RB Saquon Barkley -- December 12, 2018
Q: Thereís a video of you talking to the offensive line just before you broke that long run about blocking it more, and then all of a sudden you broke through. Can you elaborate on that dialogue? How much of that is trust in each other?
A: The point we're at especially in the running game and how efficient weíve been in the running game, the confidence is very high and just playing the position of running back and the run game, so a lot of it is a feel, a feel for your offensive line. When we were talking, we were having that dialogue about what I feel couldíve happened on this play, because we were this close from popping one earlier. The Redskins guy made a good play, but I was saying if we can do this, I probably can get through and get a seam and score. The way how we schemed it up, our coaches called it perfect, and we blocked it up perfect, and I was able to score.
Q: How long does it take to develop that communication?
A: It doesnít take long, but obviously with up front, with injuries and people in and out, finally getting us a solidified five and building that confidence, and just getting more comfortable with each other. It really didnít take long in my opinion, but itís just all confidence. When youíre playing at a high level and the way that weíve been doing, as a running back corps and the O-line in the run game, and tight ends and wide receivers included in that also, you just get a good feel for each other. You just have faith in each other that any play can pop at any given moment in time.
Q: What have you seen in (LG) Will Hernandezís development? He came in as a second round pick with you. What have you seen from him so far?
A: Will has been great. You got to give a lot of credit to all those guys up front, especially (LT) Nate (Solder) being a leader there. Will is Will. Heís going to come out there no matter what, every single play and grind it out. Any chance he can get and any chance he has, heís going to try to put his guy on his back. Heís been doing that all year. Obviously, youíve been seeing him doing a lot more recently, so heís definitely been a great help to the offensive line, and to not only my success, but all the running backsí success.
Q: Do you see a big change from him from earlier in the year in terms of his play and level of production?
A: Yeah, I would say just confidence, his confidence Ė and that just comes with repetition and understanding the playbook. I feel like that for all the rookies that have been playing this year. From myself, to (DL) B.J. (Hill), to (LB Lorenzo Carter) Zo, to (CB) Grant (Haley), to all of us. Thatís kind of just the nature of the game. We all want to come out and play at a high level and excellent from the jump, but itís going to take time. Itís going to take making some mistakes and having some troubles to get to the point where we want to get to.
Q: What did you think of (Titans RB Derrick) Henryís run last week?
A: He had like four (laughter). The 99-yarder, yeah, that was impressive. Thatís like the vintage Derrick Henry from college at Alabama. I think he was doing that every single week at Alabama. Heís a big back, but a lot of people, I guess you can say, donít realize how fast he is. When you get a guy that big rolling at that speed, he was just throwing guys off of him like it was high school. That was definitely a very impressive runm might be one of the best runs in NFL history. My personal opinion, I like (RB Marshawn Lynch) Beast Modeís run still, but itís up there.
Q: It wonít be any longer ones, right?
A: Definitely wonít. I think itís him and (RB) Tony Dorsett the only two to do that. Congratulations to him, but hopefully he can save that this week and donít bust out any 99-yard runs against us.
Q: I donít think he reached 21 mph on that one.
A: He did, 21.74 (laughter).
Q: Did you have a stopwatch on you clocking him or something?
A: I saw it on Instagram or something like that (laughter).
Q: Was he faster than you?
A: No, not that week, not that week. I got up to 21.91 (mph).
You had less impediment than he did.
A: The fastest, he didnít get on that run. He got it on, it was like a 50-yard run, and he kind of bounced it outside and just kind of used his speed to beat everyone.
Q: Is it easier playing offense when you have so many options?
A: Yeah, itís definitely easier when you have so many options. Iíve been saying that from the point I got drafted, that weíre a versatile team. We have so many weapons on this team, and weíre still figuring it out. Right now, when you got (QB) Eli (Manning) throwing for three touchdowns and weíre rushing for over 200 yards as a team, special teams is playing great, defense is giving us great field position with the help of special teams, our defense is making plays. Thatís what coach has been saying, teams beat teams. Players donít beat teams. Weíve been playing at a high level as a team. We got to keep it up down the stretch, and it starts with the Titans.
Q: Youíre third in the league in rushing. Would it mean something to you to win the rushing title in your first year?
A: It wouldnít mean something to me to win the rushing title just in my first year. Any time that, hopefully before Iím done playing this sport, that I would love to get one of those, because thatís just a team effort there, especially with the O-line. Even though statistically, your name will be the leading rusher, youíll be up on the top, but thatís just with the help of your offensive line. When you get that, same like when you get 1,000 rushing yards in the NFL, but when you get the rushing title, thatís just a credit to your offensive line. I would love to win one of those titles one day in my career for those guys.
Q: With that being said, knowing where you are in your first year and what youíve been able to accomplish, what can you say about your potential going forward?
A: I feel like the sky is the limit, not only for myself, but for this team. I felt that way once I got here, and Iím going to continue to feel that way and believe in that. As a rookie, hopefully I can continue to get better by understanding the game more, and being more efficient, and all around with work ethic, with my routine, with being a leader. Hopefully, I can continue to grow.
Q: When you talk about the distance and speed, does it motivate you? Does it challenge you? Do you keep those numbers in your head? Does it push you?
A: No, it doesnít push me. If a guy runs 22 mph, at the end of the day, he just wants to get a touchdown. It kind of just puts everything in perspective, and you got to give credit to the people in the building, the strength staff, the trainers, and the people I work with outside of this building to be able to hit almost 22 mph in Week 14, and everyone talking about hitting the rookie wall Ė your body is going to feel this way, your body going to feel that way. Youíre happy, not only for yourself, but because of the people that youíve been working with. Like I said, with the strength staff and with the trainers in this room, and the people I work with outside to help me continue to get better every week, and come into Sundays as best as I can.
Q: Are you competitive with yourself?
A: Yes, Iím very competitive. Thatís just how Iíve been my whole life. I believe that was one of our core values at Penn State. I live by it, and I think not only just in the sport of football, but just in life in general. If youíre a competitive person and you compete in everything you do, youíll get far in life.