RB Saquon Barkley -- December 6, 2018
Q: How much better is the offensive line playing than maybe going into that last Redskins game when you guys struggled to get the running game going?
A: Yeah, our offensive line is playing at a very high level these last couple weeks. For the last three games, we’ve been able to run over 100 yards. That’s directly towards them and a credit towards them. They’re playing very confident, the chemistry is high there, and that’s what we kind of didn’t have going into the last time we played the Redskins. Hopefully they can have an impact on this game and set the tone from the line of scrimmage.
Q: 14 weeks into the year, now you’re getting to the point where some guys hit that rookie wall. Is that something you worry about or is there something you to do help avoid that?
A: No, I’m not really worried about the rookie wall at all. I really don’t believe in it, to be honest. I don’t even know what it is, to be honest, I don’t know what to believe in. Maybe I did hit a rookie wall and I didn’t know, but if it has anything to do with how your body’s feeling or getting out of bed, I haven’t felt that yet. My mindset is just wake up every single day, try to stay on my routine, surround yourself with the right people to take care of your body, whether it’s inside the facility or outside the facility, and grind and go out on Sundays and play your tail off for your teammates.
Q: Anything about this Washington defense – they’re a little bit nicked up – that you see on film that they’re maybe a little vulnerable?
A: I wouldn’t say they’ve vulnerable, I think they’re still a really good defense. They have been letting up more runs than they were the first half of the year, but they’re still a great defense and you still got to respect those guys from the front seven to the backend, so we’ve got to come in prepared and come in on an away game and try to get our first divisional win on the road, which is going to be tough. But we’re confident enough that we can do that, and I’m confident enough in the guys on this team and the coaches on the team that we can get it done.
Q: Can you sense that increase in intensity in (road divisional) games, particularly from the fans?
A: From the fans, I would say a little bit more, especially when you go to a place like Philadelphia. It’s crazy how you walk out and see little kids cursing you out, it’s crazy. Dallas, that was Sunday Night Football, primetime, so the energy there was ridiculous, too. I guess you could say you can see the difference especially with Philly and the Cowboys, but for us, it’s just another game. Obviously you’re aware that it’s a divisional game, but the way that we approach it, your guys come in there and just execute when it comes down to X’s and O’s and play better football than them, and try to come out with the win.
Q: How little was that kid that cursed you out?
A: (They) weren’t directly cursing me out, but you just see them when you run out there. They were probably nine, I don’t know the age, but I’ve heard stories about Philly fans and growing up in the Lehigh Valley area, you know how serious the Philly fans are. My dad told me a story he was wearing a Giants hat and a Philly fan tried to take his hat off, and my dad was like, ‘what are you doing?!’ So I guess you could say you see the intensity more when you go to divisional games on the road, but that’s really it. I haven’t heard any stories about Washington, I don’t know how crazy their fans are, but I know it’s going to be a good environment, it’s going to be a fun game and we’re going to do whatever we can do to come out with a win.
Q: Is it any regret at all, you let that Philly game slip away and this game could’ve been with a lot more at stake – any part of you that thinks, ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’?
A: Part of you does, not because you’re thinking about the future but we were playing at a high level. In the last four games, we’ve been 3-1 and you can’t complain about that, but you want to be 4-0 in those last games. That game was similar to the Carolina Panthers game where we had it and we let it slip out of our hands. You’ve got to give credit to the Eagles during that game where they did a really good job, especially in the second half, of controlling the ball and just playing better, just as a whole. Yeah, that one sucks. Obviously part of you wants to look back and say we let that one slip away, but you can’t focus on that. You’ve got to move on, and we did. We moved on, we came out and played a tremendous Chicago Bears team, had a slow start on offense in the first half, defense played lights out, and even though Chicago was able to come back and fight, we found a way to win, which we didn’t do prior to that week. I think we definitely learned from that lesson.
Q: What do you learn about your team when you can not only beat a Bears team like that but overcome the late-game adversity?
A: We know that we’re a talented team and we know that we’re good. I think anybody that plays us, it’s not when you see us on the schedule like, “ah, this is a cake walk’. I’m pretty sure those coaches are telling them, they might be 4-8, but their record doesn’t speak for how they actually play. One thing I know about our team is no matter what, we’re going to compete and I think we showed that numerous times these year. Definitely love the competitive nature of our team, but we just got to continue to get better every week and continue to find a way to execute and finish our games.
Q: Eli said he’s waiting to use your hurdle move.
A: I saw that. I really believe he’s got it in him… He’s just got to get the opportunity. When he gets that chance and he breaks loose, I’ll make sure I block my butt off just so that can happen and can see that play. I believe he can do it, and it would be legendary once he pulls it off.
Q: You’re a rookie, but you seem to take a larger view and understand that there’s a bigger picture out there. You mentioned Carolina and Philly got away from you. Do you think that in a year or two, those can be learning moments?
A: I believe this whole thing is a learning moment that’s building up to be a great story one day. Even though it may not be a great story right now, it will be. I believe this little bit of adversity that we’ve fought in the beginning of the year and what our record being, and we’re going to grow and learn from that as a team. I think so far we’ve even shown that we’ve been a way better team in the second half in the year than we were in the first half of the year. We learned from those games in the first half. As it continues to get better and continues to go, like I said before, I think we’re going to laugh at those moments and laugh at those situations and look back and be like, we learned a lot from that.
Q: When will that moment happen?
A: Only the Man above knows when that’s going to happen. I know it’s going to happen, I believe it’s going to happen, you’ve just got to believe in this group of guys and stay confident and stick with it, keep your foot on the pedal and just keep working.