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Transcript: Running Back Saquon Barkley

Eric from BBI : Admin : 12/8/2022 5:05 pm
Running Back Saquon Barkley

Q: Can you talk about The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award and what that means to you?

A: It's special. I'm honored that the Giants selected me this year. It's something that I wanted to accomplish from the moment I got drafted. Through my foundation with the help of my parents, family and friends we were able to do some pretty cool stuff and have an impact in our community. It's an honor to be represented for that.

Q: What made you get involved in that charity?

A: I work with a couple of charities, but the Covenant House started when I got drafted into the league and we were like, 'What's something we can do to make an impact and make change?' We found Covenant House and said let's bring Covenant House on to the games, and we started bringing them to the games and having them on the field before the game and talking to them after the game. It kind of just grew. Obviously, I have a past. I don't like getting too much into myself, but I've been homeless before, I've been through a little bit of stuff. Knowing the people in those positions and wanting to have an impact and make change, that's kind of where it started. I fell in love with it and became really deeply involved in it.

Q: Did you ever envision when you came in this league that you would be up for The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award one day?

A: Yeah, that was a goal of mine. I wanted to make change on the field and off the field, I wanted to have an impact. Like I said, it's an honor to be a nominee. I want to say shout out to all the other 31 guys. I think it's a really cool award and hopefully we win the whole thing.

Q: The fact that you can relate to those kids, does that make helping them more special?

A: Yeah, I guess you could say it makes helping them a little more special. At the end of the day, I just want to have an impact. I want to make change and it's something that my parents taught me as a little kid. I know the opportunity that I have, and I know the platform that I have. I just want to try to use that to the best of my ability.

Q: Do you remember the touchdown pass (wide receiver) Odell (Beckham Jr.) threw to you as a rookie? Tell me what you remember about that play.

A: It was against Carolina.

Q: In Philly, right?

A: He threw me a touchdown pass in Philly?

Q: Okay, scratch that, Carolina.

A: We threw a screen pass to 'O,' I snuck out the back and 'O' threw a dot. I just remember that I was right in the sun. I was just like, 'Oh no.' I stuck my hands out and he threw a dime and we were able to score.

Q: Just general thoughts about the Philly defense?

A: They're 11-1 for a reason. All phases of the ball – especially on defense – every single level they're talented with Pro Bowl-caliber players to be honest. As a competitor, you look forward to that. You look forward to going against the best. We know we're going to get their best and it's going to be a great game against Philly. Home, in December. The stadium is going to be rocking so it's going to be fun. It's going to be a challenge and we're looking forward to it.

Q: What stood out about how the Eagles defense was able to keep (Tennessee running back) Derrick (Henry) under 30 yards rushing? Specifically, because you would expect him to be a little more prolific on the ground.

A: The first thing that stood out to me was how the corners were tackling. (Philadelphia cornerback Darius) Slay and (Philadelphia cornerback James) Bradberry were putting their face in there on a couple of the runs. They did a really good job of establishing the line of scrimmage. That's what football is about. Games are won up front on both sides of the ball. They're really talented up there and they did a really good job of establishing the line of scrimmage, making plays and making tackles they needed to have.

Q: What can you guys do to get you more involved in the passing game? It seems like that has not been as big a part of your game as in the past.

A: I don't know. I'm really not too caught up in that. I'm willing to do whatever the team wants me to do. When the opportunity presents itself, I've got to try to be there and make the plays. That's the only thing I can really focus on. (Offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka, (Head coach Brian Daboll) Dabs, all those guys every week find creative ways to not only get myself the ball but put our offense in a spot to be successful. That's the only thing that matters. At the end of the day, as players we've got to go out there and execute. That's my main focus.

Q: Do you like that role? How do you look at yourself as a pass catcher as part of your arsenal?

A: I think I've shown that in my career, the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. But you know, every season, every week is a new challenge and you've got to show something different. So far this season, I really haven't had to be that. There's more physical in between tackles. Carry the ball 31 times, however many times I've done it so far. Do whatever it takes for the team to win. As the season continues to go on, could that probably be in the near future? You never know. Whatever they ask me to do, go out there, play to the best of my ability and when the play is called try to make a play for the team.

