NYG Postgame (vs. Broncos) Transcripts: RB Saquon Barkley
September 12, 2021
Q: How’d your first game back feel?
A: Obviously we lost, so that's upsetting. But in hindsight, it's a blessing to be able to go back out there and play the sport I love and to be able to get back out there on the football field.
Q: How did you feel physically?
A: I felt pretty good. Got to knock some rust off, feel like I was able to do that some plays. I’ve got to go back, watch film and see what I could have done better.
Q: Do you feel that you got all the rust off? You had that drop in the second half there.
A: Yeah, that's just concentration. I took my eyes off trying make play. I’ve got to lock-in, make the catch and then do what I do.
Q: There was a screen pass and you kind of stumbled a little bit out of there. Do you look at that as a reminder that there's still a ways to go or how did you kind of look at that or do you think that’s just something that happens?
A: I don't know. I’ve got to go back and watch the film. I know the exact play you're talking about with the screen. I made the first guy miss but I’ve got to find a way to stay on my feet. I don't think that's any indicator of my knee or anything like that. I guess that could be part of rust or probably overthinking it, so I don't want to do either. I don't want to overthink it. If it's part of rust, let it be. Let's go back, get ready to get going for Thursday night football.
Q: Did you take any hits or was there a play that made you feel good about how your knee felt first?
A: I mean, I took some shots to my knee, took some shots to my legs, got tackled. It’s football. I wouldn't necessarily say when you get tackled, it feels good, but nothing alarmed me, I guess you could say. I guess that's a positive sign.
Q: Obviously, it’s a short turnaround, what do you expect for Thursday night for you personally?
A: Once again, go back and talk to (Head) Coach (Joe) Judge, talk to the training staff, see how my knee responds and take it day by day.
Q: How do you feel physically coming out of the game?
A: I feel pretty good. It's not my normal workload. Usually, I’d probably have a lot more plays, but that's all I’m saying. Obviously, we didn't get the win. We’ve got go back, watch film, address it and get better for next week. But at the end of the day, it's a blessing that I was able to – it was a milestone for me, I guess that you could say. I put a lot of hard work to be able get to get back on the field and I was able to accomplish that. It just didn't go the way we would’ve liked. Great thing is there's 16 more of those things to come.
Q: Going into the game, was there any kind of like – they wanted to give you X number of touches or a cap on how many plays you played or just kind of go with the flow?
A: Kind of go with the flow. You never know how the game's going to end up, so yeah. I don't know if maybe they had a number in their head, but it could have been under, it could have been more, so we just went with the flow. I started getting a rhythm. I started feeling really good. Obviously, my competitive nature side came out and you want to be out there for every single play. There’s some plays that I’ve got to make out there. I’ve got to be able to pick it up. I’ve got to get the run game going. I think that's something that we obviously lacked today, and we’ll continue to take it one day at a time.
Q: How much do you feel like your body could have done more or do you think it was the right number for you?
A: I think my knee responded pretty well, so that's the only thing I could ask for. You never know. I’ve got to get some good rest tonight, go home, chill with the family, probably have a glass of wine, watch a movie, get some good sleep and see how my body reacts.
Q: What do you think is missing between your guys’ belief that you guys can be a great offense and score a lot of points and the reality that even when you do sustain some drives, you’re not seeing the results on the board?
A: I don't think that belief is a factor. I think we believe in each other. We believe in Coach (Offensive Coordinator Jason) Garrett. We believe in DJ (Quarterback Daniel Jones). We believe in myself. We believe in the offensive line, KG (Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay) and the list goes on and on. We just got to go out there and capitalize that's been the thing for the last, what I guess it’s, wow, my fourth year? That's just what it’s been. We have the talent. We have the players. (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan) kind of said it after the game, it was a lot of situations that the players, we didn't capitalize on it. Whatever the call is or whatever, we didn't capitalize. That's what we gotta do a better job (of). So when we get down in the red zone then we got down in the lower red zone and the red zone like three times or four times and came away with no points. So, we’ve got to change that.
