RB Saquon Barkley
Q: Can you tell us about what you did with the Giants fan, the little kid who you had at that Cowboys game? TMZ had the video.
A: I invited him and his family to a game and got them on the field passes and after the game just kind of spent some time with them, chopped it up and took some pictures with them. Like I say all the time, it's bigger than football and God put me in a position to have an impact on a kid like that, and to be able to walk up to the kid and see the emotion on his face definitely meant a lot to me. Just happy I was able to do something for that family.
Q: You had two very good games against the Eagles last year. Do you recall what went right in those games, and what you might be able to use against them this time?
A: Well, the first game I just was in a groove. Not really much more to say about that, but in the second game, we were able to run the ball really well, get up on them early, last year. Then, the second half, I don't want to say went away from the running, but I guess turnovers happened and they were able to come back, but that's last year. You can go back and watch the film on it, which I did, and see the success that I was able to have against them and what I wasn't able to have against them, but it's a new year. They're going to attack it different. I'll just try to have more success this year and do whatever I can to help my team win this week.
Q: Specifically, Fletcher Cox in the middle of that defensive line is a beast. How do you try to work around him?
A: Fletcher Cox is like easily one of my favorite players in the league to watch. Obviously, he's well known, but I don't think he gets enough respect as he should from what I've taken as we've played him. Those last two games last year, I remember there was a run where I broke out to the outside and it ended up being a penalty, but I got like a 10-yard run on it and it felt like a DB was chasing me and I looked up and it was 91. So, he's a heck of a player, they're a heck of a defense over there, they have a heck of a team over there. So, we've just got to continue to work and try to execute better than them on Monday night.
Q: The last few weeks you've talked about getting back to yourself. Did you feel last game maybe you started doing that?
A: Yeah, I thought so. I mean, I guess in my standards it's not really a good game, but that I broke over 100 yards, was averaging over like four yards a carry, something like that, so I feel like I'm getting back to myself, but I'm not really focusing on individual stats. I don't care if I go for 250 yards, I don't care if I go for 50 yards, I just want to go out there and help my team win football games. Coming down to the home stretch of the season, got four games left, try to finish it strong as a team and it starts with Monday Night Football in front of everyone, so try to go out there and execute better as a team and put ourselves in position to win.
Q: What's it been like working with Eli (Manning) this week, and what can he do to help the offense?
A: Yeah Eli, he's a legend. He's a Hall of Famer. He just sees the field so well. He understands the game so well, he's been doing it for a very long time and it's what you expect from Eli. Obviously, I love the way he handled the situation when D.J. (Daniel Jones) ended up being the starting quarterback, the way he operated in practice, the way he operated in the building was the same Eli that we know. So, good to see him come out this week and get a chance. It's going to be awesome for him.
Q: How can that help you, to have the veteran quarterback in there who obviously has seen probably every defense that there is?
A: I don't think it just helps me, I think it just helps the team, helps the offense. They're both great quarterbacks and I'm not here to compare and contrast Eli versus D.J., they're two different style quarterbacks, one has been doing it for a very long time, one is in his first year. But Eli, like I said, like you said, he's seen every defense, so it's like second hand to him. He's going to be able to help put us in positions to succeed, and I think D.J. has been doing a great job of that, too. So, like I said, I'm just happy for Eli to get an opportunity.
Q: Knowing he doesn't run as much as Daniel, do you have to look more for the dump offs and things like that?
A: I mean, I don't expect him to be out there running like Daniel Jones, he's in year like 15, 16. I don't know if any quarterback in year 15 or 16 can do that right now. But, not just the check downs, you've got to be locked into everything the same way. It doesn't really change anything, it's not like our offense changed so much. I remember when D.J. became the starting quarterback and all you guys were like, 'Oh, what's this? This is going to be different." No. We're still going to be able to run RPOs, we're still going to have the same offense, the same scheme. At the end of the day, even though it's the same scheme, we've got to execute better. That's what we haven't been doing in these previous weeks in this losing streak, and we've got to do that this week.
