NYG Postgame (vs. Buccaneers) Transcripts: RB Saquon Barkley -- November 18, 2018
Q: What do you think the running backís groove is like when youíre getting consistent carries and how things were starting to pop eventually?
A: Yeah, we definitely got the run game going today. We got great calls from our coaches, too. But when we get the run game going, everything else kind of clicked. We got them (Tampa Bay) to commit more to the run so we could take some deep shots and take shots down the field. It also keeps the clock and the chains moving.
Q: For you, personally, when youíre getting consistent carries, what does that do for you when you assess the defense, youíre starting to feel them out and then you pop the big runs?
A: It definitely helps. The more carries you get, the better you see the field and the way that the defense plays. You can get that chance to pop a big one, but you have to continue. You have to take a physical run sometimes, and when you get the chance, you have to take it.
Q: How would you say youíre developing? Are you happy with where you are in your rookie season?
A: Yeah. I will never be satisfied, but other than that, I definitely feel like Iím getting better throughout the year. Plays are becoming clearer to me; Iím seeing the field a lot better. Iím seeing the game better with the help of Eli (Manning) and all the vets on the team. But I still have way, way more to improve on.
Q: Coming off the bye, what feels different and did you realize that after that incomplete pass to you, there wasnít an incomplete pass from Eli after that?
A: The difference in these wins are that weíre executing. Weíre finishing games, weíre finishing drives, and thatís what we wanted to do in the first half of the season. In almost every single game that we were playing, we werenít executing, and Coach (Pat Shurmur) put up a highlight reel of plays that we just missed. Thatís how close we were, and thatís how close we know we are. These last few games, I feel the complete opposite of that. I definitely owe Eli something, because he wouldíve had a perfect day if I caught that ball. Iíve caught that ball multiple times in practice. I work on that catch every day and every time we warm up for a game, and I wasnít up to my standards there, so I definitely owe him something.
Q: Talking about margins and execution, how thin are they? What have you guys worked on or made differently so those plays that you were just missing out on before are happening now?
A: I think the biggest thing was addressing the situation and realizing that we were getting this close. And weíve been practicing a lot of those plays too. At the end of the day, itís about making those plays. Thatís the biggest difference. For instance, that drop. It didnít come back to haunt us, but with plays like that, you have to execute in that situation. But weíve been executing these past few games and from Odell (Beckham Jr.) to Shep (Sterling Shepard), the offensive line, the defensive line and all those guys, theyíve stepped up.
Q: Youíve talked a lot about improving in pass protection. How did you feel you did in that category?
A: I donít think I pass protected that much today. I think I only had like one time where I had to come in and help, but like I said, everybody has room to improve. Our passing game is key, and to be a great player I have to improve.
Q: This teamís still four games below .500 in week 11 of play. Youíre in a division where the first-place team only has six wins. Is there a sense of hope in the locker room right now?
A: The way I view that is thereís always going to be a sense of hope until thereís no chance of us to go where we need to go. Weíre always going to believe, but we canít look too far ahead to the other teams in our division. We have to focus on ourselves, and thatís done by going to practice and getting better every single day, and taking it one day at a time.
Q: Is the team doing enough in your mind to win each of those games that youíre talking about, going forward?
A: Yeah, I still think we have to take from todayÖ I think at the end of the day, it doesnít matter how you win. It matters if you win, and weíre going to get that done by making some plays and running the ball a lot better in the second half of our season. We still have a lot to improve on, and in my opinion, we have to do a better job of closing out the game. We were up 14 points on this team, and we still gave them a chance, so I think thatís what we can improve on for the regular season.
Q: Eli has been facing a lot of heat for his performances lately. Do you feel good for him after a performance like that?
A: I feel good for Eli no matter what. Itís tough to be in this market and with this media, no offense to you guys, but the way he handles himself is amazing. As a young guy, heís definitely someone to look up to. He comes into work every single day, and Iíll tell you guys a story. I was in the film room one time, and he came in. I was probably in there for an hour, and he sat down with me for like 20 minutes and showed me three things that I didnít even see. That just showed me how far I am from being where I want to be. I definitely respect Eli not only as a player, but as a person.
Q: How excited are you to be in Pennsylvania next week to play the Eagles?
A: Iím not really excited to play in Pennsylvania again. I did that in college and the past is in the past; Iím moving on. Iím just excited to go out there and try to tackle those guys to get a win. They got one of us so we just have to focus this week and try to get them.
Q: How are you adhering to the coachís challenge of being a tough runner and running inside?
A: You take that as a challenge. You take it personally; you know that they brought you in here for a reason and you have to get better. Thatís how I take it. The same way that I took it was to still stay who I am. I hadnít really changed anything today besides my pace. I just got a feel for the running game and the offensive line, and I think I found a pace that I liked. They challenged me to do that and I did that today.
Q: Can you talk about how fresh you felt today? You were coming off a Monday night game where you had 20 carries.
A: I see what youíre saying, but I think the routine that I have, the people that I work with in and outside of the facility are the keeping me straight and keeping me healthy. I have to continue to keep that routine and continue to get better for my team, so Iím coming as fresh as I can.
Q: Why did you pretend to hurdle an imaginary defender on that one move down the sideline?
A: It was kind of like, in basketball, a hesitation move. I saw two defenders, so I was trying to hesitate and get him to shuffle his feet and get my lineman to get there to block.