ORCHARD PARK — New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur's lukewarm assessment of Bills quarterback Josh Allen has become bulletin board — or rather TV screen — material in Buffalo.
Broadcast on TVs throughout the Bills facility, including the locker room, on Thursday was a tweet highlighting Shurmur's response to a question of how he regarded Allen entering the 2018 draft. Shurmur said he thought Allen "had a chance to be a starter," and then repeated his answer when asked a second time as the Giants (0-1) prepare to host Buffalo (1-0) this weekend.
The comments were featured in a tweet posted by NFL Network reporter Kim Jones.
Shurmur's responses could be interpreted as a slight against Allen, because he was drafted seventh overall out of Wyoming, and has a 6-6 career record as a starter.
Allen said the comments didn't bother him.
Bills coach Sean McDermott declined to discuss why Shurmur's comments were posted throughout the building. He called it a form of "internal messaging" for his team, before repeating the world "internally" twice.
McDermott began posting various reminders and inspirational messages on the TVs this offseason.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Saquon Barkley has become a touchy topic for the New York Giants after their season-opening loss to Dallas.
Touch is the key word.
Barkley had 15 touches in the 35-17 loss to the Cowboys and many felt it wasn't enough for last year's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The statistics on those 15 touches were impressive. Barkley carried 11 times for 120 yards, including a 59-yard run on his first carry, and he caught four passes for 19 yards. That's 139 total yards.
The problem is the Giants ran 66 plays, so Barkley touched the ball roughly 23% of the plays.
In 2018, Barkley averaged 22 touches. He carried the ball 261 times for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns, and caught 91 passes for 721 yards and four more scores.
"We all know that Saquon is a focus of our offense," coach Pat Shurmur said Thursday before the Giants practiced for their home opener against the Buffalo Bills (1-0) on Sunday. "He's also, smartly, the focus of the teams that are defending us. His charm is that you can hand it to him or throw it to him. Yeah, we want him to get the football. It makes sense for him to get the football. Each game plays out differently."
Shurmur said the Giants only had four possessions in the first half and they had to throw more in the second when they fell behind 28-10. Had the score been closer, the scenario might have been different.
Barkley downplayed his touches.
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win," Barkley said. "If we play better than we did last game, and we execute what we need to execute, I don't think the conversation will be about 15 touches. I think we find a way to win that game. But at the end of the day, Dallas made more plays than us. We just have to find a way to do that better next game."