Saquon Barkley is taking the high road when it comes to responding to Tiki Barber’s criticism.
A day after the former Giants great suggested on his CBS radio show “Tiki and Tierney” that Barkley may not be an every-down back because “he cannot pass protect” and could become a “liability,” the 23-year-old running back offered his response.
“Obviously, Tiki is a legend. He’s done a lot of great things for this franchise. So, I’m not gonna look at it as disrespect. I’m gonna look at it as a challenge,” Barkley said on a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday. “Same thing with him, like everyone else, I really don’t care about outside opinions. I’m really only focused about the opinions in this building and try to come to work every single day and get better.”
Barber’s criticism of Barkley came following Monday night’s Week 1 loss to the Steelers in which Barkley had 15 carries for a total of six measly yards.
Barber, however, seemed to aim his criticism more toward the running back’s struggles in pass protection. At least twice the Steelers were able to get to Daniel Jones on blitzes Barkley failed to pick up.
“Saquon’s a big man. He doesn’t want to hit anybody,” Barber also said.
Barber attempted to clarify his comments later on Wednesday to the New York Post.
“I just reported what I see,” he said. “My philosophy is: Your critics are your friends, because they show you your faults. So don’t get made about it, fix ‘em.”
Barber did reiterate that Barkley is going to be a great player, but needs to improve on this particular aspect of his game.
“There should be no heat on Saquon,” he added. “He’s gonna be a great player. But if he wants to be on the field on third down in obvious blitz situations, you got to be a pass protector, period. And I know for a fact Joe Judge is telling him the exact same thing.”