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Jason Garrett shrugs off former teammate Tiki Barber's criticism of Saquon Barkley

Tiki Barber runs in the first half against

Tiki Barber runs in the first half against the Houston Texans at Giants Stadium on Nov. 5, 2006. Credit: Newsday/David L. Pokress

When Tiki Barber’s comments about Saquon Barkley started to create a buzz earlier this week, I thought about how historic this moment was. Not because Barber was being critical of the Giants or a Giants player. He’s done that plenty over the years, probably too often for some tastes. What made this one seem special was that it was the first time he did it without having anyone on the team who actually played with him. Eli Manning was the last link to Barber’s career as a running back, and he retired in January. There was no one who could fully explain the Tikiness of Tiki to the current Giants.

But I forgot someone.

"He was a teammate of mine," offensive coordinator Jason Garrett reminded everyone (or maybe just me) on Thursday. "Great respect for Tiki, first of all . . . I’ve known him for a long time and I really respect him as a person and as a player in this league."

Garrett and Barber were Giants teammates from 2000-03. They even went to the Super Bowl together. That’s something not even Manning can claim!

So besides respecting Barber, what did Garrett think about his criticism of Barkley?

Not much.

"We really try to focus on what we need to do with our guys and do internal evaluations of how they play," he said. "There were some examples of [Barkley] blocking well in the passing game the other night. There were some examples of him not blocking as well as he needs to. He knows that. We’re working on that, we’re trying to get him better in that area. But we love his approach, we love his desire to be a complete back, and that’s going to help him and our team going forward."

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