RB Saquon Barkley -- December 26, 2019
Q: What would winning this last game, finishing strong, mean to you and mean to this team?
A: Obviously not only me, but to the team, just because we wanted to finish strong, we wanted to finish the season off strong and weíve got one more game as a unit, as a team, and we want to go off on the right note.
Q: Does 1,000 yards mean anything to you?
Q: Why not?
A: Itís just numbers. At the end of the day, weíre still, hopefully weíll be 5-11, not a playoff team. So, when my production or the numbers I put up translates to us being a playoff team or in contention to be in the playoffs, then those numbers will matter.
Q: Youíve talked about a lot how you think this team is heading in the right direction. You can see it, itís right there. Entering the final week of the season, what makes you think that? What do you see that maybe we donít see that says, ĎOkay, yeah, I could see this happening?í
A: One, the season flew by, which is crazy to think how fast the season went by, but just the little things. I like the fact that even though we had a lot of adversity and the seasonís not going our way, just how people come to work and how people handle themselves. Those are things that matter to me. Itís easy to give up, itís easy to not care, but to still have that mindset and then to come out every single week and fight at a high level, even though some of those games didnít turn out the way weíd like to, means a lot not only to me but to the team. So, thatís why I donít just think, I know and I believe that we have it here and things will be better soon.
Q: Being around Daniel (Jones) this whole year, what do you think is the biggest area that heís improved from his first start until now?
A: Leadership. Heís a little more vocal on the sideline than he was in the beginning of the year when he first started. I would say thatís probably the biggest thing. You donít have to be that vocal guy, when I mean vocal, itís not like screaming, ĎLetís go, letís go, letís go,í itís sometimes just bringing an (tablet) and communicating with me or communicating with the offensive linemen.
Q: You said that you believe there is a bright future here. Do you believe that Pat Shurmur is the right guy to lead you guys to that?
A: Yeah, I do believe. I donít only believe in Pat Shurmur, but I do believe in all the coaches, I believe in everyone here. Itís easy to point the blame at one person, and thatís what we kind of do. I know this business is a results business, but at the end of the day, itís not only on one person why we havenít been successful these last few years. For me, Iím not willing to just give up on somebody. I believe that if we all just continue to fight and continue to fight, have that right mindset, which I do believe and I know that we have, things are going to turn around.
Q: Is there any sense among you guys, or you personally, that youíre playing for Pat Shurmurís job on Sunday?
A: No, thatís not the mindset that we have. Thatís not, I guess you could say not only for myself but for this team, weíre just going outóCoach (Shurmur) made it a point, we all made it a point that we want to finish the season off strong. The way we do that is by winning the last game, the last three games of the season. So, we have the opportunity to do that, and thatís the goal.
Q: What about getting the chance to face the Eagles so soon after that that very disappointing loss?
A: The last two times we played them, we were up on them and then they came, but those last two games mean nothing to this game right here. Thereís going to be different ways the games play out, weíve just got to be ready to execute when we can. If we do find a way to get up on them early like we have in the recent past, find a way to finish it, and if we donít, find a way to fight and come back and get the win.
Q: Is there something to be said for trying to ruin their playoff hopes?
A: No, no one cares about that. We just want to focus on ourselves and finish off the season strong. At the end of the day, we donít want anyone in the NFC East to make the playoffs besides ourselves, so someoneís got to go besides us, so it doesnít matter to us if we win and Eagles donít get in, that means the Cowboys would go. Or if we lose, that means the Eagles go. So, at the end of the day, someone from the NFC East is going besides us, which we donít want any of them going, to be honest.
Q: Do you feel this team is closer to being a playoff team than it was a year ago?
A: Yeah, I would say so. I think every week weíve grown. Weíre a young team, thatís just an excuse that I donít want to use, but itís just what it is, I guess you could say. Weíre a young team and just more reps, more repetition, more plays, and more games, youíre going to evolve into better players, and I feel like weíve been doing that this season.
Q: You may have hit on this already, but when you look back on last weekís video, what really clicked for both you and Daniel Jones and the offense to just have that kind of a day that you did against the Redskins?
A: It starts up front. The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. When you have an offensive line do that, it makes things a lot easier. They played their tails off for us and DJ (Daniel Jones) did a really good job of stepping in the pocket, they did a really good job of giving him chances to throw the ball, and they gave me holes. I feel like, personally, when I get those opportunities to get one on one with safeties that more times than not, Iíll make that person miss and score a touchdown or get a big play for us. Not only me and DJ, I know the numbers go for me and DJ that we played awesome, but Shep (Sterling Shepard), (Golden) Tate, CC (Cody Core), all those guys, Kaden (Smith), all those guys played well to help us get a win and itís going to take that same effort to get a win on Sunday.
Q: Finishing strong, how much does that impact you into next year? How can that carry over?
A: Just confidence. Any time, all these little things that weíre doing just help build confidence. Especially like last week, that OT period two or three weeks before against the Eagles we lost in the overtime period, this overtime period we get the ball, we go down, and Jones and Kaden get the game-winning touchdown. Stuff like that, those little strides help you as a team and just help build your confidence up. I guess going back to his question, just not only knocking the Eagles out of the playoffs but going against a team that is a playoff contender and that we know weíre going to give them their best, itís definitely going to help us in the future when the roles are reversed.