Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: What do you need to get off to a great start with a division rival on opening night?
A: A lot. It's a tough team. It's a great team. It's always a tough challenge when you go against Dallas. We know how good the NFC East is and it's important to get (off to) a fast start. That's just how the season goes. You see how helpful it was to us last year. But it's going to be a tough game, like I said, and I feel like we've got a great game plan. At the end of the day, we've got to go out there and execute.
Q: Do you think too much will be placed on it? Like, if you win, then you're going to the Super Bowl. If you lose, then the season is over.
A: No. I think (the) media and everyone on the outside, win or lose, is going to overreact no matter what. But for us, I don't see it as that. I don't think (Head) Coach (Brian Daboll) would even allow that. I don't see the players in this locker room having that mindset. We take it day-by-day, one game at a time, one play at a time. But we're excited. Sunday night, prime time, and in MetLife Stadium.
Q: How important is it for this team to beat the Cowboys and/or Eagles? That seems like the next logical step here.
A: Yeah, that's a great question. I think that's a way you can view that, but for us and for myself, it's important to take that next step because that's the game that we have this week. That's the mindset and the focus that we have, that's the opponent that we have. I understand that we weren't able to beat Dallas and Philly last year, but that was last year. It's a whole new year. We've got a great opportunity in front of us, and we've got to take advantage of it.
Q: What's your mindset for this season?
A: I mean, similar to what it was last year. Obviously, my contract stuff and everything was public and talked about. I would turn on the TV and I'm seeing myself being talked about. But for me, all that's in the past. Like I said, once I made that mindset to come here, you've got to be mature about it. No hard feelings about it. So now, my back's against the wall again. I've got to go out there and prove it. I'm going to go out there and play my heart out, compete at a high level and do what I do best, not only for myself, but for my teammates.
Q: What was your thought on not carrying the ball in the preseason?
A: It didn't bother me. I go against (defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence II) and (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams) every week in camp. They're some of my best friends and extremely talented, but they don't take it easy on me. So, I get a lot of contact as you guys probably saw throughout the camp.
Q: In regards to the mindset for the season, how much of it is like you said, sort of the same as last year with you out to prove to the league that you deserve what you're looking for financially, that you deserve that long-term security?
A: No, it's not more of that. The financial part of it, obviously that's part of business. You go out there, you perform at a high level (inaudible) whether that's for the Giants or other teams, but for me, it's more of like, I kind of see last year as kind of like a rookie year, I guess. Not my rookie year, obviously, it's year five, but being back on the scene and showing what I'm capable of doing and now, how can I take it to another level? Whether that's in between the tackles, outside of tackles, catching the ball, running routes, showing why I was drafted number two. I feel like I was able to do that last year, but now I want to be able to take it to another level and be special. Everyone always talks about the legacy and the names on these walls in this locker room and in the indoor facility, and that's what I want to be a part of. So, hopefully I can start off to a great start and go on a high note in Week 1.
Q: We've seen a lot of camaraderie among running backs this offseason. How closely do you follow what's going on with the Colts and (running back) Jonathan Taylor?
A: Not really that close, to be honest. When you get in camp, you're kind of so focused and locked in on yourself and I've got other things like I was talking about. My daughter is going to school finally or being there on Tuesdays and coaching the soccer team. You don't really get too caught up into that, but I am well aware of it. I'm well aware of anything that really kind of goes on in the league, not just the running back position, but all the transactions and all the stuff like that. I'm active on social media, so I see all that stuff, but for me, I kind of just stay focused on my own lane. (I) Wish nothing but the best for Jonathan. I know he's a special player and I know what he's able to bring to a team. Wish nothing, like I said, but the best for him.
Q: So much has been made how much better (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) can potentially be in his second year of Dabs' (Head Coach Brian Daboll) system and whatnot. Do you have a feel for how much better you can be in year two here?
A: I think adding (tight end) Darren (Waller) definitely helps, being able to bring a little to attention to him, and all the guys. All the wide receivers, not just DJ (quarterback Daniel Jones), stepping up to another level but (wide receiver Darius) Slay(ton), (wide receiver) Isaiah (Hodgins), (wide receiver) P(arris Campbell), Belly (tight end Daniel Bellinger), (wide receiver Sterling) Shep(ard), all those guys, the O-line. I think we feed off each other really well, and I feel like last year we really showed that, being a team that whatever it takes to win, and that's what I am excited for. Just going out there and competing at a high level with all the extra talent that we have. With DJ showing the type of player that he is and him taking it to another level, it forces you to take it to another level, too. I just feel like me being in the second year, understanding the offense a little bit more, knowing the scheme, knowing where to block, being able to time it better is just going to help my game.
Q: Is your goal still to be a Giant for life and to have the kind of season this year that would make that possible?
A: My focus is really on just this season, take it one day at a time. I was asked that before and I said, like I said it before, everyone knows how I feel. I was public about it before, but I think I would be doing a disservice to myself to get too caught up in my future and worrying about what's going to happen and being a Giant for life. I've got to live in the moment, I've got to live in the now and like I've said multiple times for five years, kind of a saying that I stole from (Penn State head coach) James Franklin, take it one day at a time, live in the moment and let the rest take care of itself.
Q: Do you feel like the fact that even with what you guys accomplished last year, people still don't believe in this team and the league is still picking the Eagles, still picking the Cowboys? Is that something you guys thrive off of?
A: That's going to happen. My momma said they are going to talk good about you or bad about you no matter what, especially in this market. I don't think we need anyone else to believe in us and think what we're going to accomplish, even if you guys in the media and the outside factors are saying, 'We are going to do this, we are going to be in the Super Bowl.' That's not going to be the reason why we do that. Our focus is on us and the belief that matters is within this locker room and within this building.