Saquon Handles Tiki Comments With Class

Saquon Barkley

No NFL player likes to be criticized by former players, especially in the media. This week, when former New York Giants great Tiki Barber said on his radio program that Saquon Barkley may not be a “three-down back” because of his poor blocking, many thought a cold war between the two would form.

That didn’t happen. Barkley has taken Barber’s comments as constructive criticism rather than disrespect or jealousy. Barber holds all of the Giants’ career rushing records and Barkley poses a threat to break those and Tiki has even predicted that will happen.

“Obviously, Tiki is a legend. He has done a lot of great things for this franchise. I’m not going to look at it as disrespect, I’m going to look at it as a challenge,” said Barkley on Thursday. “Same thing with him, like everyone else, I really don’t care about outside opinions. I’m really focused about the opinions in this building. Try to come to work every single day and get better.”

Barkley rushed for just six yards on 15 attempts against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. In addition, Barkley got caught up in the poor blocking scheme and performance the Giants displayed in the game, missing some blocks and looking as if he was overmatched.

Barkley dismissed the notion that he is focusing on his blocking’s more than the other aspects of his game as a result of Monday’s showing.

“No, I come to work every single day with the mindset, try to improve in everything. Focus on the little things. Whatever the drill is, focus on that. If it’s the pass game, focus on catching the ball. If it’s pass pro, if it’s run game, focus on making the run cuts and the right reads. When I’m in the open field, work on my moves and work on finishing scoring touchdowns. I know this is going to be the question or the kind of the theme of this media session about my pass pro. I understand that I probably made some mistakes in pass pro and I put it on film. I know it’s going to keep coming, people are going to keep challenging me. It’s a good way to keep me in and stop me from getting to open space and making plays there, too, also. I just have to keep working at it, keep getting better and that’s going to be my same answer for the rest of the pass pro questions. Thank you, guys.”

Barkley said he has not addressed the issue with Barber, instead just taking it as advice, which it was likely meant to be since the two have had a good relationship in the past.

“No, I didn’t,” said Barkley. “I guess he addressed something on his show, which is his God-given right. He has an opinion, he voiced his opinion. Like I said, it’s his opinion to have. I’m going to take it more as a challenge than disrespect and just focus on myself and focus on everyone here in this building.”

Barkley is not about to let Monday’s game get into his head. He did catch six passes for 60 yards in the game, so it wasn’t a total turkey of an effort. Head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett have not discussed the issue with Barkley. As far as everyone is concerned, its just something that needs to be worked on like every other aspect of his game.

“It happened. The game happened,” Barkley said. “I had 15 carries for six yards. I think I tied for the second-lowest of all time with 15 carries or more. Guess what? I came to work this week with a smile on my face, ready to work and ready to get better. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you praise me or you say negative things about me. I’m not going to use that motivation because my motivation is to be great myself. I don’t need you guys to push me that way. I need to focus on myself and try building up myself. This week, there’s no extra motivation. There’s no this or that or the third. It’s just try to come in and get the W for the Giants.”

And that should be the end of that.

 

 

 

Jason Garrett Addresses Tiki Barber’s Criticism of Saquon Barkley

New York Giants, Austin Mack, Jason Garrett

Former New York Giants great Tiki Barber’s comments regarding Saquon Barkley’s ability to block preventing him from becoming a complete back did not go unnoticed by the team, the fans and surely did not get past offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

Garrett, who was a backup quarterback for the Giants for four seasons in the early 2000s, was a teammate of Barbers and knows the criticism of Barkley is likely constructive. Garrett was asked on Thursday about Barber’s assessment that if Barkley can’t sufficiently block, he has to come off the field on third downs.

“Great respect for Tiki, first of all,” Garrett said. “He was a teammate of mine. I’ve known him for a long time and I really respect him as a person and as a player in this league. Having said that, we really try to focus on what we need to do with our guys and do internal evaluations of how they play.”

Class answer from a class guy. Garrett then delve into he root of the problem identified by Barber, who unfortunately, is likely correct in his analysis.

“One of the things we love about Saquon is his desire to be a complete back. That’s running the football, both inside and outside, as a pass receiver and also as a pass protector. Having said that, he can improve in all areas. That’s something that we like so much about him, is his desire to come in and get better and strive to be a complete back. There were some examples of him 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.”

