Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: I know the focus is on one game, playing this game. At any point on Sunday, do you imagine that you would let your mind wonder a little bit to what's at stake and what you guys can accomplish?
A: I think we are all aware of what's at stake and what we can accomplish. You can't get lost in that. You got to keep focus on the main thing and that's come out here. I know the record doesn't say it, but they've been playing really well. They have a really good defense over there. A lot of talented guys and we got to get back to playing tight football, take care of the ball, take care of the little things and if you look throughout the course of the season when we do that, we put ourselves in position to win football games. That's just the focus. Try what we can do to win this game. Everything else that's at stake, if you take care of what you got to take care of – the rest will handle itself.
Q: How important is it to take care of that business now and not leave it to chance for Week 18?
A: You don't want to leave it to chance. The way you do that is by doing what you got to do this week. That's really it. You just got to treat it like another week. One game at a time, it's the most important game because it's the next game on the schedule and try to do the little things, take care of the football, and go out there and try to win the football game.
Q: Is it different knowing – I know you guys take it one week at a time – knowing the situation is kind of flipped this week? You've been an underdog most of the season and now everyone is saying you're supposed to win this game, you should win this game, you're the favorites in this game. How different is that and does it add pressure at all?
A: No, it doesn't add pressure. I don't really look at it any different way. It's the National Football League. It's their job, it's their profession to show up and try and win football games. Same as us. We're not really caught up in underdogs or overdogs. I don't know what's opposite of that. (Favorites) Favorites, yeah. Underdogs or favorites, we're just caught up in coming tomorrow. I got to watch film, wrapping up today, coming tomorrow and getting ready for Sunday.
Q: For you personally, what would it mean if you did make the playoffs?
A: It would mean a lot. It's stuff you dream about as a kid, playing playoff football in the National Football League. That's something that you dream about when you get drafted to the New York Giants. Obviously, the first four years that didn't happen and now there's a chance, a possibility. It's a beautiful thing when you look at it. All the ups and downs, whether it's in my personal career or whether it's the organization- what we've been through the last couple of years. It will be special, and we have a chance to do it. At the end of the day, we just got to take care of what we can take care of and that's on Sunday.
Q: Where there ever times where you wondered if it would happen?
A: No. I think I've been vocal about saying that I want to be here when things turn around and I want to be helpful, and I want to be part of the reason why they turn around. I think that's the case. We got a new coaching staff, brought a new energy, brought some new players, kept a lot of players around and started off the season hot and put ourselves in a position to play meaningful football in December and January and a position to lock it in. That's what you want.
Q: Do you think you; it's taken a while to get here since you've been here, the foundation for good things for a while are in place now?
A: Yeah, I think we show that every week. We're obviously a younger team. I guess you could say. I think when we do the little things – when we come in, take care of the football, play the type of football that we know we can play we will put ourselves in a position to win games. This year, we've done that more times than not.
Q: You talked about, right after the bye week, that there were conversations – has that ever come up again since the bye week?
A: No. We had a conversation about it in the bye week. Obviously, nothing got done. We said we'll talk about it when the season is over.
Q: What point of the season did you feel this team might have a playoff run in it?
A: Camp. I think when you come into every year, you got to come with a positive mindset. You got to be ready for anything. I know a lot of people wouldn't have put us in this position at the start of the season. I don't think anybody outside of the people in this facility would have put us in this position. We knew the talent that we have, we knew that it was hard to win football games in the league, but if we did the little things right, we could put ourselves in a position to do it. We've done that. Now we got the opportunity, and we got to take care on Sunday.
Q: Is it cool at all to think – a lot of people wondered whether (running back) Saquon Barkley and (quarterback) Daniel Jones would be the future when this season started whether you guys would be the foundation upon which this is built. Now, you've proven special things can happen when we are the two guys who are the focal point of this offense. Is it cool to think that way at all?
