RB Saquon Barkley -- December 12, 2019
Q: Have you ever gone a stretch where youíve gone seven games without rushing for 100 yards?
A: I mean, itís only my second year in the NFL, so I donít think so.
Q: But even in college or high school?
A: Definitely not high school. In college you only play like 11 games, so I donít think I wouldíve gotten drafted that high if I had gone seven games without going 100 yards. So yeah, I guess not.
Q: This is the week?
A: I donít care about that, I just want to win, to be honest.
Q: What is it though? What do you look at and say this is kind of the reason we havenít been able to put together that big run game?
A: I think you can look, and you can see a lot of the focal point of defenses is to stop the run. But I think we are doing a good job of taking what the defense is giving us. In these last couple of weeks, I think weíve been getting those dirty runs, taking those four and those fives. But the game also has got to present you to continue to run the ball. The Eagles did a really good job, especially in the fourth quarter, in the second half, of holding the ball. I donít really know the time of possession, but it definitely was in their favor. Green Bay, they got up on us. A lot of teams, the mindset is to go throw the ball to come back to try to win the game. In Chicago, they got up on us. So, I think in the last couple of games, weíve been averaging 4 or 4.5, around there. But youíve got to be able to continue to run the ball into the fourth quarter. Obviously, everyone wants those big 60-yard, 80-yard runs, but sometimes those come by just wearing defenses down. We havenít really gotten the opportunity to do that. I donít think weíve been in a four-minute situation yet this season, or that Iíve been a part of.
Q: Have you had the chance yet to talk to (Los Angeles Rams Running Back) Todd Gurley at all about how his career trajectory went from his first year to his second?
Q: Are you aware of that? His numbers certainly came down and thenÖ
A: Yeah, he went, what? 1,000 yards, then 800 yards, then 1,000, then got banged up again. I just know that, just doing research on running backs and being a fan of running backs. But no, I didnít reach out to him for that. I know I can, I know heíll definitely give me great advice. Iím not really looking for it. I donít care for the numbers, I donít care for the stats, I donít care if I finish the season with 1,000 yards or not. This season is a disappointment just because weíre not playoff contenders. Thatís the whole mindset, thatís the whole focal point.
Q: Well, he sort of was in that boat, too. The Rams were not a very good teamÖ
A: They turned it around, right? Thatís why I keep preaching believing. Keep coming into work every single day, because Iíve got to keep preaching to you guys, keep preaching to the team, that this thing will turn around. Obviously, itís not going the way weíd like it. But just because itís not going the way youíd like it, and youíre facing adversity, doesnít mean youíve got to change your ways or should succumb to, I guess, the losing culture, that itís supposed to beó weíre not having that, weíre not going to do that. When it does work, itís going to work and itís going to work for a very long time.
Q: Have you sought advice from anybody about how to handle the losing and how to stay optimistic?
A: No, the only people I seek advice from is my family, my parents. Obviously, I have talked to (former Giants linebacker) Jessie (Armstead), and other former players hereó(former Giants wide receiver) David Tyree and those guys. Just everyone has a losing slump, has those seasons. But for my personal self, I talk to my family, talk to my parents. But Iím a grown man. Youíve got to deal with it yourself and youíve got to come out and figure it out. Like I said, the greats figure it out and I want to be great. I want this team to be great and Iím going to help find a way, to do my job to help us turn this culture around and get back to a winning culture. Thatís just by coming into work every single day and try to do the little things right.
Q: How much better do you feel, physically, with the ankle?
A: I feel really good, actually. I feel really good. Probably feel the best, to be honest, than a lot of people in the league. I was banged up earlier in the year so Iím getting better and better each week. Itís not so much itís the injury that, I guess you could say, is holding me back. Even though physically you feel like youíre back, mentally you might be telling yourself that youíre back, but you watch yourself on film and you can see the way that youíre running and youíre protecting yourself. You donít really think youíre doing it, but naturally itís just happening. But I think Iím getting better and better each week. My body is getting healthier and healthier each week. Try to finish the season off strong.
Q: Do you even have to do anything with the ankle at this point? Wrap it heavily?
A: I do stuff all of the time. You canít just stop doing it, because thatís when it gets hurt again.
Q: Is it maintenance?
A: Yeah, itís maintenance. I just do a lot of maintenance on my body, just in general. So, I donít just only focus on my ankle. Itís just on my body and trying to get my body better and stay strong throughout the season. I donít want to just be a great running back for two to three years, I want to be a great running back for 10 years plus. It starts on focusing on the little things now.
Q: Is it important to you to get Daniel (Jones) back in the lineup so as you build something for the future you guys can put a win or two together with him as quarterback? Looking towards 2020, is that something that would be important for you guys?
A: No, the only thing thatís important to us right now is finishing the season off strong. Weíve got a chance to finish the season with three games in a row. I think a positive, even in our division, that would be a great way to finish off the season. It starts with Miami.
Q: You said after the game that this team, for whatever reason, finds ways to lose. What needs to be different to turn the page to find ways to win? What has to change?
A: Thatís a great question, actually. Thatís a question weíre trying to figure out. I donít mean to come off like Iím coming at you or anything, but if we knew that answer, I promise you we wouldnít be 2-11. The way I guess you could do it is just go back to your roots. A lot of people who come in this building and in this facility come from winning programs, have won a lot of games. When it comes back to it, the way you win games is by doing the little things rightó on the field also. Just because youíre doing the little things right in here, obviously you can see the vibes and the mentality of the team in this locker room is still up and still high. Weíre not going at each other, weíre not going downhill. I feel like weíre coming to practice, and weíre still grinding every single day. Just because youíre doing those little things right, youíve still got to do the little things right on the field. Thatís what weíve got to do and thatís what weíre not doing. I know thatís a long answer, but to answer your questionó just execute better on Sundays.
Q: When you look at this season and you compare it to the first year, do you see teams approaching you any differently? Like this guy is not going to beat us?
A: No, I donít think thatís the case.
Q: When people struggle a lot of times you talk about trying to maintain consistency. But when things are going like this, do you revisit, either your regime or as a team, and make drastic changes to try to make drastic changes to the results?
A: No, I think when things are going like this, and youíre losing, youíre at the losing end of it, I think itís important to remind yourself and remember this time. You do go back and youíre way more critical of yourself. Thatís just natural, thatís what people do. Whether itís in football, whether itís in life, when things arenít going right they are way more critical of themselves. I think that weíve got to learn from this moment, learn from this time. Even though itís a lot of adversity and things arenít going our way. How critical we are of ourselves, when we do turn this thing around and we figure it out, weíve got to keep that same criticism on ourselves because thatís going to be key to not just be able to turn it around and be decent, to turn it around and be great again.