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Saquon Barkley echoes Joe Judge: “This place is going in the right direction”

Giants running back says locker room believes in Judge, talks 2021 season

New York Giants v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Saquon Barkley spoke to reporters Thursday and reaffirmed the message that his coach, Joe Judge, has been trying to preach over the last week about the New York Giants.

Commenting on Judge’s 11-minute answer to a question after Sunday’s game, Barkley said it was a message that “a lot of players in the locker room believe in, too.”

“What I took from it was the message that this place is going in the right direction. It may not look like it right now from the outside looking in, but internally we know what we have here, we know what we’re doing in the locker room,” said Barkley.

It doesn’t always automatically transfer to the football field, Barkley told reporters, but the way forward is to “continue to work and continue to trust the process.”

“The message I got from it was the belief that he has in this locker room, the belief that he has internally and I think all the players would come out and agree with that,” added Barkley.

Immediately, several other websites noted that Barkley was “joining Judge on positivity island.” Others noted that not all Giants fans on Twitter agreed with Barkley’s sentiment.

Judge and Barkley are both in difficult spots. Both are fighting for something. Judge wants to stay on as head coach and Barkley wants to stay in New York beyond his 2022 fifth-year option.

The fourth-year running back missed four games this season. Heading into Sunday he has 563 yards on 151 carries and three touchdowns. Excluding last season, this year Barkley has rushed for his lowest yards-per-carry in his career, at 3.7.

Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2 last year against the Bears. He was asked about his journey returning from the injury, going through a revolving door of coaches and assistants, and the future. As always, the former Penn State product said the right things, preaching positivity. He’s either well-coached from a PR perspective or that’s his actual personality. It could be a bit of both.

Barkley is in the unfortunate position of having two head coaches, two running back coaches, four offensive line coaches and three offensive coordinators during his time in New York. When reporters asked him about this, he turned the question around by taking responsibility for his own play and adding that there is benefit in working with and learning from different people. It was a smart response.

But he did admit at one point that the constant change may not be ideal.

“You get to meet a lot of different personalities, be coached by a lot of different coaches, grab a little bit from everyone and improve your game, but it does impact a little bit, to be completely honest,” he said.

As for the offseason heading into the 2021 season, Barkley admitted that it was a challenge. He said this offseason will be a huge benefit becayse he’ll be able to properly train and head into 2022 with a healthy body.

“There were some things that are just out of your control that happened throughout the season that kind of pushes you back. You can’t plan for that, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” he said. “I know that the ACL and the tough times through this year that that adversity will help mold me and build me into the man and the player that I’m going to be in the future.”

“Now I can get back to the training and how I want to train and get my body in shape to get my body ready for a 17-game season and then some.”

He also made sure to emphasize that there’s always responsibility to be taken as a player.

“I hate talking about this to be completely honest because anytime I kind of talk and defend myself it sounds like I’m just making up excuses. I never want to be viewed as that person or that type of player. That’s not my motto, making excuses, but there have just been a lot of uphill battles, a lot of adversities that came throughout the season and you’ve just got to take your punches and roll with it.”

The Giants take on the Washington Football Team at home at 1 p.m. EST this Sunday to conclude their 2021 season.