We’ll see if Barkley picks up his game. The Steelers’ rush was non-stop on Monday night and everyone on the line struggled to pick up blitzes and blew assignments. Barkley was as guilty as any of them. The Giants will need that to change of they are to have any chance at turning their fortunes around.

Tiki Barber confident New York Giants will rebound faster than most people think

New York Giants, Tiki Barber

From a third-party perspective, the New York Giants are still in the midst of a rebuild and aren’t considered a legitimate playoff contender in 2020. Despite that reality, the Giants added several quality players in the NFL draft this year, including left tackle Andrew Thomas and safety Xavier McKinney out of Alabama.

The addition of experience in the secondary and several free-agent signing should see a different team in 2020, and while we don’t know if they will improve significantly or gradually, their new players are undoubtedly more talented than the unit they featured in 2019.

Former Giants running back Tiki Barber appeared as a guest on “MSG 150 at Home,” talking about the Big Blue and where they’re headed with a new coaching staff and more personnel.

“I’m excited for the Giants this year. They may rebound faster than a lot of people expect. They addressed certain things in free agency, particularly at the linebacker position and obviously the draft went well also. I think there are good things to look for in the Giants this year even if there is uncertainty because the whole staff and system will be new.”

The changing of the guard at head coach and adding new offensive/defensive coordinators should theoretically improve the team as a whole. Their struggles last season were very much correlated to the schemes they were running. James Bettcher utilized players in odd positions, especially first-year cornerback DeAndre baker, who was predominantly a press/man cover corner at Georgia. He was used in zone and off-ball coverage too often — his weakness.

New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham used man coverage 50% of the time with the Miami Dolphins last year, which should benefit Baker if he is exonerated from his legal issues. Barber also hit on Jason Garrett and the offense he will be transitioning over to the Giants. Garrett brings 10 years worth of experience and knowledge to a relatively young team. Quarterback Daniel Jones is only going into his second season in the NFL, so expectations should be tempered.

“I think with Jason [Garrett] now at the helm of this offense, you’re going to get experience at using diverse offenses. Jason has so much depth in his game planning and playbook. And I think we’re going to see a bunch of that. And especially with Daniel Jones being such a young, second-year player – you don’t want to put too much on his plate, especially when you have a revamped offensive live and a special player in the backfield.”

Garrett and Kellen Moore developed the number one passing attack for Dallas last season, changing their game plan week by week and utilizing different offensive schemes to accomplish this impressive feat. The Giants have a long way to go before they can be considered a top offense in the NFL, but they are adding the correct personnel to get there. Establishing their offensive line is first and foremost, and general manager Dave Gettleman is committed to solving it once and for all.

New York Giants: An inside look at why Tiki Barber retired from the NFL

New York Giants, Tiki Barber

Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber enjoyed 10 years in the NFL, missing only a handful of games. Ultimately, health was/is extremely important to him, and he played in all 16 games for the final five years of his tenure in the NFL. He missed six total games in his entire career, amassing 10,449 yards, and 55 total touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowler between 2004 and 2006, even earning first-team All-Pro accolades during the 2005 campaign. However, he retired prematurely due to health concerns and multiple factors weighing on his mind.

His head coach of the time, Tom Coughlin, was an extremely disciplined leader and oftentimes underappreciated some of the players on the roster, according to Barber.

“I mean, Tom was such a small part of it,” Barber said during an appearance on the Scoop B Radio Podcast. “He was so hard on everybody and you felt unappreciated at times, but it was so much more than that. Maybe he was the last little straw that made me walk away from the game, but physically I was getting beat up, man.

“It would take me until Thursday to feel good again. I was getting massages on Monday and acupuncture. I would get this ART treatment and then another massage on Thursday, and then now I’m feeling all right on Friday. [Then we’d have] like a walkthrough practice and then you get beat up again and it starts over. And it was just getting hard.”

Going through the physical toll of a running back in the early 2000s must have been grueling, and it forced barber into retirement and a role with Fox News. He began to find the political side of things more interesting and intriguing in his life, and it took the physical toll of being beaten up every week out of the picture. However, the game always finds a way to get back into your life, as he began to file papers to return to the NFL in 2011, five years after his initial retirement.

His return never materialized, but Barber played an essential role in Giants’ history. He’s one of the all-time great running backs for the team and in the NFL. While he might fault Coughlin for his retirement to a degree, he must give him credit for helping solve his fumbling issues early on in his career.

