Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: How do you feel after the tape and everything?
A: I'm assuming you're talking about Dallas.
Yeah, kind of the same feeling of how I feel after the game. Obviously disappointing. We didn't compete at the level we needed to. We didn't execute the way we needed to but can't harp on that too much. It's the NFL. It's a new week and we can't let what happened in Week 1 affect us in Week 2. Arizona is a really good team; they play really hard. Their defense ran to the ball really well against Washington, they tackle really well, and play really physical. So, we've got a tough challenge against them, and we've just got to come out and play football the way we know we can.
Q: You talked about how last year Week 1 kind of got you rolling, right? You guys obviously know what you have coming up ahead, a short week, San Francisco on the road, Monday night after that. Is it fair to say at this point, though, that this is a big game even though it's so early?
A: Yeah, it's a big game, just because it's the next game. That's always the mentality. You've got to try to win as many games as you can. You're only guaranteed 17, and right now, we lost one of them. We've got to go out there on the road against a really good team and try to find a way to come out with a win.
Q: What's the mentality been among you and your teammates in the wake of that loss?
A: We went back, and we watched the film as a team. Saw the little good we did in that game, recognized the bad where we didn't execute, and we moved on. Good teams recover, too. It's not going to be our only adversity throughout this year. So, we've got to see how we respond, and it's on us as players and on us as leaders to make sure that doesn't happen.
Q: Can you tell if there are tangible things from the last couple of days of practice that have proven to you guys in your own minds that you have moved on?
A: Yeah, I think, to be completely honest, the only time we really even reflect on that is when we've got to talk to you guys. I know you guys are doing your job and asking the right questions, but we're so far gone on that. Like I said, you can't let what happened in Week 1 affect you in Week 2. We can learn from it, but we've got to move on. It wasn't really anything different, not anything that I noticed. To be honest, we thought we had a great preparation week in practice the week before. Sometimes the games just don't go your way. Unfortunately, that was a lot of our mistakes. But we've got to prep even better, and I think we've been doing that so far. We've got to wrap it up tomorrow, Friday, and then on Saturday, obviously, the walkthroughs and traveling out there and trying to get the job done on Sunday.
Q: You mentioned some small positives. What were the good things that stood out to you?
A: In any game, win, lose, draw, you're going to be able to find good. You're going to find the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think it was important for the coaches to also show us the good that we did in that game. It wasn't a lot, especially in a game like that. But go back and watch the film, see what we can improve on, and make the adjustments, which we did.
Now, how can we attack Arizona? They've got a really good team and, a great coach (Jonathan Gannon). Obviously, we're really familiar with him and his defensive scheme with him being in Philly and going against him twice or three times last year. But it's an exciting test. They're a fun defense, and we're going to be ready for them.
Q: How does that impact the preparation knowing) Gannon and the defense that he ran there?
A: I wouldn't say an impact, just there's a lot of familiarity there. He's a really good coach, and obviously, we know how the last three games went last year against him. It's a different team. It's a new team. But it's an important game, it's the next game, and we want to get back on track.
Q: When you guys are backs against the wall, do you look at this kind of game as an opportunity to put the team on your back when the team really desperately needs a good feeling and a win?
A: Are you talking, like, personally?
A: I don't think that's the mindset. I kind of let myself get trapped in that before. A couple of years ago against Pittsburgh, on I think a Sunday or Monday night, I didn't have too well of a game, and the next week I came out with, 'Oh, I want to do this, and do that, and try to be a superhero, and make all these plays.' I ended up tearing my ACL. So, I won't allow myself to ever really get caught up in that. I want to be the guy for my team every single week no matter what happened before the week before. I want to go out there and make plays, and on plays that call for me, go out there and make them for my team.
Q: Do you really think that's what happened in that game where you tore your ACL, that you were trying to do too much?
A: I think everything in that week kind of led up to it but that was so long ago. I just won't allow myself to get caught up in that again. So, came in like my usual self, got my body worked on, came in here and got my workout in, and went to film and practiced hard to try to be the player I can for my team and the leader I can for my team.
Q: Do you find it at all confusing that for the first series, you looked like a well-oiled machine and then after that, it never came back?
A: That's it. That's on us. We've got to stop the bleeding, and we didn't do that. That's how games like that get out of hand, especially against a really good team. That's any team in the NFL, to be honest. So, like I said, you can't let the mistakes that happened in Week 1 or the way we feel because of how we lost in Week 1 carry to Week 2, but you definitely learn from it, too. So, there's going to be times in this game where we've got to stop the bleeding. And that's on us, the players, to make those plays, and hopefully we're able to do that this week.
Q: Do you have to be someone who conveys that message to teammates who haven't been here or are young enough that they weren't around for some of what you're talking about now?
A: No, I wouldn't say that. But we do have a lot of young guys on the team and a lot of rookies playing and for your first game to go like that, it's not how you expect your NFL career to start. I do believe that being a leader, being voted one of the captains, not only myself but all the guys, we're people who guys look to. It all depends on how we come in, what's our demeanor, how we're going to approach it. So, that's important. I think not only myself, but I think all the guys did a really good job, and I think we responded. Just like last week, we had a great week of practice, and now we've got to wrap it up with Friday and walkthroughs on Saturday.
Q: I think it's interesting to think about you knowing the rookies are watching. Is that a responsibility that you have?
A: I wouldn't say it's a responsibility, I guess you kind of just—I know when I was a rookie, I would look up to those guys and see how (former Giants quarterback) Eli (Manning) would move and all those guys. That was probably one of the biggest things I respected about Eli the most, especially in this market being a quarterback in New York, and at the time, we weren't having a lot of success. Dealing with the media, how he would come in every single week, how he would come in every single day.
So yeah, I feel like not only myself but there's a lot of guys – we have like, eight, I mean, I don't know how many captains we have – voted for captain which is a good thing. Got a lot of leadership on the team. A lot of guys who don't have Cs on their chest are leaders, too. So, I think they did a really good job. I think we did a really good job of responding, and hopefully can go out and make up for what happened last weekend, so you guys can get off our tail about the Week 1 loss.
Q: Is there a little bit of a heightened sense of urgency this week in practice after what happened Sunday night?
A: No. To be completely honest, no. And I think that's important. You can't act like the sky is falling. That's for everyone else to do that. But we've got to stay solid, the core's got to stay solid within this locker room within this building. I think we did that, and like I said, hopefully, on Sunday we can go out there and show you guys.
Q: Do you recall a time when the team struggled similar to the Dallas game and you were able to really fix mistakes, change things, and bounce back? Is there something you could point out to recall to some of those young guys as an example?
A: Nothing really comes off the top of my head. But that's not going to be the only time that happens. Hopefully, we don't get beat 40-0, but there are going to be times when you're down two touchdowns, you turn the ball over and the momentum is going their way. So, we've got to find a way to stop the bleeding, control the tempo, get the momentum back on our side. Hopefully, what happened in Week 1, we can learn from that, and when that does happen again, the adversity does happen, whatever the adversity is going to be for this team throughout the season, we're able to respond.