Saquon Barkley knows his job is to lead the Giants' offense and not make decisions regarding New York's head coach, but the second-year running back offered support Sunday when he was asked about Pat Shurmur's uncertain future.
Speaking after Week 17's 34-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Barkley defended Shurmur and the Giants' coaching staff.
Developed by Shurmur and company after general manager Dave Gettleman selected the former Penn State running back with the No. 2 overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, Barkley took the blame off the staff and emphasized a collective process.
"I believe in the coaching staff," Barkley said. "Obviously, it's a result-based sport and business, but you can't point the finger at one person. There's a lot of things in this game that I could've done better, that this person or that person or this person or that person could've done better.
"At the end of the day, it's a team sport. It's a team sport. We've all got to find a way to win games. But at the end of the day, whatever the decision does happen, that's above me. I don't get paid for that. My mindset is to come in here every single day, work and try to get better."
After the Giants hold Monday's team meeting at 11 a.m., with a vague media availability on tap, Shurmur is not specifically scheduled to hold a press conference.
Barkley has flourished through two years in Shurmur's offense, racking up 3,469 scrimmage yards (2,310 rushing and 1,159 receiving) and accounting for 23 touchdowns (17 rushing, six receiving) through 29 career games.
"I believe in the coaching staff"- Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) December 30, 2019
Saquon Barkley sticks up for his coaches pic.twitter.com/KZN7ZjNs2E
"I do think that we have something here. I don't think -- I know we have something special here," Barkley said. "And we've got to continue to stick to the process and continue to believe into it.
"But with the coaching staff or whatever, I already said what I had to say -- I believe in those guys, I respect those guys, they help turn me into a better player, but that decision's above me. So I've got to continue to come to work every single day and that's all we can do as players."
The Giants are 9-23 through Shurmur's two seasons as head coach. Despite a youth movement to a degree with rising-star players such as Barkley, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones and rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton, the Giants enter 2020 after a 4-12 result. Following a 5-11 season in 2018, the mark does not sit well with anyone, regardless of who the head coach is.
"It sucks," Barkley said. "You don't want to be 4-12, but no matter if we were 4-12 or 8-8, at the end of the day, we're not going to the playoffs and that's your whole objective of the season. In the offseason, that's what you train for -- is to compete for a championship. So it sucks, but you've got to let this stuff burn and fuel your fire and learn from it and, hopefully, it helps build us and build character for us to compete next year."