RB Saquon Barkley -- December 19, 2018
Q: To get voted in to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, obviously that shows the respect that you have of your peers. Just your thoughts on getting voted in?
A: Yeah, itís an amazing feeling, especially your first year to be selected into the Pro Bowl. Obviously I got to say thank you to all the fans, players, and coaches, it's something that you dream about as a little kid. I actually trained in Orlando for the combine, so I got to see those guys there last year and I remember saying in the back of your head that you want to be here one day and to be able to accomplish that as a rookie definitely means a lot, but you couldnít do that by yourself. You got to give credit to your teammates and the coaches in this building also.
Q: How do you feel at this point 14 games into your rookie year? Youíve taken a lot of hits, a lot of yards, a lot of everything.
A: Physically, I feel pretty good. Iím not going to sit here and lie to you and say I feel 100 percent. No one feels 100 percent at this point. Thatís just the nature of the game, especially the position I play, but any position in football at this stage of the season theyíre going to feel a little banged up, but thatís where you got to grind it out. You got to grind it out and continue to stick with your routine and try to come in Sunday as best as you can be and to help your team win.
Q: Would you hope that your workload in the last two games, obviously itís no playoff scenario or things like that, but you hope it stays the same or gets pushed back a little bit?
A: I hope my workload is whatever it is to help the team win. Obviously I would never want my workload to decrease. I know people probably think that because weíre technically eliminated from the playoffs that 'what are we playing for?', but I donít see it that way at all. We got two games left in our season that we get two games left for the rest of this year with the guys on your team, with the guys that you worked your tail off with all year to get to this point. You got to go out there and continue to fight obviously for yourself and just the competitive nature you have, but your teammates. I would love my workload to be whatever it can be to help the team win and if thatís, like Iíve said multiple times, if thatís 10 carries or if that's 40 touches. I bumped it up to 40 this time.
Q: What do you think to this point after these 14 games has been the best aspect of your game personally?
A: I think that to be able to obviously the way that the yearís been going and obviously no one is happy with our record, but just personally with myself, I guess you can say not happy or not satisfied, but I love the way that Iíve been able to grow as a player. I feel like a lot of people will always try to talk about the rookie wall or at this point in the year or youíre going to get banged up here, banged up there. Obviously Iíve been able to be very healthy and thatís credit to the people I work with and God, but to be able to grow as a player, understanding the game more and also growing as a leader and obviously thatís probably my favorite part of this year is to be able to learn and be able to grow from the good things Iíve done this year and the mistakes that Iíve made.
Q: What do you think you improved the most?
A: I would say leadership, definitely leadership. Obviously I was never shy to talk or be vocal, but just you know yourself when youíre speaking just how more comfortable you feel and I felt more comfortable speaking and leading from this point before in the beginning of the year or preseason or camp. Thatís what I would say Iím not happy with, but Iím proud of the most, but also just understanding the game as a whole, seeing the game differently, how the gameís slowing down a lot more in the run game and for me in the pass game and hopefully I could continue to get better these last two weeks.
Q: Do you get a sense that you talk about a little more comfortable as a leader Ė do you get a sense that more people are more comfortable with you as a leader and will maybe listen to you more now than they wouldíve earlier in the year when you were an unproven rookie?
A: Yeah, but thatís just the nature of life. You have to prove yourself. Obviously I wanted to take on that role, but I had to prove it to my team that Iím a guy you can follow and Iím a guy thatís willing to lead and the way I did that, thatís what I thought I would say who I am Ė stay true to who I am, donít come in here with a cocky attitude or youíre the second pick, youíre this, youíre that. That means nothing. Once you get to the organization, youíre just like everybody else and you got to work and prove yourself just like everyone else and that was a mindset that I had and thatís the mindset Iím going to continue to have and hopefully, like I said, itís not the end of the year we still got two games left to get better and hopefully these next two weeks I can grow in there and even prove to my teammates more that Iím willing to be here for them whether itís on the field or off the field. Just know that they got a competitor thatís going to go out there and compete at a high level for them.
Q: I know you were asked about that rookie wall a couple weeks ago Ė youíre playing more games than in college. Can you see where people would think that and did you at all feel it?
A: Personally, I think thatís something that goes on internally with yourself, kind of a mental point and I think that just the way that Ė not the way I was raised, but a lot of credit to the coaches here and the coaches I had in college of developing me mentally. I feel like that I never got to that wall. Maybe I did, maybe I donít know what the rookie wall actually is and Iím just lying to you guys, but personally I felt like that I never got there. I can see why, the wear and tear on your body, youíre just not used to playing 17 weeks compared to playing 12 weeks or 13 weeks in college. I can see the difference there, but thatís just, in my mind, youíre just complaining. Obviously everyoneís going to be Ė unless you have a real reason why like just some people going through some injuries and stuff like that. I could see in that case, but if your body is obviously banged up as a young guy, you just got to power through it and thatís why I think with the rookie wall people try to say comes to play, but I just think thatís a mental part.
Q: Thereís a Rookie of the Year candidate in this game in the Colts linebacker Darius Leonard. What does he look like to you, how exciting will it be of a challenge against him running the ball?
A: Iím definitely looking forward to playing against him. Heís a heck of a player. I think he leads the league in tackles, not 100 percent sure of that. Does a really good job of getting the ball out so you know you got to be conscious of that when youíre running by him, does a great job getting tackles, got a great feel for the ball, just a great feel for being on the field and heís a heck of a player and as a competitor I look forward to going against him.
Q: You wonít go against Quenton Nelson, but did you get to meet him on the rookie circuit and what do you think of the way he plays offensive line?
A: I never got to really like sit down and watch film with him because Iím just watching more film on defense, to be honest, but I see some stuff on like Instagram and social media of him and heís a heck of a player. Kind of going through the draft process, kind of got to talk to him a little bit and I knew he was going to be a heck of a player, so with any rookie or anybody in my draft class, I just wish him success and health and heís been playing really well this year.
Q: You saw that video of him laying out and screaming?
A: Yeah, thatís what Iím talking about, something like that. Heís obviously been a tremendous help to that team and theyíre playing at a high level right now and we got to obviously have him on the game plan and mindset to attack him, attack them on offense, and we got to do a great job on our side of the ball of getting (inaudible).