Q: Did it feel like the offense opened up a little more in the of that game? The one that comes to mind is the series after Washington tied the game you threw the two bombs to (wide receiver Darius) Slayton and then another pass on third down. They were all incomplete, but it seemed like – maybe got a little more aggressive, maybe opened up more, maybe wasn't as predictable. Then in overtime, (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) was throwing the ball a lot too. Did you feel that?

A: No. I just feel like we went out there and took what the defense gave us. I think DJ's been doing a great job with that all year, not the first drive in OT, the second drive. Four minutes on the (clock), game is on the line and we're trying to go down and score. I think a lot of people made a lot of plays. Obviously, we've got to be better. Especially on that third down, executing it better as a team. Yeah, we did a little bit of different things to get the ball in space and catch the ball whether it was me catching a swing or getting the ball downfield. We showed that we were able to do that and look forward to the rest of the season of that happening. To be honest, that just helps everything. Helps the run game, helps the offense. If we can continue to do that, more plays will be out there and more plays we'll be able to execute on.

Q: Do you guys talk about the importance of reestablishing yourselves as a force in the division in particular? You've won some games this year but kind of re-announcing to teams like the Cowboys and the Eagles that you guys are here and you're here to stay.

A: No. That's not our focus. To be honest, we're just trying to win football games, go out there and play for each other. At the end of the day, you want to put yourself in the position to play meaningful football games in December. We've done that. We've got to execute; we've got a great opportunity ahead of us especially this week in Philly. We get to go against the best team in the NFL. To me, that sounds like a fun challenge.

Q: Did the bye week refresh you or rejuvenate you in any way?

A: The same way it would do for everyone to be completely honest.

Q: How do you feel physically now?

A: What week is it? 13, 14? I feel like it's Week 13 or 14 in the season no matter if I had 200 touches or 10 touches. It's a grind. It's the wear and tear of the mind, the body. That's the nature of the NFL but also the beauty of it. I know people saying slow it down – I really don't see it like that. I think we play some tough teams. I think it's been November, December football and we've been playing meaningful games, going against some really good teams and they've been doing a really good job. Now, it's on my side where I've got to continue to reflect on myself and see what I can do better and take advantage of the opportunities that are out there.

Q: What the Eagles did defensively against the run, did it look familiar to you as far as what you've been able to look at it and decipher as far as how to get around it and be productive? Seeing what they do and saying, 'I recognize that, I know how I've gotten around dropping corners,' or whatever they were doing to Derrick?

A: Yeah. I think definitely, especially with the way we've been running the ball this year. Some similarities. At the end of the day, it's a copy-cat league. Everyone does pretty much the same thing, you just dice it up in different ways. Duo is duo. Inside zone is inside zone. Outside zone is outside zone. Like I said, watched the film, one thing that really stood out is not just how the corners, how the DBs came up and how they tackle, how aggressive they are and how they establish the line of scrimmage. One of my favorite players to play against and not to play against is (Philadelphia defensive tackle) Fletcher Cox. You can see at this year, whatever he's in – he's still balling, still making plays at a high level. Every single one of them guys from (Philadelphia defensive end Josh) Sweat – all of them. All of those guys are pretty talented, not pretty talented – very talented. It's going to be a tough challenge, but I think if we go back to what we do in executing and focusing on the little things and take it one play at a time – when the opportunities are there and the play is to be made, that's when myself and all the other guys have to make a play.

Q: Why is Fletcher one of your favorite players to play against?

A: You appreciate talent. I'm a fan of the game. Like I said, at the same time, not one of my favorite guys to play with because he's a wrecker. He always makes plays.

Q: I was curious if you guys chirped at each other? That's kind of what you were referring to.

A: I get it more from (Philadelphia defensive end Brandon) Graham. He talks a little more than Fletch. Fletch is a little more quiet. He'll say something here and there but it's Philly, it's fun. At the end of the day, the NFC East it's a rivalry or whatever you want to call it. It's a fun game and they're the best team in the league right now. It's December and we're playing meaningful football right now. Like I said, it's a challenge that we look forward to.
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