RB Saquon Barkley
September 17, 2020
Q: I don’t know if you heard it or not, but Tiki Barber said he’s not sure if you can be an every down back because you can’t pass protect. He called you a big back who wants to play small. I want to know what your response is to all that?
A: Obviously, Tiki is a legend. He has done a lot of great things for this franchise. I’m not going to look at it as disrespect, I’m going to look at it as a challenge. Same thing with him, like everyone else, I really don’t care about outside opinions. I’m really focused about the opinions in this building. Try to come to work every single day and get better.
Q: Are there areas of your game in pass protection and those sort of things that maybe have become points of emphasis in anything you are doing in practice to get better in that area?
A: No, I come to work every single day with the mindset, try to improve in everything. Focus on the little things. Whatever the drill is, focus on that. If it’s the pass game, focus on catching the ball. If it’s pass pro, if it’s run game, focus on making the run cuts and the right reads. When I’m in the open field, work on my moves and work on finishing scoring touchdowns. I know this is going to be the question or the kind of the theme of this media session about my pass pro. I understand that I probably made some mistakes in pass pro and I put it on film. I know it’s going to keep coming, people are going to keep challenging me. It’s a good way to keep me in and stop me from getting to open space and making plays there, too, also. I just have to keep working at it, keep getting better and that’s going to be my same answer for the rest of the pass pro questions. Thank you, guys.
Q: Have Jason or Joe brought any concerns to you like Tiki voiced or not really?
A: No. The only concern was that we lost as a team. In the running back room and my running back coach, we watched film, we see what we all can improve on and those are things that we watch. We try to learn from it and get better and come into practice this week and prepare for Chicago.
Q: We know you study other backs, we know you are a student of the game. Wondering if there is somebody you have gone to in the past like in the off-season about pass pro? Is there somebody who you have seen struggle with it early and become great at it? We know you are a connoisseur of backs. Who does that remind you of what you have to do?
A: There’s a lot of great backs and there’s a lot of great backs that do a great job in pass pro. There’s a lot of backs that get beat in pass pro. It’s not an easy thing to do in this league. I kind of watch the good and learn from the bad and try not to make those mistakes. Watch myself also and see what I can improve better and just kind of focus on the details and the techniques of it. I’m not going to point out any backs who’s great at it or who’s bad at it. There’s multiple backs that do a really good job and made mistakes and you can learn from both ways there. I just try to take it and add to my game.
Q: I think you tried two hurdles in the game. When you hurdle somebody, do you think about ball security while you’re doing it? Do you bring it in tighter while you’re doing that? Or is it an instinctual thing when you hurdle somebody?
A: I don’t think about ball security when I’m running. If you think about it, you’re going to overthink it and you’re going to lose the ball. Whether any move that I make, I really don’t think, to be honest. I try not to over think, I try to put myself in position in practice and have those practice reps and those mental reps and have it come to play in the games.
Q: When you played Pittsburgh on Monday, that was the first time you have ever seen them. You get Chicago this week who you saw last year. Is that somewhat of an advantage for you, having knowledge of the group you are going against? Where you didn’t the first time.
A: I’m not going to make excuses. The reason why the Steelers were able to win the game and did a really good job in the run game wasn’t because we didn’t see them before. I guess you could say there is an advantage because we played them the year before and the year before that. This will be the third year for me playing them in a row. You kind of understand those guys. It’s the same thing, you have to watch film. Every year is a different year. Obviously, it’s the same players but it’s the start of a new unique season. We’ll continue to try to watch film to get a better understanding of them so we can come out this weekend and try our best to come out with a W.
Q: I know you have a previous relationship with Tiki. Have you spoken to him at all or talked to him about this? Did it kind of get sprung on you?
A: No, I didn’t. I guess he addressed something on his show, which is his God-given right. He has an opinion, he voiced his opinion. Like I said, it’s his opinion to have. I’m going to take it more as a challenge than disrespect and just focus on myself and focus on everyone here in this building.
Q: When you went back and looked at the runs, there obviously wasn’t much there. Was there anything when you looked back and said you could’ve done differently in that game. Is it just the circumstance?
A: I’ll always go back, even if I score an 80-yard touchdown. I’m going to see why I scored an 80-yard touchdown. How I could have done a better job scoring that 80-yard touchdown. It doesn’t matter if it was an 80-yard touchdown or if it’s a negative-three loss. I’m always going to be my biggest self-critic and see what I could have could have done and improve on.
Q: Did you come away with anything though? Like you say, ‘this one thing I need to do?’ I’m asking you if you basically said, ‘ok, I need to hit the hole harder maybe on certain runs.’ Is that what you saw? Because you’ve said that in the past, I know.
A: Like I said, I’m a big self-critic of myself. I’m just focusing on the little things I can do in every single game. If it’s an 80-yarder or a negative three–yard run, just go back and see what I can do differently. Every play is different within itself.
Q: As a brief aside, if I may, Penn State doesn’t beat Iowa if you don’t stone Josey Jewell, the blitzing linebacker in the hole, in that game in Iowa. I remember it very well. If I were you, it would bother me a great deal if people questioned my toughness or my willingness to dole out a hit. Does that part of it bother you, not only as a football player, but as someone trying to do the best job he can in your line of work, which requires physicality?
A: No, it does not. To be completely honest, the reason it doesn’t bother me is no disrespect to anyone on this call or anyone outside this, but when I say I don’t care, I truly don’t care about other people’s opinions. I know, you can ask my teammates, you can ask anyone in this building, they won’t question my toughness. Everyone wants to go oh it’s easy to be an All-Pro clicker and to be able to watch stuff on film and say ‘oh, he should have done this, he should have done that,’ or ‘he can improve on that.’ That’s the easy way. But in my position, I know how I come to work every single day and I know the belief that my teammates have in me. That’s why every single week, I’m going to come out and just try to improve and get better, not for you guys and not for anyone outside of here, but for the guys in this building.
Q: You’ve obviously had a lot of success, a lot of praise in your career. This is a bit of an unusual week where you’ve got critics piling on, it wasn’t a good game for you. How motivating is that for you heading into the next game, to shut everyone up and put that game in your rearview mirror?
A: It happened. The game happened. I had 15 carries for six yards. I think I tied for the second-lowest of all time with 15 carries or more. Guess what? I came to work this week with a smile on my face, ready to work and ready to get better. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you praise me or you say negative things about me. I’m not going to use that motivation because my motivation is to be great myself. I don’t need you guys to push me that way. I need to focus on myself and try building up myself. This week, there’s no extra motivation. There’s no this or that or the third. It’s just try to come in and get the W for the Giants.