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Transcript: Running Back Saquon Barkley

Eric from BBI : Admin : 10/26/2023 6:43 pm
Running Back Saquon Barkley

Q: On the Giants-Jets rivalry

A: I think it's a great rivalry. It's always a fun game to play against a team like that. Two teams in the same area, share the same stadium, bragging rights for a long time till the next time they see each other. I'm excited. Definitely excited. For me personally, I didn't really have too great a game the last time I went against these guys. That was years ago, but that still weighs heavy on my mind. I get an opportunity to go out there against a really good team, a really good defense, and they're playing really well, on a high level. Try to continue to get this winning streak going.

Q: It is the lowest rushing total you've ever had. Is that something that sits with you a little bit?

A: I really don't think about it too much. I was sitting down in my house and my brother, my little brother, definitely reminded me about it. Made a little joke about it. That's when I realized, like, dang, I really had one rushing yard against this team. But at that moment, that was probably, before I ever had an ACL or anything like that, the lowest moment I had as a player. I liked how I responded. I think in the next couple of weeks, I played pretty well and had one of my better games two or three weeks after that. So, you learn from it. I'm not the only back that's ever been part of a game like that. I remember seeing the a of Barry Sanders in the playoff game having, like, 16 carries for zero yards.

Like I said, that's years past; this is a new team. I'm just excited for the opportunity to go against that team. I know a couple of guys over there and how competitive they are and how challenging they are, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So, it's going to be fun.

Q: Even years further back, can you remember rooting for the Jets against the Giants as a kid?

A: Yeah, I definitely can remember that. Some people are familiar with my history of being a Jets fan growing up. My dad is a real big Jets fan, having a Jets tattoo. Finally got him to—he's still rooting for the Jets this game, but he hopes we win this time. So, I got him to say that out of his own mouth two or three days ago. I finally got my father on my side.

Q: You've had plenty of games where the running back on the other team has gotten accolades as well. I think of your battles with Zeke (running back Ezekiel Elliott) in Dallas. I know you're not going against (Jets running back) Breece Hall, but I'm sure you have respect for him as a player. Does that ramp it up any more for you? Knowing that another running back on the field is going to get a lot of attention.

A: You're not technically going against the other running back. I'm not on defense; he's not on defense. I can't stop him; he can't stop me. But anytime you're going against a running back of that caliber, obviously, yes, it increases a little bit more of the competitive nature. Whether it's (49ers running back) Christian (McCaffrey), whether it's (Titans running back) Derrick Henry, whether it's Breece.

I've got nothing but respect for Breece, especially the injury that he dealt with. I talked to him a little bit during it. We had similar injuries. The way he was able to respond and bounce back after it, the level that he's playing with. So, tip my hats off to him. He's a great back and it's going to be fun to see him live in person. Hopefully, he doesn't have as much success as he's been having so far in the season, our defense does what it has to do, and I can do what I need to do for our offense to help us get a win.

Q: The Jets defense, what do you make of their play this season? Obviously, there were comments preseason about them historically. What are your thoughts on them so far?

A: Fast, physical, fly to the ball, create turnovers, they can get to the quarterback. All three levels, whether it's the D-line, whether it's the linebackers, whether it's the DBs, they have talented players. So, it's going to be a tough challenge, and they're fun. They're fun to watch. Just being a fan of the game and watching film of them, trying to learn them and get ready for them, and seeing the way they play. You've got to admire it. You've got to have respect for what they're doing over there. So, it's going to be fun, it's going to be a challenge, and as competitors, it's the type of game you want to be a part of.

Q: When we were kids, I would assume rivalries were, 'I hate these guys, blah, blah, blah.' Is it now all about winning?

A: Yeah, I guess. Every game that's the mindset, to come out and win. Every game is important. Not going to sit here and lie and be, like, okay—I don't really have rivalry games in my head, that's not how I really look at it, but I'm not going to sit here and say, 'Okay, it's New York Giants versus New York Jets.' There's definitely a little more something to the game. I felt that last time I played in it, we ended up losing in a really close game, but you could just feel the atmosphere and the fans that were there.

But yeah, at the end of the day, all you want to do is win and that's our goal. We want to come out here and do what we can to compete at a high level and come out with a win. It's going to be a tough challenge because they're a really good team over there.

Q: A week ago, you guys were still confident that you could turn this season into what you wanted it to, but you still needed that first one. You got that first one now, that first win, after the streak. Does it feel any differently in this locker room right now, that you guys are ready to turn a corner?

A: I mean, we're not in here like, 'Oh, we're 5-2.' We still understand that we're 2-5 and we've got a long way to go, but I don't think that we needed the win last week. I think I kind of sat here and said that in a game like Buffalo, we feel like we should've won that game. Unfortunately, we came out and we didn't win that game, but games like that going against a really good team in a tough environment can help build confidence, can help be that spark, and I feel like that's what it was. We left a lot on the table last week against Washington, who are a really good team, but we found ways to win the game. Kind of got back to the kind of mindset, the kind of team we were last year. That's what we've got to continue to do, believe in each other, play complementary football, and do whatever it takes. Gritty wins, find a way to win games.

Q: You mentioned rivalry. Is this the closest you'll get to what a college rivalry is in the NFL?

A: I don't know. I don't know. At Penn State we really didn't have one, I guess we kind of developed one a little bit when I was there with Ohio State. Pittsburgh claims they are, I guess, but I don't know. I really don't feel it—I can't use an example from college.

I can tell you the divisional games we play in, whether it's Washington, whether it's Dallas, or whether it's Philly, ups it a little bit. I can tell you being a part of playoff games, how much the level increases and the speed increases. I expect that to happen this week, already just off the matter of fact of how good they are and how fast they play over there on the defensive side of the ball. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a fun opportunity. We've got to go out there and be ready because they're going to give us their best.

Q: The open-field touchdown last week, how good did that feel? You broke a tackle, and you cut back across the field, just to show you have all your abilities back after the injury?

A: I know that's all there. I think if you go watch film, go watch it, everything is all still there. It's still a high ankle, it's still challenging, but I felt really comfortable in the game. If you watch some of my runs, they only might have gone for four or five yards, but I felt like I was shifty and was able to make the cuts that I needed to make and set up the linemen a little bit. So, I'm excited. Just keep stacking it, keep building off it, keep rehabbing it, and getting better each week.
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