New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is determined to use Tiki Barber's criticism as a "challenge" but added that he doesn't really care about other people's opinion. The Giants kicked off their new season on Monday on their home turf -- but didn't have a dream start to the season -- as the Pittsburgh Steelers beat 26-16.
Barkley, considered by many as a top-3 running back in the league, had a disappointing performance as he collected only six yards on 15 rushing attempts. After the game, Giants legendary running back Barber acknowledged Barkley could do some great things but he doesn't really care about blocking.
"Saquon Barkley might not be an every-down back," Barber said on the "Tiki and Tierney Show" on CBS Sports Radio, per ESPN. "He cannot pass-protect. It's becoming glaring ... and it's going to be a liability.
... Recognition is one and two, you gotta go hit a dude. Saquon Barkley is a big man who doesn't want to hit anybody. It's frustrating to watch. He's a great back, but he's frustrating to watch trying to pass-protect."
Barkley keeps it respectful
Barber, a three-time Pro Bowl running back, spent his entire career with the Giants. "Obviously, Tiki is a legend. Done a lot of great things for this franchise," Barkley said. "So I'm not going to look at it as disrespect.
I'm going to look at it as a challenge." Barber suggested that Barkley was soft with his blocking comments but the Giants running back said he's not bothered by that. "No. It does not, to be completely honest," Barkley said.
"The reason it doesn't bother me is -- no disrespect to anyone on this call or anyone outside this when I say I don't care -- I truly don't care about other people's opinions. "I know, you can ask my teammates, you can ask anyone in this building, they won't question my toughness.
It's easy to be an all-pro clicker and to watch stuff on film and say, 'Oh, he should have done this, he should have done that.' Or 'You can improve on that.' That is the easy way. But in my position, I know how I come to work every single day and I know the belief my teammates have in me, so that is why every single week I'm going to come out and just try to improve and get better, not for you guys on the outside but for the guys in this building."