RB Saquon Barkley -- December 19, 2019
Q: Did you like what you saw last week when you went back and watched the film? Obviously, it was your most productive game.
A: Yeah. In a long time, right? Yeah, I think the o-lineó it starts up front. The o-line did a great job creating holes and stopping penetration and having movement. Coaches made great calls, put me in the right spots, and I got some one on ones. Obviously, you donít win them all, but I won more than I lost. I donít think we had one run over 12 yards, so it was more of just grind and pound and efficient gain. We were able to get into the fourth quarter, run the ball a little more, Buck (Javorius-Buck Allen) was able to go in there and show his skillset too. I think it was a good day for the running game and for running backs.
Q: Do you like that kind of game? When you just kind of bend them to your will?
A: Yeah, thatís part of football. Thatís part of being a running back, thatís part of a running game. Thatís what Iíve been kind of preaching saying we havenít gotten to that yet. Not saying Iím pointing fingers as to why we havenít, it was more of the reason just the game and having an opportunity for it. That was really one of our first four-minute, or technically our first four-minute probably happened around the six minute or eight-minute time, but thatís probably the first time we had the chance to do that this year and we executed.
Q: You werenít even in there at the end.
A: Exactly, so they did it. Itís a group effort. It doesnít take one running back, it takes a stable of running backs, it doesnít take one offensive lineman, it takes all five and some. And the tight ends, the wide receivers blocking, the quarterback putting us in the right position, they did a really good job this week. Hopefully weíll be able to keep that same production for next week.
Q: You talked about the mental part of almost subconsciously not going as hard, or being not yourself in general with the injury?
A: The mental part was more of just, even though your body feels well, your body feels good, you go out there youíre able to make the cut, itís still just that, I donít knowÖ fear is not the wordÖ of someone landing on it and falling again. And for me it happened literally the first game I came back. So, that was probably the mental part that I had to fight and get over until I think probably after the bye week, it was definitely completely gone. I talked to you singlehandedly that I could show clips that I still, I guess you could say, still got it. Even though I donít think thatís the right term to use. But also, I could show you clips where I can see myself, Iím not thinking Iím doing that, but I can see on film and itís showing that Iím protecting myself. That hasnít been the case in the last couple of weeks.
Q: You didnít see that this week?
A: No, not at all. I havenít seen it since the bye week, actually.
Q: You like that one clip of you cutting outside on the cornerback there?
A: Yeah, I made a good little move there. You can feel it, but when you actually go back and see it I was like, Ďwow, thatís a nice cut.í The cornerback, he made some good plays on me too. The first play of the game he kind of surprised me. I thought he was going to go low but he kind of just jumped on top of me and wrapped me up. So, he had a couple one on ones. I made him miss more times than not, but he made some nice plays too. Thatís the beauty of football. Thatís my job, Iíve got to make those one on ones happen more often than not.
Q: When you look back at coming back from injury, is there any part of you that wishes you waited?
A: No, not at all. Not one bit.
Q: It sounds like youíre saying that it wasnít the initial injury it was that one where it got a little tweaked in that first game backÖ
A: Obviously Iím saying that happened in the first game back, but the injury wasnít the problem. It was one, how the game was going, how the defense was playing us, youíve got to give credit where credits due. The defense was playing great against us in the last, I guess you could say that slump phase. But I said for myself, that I could realize from me watching film, I could see myself not even thinking about doing it but just subconsciously protecting myself, I guess you could say.
Q: Not making the Pro Bowl team, does that motivate you? How do you handle that?
A: The Pro Bowl is dope. I went there last year, itís an awesome experience. Itís not the end all be all. I donít think that I was even anywhere close or deserved to being in the Pro Bowl. Not shocked at that. Congrats to all of the running backs that it made, they had a heck of a year. Does it motivate me? No. What motivates me is that weíre going home in two weeks. Thatís the only motivation that I have. Weíre not in the playoff run, weíre not having the chance of the playoffs. Thatís going to be my motivation this offseason.
Q: All things considered with the injury, obviously the resulting lack of production and the lack of wins, how difficult has this year been?
