Saquon Barkley Not Bothered By Tiki Barber's Criticism

Jackson Thompson

Giants running back Saquon Barkley knew the questions were coming.

After former Giants running back and current CBS Sports talk show host Tiki Barber publicly criticized Barkley's skill set as a running back on his show Tiki & Tierney, Barkley politely paid respects to Barber and his legacy while adding that he wasn’t bothered by what the holder of several of the franchise’s rushing records had to say

"Tiki's a legend, he did a lot of great things for this franchise so I'm not going to look at it as disrespect; I'm going to look at it as a challenge," Barkley said. 

"I really don't care about outside opinions, I'm really only focused about the opinions in this building and trying to come to work every single day and get better."

During his show, Barber said that Barkley is a liability in pass protection and that area of his game prevents him from being an effective every-down running back. Barber also said that Barkley is a “big back that likes to play small.”

But if Barber was trying to motivate Barkley, the quest appears to have failed.

"When I say I don't care, I truly don't care about other people's opinions," Barkley insisted. "You can ask my teammates. You can ask anyone in this building. They won't question my toughness.

"I know it's easy to be an all-pro clicker and to be able to watch stuff on film and say, ‘He should have done this, he should have done that, or he could improve on that.’ So that's why every single week I'm going to come out and get better, not for [the media] or not for anyone else but for everyone in this building."

The latest barrage of criticism stems from Barkley’s Week 1 performance in which his pass protection issues were on full display during the Giant's Week 1 loss to the Steelers on Monday night. He was credited with giving up a sack in pass protection, according to Pro Football Focus.

That was compounded by a poor rushing performance, albeit that not his fault. Still, he recorded six rushing yards on 15 carries, which conjured up memories of his one rushing yard on 13 carries performance last year against the Jets.

Barkley can’t go back and erase what he put on film last week or any other week, so rather than dwell on his shortcomings, he’s intent on fixing them.

"I understand that I probably made some mistakes in pass pro and I put it on film, I know it's going to keep going and people are going to keep challenging me," he said. "It's a good way to keep me in and stop me from getting in open space and making plays there too also, so I just got to keep working at it, keep getting better."

In the days following the Steelers game, Barkley has been busy in the film room with offensive coordinator Jason Garret and running backs coach Burton Burns trying to dissect every facet of his game.

"I watch the good and learn from the bad and try not to make those mistakes," Barkley said. "I'm a big self-critic of myself, and I'm just focusing on the little things I can do.

"It doesn't matter if you praise me or say negative things about me, I'm not going to use that as motivation because my motivation is to be great myself. I don't need [the media] to push me that way. I need to focus on myself and try to build it up myself. So this week, there's no extra motivation, there's no this and that and the third. It's just trying to come in and get the ‘W’ for the Giants."

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