Former New York Giants star running back praises Joe Judge

New York Giants, Tiki Barber

The New York Giants hired Joe Judge, formerly of the New England Patriots, to be their head coach for several essential reasons. First, he brings an insight tailored to success and fundamentals. The hard-nosed style of football Judge expects to bring to New York matches up precisely with what GM Dave Gettleman views in terms of team-image.

Second, his evaluation process will be detailed and specific, finding which players can feature at different positions and maximize value across the board. However, his love for football might be the most exciting aspect of Judge, who lives and breathes the sport.

Former Giants running back, Tiki Barber, had only good things to say about Judge, as per SB Nation:

“You know, I’m excited for the steps they’re taking. I don’t know Joe Judge…but when you look at him and how he holds himself and how he carries himself and the things that he says, it gives you that belief that there is that focus on detail that coach Coughlin obviously espoused. The details and toughness.”

“And then the staff he built, I love,” said Barber. “I’m biased because Jason Garrett is a friend of mine, but I think he’s a great offensive mind and he’s brought in a lot of experience. Not necessarily pro head coaches but people who have experience in leadership positions, and that’s going to help this team.

 

“The talent is there,” added Barber, speaking on the Giants roster. “Obviously there’s some deficiencies but the talent is there. They just need to start executing and focusing on those details.”

The New York Giants took all precautions with the coaching staff:

Barber hits on an important question — is Judge ready to be a head coach? That’s where Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens enter the mix, as their leadership experience will help Judge adapt to the role. It will also ease the burden of managing the entire team when you have capable coaches at each unit who can hold their own.

If Barber is right about Judge, the Giants will be in a good spot moving forward, but it ultimately boils down to the players they bring in this offseason.

Giants great Tiki Barber Knows What Daniel Jones is Going Through

New York Jets, New York Giants, Daniel Jones

When Tom Coughlin took over as head coach of the New York Giants in 2004, he had a monumental task on his hands. One of the major issues on his agenda was to fix running back Tiki Barber’s ball security issue.

From 2000-2003, Barber averaged nine fumbles per season and the tunovers were not only killing the Giants, they were holding Barber back from becoming the great player he would eventually become. Coughlin convinced Barber to hold the football “high and tight” and the results were astonishing.

Barber fumbled only eight more times in his final three years as a pro under Coughlin and became a Pro Bowl back each season until he retired after the 2006 season. In a 2017 interview, he explained how the new handle worked for him. 

“It was extreme, but it actually helped me become a more effective runner,” he said. “Just put it higher, and kept my elbow down. But more importantly, when you go into contact, you cover it up.”

“Now, the traditional way to cover up a football is to put the ball perpendicular to the ground. It’s across the ground, it’s across your body, but there’s nothing supporting the ball underneath. The actual way to do it is to put the ball vertical to the ground, wrap your off-ball hand across your on-ball hand, and go to the ground with basically an ‘x’ across your chest as opposed to two parallel boards across your chest. It was a very simple fix and a mechanical one that just took some drilling in.”

Jones’ fumbling issue has become just as severe as Barber’s. The rookie is costing the Giants games with his turnovers. Jones leads the NFL in fumbles (13) and in lost fumbles with 9.  As a result, the Giants lead the NFL with 24 turnovers and 12 lost fumbles.

This week, Barber told TMZ Sports that Jones will likely snap out of the bad habit over time and become a star.

 

New York Giants: Daniel Jones Has What it Takes to Succeed In New York

New York Giants rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones.

When the New York Giants selected Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft they weren’t just selecting a QB, but the face of a franchise. Jones hasn’t surprised anyone within the Giants facility with his impressive preseason play but it’s the thick skin of the rookie that’s unteachable. 

It is more than just looking at a guy’s physical talent. It is about his makeup – Dave Gettleman Pre-Draft. 

Dave Gettleman knew that whoever he chose to replace the greatest quarterback in franchise history would forever be linked to his fate. Draft analysts are quick to value arm talent, statistics, big-time schools, competition…etc. 

But what about the DNA of a potential franchise quarterback? 

Jones has possessed a rare trait to brush off criticism focusing on his play and the players/coaches within the facility. Sound familiar? This is something that two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning has preached throughout his 16-year career.