A: Itís been tough. Not just because of lack of the production but just because weíre not winning games. Weíre 3-11. Obviously, we have a chance of going 5-11, thatís not what we wanted for the season, thatís not what any team who has a losing record wanted for this season. Thatís the outcome of it, thatís something weíre not happy with, definitely not satisfied with, definitely have got to work on. The production doesnít matter. I had one of the best seasons ever last year for a rookie running back. That didnít matter last year at all. We went 5-11. All of those yards, when they come from five wins, donít mean nothing. I think if you ask any talented or any player who is productive, the only thing that matters to them is the wins. Because at the end of the day itís that trophy that everyone wants. Not the rookie of the year trophy, MVP trophy, or any of those trophies.
Q: So, considering how rarely you guys have won the first two years, what are your expectations for next year to change that? Obviously, the career is not foreverÖ
A: The expectation is always going to be the same. Like I said, when I came into the offseason this year, every team, itís not just only for the Giants, every team when they start, their expectation is to win the Super Bowl. Thatís for every single team. No one just comes into the season, Ďletís go .500.í Iím not coming at you, Iím just saying, letís just the win the division. Those are the things youíve got to focus on to go further. Youíve got to worry about beating Dallas, beating Philly, beating the Redskins, winning the division to go to the playoffs. Then win the playoffs and so on. The whole goal while you train is not to be average, itís to be elite. The most elite thing you can do in this sport is win the Super Bowl.
Q: I guess Iím trying to get passed the generality of it. For your specific mindset, with how much you guys have lost this year and these past two years, what does that do for your sense of urgency going into next year? Itís not like youíre at the end of your career, but what does that do for your sense of urgency, does it heighten your sense of urgency?
A: Yeah, I think the heightened sense of urgency is just because I know the talent and I know what we have in this locker room. Not just only the losingÖobviously the losing makes you want to work ten times harder, not being as successful makes you want to work ten times harder. But itís also the men that we have in this locker room. Not just in this locker room but this whole facility, this whole building. From the football players, to the training staff, to the lifting coaches, to the kitchen staff and so on and so on. Weíve got a special group of people in here who all do things the right way. Thatís what motivates you, thatís why you want to go hard because at the end of the day, itís not only you when you have team success, itís not only you, itís everyone here. You want to see everyone with a smile on their face.
Q: What do you make of Adrian Peterson? Heís 34 years old and heís still performing at the level that he is.
A: Heís a monster. AP, heís one of the best running backs to ever do it. I know he just tied Walter Paytonís touchdown record, I donít know if he broke itó hopefully he doesnít break it next week if he didnít. But Iíve been a big fan of him, got to talk to him multiple times. He always gives me great words of encouragement, but just a big fan. I love watching his game and itís amazing to see what heís able to do at this age.
Q: What is it about his game thatís impressive?
A: I think, when you look at his stats heís got like 180 carries for like 700 and something yards. His longest run is 29-yards. Back in day, AP was breaking for 80, 70, this, that and the third. Even last year he had some of those. So, you can see that it just shows that heís just being real productive. Very productive. Taking what the defense gives him, you still see him run through arm tackles, run through tackles, run a physical game downhill. Thatís the most impressive game. There is going to be some point with all of us, where myself, where Zeke (Ezekiel Elliott), where Todd (Gurley), where Christian (McCaffrey), we might not have those years or those seasons where weíre breaking 80-yard touchdown runs or 70-yard catch and runs. But you still do it and you still can be able to be productive in a type of manner or I guess you could say, type of game I had last week.
Q: Do you get a sense from Peterson that he regrets not winning a Super Bowl?
A: Iíve never personally sat down with him and talked to him and dived into that discussion. I would assume he is probably upset heís never won a Super Bowl.
Q: Could you talk a little bit about the fun of the challenge of taking on a great box safety like Landon Collins?
A: Yeah, itís definitely going to be a challenge. I respect his game a lot, heís a heck of a player. You can see the Redskins do a lot with him inside the box. I think he leads the team in tackles, so itís going to be fun. Definitely a challenge. A challenge that I know Iím up for, not only myself but all of the other running backs and the team is too.