Running Backs Coach Craig Johnson -- December 13, 2019
Q: What has Buck Allen done that he seems to have jumped over Wayne Gallman?
A: Heís really done a good job on the practice field. I think heís shown some good physical running, heís very good in pass protection and heís caught the ball well. Since heís shown so much, we just want to give him a look, give him an opportunity to get out there and play and see what he can do. Heís done well with what heís had so far. Obviously, the more chances he gets to touch the ball, heíll get even more comfortable.
Q: The flip side of that, do you worry about Wayne? It sends a message that he is buried on the depth chart.
A: I know itís a very tough situation for him Iím sure. As I told him, and I tell all my guys in my room, youíll cheer for your teammate. I know thatís hard for him to do but weíre giving him a look, you just have to be ready to play. Any time you are not a starter you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically like you are a starter. When your opportunity comes get ready to play. You have to battle through that adversity.
Q: Does Wayne need to do something better?
A: I donít know if he necessarily needs to do anything better. I just think itís more of Buck has been on our roster for a long time, heís done a lot of good things and we are rewarding him with some playing time.
Q: The further Saquon gets away from that injury, have you noticed things that he is able to do again? Or maybe that he wasnít able to do when he first came back?
A: Obviously, at the start of the season I thought that he was at a really high pace, he was really in his groove. Like all good players, sometimes you get nicked up. I donít ever use injuries as an excuse, I think early he was trying to find his way. A lot of players that come over a significant injury have to go through that process of finding themselves a little bit. I think that as he continues to play Iím starting to see the little details, the explosions out of the cuts that when heís comfortable and he really feels good like in this last game, I think heís really coming back. We are going to continue to try to get him to the level where he can be at.
Q: Did you get the sense that he was still getting back up to speed? Maybe he was trying to do too much, trying to bounce every play and make a big play to make up for that? Was that going on and maybe thatís not happening as much now?
A: I think that his mentality right now is try to take the tough yards. The thing with him is, he has always had the ability to be so outstanding on the edge. Part of his game at the end of last year and the early part of this year was taking the stuff up the middle when it was there. I think heís gone through the process to make sure he gets back in that groove. I think thatís when he feels like he is at his top game.
Q: This is something he said yesterday. ďEven 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.Ē When you watch film do you see him running to protect himself?
A: Iíll answer that question with saying I think he is running at the aggressive level that he was when he was playing at top level. Iím not going to get into his own critique. I really think that the guy that I know and we all know is getting back to where heís at and itís a process. Itís a little different for every player, him included. Again, from my history in football, every player that I know has basically come back from some severe injury and heís found a way. No excuses, itís just a process to learn to get back to where he wants to be.
Q: A few weeks ago, he was frustrated about all the noise about how he should run. He was saying I need to get back to running the way that got me to being the number two overall pick. How did you work him through that time? I think it was coming off of the Jets game.
A: I think that any time you arenít where you want to be, this is how itís been in my history, we usually go down, have a little film session and we say okay this is the guy we know, this is how he plays. Is he playing like that off of tape right now? I donít make that (judgment), I let the player make his own criticism of himself. All the good ones have wanted to do that and they will say I need to do this. He is an avid film watcher and heíll watch all day. We go back, I let him watch himself, I let him make the critiques. I will speak up when I see something but most of the time, if heís convinced when watching tape that he needs to do something better, which he is usually telling me, I just sit back and let him make (the critiques) because then he believes that it is going to help him be a better player.
Q: Is there one thing you can share with us that he wasnít doing that he is doing? Maybe it was hitting the holes harder or being more lateral?
A: I just think that sometimes because of his outstanding skills, he sees a lot out there. The bottom line is just focus, make sure you attack the line of scrimmage and trust yourself. One thing Iíve learned with a player like this, I donít want to get into over coaching him and telling him where to run. I tell him all the time I donít do that, Iím certainly not qualified to tell a guy like that where to run. Iím just going (to say) attack, trust yourself and everything else will take care of itself.