At the beginning of the 2007 NFL season, Eli Manning was about to get run out of town by New York tabloids with even Tiki Barber (all-time franchise leader in rushing yards) questioning Eli’s leadership skills. 

We all know how that turned out with Eli Manning. The franchise legend tuned out the critics and went on to win two Super Bowls. 

Today, Jones faces a similar feat and has handled it exactly as Gettleman and Mara expected him to. 

In an interview with GQ back in April that was recently released, Baker Mayfield said he “cannot believe” the Giants took Jones and that it “blew my mind.” 

In response, Jones shrugged off the comments and reiterated his focus on the New York Giants: 

“I try not to listen to much that’s said,” said Jones. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that. I heard that before, I kind of have the same mindset, I certainly have a lot to focus on here, I have a lot to worry about here and I’m focused on that. It’s been good but just focused on what I’m doing here” (CBS Sports).

When the interview broke Baker clarified on the comments and how they were completely taken out of context. He later on texted Jones to clarify the air to which Jones responded, “no worries.”

Regardless of the context, the Giants front office must be sleeping nicely knowing their franchise QB resembles a culture that owner John Mara has coined: The Giants Way.

New York Giants: Tiki Barber thinks Daniel Jones will succeed

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

After New York Giants rookie passer Daniel Jones was booed at Yankee Stadium in what was either a riot of Jets fans being themselves or Giants fans disapproving of Dave Gettleman more-so than Jones, former running back for Big Blue, Tiki Barber, responded.

What did the former New York Giants RB say to TMZ?

Barber, who had his fair share of criticism in New York, stated after being asked about Jones’ booing:

“That’s New York, though…” After being asked if it was deserved, he replied: “Of course it’s not, he hasn’t played a game, but it’s his indoctrination into New York fandom, he’ll be okay.”

When asked if he thinks Jones will be a star, he stated:

“I think he will be, he’s got the smarts, he’s got the physical ability, he’s an athlete, and I think he’s surrounded by some good talent.”

Barber nailed it right on the head — Jones is essentially a more athletic Eli Manning replica. The ability to use his legs to pick up yards and extend plays will prove to be essential for the Giants in the future. In addition, he handles the media well and can fend off criticism that is undeserving.

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Another good point by Tiki — the talent around Jones is good. With Saquon Barkley, a rebuilt offensive line, and a solid group of receivers, Jones is in a great position to succeed Manning and take over with a foundation on offense. He will have the tools to succeed and move forward without any hindrance in his development.

The next season of growth will be beneficial towards his readiness and understanding of the offense. It’s assumed he will replace Manning in 2020 after the veteran’s contract expires.

 

 

 

Tiki Barber Backs New York Giants In Odell Beckham Jr. Trade

New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr.

The debate around whether or not the New York Giants should have moved on from top receiver Odell Beckham Jr. or not is one that isn’t going to end any time soon. Most likely, the debate isn’t going to be over until years have passed and it’s possible to compare the trajectories of both sides following the trade. For now, that’s not possible, and all we can do is speculate on the merits or downsides of the trade.

And right now, there’s a lot of voices speaking in favor of either side. One of those happens to be former Giants running back Tiki Barber, who shared his thoughts on the situation with the New York Post last week.

“I think Odell wanted to go and Dave Gettleman and the New York Giants acquiesced. He’s in a better place. And I think it may actually be OK for the Giants he’s not here. He wasn’t reaching his potential. He felt like he was being constrained, either by the offensive play-calling or whatever it may have been. He wasn’t happy,” Barber said about Beckham.

It’s true that Beckham wasn’t able to reach his potential for the last couple of seasons with the Giants, both because of injury reasons and because of tensions with the front office that would eventually make the decision to ship Beckham off to Cleveland.

The question is whether or not the Giants will be better off for making the trade or not, even if Beckham almost surely will be. That’s something that Barber isn’t sure about just yet.

“I thought it was the right thing [to do]. I don’t know if it was the best thing, because he’s a brand and iconic in ways I don’t know if a Giant player has ever been since [Lawrence Taylor]. But football is not about an individual. It’s about a team. And I think the Giants are trying to build a great team right now.”

The Giants seem to have a strange approach to team building right now and this season could be the make or break one for the man behind that plan, Dave Gettleman. There’s one thing that’s sure, and that’s the fact that there will be much more pressure on Gettleman if there’s not an immediate payoff for making such a dramatic move as trading Beckham.