RB Saquon Barkley -- November 15, 2018
Q: Why do you think this offense operates so well with pace?
A: I donít know, thatís a good question. I agree with you there. We have had a lot of success in those areas of the game. Weíve been trying to add that to just regular possessions to the game too. It comes down to executing in those areas. Thatís where we execute the best at. We have to find a way to execute better in normal downs and normal possessions of the game.
Q: The offensive line did a great job of protecting (QB) Eli Manning last week. Are you starting to see some more openings in the run game with the offensive line?
A: Yeah, the running game is there. I feel really good about it. I always feel good about it. Just got to stay focused and stay within. I got to continue to get better as a player in that area of my game to help the offensive line out. We got new guys, new faces just every week, and now we finally got something there solidified. Thatís all with repetition, working with each other, practicing, and games. As the season goes on, I think we can continue to get better.
Q: What do playmakers like yourself like about playing with pace?
A: I guess you can say in that area of the game is when youíre just kind of reacting. Especially in those positions, youíre just trying to find a way to get into the end zone. I guess youíre just more reacting. You get the defense on their toes. They canít get their play-calls and what they want to get in. They kind of have to adjust to you. Thatís something that we can continue to do in regular time.
Q: Can you talk about how you adjust your run lanes, your vision, and your cuts as blocks are being set up in front of you?
A: Thatís the growing pains. I guess I got to just continue to grow through and continue to get better at. You go back and you watch film. If my shoulders were a little this way, but I probably wouldíve made this cut if they were this way, I probably wouldíve made that cut. I want to be perfect. I want to be exact on every play, but thatís not going to happen. Thereís no running back or any player in this league thatís perfect at every single play. Thatís what it means to be an athlete. You got to learn from it, you got to work on it, and continue to get better.
Q: Do you feel like itís harder to come by in the NFL coming from college?
A: No, I donít think thereís a difference between college or the NFL. Itís not like, oh, that hole is going to close so quick because itís the NFL. Not in my personal opinion, I donít think itís really any difference.
Q: Is it tempting to make an extra cut here or there to try to spring open a big play?
A: It is tempting. The way Iíve been trying to play is take what the defense gives you, and when you get a chance, try to make them pay for it. I just got to continue to trust the system, and trust the team, and trust the offensive line, and trust myself, and just play how I play.
Q: When you watch the film of that last game, do you feel like you left a lot of yards out there?
A: No, I think I left a lot of yards out there, especially in the beginning. I was slipping.
Q: Was it the cleats?
A: Iím not going to blame cleats in that scenario. Iím going to blame myself. I got to be a better pro there. I thought I got a good grip of the grass and the field in the walk-thru. I guess I didnít. Thatís where I have to be better as a pro. Iím not going to blame it on cleats or anything like that. The only person I can blame is myself.
Q: Did you change your cleats?
Q: Did you change them after that first slip?
A: Yeah, I changed my cleats. Just longer cleats to get better grip on the ground.
Q: You had your first 20-carry game, and saw a lot more production from (RB) Eli Penny. Is there something you guys changed in the running game that made it more of an emphasis?
A: No, we were in the game the whole time to get 20 carries. When you look at the good backs, or just any good run team, the long runs come, itís just at the end of the game. For example, when we played the Redskins not so long ago, (Redskins RB Adrian Peterson) APís biggest run was in the fourth quarter. We were doing a pretty good job of stopping them, but itís going to break at some point. Obviously, we got to get out of that little bit to get kind of a two minute mindset to go score. When you are able to carry the ball Ė and even though there may not be pretty yards, or even though they may not be a 200-yard rushing game, it controls the tempo of the game, it controls the pace of the game, and weíre able to do that. Penny came in and did a great job, even when he got the ball in his hands. He caught the ball a couple of times. Even got some moves and almost got a first down for us.
Q: How much did you physically feel the workload, if at all?
A: No, nothing really noticeable. I work my butt off in the offseason. I work my butt off during the season trying to maintain my strength and my speed, and I try to stay healthy for games like that for a workload like that, so it doesnít bother you. The only thing that really bothers you is the wear and tear of the season, and thatís with everybody. No matter if you carry the ball 20 times, or if you carry the ball five times.
Q: So, youíre good for 30 carries, right? (laughter)
A: Iím good with however as much carries I need to try to help my team win, whether itís two carries or whether itís 38.
Q: How do you think your learning curve in pass protection has gone from Week 1 until now?
A: I think from where Iíve learned, especially just watching myself during the bye week. Just being more patient in the pass game. Trying to get out there too quick to dictate the coverage or my responsibility on my route. Iím just being more patient and making sure that I know that I know before I get out. I think last week is probably one of my best pass-pros I had, but still can get better.
Q: Odell mentioned when he said this team will go 8-0 for the rest of the year, he said a couple people laughed at him. Do you feel itís not so crazy to think that way?
A: I donít think itís crazy to think that way at all. I think thatís what we all feel in this locker room, we all feel on this team. Weíre more than capable of doing that, but weíre not naÔve to the fact that itís a long season and you canít really think, oh, we got to win eight games, because thatís not the mindset. Thatís what we want to do, but the mindset is taking care of every single day and every single game, one day at a time. We got to come in and we got to attack Thursday, and have our best Thursday of the year.
Q: How much are you looking forward to getting your first win at home?
A: Yeah, thatíll be big, just the momentum for our team of getting two in a row and getting one in front of our fans. We got two this year, and we havenít got it done at home. So, thatíll be big for us to get a win at home, and definitely need it.
Q: Do you think itíll feel different?
A: No, I donít think itíll feel different. Not for me. Personally, a win is a win to me. It doesnít matter if itís home or away, by 30 or by two. I just love winning.