Giants’ Joe Judge on Tiki Barber’s criticism of Saquon Barkley: ‘I respect Tiki’

Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, who holds the team’s all-time record for rushing yards, spoke critically of the Giants’ current running back, Saquon Barkley, on Wednesday.

While taking nothing away from Barkley as a rusher or a receiver, Barber openly questioned the former first-round pick’s value as an every-down back due to his lacking pass protection during a CBS Sports Radio segment.

“Saquon Barkley, he might not be an every-down back. He cannot pass protect. And it is starting to become glaring. It’s probably the only issue he had to deal with coming into the NFL [because] he wasn’t asked to do it at Penn State,” Barber said. “You see him diving on the ground, not sticking his head into people’s chest…

“It’s going to be a liability. People see it now — it’s on tape. It’s going to come out.”

Asked about Barber’s comment and Barkley’s pass protection prior to Wednesday night’s practice, first-year head coach Joe Judge simply expressed his respect for one of the team’s Ring of Honorees.

“Look, we’re all working hard every day to get better at everything we do. We’re coming out of training camp, we’ve got one game under our belt… There’s not a player or coach on our team that doesn’t have to improve going in Week 2 and then consistently throughout the season,” Judge said during a Zoom call. “We’ve got to make up some ground quickly, but we’ve got confidence in all of our players. We’re going to work on every technique we have to in all aspects of the game.

“You know, look, people pay a price to watch us play. Everyone’s opinion is valid if they’re a fan. We’ve got to make sure on the inside we understand what we’re doing and we prioritize what we have to work on. But I respect Tiki. Obviously, he’s a guy that knows the game and he was a great player for this organization. But we’re going to make sure we have everyone rising up.”

Although he didn’t specifically address his pass protection, Barkley did acknowledge that he’ll need to play better this year if the Giants expect to win.

“I have to be better, I have to be better for the team. We have to find a way to get the run game going. That’s how I truly believe,” Barkley said after a 15-carry, six-yard performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As talented as Barkley is on the ground and through the air, his pass protection is increasingly becoming a problem for the Giants.

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