RB Saquon Barkley -- December 31, 2018
Q: Congratulations on a great season individually. What do you do? Do you wish you can get started again right away or are you looking forward to a little bit of a break before you get your engines going?
A: Honestly, I wish we can get started right away. Itís going to suck staying home watching the playoffs and knowing that youíre not in there and wanting to be in there. Thatís also going to motivate you to work harder, work extra and push yourself to be a better player for your team next year, so that next year youíre not home watching the playoffs. I would love to get going right away, but this is my first time having an NFL offseason so I want to make sure I do this right. I was just talking with my running back coach Ė I donít want to take too much time off and I donít want to not take enough time off, so try to find a balance, talk to vets. I talked to Frank Gore and he gave me some great advice with how he handles it, (as well as) Stew (Jonathan Stewart). Iím going to try to find the right thing for my body to balance it and get me in the best shape I can to come out in April and get ready to get the season started again.
Q: Do you feel like after ending your first season in the NFL, do you feel like your body feels like you just played 16 hard games?
A: No, I feel like I got four more games left in me to be completely honest. Got to continue to do a good job taking care of my body. Very fortunate to have a great staff here with the strength staff and the guys in the training room, the people I work with outside of this facility. To be able to start all 16 games at the position I play, thatís an honor right there. I saw something on Twitter that thereís like six or seven backs that did that this year, so got to give credit to the people I work with for helping take care of my body.
Q: How much will you watch the next months of the playoffs when youíre home?
A: Iím going to try to watch every single game. Thereís nothing like playoff football, so I will definitely watch. Thereís going to be teams that make mistakes that I could learn from, so when Iím in that position one day and when this team is in that position one day we could be ready for it.
Q: When youíre in that position?
Q: Youíre thinking when, not if?
A: When, yeah.
Q: There has been a bunch of peaks and valleys during this season, team related wise. Obviously a lot of peaks for you. Whatís the most important thing you think youíll take with you during this offseason?
A: Most important thing that Iíll take into this offseason is try to do a little extra with workouts, with reps, with on-field stuff. Finish, finish better. Iím a big believer in what you do in the offseason, what you do in the weight room and what you do in your workout translates to the field and the biggest thing I think that we werenít able to do as a team this year is not finish out games. I donít what the stat is Ė eight, seven, six, how many games we lost by seven points or fewer. Obviously thatís just the nature of the game and the nature of the NFL and how close games are going to be, but thatís going to be in the back of my mind. So when Iím working out, always find a way to Ė obviously everyone, I donít care who you are youíre human, youíre going to get sore, youíre going to get tired, but find a way to fight through that and power through that. When Iím in that situation on the field, I could be there for my team to step up and make plays or lead in those situations better.
Q: From a training standpoint, how much different is this offseason going to be from last year when it was Fiesta Bowl, draft training, all the run up to the draft, the combine and all that. Now that you have a full season under your belt, how different is this offseason going to be?
A: Itís going to be very different. You got time to take off and I havenít really gotten the opportunity since high school football to be completely honest since my senior year. Even that I went to play basketball and I ran track, but Iím going to try to balance this and do it the right way. I donít want to take too much time off and I want to make sure I take enough time, too, because thatís what you have to do in this league so I look forward to it. Try to balance it the best that I can and get myself the best prepared I can when the time comes.
Q: Talking about taking off, yesterday that one-handed football touchdown, what was that all about?
A: Looking back on film, I probably couldíve just walked in. The offensive line did a really good job of blocking, but we were actually just watching that play. I was watched it with a couple offensive linemen and they were like you donít think you couldíve just walked in here, we just laughed about it. I made up in my mind that no matter by any means Iím going to score and for some reason my body said jump and I was able to jump, but thatís something you could learn, too. In that situation, it worked out for me. We scored a touchdown, but thatís not the right time to do it. I donít know, I think the down and distance was third down. Thatís time to do if itís fourth down in a critical moment so I got to find a way with being better ball security. Obviously, I didnít have any fumbles this year so I did a pretty good job with that, but that was too close to call so got to definitely be smarter, but at the end of the day it did work and when the opportunity comes you got to make those plays.
Q: Did you see the memes that were going around?
A: I saw a couple of them. The funniest one I saw was me jumping and it was a Space Jam one of Michael Jordan jumping. Yeah itís always fun to see those things, but with that said, try to stay away from it. Iím not going to sit here and lie to you guys. Iím on social media, you guys are on social media, everyone is on social media. Youíre going to see the good things and youíre also going to see the bad things, but itís how you handle it.
Q: Was it tough not to get your hands on the ball on the last drive when you needed just a field goal to win?
A: Yeah, itís tough because just how Iím made up and how I was raised and just I want to be that guy to make the play for my teammates, to make the play for my team to put us in the position to win a game. Thatís just something how it always been, Iím always going to be, but at the end of the day you got to trust your teammates to make plays too and I know theyíre going to make those plays. Sometimes you fall short in life and that game right there and that drive right there we fell short. We did that too many times this season, so we got to find a way to be better.
Q: Iím sure youíve played on teams where you kind of knew how good you were and youíre going to win a majority of games. How close is this team to being that?
A: I believe that weíre very close and to be completely honest, I think what we have here is special. I wasnít here the year before, but weíre not the team that we were when we went 3-13. Obviously, we went 5-11 and thatís not the record that we would like, but weíre close. Weíre really close and I believe thatís going to show next year if we continue to believe in each other, continue to work and continue to grind and have that dog mentality that we showed this year. I think itís going to fall our way differently next year.
Q: Will you check in with Eli (Manning) during the offseason just to keep the rapport going?
A: Yeah I will check in with Eli, I will check in with all my teammates. I put my number on the board for all the offensive linemen just in case I donít have any of their numbers and running backs and wide receivers. I love working out with my teammates. Iím a big believer that it helps build a great team and thatís how me and Odell (Beckham Jr.) and (Sterling) Shepard got close from being in LA training with those guys. When youíre grinding with someone, you see how they work. You respect the grind, you respect how they push themselves. You see it work on the field, thatís why you get so excited for those guys when theyíre making plays. Definitely going to check in with all my teammates.
Q: When you look at your year, you talked about getting through the mesh earlier this year, maybe tweaking your running style up, getting a taste for the NFL. Now that you have a season under your belt, how much better can this offense be hitting the ground running this year?
A: I believe the offense can be outstanding. Coach put up a thing for us the difference between the first half of the season and second half of the season and how much more balanced we were as a team. We had like nine more points than we did, more in the running game, passing efficiency was up, the win and loss column was better than it was in the first half so I believe that we have the opportunity to be a balanced team and to be able to hurt people at any moment. I think we have people on this team that you canít blink and you blink or you fit a gap wrong or you have a coverage wrong, weíre going to take it 80. I think Ė I donít think, I know that Shep, Odell, myself, Cody (Latimer), Evan (Engram) and those guys showed it. Now we just got to continue to build and you donít want to dwell on the past, but you want to learn from the past and move on from it and continue to get better.