Q: Beyond the health side, how do you actually feel you played today?
A: I’ve got to go back and watch the film before I can make a fair judgment on myself. Sometimes you think you might've missed something, and you go back and you're like, I listened to my body and my body told me the right thing to do. My body reacted right way. But I don't want the theme to be, ‘oh, the run game’s not going because Saquon’s knee. He’s still getting right back from his knee.’ That's not the mindset I'm not going to have. I'm not going to use it as a crutch. The gig is up, I'm back on the field. Whenever I get my – obviously, hopefully week by week, my knee keeps responding properly and my rep count keeps going. But the amount of reps I do get and the amount of carries I do get, trying to get this run game going because once we get this run game going, I think we can be a very good offense.
Q: What do you remember from that very first hand-off, you got five yards. Did you have any butterflies or was it just excitement just knowing it’s here, I got back here after all the surgery and blood sweat and tears?
A: I was more nervous early in the week when the conversations started happening, but when I woke up today, I had no nerves. At the end of the day, it's football. If anything, it was more excitement, just happy to be back out there. I know I put a lot of hard work, like you said, blood, sweat, and tears just to get to this moment, come out healthy also too out of the game. But it happened, I hit that milestone. I'm happy I was able to play in Week 1. That was a goal of mine to get out there and play Week 1 and try to help my team win. Now, it's actually getting out there and helping the team win.
Q: What were you nervous about? Was it whether your knee could hold up or taking that first hit? Or just playing football in general?
A: Playing football in general. That was kind of what it was like in the beginning of the week, and it was random. Like when we had the conversation, I was just like, woah. I came out to practice, like it just felt a little weird. I had a great practice though. I responded really well from it, but I don't know. It wasn't like a nerve, like a scared nerve. I guess you could say more anxious just to get out there, but as the week went on, I just realized that it’s football. I've been doing this for a very long time, and at the end of the day I just look at it as we get paid a lot of money to go out there and play a sport I've been playing since I was a little kid. When the game came, when gameday came today and I got on the field – as I got closer to the stadium, I’m not going to lie, you see the fans, you see everything and you hear the crowd and everything, you get a little anxious. But when I got on there and we called the first play, I was locked in and I was ready, ready to go.
Q: I know it’s only one game, but like you coming back, you guys made some big additions to the offense and you only put up 13 points, but is that just disappointing to have come out like that?
A: It's disappointing to lose at any time. I don't think it’s any different if we put up 13 points, put up three points or we put up 38 points and lost, losing the game sucks. I think Coach Judge said it, great thing we have 16 games. Outside the fans, obviously, people are going to overlook it and the Week 1, and we know that just comes with the territory of playing in the NFL and playing in New York. We’ve got to learn from it. We’ve got to build off of it and we can use this as motivation to help us get better as an offense and get out there and put some more points up.
Q: The fact that you're going to Washington, a place where you guys have had some success, I know it's a psychological and a physical challenge this week on a short week, but can that help lift this team knowing that you’re playing a division rival? You know it’s a good team. You’ve had success against them and the reality in that going in there?
A: No, I think the fact that it's divisional rival definitely helps. Especially, if you see how the way the season ended last year for us and you know it’s critical to win the divisional games critical. It’s critical to win every single game. You’ve got to treat every game the same, but obviously, the division ones are a little more important. But I think it's just the matter of fact that we lost. We came out here, we left a lot of plays out there. We didn't capitalize on a lot of situations, offense, defense and special teams. I think it's going to be beneficial that we get another chance in four days. Usually, you’ve got to wait a whole ‘nother week. Now, we get another chance in four days to go out there and put all that bad football we had Week 1 and learn from it and get better.
Q: Four days is really awkward coming back from a major injury, any doubt that you’d play in Washington?
A: Right now, just like I said, going to go home, see how my knee responds and take it day by day. God willing, the knee responds really well, and then when I come in and have the conversation again and see what the game plan is for the week.