EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Saquon Barkley had the best two-season start by a running back in Giants history but believes he's just getting started.
The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the only player in Giants history to top 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons, Barkley today expressed confidence that Saquon 3.0 will be even better.
"That's something that you have to try to improve on every year," Barkley said on a post-practice Zoom call. "Try to be a better version of yourself, try to improve on your game. It's the little things that you do in the offseason. It's the stuff that you focus on. The details in cutting, the details in watching film, of watching other people on film and trying to expand your game.
"The way I feel I can be a better Saquon Barkley, I guess you could say, is by coming here every single day, coming to work and trying to continue to earn the respect of my teammates. Continuing to try to push myself and push my teammates. At the end of the day, it's all about the team. That's the mindset we need to have in order to go out there and have a successful season."
Coach Joe Judge was well aware of Barkley's skillset and production and has come to appreciate the running back's attitude and work ethic through their remote virtual learning sessions in the spring and the first few practices.
"I think the most pleasing thing about Saquon so far is how eager he is to be coached and how he is always looking for a better way of doing something," Judge said. "I think our roster as a whole has been very receptive to different coaching points, buying into what we're doing and that's been very impressive. I love the way he works on the field. He comes out every day with a purpose and that's important. You can see what he's working on specifically not only from our own install standpoint but personally based on what may have happened in a previous practice. Or a technique or fundamental that he has to improve on himself. He has a unique skill set and he is going to give himself an opportunity to maximize that by the way he's working right now."
Barkley enjoyed hearing that Judge considers him eager to be coached.
"I definitely appreciate that compliment," Barkley said. "Just come to work every day, ask a lot of questions and try to improve. I feel like the only way you can improve is by being coached. Obviously, I'm not naïve to the fact that I was blessed with a tremendous talent. The way you improve on that is by focusing on little things, focus on the details and listen to your coaches.
"I think we have a great coaching staff here, from coach Judge all the way down to the position coaches, all the guys. I want to be great and I want to be great for this team. I know that starts with taking coaching and learning from them."
*Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and second-year pro Darius Slayton are expected to be the Giants' top three wide receivers when the season begins. But the team has several candidates to provide talented depth, including Corey Coleman, who missed the entire 2019 season after tearing his ACL in the first training camp practice as well as a talented group of youngsters – first-year pros David Sills and Alex Bachman and rookie free agents Derrick Dillon, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack and Tony Brown.
"All of them have really impressed me," Shepard said of the youngsters. "I've been seeing each one of them every day. Yesterday, they were making plays all over the field. They all have a special ability. All those guys have been looking really good to me, and the way that they've been picking up the offense… They've had a little bit of extra time from the vets to be with the coaches over the Zoom calls and stuff. They have the offense down pat and they're out there making plays."
Regarding Coleman, Shepard said, "It was a tough road for him. I've been with him the whole time. You can hardly even tell that he had that injury last year. He's been working his butt off and he's going to continue to do that. I'm really happy to see him back out there on the grass."
The Giants practiced in pads for the first time Monday at Training Camp