A: No, we kind of knew what we were capable of doing. Sometimes things just don't work out. Random, weird stuff happens, injuries. This is our first season, me and Daniel, being healthy together. I would also want to say it's not just me and Daniel. A lot of the reason why we have success is a lot of things that come to play, the reason why we've been very successful this year. But going off your question, it's our first year that we've been healthy. It's not like – it's football. Some of the things that like – well, he's been injured or when I've been injured – some of the stuff we can't control. I know the type of person I am. I know the type of person he is. I know the type of group of guys that we have in this locker room, and I've been saying it year over year over year that we're doing the right things. We're doing the right things. We have the right mindset. The tides will change, they will turn at some point. We just kept believing sticking to the process and now we put yourself in a position. This year, also, like you said – put a foundation hopefully for the future. We got to learn from coming off a bye week, getting a big win, getting a win right away. Going down, having a little stretch and, I guess, having adversity throughout the season. Find a way we can build on that so that it can be even locked up by now in this situation.
Q: How have you seen Daniel grow the most this season? Granted the health aspect is a big aspect of that, Daniel's growth.
A: His leadership, the way he's commanded the huddle. How poised he is no matter the moment whether it's clutch situations, whether it's early in the game. He's showing that he can make all the throws, but I think the biggest thing about him is how tough he is. He's probably, not probably – he's the toughest quarterback in the NFL. I really do believe that. Just the way his mindset, the way he works, the way he carries himself on the field. He'll try to run somebody over. He doesn't care. He's a competitor. He'll do whatever it takes to win a football game. That's the thing that I love most about him.
Q: That third down run was a big one right there.
A: Put us in a position to call a run play on fourth and two. We don't have that touchdown run, obviously for the o-line blocking, but DJ used his feet and lowered his shoulder and got a couple of extra yards.
Q: We only want him to lower his shoulder so much, right?
A: I can say what I want but DJ, like I said, he's tough. He's going to go out there and do whatever he can to help the team win.
Q: Do you guys' chat running routes, or have you talked more this season?
A: What do you mean?
Q: Talking the run game since that's been an added aspect of his game this season. I'm curious if that's something that's come up between you two.
A: That's not really what we talk about. Obviously, we talk about the game plan. He's athletic. I think that' something that's really not talked about a lot. He doesn't get a lot of credit for it, his athletic ability. Obviously, he can make all the throws but the way he can extend plays and the way he can keep drives going with his feet. If you look throughout the season, there's so many plays that he – for some reason the Tennessee Titans game came up. I was watching it the other day with my family. There was a big down, it was like fourth and two or fourth and one. We ran a keep in a critical situation. Everyone thinks the running back is getting the ball. He kept it, outran someone, and lowered his shoulder and got the first down. So many moments throughout the season that he's showed his athletic ability. I think he showed that obviously early in his career too. We can continue to keep building on it also.
Q: You've obviously had a terrific season; he's had a terrific season. Do you ever wonder why – I think the streak is now 43 games where you haven't scored 30 or more points – that hasn't happened? Obviously, it's not about scoring 30 points, it's about winning a game. It doesn't seem to make sense that when you're having such a good season and he's having such a good season, that it's such a struggle to get to that number.
A: That's not our game, you know what I mean? Obviously, would we love to score 30 or 40 points? Yeah, but that's not it. That's not – we've won multiple games obviously without doing that. If we really wanted to get 30 points, we could have done it against the Ravens when I slid at the two-yard line. It is what it is. Obviously, I've seen that before. A lot of people get caught up in that. We would love to score more points but at the end of the day, it's all about complimentary football. You've got to play off the defense, the defense has got to play off us and special teams all together. Whatever we got to do to win football games, whether its score 30 – maybe it's this week, maybe it's only seven. Whatever it takes to win.
Q: Have you noticed anything different about these games late in the season? When I talked about pressure before – just in these late season games in general. Have you noticed a different atmosphere?
A: Last week was like a playoff game. I've never been in one, but I would assume.
Q: Why? What about it?
A: Just how it came down. How loud it was. How it came down to a field goal. Just showed you, obviously it's like that every week but especially in a game like that. I guess. I don't really know; I've never been in it.
Q: Do you think your playoff-type juices were flowing?
A: It was faster. Guys were moving around. That's what it felt like. I guess you could say.
Q: What do you expect for this week?
A: Same thing. I know we're not, I'm definitely not – I know their record doesn't speak for them, but this is the same team that had Philly, who put a whooping on us, down to the wire. They had a chance to beat them. Even if you look at the Dallas game before they started turning the ball over, they were in that game. Every week, they're in every single game especially when (interim head coach Jeff) Coach Saturday got there. They're good, especially on defense. They're a really good defense. It's going to be a tough football game and we just got to find a way to win.