RB Saquon Barkley -- July 25, 2019
Q: What did you think when youíre out there and you hear people cheering ďMVPĒ for you?
A: Thatís a first. I have never really heard that chant before. Iím just grateful for the fans who come out and show support. Itís just fun being out there and playing football again. Obviously, you get to interact with the fans and sign stuff for them, especially the little kids. The MVP chants, thatís cool and all, but I was just more happy to be out there with my teammates and kick the season off.
Q: Do you think thatís a possibility?
A: MVP? Yeah, I think anything is possible. I am a big believer in that, but my mindset is not just that trophy. Obviously, I am not going to sit here and say ďI donít want to win the MVP,Ē or ďI donít want to win this or win that.Ē But I am a big believer. I take care of the little things and focus on (the) team first. Itís a team first mentality and all of the individual awards will take care of themselves.
Q: You talked last year about getting through the mesh quicker in the second half. Is there a goal you have, whether itís a little thing or an individual goal, that you have for this year?
A: Yeah. Right now, my main goal is to take care of little things. Right now, I am trying to understand the blocking scheme, obviously with the shifts and movements. Before we say ďhikeĒ I am trying to be able to read the defense and know exactly where weíre going to block and who is my most dangerous man, before watching film on the team and understanding that. Itís a lot easier when you have a grasp of whatís actually going to happen than when you go out here you donít really know what to expect. Iím trying to do that, figure out the defense real quick and figure out what my linemanís are going to do, and ďboomĒ whoís my guy and trying to make the play work, instead of reacting.
Q: How do you feel about the possibility of 300 carries and 400 touches? Is there a point where you think it might be counter-productive at all?
A: No. I am open to as many that come. Like I have said before, I am willing to take as many touches to help the team win. Thatís why I train, thatís why I try to take care of my body, thatís why I take the mindset I take in the off season, and thatís why I train with guys like (Speed Coach) Ryan Flaherty, thatís why (Iím) with the amazing strength staff here with (Strength and Conditioning) Coach Wellman and all of those guys. I understand that and the wear and tear of football. Thatís my job and thatís the sport that I chose to fall in love with. I know it comes with the territory, so I have to be better and be better as a person and take care of my body to be more of a professional in that area.
Q: Did you feel it at the end of last year?
A: No, I was chilling to be honest. I felt good, I felt pretty good. If we were in the position to be in playoffs and play more games, I know I was more than capable. Like I said, I train now and I train in the offseason knowing what the possibility is, and not just talking about touches but just in football. Playing a 16-game season, if you want to add preseason on top of that and add playoffs in the future too. Itís something I know that comes with the game and thatís why I take the responsibilities I have now and try to treat myself like a pro.
Q: When did you decided to train with Shep (Sterling Shepard) and how did it go?
A: We started training together because we lived together in LA. We were both trying to look for houses in LA. I found one first and he was still trying to find one, and I was like ďwell I have a room for you and your familyĒ so we just went in all together with me and my manager. He was training with his trainer at first but then he was coming and training with me and my trainer. Itís good to train with your teammates. Obviously, you have respect for each another, but itís a different respect when youíre actually living with each other, playing video games, and going from fighting each other to chilling to competing to this and that, basically like a brother. It makes you grow and respect each other and the game so much more. Not only as a player but as a person, to respect each other. I definitely think it was a benefit, not only for us but for the team.
Q: He said you cheated in some of your races?
A: Come on man. He came up here and said that? Thatís Sterling Shepard for you. One, if youíre not cheating youíre not trying (laughter). Not in races, especially not in races. He got me in tier two sports like ping pong and handball. For some reason, I blame my parents, Iím not a really good tier two athlete. So, he got my number there. If we count our reps through the summer with hill reps, sprints, all that good stuff, I know 100 percent Iím up. He can take that to the bank.
Q: He said you stuck your arm out?
A: Thatís what he says all the time. He says if you are running a race, what are they going to count, your chest or this (sticks out arm) and I donít do that, why would I do that (sticks his arm out) during a race? If anything, I was the one who was running through because I know (pauses) Iím sorry, you can see how passionate Iím getting about that (laughter). Itís great to have that love for each other but also that competitive nature. We do that in the locker room but it brings out everybody. When everyone is playing ping pong or we are playing card games or when we come out here. We didnít have that last year, we didnít have that competitive nature that we have. Thatís why I think we can have a really special year. If we continue to build, continue to build on that with the long hard days, and put in the work and focus on details I believe we can have a great season.
Q: Do you like this environment with the fans being able to watch practice?
A: I think itís cool actually. I like the signing at the end. I like the interaction with the kids. To be honest, I donít really care about grownups (laughter). I know when I was a kid I would have loved to able to visit my favorite team or meet one of my favorite players or a person I look up to. I think thatís a neat thing that we do here, that we are able to interact with the fans. Iím all for it, I love it, and Iím happy they come and show support and you also get to put on a show for them during practice.
Q: It took Daniel Jones a little bit to get his first completion, then he completed four in a row. As a team leader do you go over and say something to him or are you not paying attention to him because you are with the running backs?
A: I pay attention to everything. Personally, I think Daniel did more than fine. I think we all did well for the first day. Obviously, there are things to grow. I didnít know that he went a long time without a completion then had four in a row. I think that shows he is going through adversity, heís maybe not having the day he wants at the beginning but to be able to pick it up and continue to go strong. Thatís what you want in a quarterback, thatís what you want in all your teammates and players. Thatís what I continue to work on. Thereís been times when Iíve had a bad run, I had a screen today where I didnít set up and kind of put us in a bad position. Its practice, thatís when you learn from it and get better. Thatís why itís called practice so you can learn and when the games come you can be more than ready to compete at a high level.
Q: Was that the screen that Lorenzo Carter picked off?
A: That was a heck of a play. You have to give credit to Zo. The defense gave me crap for that too because we go back and forth. It was a zero blitz, he was responsible for the running back and I kind of tried to sneak him and dip outside him on the screen. He did a great job of playing it and then made an unbelievable play. Two or three plays before that we had a little reverse and he ran down one of our wide receivers. Iím really happy for that guy, you can see the work he put in. I think he is going to have a tremendous impact for us this year.