Barkley Says Giants "Are Not as Far" As People Think
Giants running back Saquon Barkley is tired of people making excuses for the season he's had.
"Did I look hurt?" he asked when the topic of the Giants 21st-ranked running game was brought up.
"No. So, let’s stop making excuses that I’m hurt. Let’s stop making excuses that I’m not 100%."
Barkley might insist he's not hurt, but the bottom line is the Giants' running game, which has averaged 95.5 yards per game, has struggled this season both with and without him in the lineup.
Since returning from his injury, Barkley has averaged roughly 45 rushing yards in five games. Overall, Barkley has 461 rushing yards and 35 catches. By contrast, after 11 games last year, he had 829 rushing yards and 71 receptions.
Last week, Barkley ran the ball 17 times against the Bears. Of his 59 yards gained, 22 came on one play, the play in which Barkley was referencing when he was asked about still feeling the after-effects of the high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 3.
"No one is 100%. Like I told him before, we had a conversation two weeks ago. I could pull up multiple clips, multiple clips, where you can look back and you can see I’m doing the same thing that I did in college or I did in my first year," Barkley added.
But last week it was hard to miss the frustration in the second-year running back's voice, especially since he was coming off his worst career game as a pro in which he ran for one yard on 13 carries against the Jets prior to the bye week.
That performance clearly gnawed away at Barkley, who has stepped up to point the finger at himself for not doing enough to help the team win games.
"You have to hold yourself to a standard and hold yourself to higher expectations," he said. "That’s how I am and that’s how I’m going to continue to be. Even though you face adversity or the season isn’t going how you want, as a team, you have to keep working."
Barkley believes in his heart that the Giants aren't as far off as people outside of the building have opined.
"We know that you are what your record says you are, as the great Bill Parcells would say. We understand that we have been in a lot of tough, close games this year. We have been inconsistent all around, in all phases of the game," Barkley said.
"We are not as far as everyone thinks. I know what we have in this locker room. I’m actually on the field playing. When we break down the film, we are in a lot of these games. It’s the same thing as last year, last year we were in a lot of those games, too."
It's actually not. Last season the Giants lost eight of their 11 losses by seven or fewer points. This year, they've only kept the score close in four of their nine losses.
Stats aside, Barkley said the bottom line is the Giants have to fix what has become an endless cycle of self-sabotage.
"This season is not going the way I would like it. No, I’m not going to point blame on anyone else, you have to point the fingers at yourself first," he said.
"You got to be better, I got to be better. I’m going to keep working. I wrote in my notes today, ‘The great ones figure it out.’ I want to be great and I’m going to figure it out."