2020 is “the year of Saquon Barkley” or so that’s what NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt told us back in June. While that may still prove to be the case, the New York Giants running back’s 2020 campaign got off to a more than rocky start in Week 1. Barkley rushed for a meager six yards on a 0.4 yards per carry average. Even worse than his ability to produce yards on the ground were his struggles as a pass-protector, an ever-growing concern in New York. Barkley has been showered with criticism throughout the week, including from the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, Tiki Barber, who questioned Barkley’s ability to be an every-down back.
Barkley responded to Barber’s remarks during a media session on Thursday. However, if you were looking for a headline-grabbing clapback, there was none, rather a sign of respect to the Giants legend and a budding desire to improve.
“Obviously, Tiki is a legend,” Barkley said. “He has done a lot of great things for this franchise. I’m not going to look at it as disrespect, I’m going to look at it as a challenge.”
Eli Manning Gives His Two Cents on the Barkley Hate
Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning knows a thing or two about facing harsh criticism under the bright lights of New York. The future Hall of Famer, whose multiple Super Bowl rings tend to blind the memory of fans and media who constantly called for his job throughout the past nearly two decades, decided to chime in on Barkley’s situation.
“I think I’ve been in exactly that scenario before,” Manning told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan on Friday morning. “I think Saquon had the right reaction. He said, ‘Hey, I’m going to use this as motivation.’ That is kind of the only way to do this. You can’t take one person’s critique and take it personally and react to it or fire back from it. I think people have that good mentality, where, hey, try to end it by not responding much to it and going out there and doing your job.”
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Barkley Addresses Pass-Pro Concerns
While Barkley continues to exemplify class on and off the field, there’s no denying that his on-field play must improve if the Giants have any hope of making noise in the NFC East this season. Thankfully, if there’s any player willing to put in the work to make those changes, it’s Barkley.
“I come to work every single day with the mindset, try to improve in everything,” Barkley said. “Focus on the little things. Whatever the drill is, focus on that. If it’s the pass game, focus on catching the ball, if it’s pass pro, if it’s run game, focus on making the run cuts and the right reads. When I’m in the open field work on my moves and work on finishing scoring touchdowns.”
“I know this is going to be the question or the kind of the theme of this media session about my pass pro. I understand that I probably made some mistakes in pass pro and I put it on film. I know it’s going to keep coming, people are going to keep challenging me. It’s a good way to keep me in and stop me from getting to open space and making plays there too also. I just have to keep working at it, keep getting better and that’s going to be my same answer for the rest of the pass pro questions.”
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