Good morning, New York Giants fans! Here are your headlines for the final regular season Friday of 2018.
Barkley won’t accept poor games
Sensational rookie running back Saquon Barkley has seen a big drop in his rushing production that last two weeks – 31 yards against Tennessee and 43 yards at Indianapolis. In those two losses, he averaged 2.2 yards a carry and did not have a run longer than 17 yards.
“I don’t think you ever accept it,” he said “You go back, you watch what the defense did to stop you, what they did to help them in the game, and what you could’ve done better, and you just learn from that. That’s what’s so special about this game, especially about being a competitor. It’s not always going to go your way. That’s just how life works.
“The last two weeks haven’t been going my way. The Titans, we didn’t play as well as we could as a whole on offense, but last week, we were able to still put up 27 points. I had a really strong outing in the past game for the majority of it. We just didn’t find a way to win. That’s the beauty of the game, when they try to take away one part of your game, and you got to beat them on the next part. We got to find a way to do that. The struggles aren’t hard to accept, because I don’t accept them. I just learn from it and get better.”
Barkley can reach a couple of milestones this week. He has 1,886 yards from scrimmage and needs 114 to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and Edgerrin James (2,139 yards in 1999) as the only rookies in history with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards. Barkley has 87 receptions and needs two catches against the Cowboys to surpass Reggie Bush (88 receptions in 2006) for the most catches by a rookie running back in league history. He also needs five catches to break Odell Beckham, Jr’s Giants rookie record of 91.
“To even put myself in the position to come into the last week to get two catches to break someone who I looked up to growing up, Reggie Bush,” Barkley said. “To get 2,000 yards, to do this, to do that – like I said, you can’t do it by yourself. You definitely got to give credit to the men around me, especially the guys up front. Especially (quarterback) Eli (Manning) helping me out as a young guy. Not really worried about the records. I care less if I get to 2,000 or if I get the two receptions. I think it’ll be great, it’ll be special for not only myself, but for the team. It would be more special if we get a win.”
Mike Shula: “Lucky to coach” Eli Manning
Offensive coordinator Mike Shula said “oh, yeah” when asked Monday if quarterback Eli Manning had more productive seasons ahead.
“I think Eli’s been great. It’s been great working with him. He’s extremely smart, he’s the same guy every day, he’s very talented and I feel lucky to coach him and I think I feel bad that we have one more game, we all have,” Shula said. “We’ve been close on some and we know we all got to get better and I think we will and he will and as we evolve in this system and be around each other more.”
Biggest defensive need? Bettcher won’t say
Pass rush? Cornerback? Safety? Linebacker? Defensive coordinator James Bettcher is not willing right now to identify what the Giants’ biggest defensive need to address will be this offseason.
“To be honest with you, that’s something I couldn’t even 100 percent jump on the table and answer right now,” Bettcher said. “I think that would be a thing as we sit down after the season and evaluate everything fully, otherwise I’m going to shoot from the hip and shoot from something that, ‘hey, this flashes as a need or that flashes as a need’. But to make good judgment, sound statements, I wouldn’t be able to give you a great statement other than shooting from the hip. I don’t want to do that.”
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“Even if they were to go get Dwayne Haskins in the draft, wouldn’t you want Eli there to bridge the gap? I know that we’ve seen these rookie quarterbacks step in and be able to play right away, but Eli would be a nice fallback option to have.
And if you want a free agent, who’s out there? Nick Foles? Blake Bortles? Joe Flacco? Is one of those an obvious upgrade over Eli Manning and all that he’s meant to the Giants organization? Just tell me who the guy is that they’re going to replace Eli with?”