Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: Did you tweak your ankle again? It was getting taped during the game.
A: Yeah, they landed on it. That's part of dealing with a high-ankle sprain. It's something that's not just going to magically go away. I happen to play the sport of football and I get tackled almost every single play. Been pretty good up until that point not having anyone really lay on it, but nothing that set myself back or anything like that. I should be fine.
Q: What would it take for you to say it's counterproductive to keep playing through it when it's bothering you?
A: I don't look at it that way. I just focus on going out there, try my best to make no excuses and go out there and try to compete and play at a high level for my team no matter the circumstance. I've been injured enough. I've torn an ACL before; I've been out for a whole season. So, if I'm able to, for the love of the game, go out there and play and be able to protect myself and compete for my team, that's something I'll always try to do.
Q: How do you reconcile that the best way for the Giants to compete in the short term is for you to carry the ball a lot, and then in the long term, somebody, the Giants or another team, is going to come to you after the season and say, 'You had a lot of carries last year,' but you need a lot of carries to be competitive? How do you reconcile those two things?
A: It's really crazy when you break it down like that. Just the way the business is when you're a premier back in this league, not to talk about myself, they feed you the ball because it helps you and gives you an opportunity to win games more times than not. When it comes to contract or a certain time, you're a running back, you're having so much miles on you. It's a crazy thought process. I try my best not to think about that, or I would go insane. I just try to keep my focus on the love of the game and take care of my body. Whenever the opportunity comes that I have to talk about the contracts again, whether it's with the Giants or with another team, hopefully I'm able to pull up film and pull up numbers to be able to get myself a contract that's the best for me and my family.
Q: Do you hope that teams see that, this team or any, as loyalty or commitment?
A: Loyalty means nothing. Loyalty, that doesn't mean anything. No matter how loyal, no matter how committed you are, it's a business at the end of the day. That's something that I've learned. So, for me, the way I try to handle that is to not really focus on that, try my best not to think about it. I feel like every week, I have to answer a question about it, which I get it, you guys are doing your jobs, but that's the only time it really crosses my mind to be completely honest. Because if not, I would go insane. I would lose my mind if I was able to focus on that. So, I try to keep the main thing the main thing and continue to enjoy the process and take it one day at a time.
Q: How long do you let a loss like that linger?
A: The Dallas loss? Not long. You can't. That's the beauty and the unfortunate part of this business. Right away, you've got to get ready for the next team. You come in and you break down the film and you watch, you learn from it. You have to move on, whether it's a win or whether you beat a team by 40 or
you get beat by 40. That's the mindset you have to have. You can't let it sit in and every game is a different game. It's a different opportunity, it's a different challenge that's going to present itself, and you've got to be ready for that next opportunity.
Q: You always say you're on social media, you see and hear everything. What do you think as a player when you hear everyone say you should tank? That you're playing (quarterback) Tommy (DeVito) and you're just tanking?
A: I don't really believe in that. I can't sit here and say that's not the case for some places, but the way I look at it, it really doesn't make sense. Because at the end of the day, the coaches and the people in the front office, their jobs are on the line, too, just like our jobs are on the line. If you don't go out there and compete and play at a high level, coaches and players get cut, coaches get fired, and that's the business of it. I don't know if—tanking, I know it's not the right thing to do, and I don't know if that's really a real thing, I can't speak for every other place, but here I don't get that feel at all, especially with Dabs (Head Coach Brian Daboll). You can see how fiery and how competitive he is. That's not the type of team or type of people we have in this building or this locker room.
Q: When you step on the field, is it less fun to play when you're in a situation where the playoffs seem so far away?
A: No, I think, obviously, if you're in a situation like being in the playoffs last year and playing in games that like—last year, we played Washington, it was a game you've probably got to win to give yourself a better chance to make the playoffs, or playing against the Vikings in the playoffs, or playing against Philly, definitely the juices, the speed's faster, you can feel it. But I wouldn't say it's hard to (inaudible). You're still blessed. Every single one in this locker room, the majority of us, have been playing this game since we were little kids and dream about being in these moments and playing in the NFL. So, that's kind of the way I look at it. Just take advantage of the opportunity. Obviously, we're not where we want to be. The season how it's going right now sucks, but we've still got a lot of games, and mathematically we still technically aren't out of it. You never know what could happen.
