RB Saquon Barkley -- November 27, 2019
Q: Coach Shurmur said you are like a lot of other guys on this team, a young guy grinding trying to work through things and learn. Do you look at yourself that way expectation wise or do you not look at yourself as a young guy that is learning?
A: I donít look at it that way, but heís not lying. Iím only 22, in my second year. You have to hold yourself to a standard and hold yourself to higher expectations. Thatís how I am and thatís how Iím going to continue to be. Even though you face adversity or the season isnít going how you want, as a team you have to keep working.
Q: Whatís the biggest difference from this time last year to now in terms of the vibe and where you think the season is heading? Are you guys building on something here?
A: I still think we believe we are building on something. We know that you are what your record says you are, as the great Bill Parcells would say, heís exactly right. We understand that we have been in a lot of tough, close games this year. We have been inconsistent all around, in all phases of the game. We are not as far as everyone thinks, thatís the belief we have in this locker room. I think thatís where it needs to start, you have to believe in it first. If we continue to believe in it and continue believing in each other, which I think we are doing a great job, those losses will turn into wins. Itís not happening for us right now, but you have to persevere and keep doing it.
Q: Why would you say you are not as far as everyone thinks? What makes you believe that?
A: I know what we have in this locker room. Iím actually on the field playing. When we break down the film, we are in a lot of these games. Itís the same thing as last year, last year we were in a lot of those games, too. We lost seven or eight games by seven points, I donít know how many games we have lost this year by that close. Those are the things that we have to fix. We are inconsistent in those areas. Yes, you could give the excuse that we are a young team. Thatís the nature of it, but that canít be our excuse. We have to find a way to fix that and correct it. Once we do, I think the sky is going to be the limit. I know I have said it before, but I truly believe that and I know everyone in this locker room believes in that. We just have to keep grinding and keep sticking with each other.
Q: Eli always got a lot of credit from the old offensive linemen saying he put us in the right position to block the running game. Is Daniel still learning that?
A: Yeah, I donít think he has played more than 10 or 11 games yet. Heís still learning, but I think he has done a really good job so far. Even though heís a rookie and a young quarterback, he puts a lot of hard work in. Heís one of the last guys to leave this building, if not the last guy. You can tell he really cares and heís passionate about the game. As his career continues to go, he is going to get a lot better. No one expects him to be at the level of recognizing defenses and putting us in positions how Eli would. Eli has been doing it for 15 years, itís impossible for them to be on the same level. Heís going to continue to work and heís been doing a great job for us, a tremendous job for us and helping us be in a position to win games. We as a team have to do a better job of being consistent in all areas of the game and all phases of the game to find a way to grind out some of these wins.
Q: What has impressed you most about Daniel?
A: Just his grit. He gets drafted here, he gets booed when he gets drafted here. All you guys said we shouldnít have drafted him, he puts that aside and the only thing he cares about is this sport and this team and the guys in the locker room. If he continues to have that, I think he is going to be one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best quarterback, in the league and I truly believe that.
Q: You said before the last game you wanted to get back to being you, to having fun, to running the way you know how to run. Did you do that the way that you intended in that game?
A: Yeah, I had fun, I had fun. I went out there, I was flying around, in the warmups having a smile on my face with those guys. Obviously, the game didnít go the way we wanted, but I had fun. Thatís what Iím going to continue to do. Just continue to go out there and have fun, play the game that I love, understand how fortunate and blessed I am. Try to create more plays and make more plays to help my team win. Thatís what I just have to do a better job of.
Q: That 22-yard run you had on the last scoring drive, the move you put on the secondÖ
A: Did I look hurt? I know thatís what youíre going towards. Did I look hurt? No. So, letís stop making excuses that Iím hurt. Iím not hurt. Letís stop making excuses that Iím not 100%. No one is 100%. Like I told him before, we had a conversation two weeks ago. I could pull up multiple clips, multiple clips, where you can look back and you can see Iím doing the same thing that I did in college or I did in my first year. This season is not going the way I would like it. No, Iím not going to point blame on anyone else, you have to point the fingers at yourself first. You got to be better, I got to be better. Iím going to keep working. I wrote in my notes today, ĎThe great ones figure it out.í I want to be great and Iím going to figure it out.
Q: You guys were without (Sterling) Shepard for so many weeks, and now you lose (Golden) Tate again. Losing other guys in the skill positions, especially starters like that, do you ever feel the burden on you?
A: No, itís not that I feel the burden on me to do more. Thatís just our season. Weíre doing this well, then thereís something here. We have these guys healthy, then this guyís not healthy. Itís just up and down, up and down, up and down. Those are the things that every team faces and weíve been facing this year. Hopefully Tate can get back as quick as he can because heís a tremendous player. Just been playing great for us this season. I donít feel the burden on myself to pick it up. Itís not just a one-man sport. Thatís why itís the greatest team sport ever. It takes all guys on the field. Weíve just got to click better, to mesh better, to win these games.
Q: How important is it to you to keep your optimism in the face of all of this losing and how hard is that? You always talk about how things are going to change and everythingís going to get better, and I believe that you believe that, but just how important is that to getting there?
A: Thatís where it starts. Youíve got to believe in it first. If you donít believe in it, itís not going to happen. Obviously, it hasnít turned around in two years like we wouldíve liked it. Unfortunately, I wish I was here when we were competing for a Super Bowl. I wish we were playoff contenders this year, and itís not. Itís just the case that itís not. Itís the adversity that weíre going through and the adversity that weíre facing. But youíve got to believe it first for it to actually happen. If you donít believe in it, it will never happen. Thatís why itís important because it starts there. Not only myself but everyone in this locker room, we believe, weíre going to continue to believe, going to continue to work and try to finish this season off as strong as we canó starting off with the Packers, who are a great team. Theyíve got a great offense over there, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play, a great defense, two amazing pass rushers. A competitor over there, too, (Green Bay Packers Cornerback) Jaire (Alexander), very familiar with him, one of my good friends. Heís a heck of a player. But weíve got to go and go out there and attack and try to get a win at home. For our fans, that would be a great place to start. But just keep working.
Q: ĎThe great ones figure it out,í is that a quote from somebody?
A: Probably, I donít know.
Q: It was just you?
A: I just wrote it down myself. Itís probably somewhere. If you Google it, itís probably somewhere.
Q: Itís you now.
A: Or itís me, I guess. But yes, I donít know who made that quote, I just wrote it down in my notes.
Q: Outside of Danielís grit that you talk about, what excites you that gives you the most hope for him to be an elite quarterback?
A: What excites meó weíre fourth and 14, the game is on the line, pressure in his face from two guys, heís falling, and he throws a dime to Golden Tate. You can see the plays that he makes, heís a special player, a talented player. Today I got caught just watching, I shouldíve finished the route, but just watching him throw a post ball. It was beautiful. Heís a talented player. I know, like you said, beside the grit, heís got that. Heís a talented player, heís got the work ethic, heís a smart player. Like I said, I know, I donít think, I know. God willing, he stays healthy, but if he keeps that same attitude, heís going to be a special player.