Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, speaking to New York media on Wednesday, pretty much captured how New York Giants fans felt watching Saquon Barkley crumple to the turf with a season-ending torn ACL.
“It makes you sick because he’s such a great kid and such a special talent,” McVay said. “I hate to see injuries like that occur, especially to such a special guy like him which I’m sure you guys all feel the same way I do.”
McVay, though, of course followed his Barkley comment with the obligatory platitudes for the Giants current crop of runnign backs.
“I think what you realize is especially as you get more experience in this league, there are great players that are ready to step up. There are great coaches, and you get humbled very quickly in this league if you think, ‘alright, they’re missing an All-Pro running back. They’re not going to be ready to go or have capable guys ready to step up.’ “ McVay said. “Dion Lewis has played a lot of really good football. They added Devonta Freeman. Wayne Gallman has made plays. We know what a capable backfield and a bunch of playmakers that you guys have, so we’re certainly not taking it lightly.”
On being a young, first-time NFL head coach ...
McVay was hired by the Rams at the stunningly young age of 30, and is still four years younger than Joe Judge, the Giants’ 38-year-old rookie coach.
“I think it’s really just developing and building those relationships. When you go back and you think about it, I can’t believe they were crazy to hire me at 30 years old. That’s insane, right? But I think it’s more about just getting to know the guys. You kind of sometimes take for granted, especially when you get into a job and now going into the fourth season here, it’s still about building and developing relationships. Those things take time. It takes continuous effort to communicate and effort to understand where guys are coming from, and that’s never ending and that’s on-going for us all the time.
“It’s really just that, and certainly like you mentioned, anytime you’re able to have a good start, we ended up being pretty successful against the Colts in our first game. That helps create the buy-in. But I think the consistency is the big thing, regardless of whatever those results are. Being consistent with the guys day in and day out, having an atmosphere and an environment that’s in alignment with them being respected but them also demanding a lot of, because we always talk about the balance of enjoyment and urgency. I think if you can find that, you’re in good shape in the NFL.”
On Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones ...
“I think it’s a such a difficult league week in and week out. I remember the first real exposure I had to Daniel was when we crossed over when you guys beat the Bucs last year when we were getting ready for them in Week 4. Man, did he play really well. I was so impressed with his poise, his ability to make plays down the stretch. His ability to extend plays, the athleticism. You see it with a couple of zone reads that he had the other day. I’ve also been impressed with his ability to just show the athleticism by keeping plays alive in the pocket, out of the pocket. Coach Garrett always does a nice job of being able to accentuate guys skill sets – I think this a part of the league as a quarterback. But Daniel has a really bright future and I’ve seen enough film of him to feel pretty strongly about that.”