RB Saquon Barkley -- December 27, 2018
Q: Do you feel like thereís been more emphasis on the run game since (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) has been out?
A: Yes, obviously Odell, in my opinion, is the best wide receiver and one of the best players in the NFL. He demands attention. That canít be our excuse. He wasnít there for the Redskins game, and we had one of our best running outings of the year. It just comes down to executing at the end of the day, but yes, Odell is a talented player and heís going to bring attention to him, and itís going to open up. Not only the reality of how talented he is, but like I said, he wasnít with us for the Redskins game, and we had a great running game. It comes back down to just us. Thatís kind of the moral of the story the whole year. Find a way to finish games. Find a way to execute, and make good plays when needed, and thatís whatís been the correlation in the run game. We just havenít been executing. We got one more game to do it with each other, and we got to find a way to do it better.
Q: Have you had any problems adjusting in games?
A: I donít think you ever accept it. You go back, you watch what the defense did to stop you, what they did to help them in the game, and what you couldíve done better, and you just learn from that. Thatís whatís so special about this game, especially about being a competitor. Itís not always going to go your way. Thatís just how life works. The last two weeks havenít been going my way. The Titans, we didnít play as well as we could as a whole on offense, but last week, we were able to still put up 27 points. I had a really strong outing in the past game for the majority of it. We just didnít find a way to win. Thatís the beauty of the game, when they try to take away one part of your game, and you got to beat them on the next part. We got to find a way to do that. The struggles arenít hard to accept, because I donít accept them. I just learn from it and get better.
Q: I know youíre only a rookie, but youíve played the Cowboys before. Do you feel any extra juice from a rivalry game, even at this early stage in your career?
A: Yeah, you definitely can feel it. I wouldnít say a rivalry game, just when you play a divisional opponent. The Cowboys are going to the playoffs I believe, and theyíve played well this year. They got us the first game. They have a great, great team over there, with (Cowboys QB) Dak (Prescott) and (Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott) ďZekeĒ on the offensive side of the ball, and (Cowboys WR) Amari Cooper and all of those guys. Defensively, theyíve been playing lights out. Statistically where theyíre ranked, theyíre top-10 in a lot of those categories. Itís going to be fun. Like I said, we got one more game to do it together as a team, and one more game we get to compete. We got to find a way to get a win.
Q: How pressed are you to get the rushing title this year?
A: I wouldnít say that. You never know (laughter). Iím just kidding, but honestly, you never know. Iím not all about winning rushing titles, or me, me, me, but I do believe that I want to be a great player in this league, and I want to go down as one of the best to play in this league, and thatís something you got to do. If you look at all the great running backs, they at least got one. Thatís a credit to the coaching staff, and your teammates, and the hard work you put in. I believe one day, I will accomplish that goal, and thatís a goal of mine. The way I am, when I set goals and I envision something, Iím going to go work for it. This week, go out and play lights out, compete at a high level for my teammates, for my brothers, and try to get a win. Sadly, our season will end there, but itís right back to work figuring out how I can get better, and help the team out next year.
Q: What would it mean to you to get 2,000 yards total as a rookie?
A: That would be awesome. I think I would be the third player to do that. It was Eric Dickerson, and Edgerrin James that did that. To be in the likeness of those guys and mentioned in the same category as those guys would be awesome. It would also be awesome because you donít do that by yourself. The season hasnít been the way that we wanted it to go, but to be able to get 2,000 yards with the help of your teammates and the help of the offensive line and coaches, that would be special.
Q: You think you can catch Zeke? You need 236 yards.
A: You never know, but if it doesnít happen, heís a great back. Credit to him, I really respect his game. Not only him, but Todd Gurley, Alvin (Kamara), (Broncos RB) Phillip Lindsay, Christian McCaffrey, who I think doesnít get a lot of attention as he should. Respect to all of those guys, and to even be close or even top-five, or wherever I am, with those guys in the league is an amazing honor.
Q: How much better is an offseason with a win in this last game?
A: I definitely agree that itíll be better, but I think itís important to win this game because itís the next game on our schedule. Thatís the way you got to look at it. You got one more game. You donít know how this team is going to look next year, the way the offseason and the NFL works. This is the last chance that we have together as a team in 2018. So, why not go out there together and compete together and try to end this season off right with a win.
Q: You only need two catches to beat Reggie Bushís record. (Most receptions by a rookie running back)
A: Yeah, youíre right. Itís been a great year. To even put myself in the position to come into last week to get two catches to break someone who I looked up to growing up, Reggie Bush. To get 2,000 yards, to do this, to do that Ė like I said, you canít do it by yourself. You definitely got to give credit to the men around me, especially the guys up front. Especially (QB) Eli (Manning) helping me out as a young guy. Not really worried about the records. I care less if I get to 2,000 or if I get the two receptions. I think itíll be great, itíll be special for not only myself, but for the team. It would be more special if we get a win.
Q: What did you learn about yourself and the league as a rookie? Whatís the biggest lesson you took from this year?
A: I learned that youíre going to be tested in the NFL. Thereís going to be highs, thereís going to be lows. You got to stay poised through it all. No matter what, you got to come in and you got to continue to work, continue to have that mindset to get better every single day. Try to make the people around you better, whether thatís speaking vocally, or showing your work ethic. I learned that the season is never over until you officially you canít make the playoffs, to be completely honest, because at one point we were 1-7, and then four or five weeks later, weíre right in the hunt, and if this happens or that happens, we can be in a different situation coming into this week. You got to stay with it. You got to stay poised through the year, and continue to get better. What Iím pressing to do is come out Sunday and play my heart out, compete for my teammates, and hopefully come out with a win. When the season ends, get in the offseason and get to work. Figure out how I can go from doing what I did in my rookie year, and even elevate it to another level.