Saquon Barkley takes Tiki Barber’s harsh criticism as “a challenge”

Saquon Barkley takes Tiki Barber's harsh criticism as "a challenge"

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Tiki Barber didn’t mince words when discussing Saquon Barkley‘s Week One performance. It wasn’t only the 15 carries for 6 yards that prompted the former Giants running back’s criticism of the current Giants running back.

Barber questioned whether Barkley should remain an every-down back because “he doesn’t want to hit anybody” in pass protection.

Barkley heard Barber’s comments and said Thursday he didn’t take it personally.

“Obviously Tiki is a legend, did a lot of great things for this franchise,” Barkley said, via Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com. “I’m not gonna look at it as disrespect. I’m gonna look at it as a challenge. But it’s the same thing with him as everybody else: I don’t care about anybody’s outside opinions. I’m really only focused on the opinions in this building. I try to come to work every single day and get better.”

Barkley has not talked to Barber since Barber made his comments.

“I guess he addressed something on his show, which is his God-given right,” Barkley said. “He has an opinion, he voices his opinion and . . . it’s opinion to have. I’m taking it more as a challenge, not disrespect. I’m just focused on myself and everyone here in this building.”

There is no denying Barkley struggled in pass protection. Pro Football Focus gave him a pass blocking grade of 25.5, which ranked him 69th of 76 eligible running backs in Week One.

“He might not be an every-down back,” Barber said on his CBS Sports Radio show. “He cannot pass protect, and it is starting to become glaring. It was probably the only issue he had to deal with coming into the NFL. He wasn’t asked to do it at Penn State. And you see him diving on the ground, not sticking his head in people’s chests. It’s gonna be a liability, because people see it now, it’s on tape, and it’s gonna come out.”

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