MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The questions are getting more pointed for Saquon Barkley, and the answers are getting more difficult.
But Barkley was adamant on Sunday that he still has what it takes to be the player he is supposed to be for the Giants.
When asked after Sunday’s 20-9 loss to the Dolphins what he would say to people who believe he is not the back he used to be, Barkley said, "That’s their opinion."
Then he was asked what he has inside him that gives him the confidence he still can be that player, and he said, "Because I know who I am."
Perhaps, but at the moment Barkley is not the man the Giants offense needs him to be, and the man on which they spent the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Facing one of the league’s best rush defenses, Barkley struggled throughout. He finished with 11 carries for 55 yards and six receptions for 16, and he had two drops.
His rushing total was bolstered by a 23-yard gain. The previous week against the Eagles, his stats also benefited from one long rush, for 32 yards. On his other 22 rushes over the past two games, he has totaled 40 yards.
Speaking barely above a whisper afterward, Barkley acknowledged that he is in a slump.
"I can either sit down, cry about it and give up, or go back to work and keep working and keep figuring it out," he said. "I’m going to put my head down, keep leading, keep working and keep trying my best."
Barkley, who missed four games with an ankle injury this season, has 84 rushes for 315 yards and two touchdowns, and 30 receptions for 193 yards and one touchdown.
Asked if he is 100% well physically, he said, "Nobody feels 100% physically. It’s week whatever in the NFL."
Coach Joe Judge attributed Barkley’s tough Sunday largely to the Dolphins’ decision to "load that box and play a lot of man defense . . . Obviously, their priority as a defense was to stop the run."
Barkley’s workload is not what it used to be, but he said he is in no position to complain.
"I’m not producing in the run game right now," he said, "so I cannot be upset that I’m getting 11 carries if we’re not doing anything."
Regarding the drops, he said, "Just have to make the catch. Catch it, look it in. That’s it. Fundamentals."
Barkley said he is "very tired" of the offense’s struggles and added, "Even though we’re tired, I know the defense is annoyed, too, because the defense is playing lights out."
Safety Logan Ryan said he appreciated Barkley’s words.
"You could say Saquon has the world at his feet, and he still cares," Ryan said. "He cares about this game, he cares about winning very deeply. He takes responsibility and accountability."
Ryan added, "I love playing with Saquon. He’s a lot more than what people see, just a superstar. He’s very thoughtful. He works very hard. He takes accountability each and every day, and I respect that about him."