It’s always a little bit easier the second time around.
That’s how Saquon Barkley is feeling as he participates in his second batch of OTAs as a Giant. Speaking with reporters Tuesday, he addressed a litany of topics, including the revamped offensive line, Le’Veon Bell signing with the Jets, Odell Beckham Jr.‘s departure and advice for rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.
Here’s a closer look at what he had to say:
Looking at Le’Veon
With the Jets’ addition of Le’Veon Bell this offseason, two of the top running backs in the league will call MetLife Stadium home this year.
Barkley has long-admired Bell. The two briefly met once and have exchanged messages on social media before.
“I was a fan,” Barkley said. “When I was in college, I used to watch Le’Veon. He was one of the first guys I broke down his film. I don’t see it as extra motivation. At the end of the day, in my mindset, I’m competing with myself and competing here to be the best for my team. Obviously, I would love to have this and that. But I don’t really care what he does over there or what any running back in the league does.”
‘Be ready when the opportunity presents itself’
One year removed from being the second overall pick, Barkley is familiar with entering a rookie season with high expectations.
Jones, taken sixth overall this year, almost certainly won’t begin the season as a starter. Barkley stressed that confidence is key, especially at the quarterback position.
“You can see it already, he’s a competitor,” he said. “You can see the look in his eyes that he wants to get better. My advice to him is that it’s football at the end of the day. Just come in here and do work. When you do that, your teammates are going to gravitate toward you. And be ready when the opportunity presents itself.”
It takes all 11 guys on offense to score points
With the loss of Beckham Jr., the Giants are without one of the more dynamic playmakers in the NFL. But Barkley is plenty capable of breaking off a big play himself, and he said that offensive success relies on more than one person.
“How could we be better without Odell? At the end of the day, it’s a team game,” Barkley said. “At the end of the day, it’s gonna take 11 men out there on offense to go out there and win games.”
Barkley was also quick to point out that sometimes it will be him to have the big games, but that receivers Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, along with tight end Evan Engram, will all get their touches and have chances to be “the guy” on any specific day.
Offensive line continuity will be key
What most don’t realize, Barkley said, is that the Giants operated without any sort of continuity on the offensive line to begin his career. With the addition of Kevin Zeitler and Mike Remmers stabilizing the right side of the line, the Giants are in better position up front than they were a year ago.
That kind of veteran presence, plus tackle Nate Solder and Will Hernandez also entering his second season on the left side, will only help Barkley.
“Running is kind of like an art,” he said. “I was talking about that with the line today, whether this is an inside zone, whether this is a gap scheme, whatever kind of run it is just a feel for each other, understanding how can I set them up? What kind of blocking they like to do? How can I put linebackers on them? Adding those guys who are pros and have done it at a high level definitely helps, but being able to have them here now and have that mesh, get started off early, definitely is going to help when the season rolls around.”