Q: How badly does this team need a win?
A: How badly? Bad, just because it's the next game. It would just be good to get a win. We work our butts off all the time every week and come to practice, and every Sunday we come out there and put it on the line, and every team does that. We've been falling short a lot, so it would mean a lot just to come out there and get a win, and hopefully be able to spark something to finish the season off strong.
Q: I know you were only here for last year, but the Eagles have won nine of 10 against the Giants. Not many people have been here for all 10, just Eli maybe. But to get one back in the rivalry, would that mean something to this locker room, or are there too many new guys?
A: I don't know, I didn't even know that stat that we're one and nine against them. I didn't even know that. Sheesh, well yeah, if you put it that way, it probably would mean a lot just to go out there and get a win. Honestly, it's a rivalry, but playing in Philly last year, they've got some different fans, so it would be pretty dope to go out there and get a win. But not the fact because it's a rivalry, just because, like I said, it's the next game and it's on Monday night and like I was saying to him, a win could help spark something. The only thing we've got left is this last month of the season, so why not go out there and put it on the line?
Q: What have you seen from Miles Sanders, watching him, and how much have you been able to talk with him through his rookie year?
A: I talked to him earlier this week, FaceTime, and I've talked to him a good amount this season, even last year when he was in college still. He's a heck of a player. Heck of a football player, you could see him coming more into himself and more into a role where he eventually probably will take off and be the guy in the future. But, he's catching the ball a lot better—not a lot better than he did in college, I don't think he was presented with that responsibility like he has been in the NFL so far. But great vision, very strong, he has impressive legs. I know people talk about my legs all the time, but he has impressive legs and he's fast, you've seen that 60-yard touchdown against the Bills. But, I'm more just happy because I know the work he put in to get to where he's at, and that's what you dream about, being in the NFL. I'm happy to see a guy that I trained and practiced with do it at a high level.
Q: What was your recollection of your first trip to Philly last year, pulling into the parking lot?
A: Every parking lot is different, but you might see different types of hand gestures when you're going to Philly. But, that's Philly. I remember my dad went to the game last year and my dad had to take a step back from himself and remember that he's my father and we don't want to be on the front cover of the paper in New York. So, a fan might have said something different that he didn't really agree with, but I think my dad handled that in the right way. Those fans, they're Philly. That's how Philly is, but it's fun. It's always fun to go out there and play against them, so hopefully we go out there and get a win.
Q: How about you, did you hear any language that maybe you've never heard before on this planet?
A: Not this planet, but I mean, definitely it's who it comes from I would say that's not expected.
Q: Like a six-year-old kid or something like that?
A: Yeah, you might see a kid. It's unique, but it's fun. That's football and that's what Philly's known for and the type of people that they are, but you could use it against them also, too. If you can get things going, you can see them turn away from—not turn away from the team, but you can get the crowd going in different directions. So, we've just got to go out there, have fun and try to find a way to get a win.
Q: Are most of your Whitehall buddies Eagles fans?
A: Not just Whitehall, the whole town. Where I'm from, I remember when I walked in school on Mondays, you would walk in and everyone would have their jersey on. Most of them would be Eagles fans. It was Eagles fans and Penn State fans, so it's kind of weird because I played for Penn State and now I play for the Giants, so most of them have to kind of root for me anyway because, one, I'm their boy, but also because I went to Penn State and played for them.
Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: You got the injuries, so I have nothing really to add. I've got the same sheet you got. I'll take your questions if you have them.
Q: Is Golden (Tate) out of the (concussion) protocol?
A: He's working through it, but he had a full practice today. He's on the road to recovery.
Q: Is there anything to be said for Daniel (Jones) just taking a step back and observing before he gets back in it, if it comes to a point where he could play?
