New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley had a rookie season for the ages, eclipsing 2,000 yards from scrimmage and setting more league and franchise records than we even care to recite.
After another impressive display in a Week 17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Barkley may have also locked up the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award over Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. But in the end, it wasn’t enough to satisfy Barkley.
“Most important thing that I’ll take into this offseason is try to do a little extra with workouts, with reps, with on-field stuff,” Barkley said via Giants.com. “Finish, finish better. I’m a big believer in what you do in the offseason, what you do in the weight room and what you do in your workouts translates to the field. The biggest thing, I think, that we weren’t able to do as a team this year is not finish out games. I don’t know what the stat is — eight, seven, six, how many games we lost by seven points or fewer. Obviously, that’s just the nature of the game and the nature of the NFL and how close games are going to be.
“But that’s going to be in the back of my mind and when I’m working out, always find a way to — obviously everyone, I don’t care who you are, you’re human, you’re going to get sore, you’re going to get tired, but find a way to fight through that and power through that. When I’m in that situation on the field, I could be there for my team to step up and make plays or lead in those situations better.”
The struggles endured by the Giants in 2018 were the fault of many, but Barkley certainly wasn’t among them. In addition to his 2,000-plus yards, it’s worth noting that Barkley didn’t fumble the ball once. In fact, he hasn’t fumbled since he was a sophomore in college.
Still, as a young leader, Barkley has taken it upon himself to shoulder the load and lead the team. As such, he’s very unhappy at the prospect of going home for the offseason.
“Honestly, wish we can get started right away,” Barkley said. “It’s going to suck staying home watching the playoffs, and knowing that you’re not in there and wanting to be in there. But that’s also going to motivate you to work harder, work extra and push yourself to be a better player for your team next year so that next year you’re not home watching the playoffs. I would love to get going right away, but this is my first time having an NFL offseason, so I want to make sure I do this right.
“I was just talking with my running back coach . I don’t want to take too much time off and I don’t want to not take enough time off, so try to find a balance, talk to vets. I talked to Frank Gore, he gave me some great advice with how he handles it, Stewart as well. I’m going to try to find the right thing for my body to balance it and get me in the best shape I can to come out in April and get ready to get the season started again.”
When the 2019 does ultimately roll around, Barkley will be more than ready. He’ll have a year of experience under his belt, a bad taste in his mouth and the motivation to never experience another losing season again.