for you emotionally in the end zone when you scored the touchdown?
A: It was amazing; it was a great feeling, but it was a feeling that came and went. One touchdown is not going to win the game, and that touchdown didnít win the game this week, but to get in there, it was a dream come true to find the end zone. I did keep the ball, but it was just like ĎMove on, next playí, and find a way to get in there again.†