A: Sometimes that's part of the narrative when a young guy plays for a while, then for whatever reason, he doesn't play and he comes back. I think anytime you observe, it's always best when you're playing. But in this case, he's forced to step back, so I think he's going to continue to learn.
Q: Have you seen it help young quarterbacks?
A: That's hard to say. I've had quarterbacks that have played the whole year, and then they kind of realize what happened to them in the offseason when they have a quiet moment. Everything is different. I don't know. I guess you'd have to ask a coach that has had a young quarterback play, then not play, then get back in. But they continue to learn all the time. Even though he has a boot on his foot, he's in there preparing just like he would be if he was going to play. The learning doesn't stop just because you're not taking snaps.
Q: Doug Pederson just told us he thinks having Eli (Manning) on the field will 'jazz up' the team. His term, 'jazz up.' What does that mean to 'jazz up'?
A: I don't know what 'jazz up' means. Eli has played a lot of years at a very high level. We're super fortunate that he was able to help Daniel in the time that he played this year. Eli will be ready to go.
Q: What can Eli do, and this is not meant as a knock on Daniel, but what can Eli do for Saquon (Barkley) and the running game with his experience? All of Saquon's best games are with Eli as the starting quarterback.
A: Well, most of his best games running the ball were last year, and then a couple games this year before he got hurt. That's just a function of that. What can he help do different than what Daniel can do with the run game? Not much. If you want to correlate it that the best was when he was in there is… This year is prior to being hurt. That's sort of the narrative I would say.
Q: I guess I just meant in terms of diagnosing defenses, where players are coming from, audibling, checks.
A: No, Daniel has been good with the run checks all year.
Q: Was Daniel's ankle any better today?
A: Yeah, he's getting better. He's making improvements. He's a fast healer, from what I can tell.
Q: Is there still a chance he could play on Monday?
A: I don't know. As you get further and further toward Monday, if he's not out practicing, the chances would be very slim.
Q: I don't know if you'll tell us this or not, but with Daniel injured, I'm assuming he's not going to be around on the sideline. Unlike in the past when he was on the sideline and able to hear the calls, get in the little huddles with you and Eli and whatnot, how is that going to be handled?
A: Yeah, well, I do make exceptions for injured players when they're quarterbacks, because typically they help with the management of the game, helping the other quarterbacks and they're very insightful. I would anticipate that you'll see Daniel there. That's part of it.
Q: Do you have a level of optimism at all that Daniel will return this season? Is that possible?
A: Oh sure, absolutely.
Q: Do you think he's definitely going to return this season?
A: I don't know that. We'll have to see. But I'm optimistic that he could.
Q: You always talk about parallel tracks. Winning is one and developing is another. With Daniel not on the field, does that sort of stall the overall offensive development for the players who are going to be out there?
A: No. No, because Eli is an outstanding quarterback. We're going to put in a guy that's going to be able to go out there and execute and help the guys around him play well. So, I don't think that stalls anything. Every week, we tend to have a different set of skilled players out there. They'll just continue to do what they can to improve. Not lost on me is the fact that we have to put a winning effort out there.
Q: When you look at the Eagles this year, are they kind of a head-scratcher because they've been so up and down?
A: No. I think they're outstanding on defense, they have really good skilled players and they have a very veteran offensive line. I recognize a lot of the players from my days when I was there. I don't know what to think about that. When I watch them play, I know they're an outstanding football team.
Q: When you play a team twice in 20 days or whatever it's going to be, does that change the way you go into the first game?
A: No. I think you approach the first game standalone, division rivalry and doing everything you can to win the game. Then when the game is over, you reassess and get ready to play them the next time. Certainly, things change. When you play a team twice in a year, you tweak things.
Q: When you look at (Carson) Wentz and the jump he made from year one to year two, in what ways is he kind of a good example of how that can be a big springboard? That second year, how did he kind of make a leap there that other guys can hope to do?
A: You always hope to see that. I would anticipate, if you want to compare that to Daniel, Daniel's going to make great improvements from year one to year two, as well.
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