RB Saquon Barkley -- August 12, 2019
Q: How do you like your view of these preseason games?
A: I am I going to continue to learn from it even though Iím not on the field, I wasnít on the field last week. I just try to stay as locked in as I can, stay excited, get the sideline pumped, and itís fun to see a lot of the guys who have worked (hard). Especially the younger guys, and I say younger guys even though they might be older than me, to see how hard they worked to get to this spot, to play their dream, and to see them go out there and play some games and make some plays is awesome.
Q: I saw you run down the sideline into the endzone when (Bennie) Fowler caught that touchdown from Daniel (Jones). How excited were you to see Daniel (Jones) put together that kind of drive and to see Bennie (Fowler) in the spotlight?
A: Itís really dope to see Bennie (Fowler), because Bennie works so hard. Itís funny, (because) I remember them working on that route after practice and just repping it, repping it, and repping it. To see it come all together on the field is really special. But for Daniel, it was his first drive and his first drive to go down there, and to score a touchdown on your first drive, a lot of people canít say that. Iím just happy for him and Iím happy for the offense. It was the second drive, and to be able to regroup after they scored and to be able to respond, thatís important in football. When a team goes down and scores, you have to be able to go down there and respond quickly and we were able to do that. The whole offense as a whole played really well. We ran the ball really well, the o-line protected well, Daniel threw the ball well, and the wide receivers caught the ball and ran the ball after the catch really well. It was a good drive for the offense and I was excited to get that started right there.
Q: We asked you last week about playing preseason games and you said you want to. Do you need to? Do you feel like youíre ready to go into regular season if you donít play in these games?
A: Thatís a great question. I think everyoneís different. For me personally, this day last year, or yesterday (last year), I strained my hamstring or whatever you want to call it, so I missed the rest of preseason. When I played the first week of the season and played the season last year I didnít feel like I was out of shape, I didnít feel like I needed more reps. I think we did a really good job with taking live competitive reps here, even though we donít tackle to the ground. We have a really great defense that gives me a really good look. Do I think I need it? I think it depends on the player. Every year is different. Am I ready if I have to? Yes, my mindset every week is to prepare to get ready to go out there and compete at a high level for my team, no matter if itís one snap, two series, one quarter or if I donít play. If I donít play, I stay locked in and try to be the leader that I can to keep the energy and the vibes good on the sideline.
Q: Do you need to get hit, do you need to get tackled to the ground? Or do you say, Ďno Iíve been hit enough, I know what it feels like to be hit to the ground?í
A: Yeah, I donít think anyone needs to be hit. I think if everyone could choose not to get hit until Week 1 they would choose that. But you are right, some people like to get that first contact, (and) like to get that first hit. But for me, Iím the type of player that no matter if it Is preseason, playoffs or the regular season, once that first play goes and I get hit, Iím fine. Sometimes the first play can be a 60-yard touchdown and youíre fine. Just once I get to step on that field, whenever that opportunity is going to be, Iím going to go out there and try to lead and try to play to the best ability I can for my team.
Q: What do you think of the job your new five starting offensive linemen are doing opening holes for you in practice or for Wayne (Gallman) and Paul (Perkins) in the game?
A: I think they are doing an amazing job. We worked really hard in the offseason to try to get our o-line to the best ability that we can, and I think we did a really good job. Those guys, you can tell that they love the game, they are passionate about the game, and that they are competitors. Even when we are in practice, and obviously you guys get to see it in preseason, even though itís a small couple plays. The way that they are opening holes and the way that they are jelling right now, itís very important. I feel like itís going to be the reason why we have a very successful year in the run game. Iím excited to see those guys continue to get better, and Iím excited to get better with those guys, and I know all of the running backs are excited, too.
Q: I know theyíve been running you a little bit more outside as a receiver in practice the last couple of days, and you did that in school. What do you like about that role, and what do you like about being a receiver?
A: I love it. I feel like I am capable of doing that. I work on that in the offseason. I try to be a versatile player, and being a versatile player is someone who can run routes, youíre not just one-dimensional. Thatís part of being versatile. I welcome that and Iím excited that they are gaining trust in me. I need to continue to gain their trust, and when the opportunity comes to get out there, (and) most of the time Iíll be matched up with a linebacker or safetyó I believe that, especially if itís man and a route for me to win, I think more times (than not) I am going to win that route. I love the opportunity to gain space and to do whatever it takes to help my team win.
Q: Pat told us he had a plan for you in the preseason. Has he discussed it with you, and can you tell us what it is?
A: We talked over it a little bit after they decided that I am not playing (preseason) Week 1. Thatís just for in-house, for the team, and for the conversation to be kept in the locker room.
Q: Do you want to play?
A: Yes. If you know anything about me, or if you ask my teammates, I love the game of football. Any opportunity that you get to play. Every single day we stop, and we mention, especially in the RB group, how big of a blessing it is to come out here and play the sport that you love. I know I talk about that with Paul PerkinsóPaul Perkins missed the whole season last year. There is going to come a time where you miss a game, you miss that preseason game, and you miss the grind of the camp. Every opportunity that you get, why not take advantage of it.
Q: What have you learned or admired about Eli (Manning) in the way he has gone about his business with (Daniel) Jones here?
A: Heís Eli. I knew, even when we drafted Daniel Jones, that wasnít going to change anything for Eli. Thatís how Eli is, and thatís what Iíve seen from the first year. I said it a whole bunch of times last year, no matter if we win a game by 50 or if we lose a game by 40, heís going to be the same guy thatís going to come in with the same mindset every single day, and heís going to have the same preparation. Thatís why heís a two-time Super Bowl champ, two-time Super Bowl MVP, a future Hall of Famer, and one of the best players to ever play for this franchise. Thereís a reason why, and you see that. When Daniel Jones goes out there and does a great job, itís not like heís worried. Heís happy for him. At the end of the day, thatís what this league is all about and thatís what we want to be about as a team, (and) a competitive team. You want to have competitive people. Even though you want to be the starter or you want to be number one, you also want to know that if you have to have a back-up come in, whether itís a right guard, right tackle, or if Wayne (Gallman) has to come in, you know that they are able and are willing to get the job done.