The bright spot for the Giants this season is hoping to add even more wattage to the second half of his rookie year.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Saquon Barkley, the second overall pick in this spring’s draft, said Tuesday. “I think everyone on this team can get better, we know that. Especially for myself, just self-scouting myself, there’s so many places where I can improve in every part of my game, every phase of my game.”
Barkley already is on pace for a number of records and honors. He’s third in the NFL with 1,016 yards from scrimmage, second in receptions by a running back (58) and second in percentage of a team’s total rushing and passing yards (33.2 percent). He has seven touchdowns. After eight games, it’s easy math to extrapolate what his season stats might look like.
Not that Barkley is doing the times-two tango.
“I don’t really look at that,” he said. “I’m very active on social media, so I see predictions or if I’m on pace for this and that, which means nothing because nothing is guaranteed. I’m not one of those guys that says, ‘Let me see my stats, let me see how much I ran for this or that.’ I just play . . . I’ve seen predictions of what I’m capable of doing, but it means nothing to me.”
Nor, he said, does the strong possibility of being named the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year.
“That’s not how I operate,” Barkley said. “I’m a competitor and I would love to win that award, but the way I operate is set my goals that I set, to take care of the little things in here, take care of the little things on the field and in the weight room. Whether it was in the offseason or wherever, every other thing comes along with that. I don’t have those goals of MVP, rookie of the year, this many yards or that many yards. I take care of this stuff first and everything else will take care of itself.”
So how does Barkley plan to improve?
“Trusting myself,” he said. “That’s one thing I need to get back to. I’m big on watching film, and sometimes I hurt myself because I overcalculate things or I overthink, so try not to do that and trust myself, play the game, and play the position I’ve been playing since I was a little kid.”
Jamon Brown, the guard claimed off waivers from the Rams, should help the Giants’ running game once he gets on the field. Before that happens, though, he also could help Barkley personally. He said he planned to speak with Brown to gain any insight he can into the star back Brown used to block for: Todd Gurley.
“You can definitely learn a lot from a guy who blocked for, probably, if the season ended today, the MVP of the league,” Barkley said. “I watch film of Todd Gurley and I love the way he plays. He’s an all-purpose back, he’s a threat any time he touches the ball. He runs physical, he runs great in between the tackles. I would be wrong if I don’t go pick his brain and ask that guy, ‘What do you see that Todd did?’ or ‘What made Todd exceptional?’ ”
Barkley did have one goal he stated.
“I want to be better than Todd one day,” he said.
First, though, he’s got half a season left to be better than what he himself was through his initial eight games.
“Eight games to continue to improve,” he said. “Come out here and continue to compete, work my butt off, and like I said, continue to get better overall.”