Q. What can you gain from the rest or the season?
A: For me, what I can gain is just continue to get better. Every game is a new opportunity, a new challenge and I get a chance to improve. I get a chance to get better, and I feel like I'm still getting better throughout the season, I feel like I'm getting a better feel with the offensive line. Obviously, a game like last week when things got out of hand pretty much early, I wouldn't say abandon the run game because I don't think we did that. When it came to the second half, we really got the run game going, but it's hard to just lean in on the run game, but that's what I gain. The enjoyment of playing the game and trying to improve and get better as an overall player.
Q. What do we on the outside miss because we don't play the sport you do when it comes to two receivers talking it out and it seems to be a different conversation than it actually is? Or you going over to Dabs after a play call and it is misinterpreted, that kind of thing. Like what do we miss in those on-field moments?
A: I don't think you guys miss anything and I don't think whoever reported that missed anything. Were they wrong? Yes, of course, but I think at the end of the day, you guys are doing your job. I just feel like it's a reach. Some of this stuff is just a reach. It's not – if we were 8-2, none of that would be a problem. (Special Team Coordinator Thomas McGaughey) T-Mac says it all the time, 'winning solves everything.' That's really what it is. There's been times, multiple times last year where I might have had a disagreement or I might have said out of frustration, something on the sideline that just wasn't picked up or someone didn't report about it. Same thing with Dabs, same thing with – that's just how it is.
You've got a whole bunch of men and women on the field, competing at a high-level, wanting to win, frustrations are going to happen. It's just the fact that the team is not doing good. We're not doing good as a team right now so it's easy to make it seem like, 'oh, is the locker room this' or 'there's a coach that's losing this.' That's where I think you guys miss it at. I think that's not even close to being the truth.
Q. You do see that like if there's multiple in the same game, it can easily be looked at as –
A: I can see why –
Q. It's obviously building up. The frustration is building up on guys more than usual…
A: I can see why. Especially if you see the camera view of it on TV and (wide receiver Sterling) Shep(ard) following (wide receiver Darius) Slay(ton), it looks like they are arguing. Even when I saw it, I was like, 'Dang, what are they arguing about?' and I was there – so I can see why you see it. But it's like when you really – I'm not going to speak for them and I'm pretty sure they'll talk about it, but I know the actual – what actually happened. It's more like, 'hats off to Slay' to be completely honest and Shep was just saying, 'you know what, you've got a good point. I've got your back.' That's really what it was. I'm not going to get too much into the details of that. With me and Dabs, it's as simple as we didn't get the fourth down and I was frustrated that we didn't get the fourth down. It's like, it's so simple. I'm trying to think of like a corny analogy I can think of right now. Just like if you're cooking and you touch a hot pot, you're going to go 'ah, (shoot), that's hot.' This is your reaction, but we were just on national tv. It's just – I can see why people make it seem like that, but you can see the locker room right now. To be honest, in a good way, in a good way, like not trying got make it in a negative way because obviously you can spin this in a negative way, we're 2-8 but it doesn't feel like we're 2-8 to be completely honest. The way we're out there, the way we're practicing, it's fast, still joy. It's not like you walk in the building like, 'I'm 2-8 and my life is miserable.' You don't get that feel from the players or the coaches.
Q. So you think Slayton's concerns or problems were heard?
A: What do you mean?
Q. You said hats off to him for what he was doing and saying on the sidelines. I'm saying do you think whatever he was frustrated about got corrected?
A: I think it was definitely corrected. It wasn't really a negative thing at all. He really just wanted to compete and go out there for the team. That's really what it was. It's just as simple as that, but I can see why from the outside view what it looked like, but it wasn't that at all.