Head Coach Joe Judge -- August 17, 2020
Q: What is with the guys running laps, including the coaches? I saw some guys doing it individually as well.
A: There are consequences on the field for making mistakes. In a game, it’ll cost you five, 10, or 15 yards. In practice, there needs to be consequences so we learn how to deal with our mistakes.
Q: What has Colt McCoy shown you? It looked like he was throwing the ball really well.
A: I think all of our quarterbacks are making improvements every day. Colt’s done a really good job of sharing his experiences with the other quarterbacks, embracing the system he’s in and learning it to the best of his ability. He did a good job today and made some really nice throws for us. He had a good period down there in the one on ones and did some good things in the team competitive periods.
Q: What have you liked about the efficiency of the practices you’ve had so far? Have they met the standards that you want them to?
A: It’s always a work in progress. I think the energy and enthusiasm of our players and coaches has been really good. We just need to make sure, we have a limited time at practice, so we need to get as much out of that time as possible. Today we were limited to 90 minutes on the field. The way to expand that time is to expand the drills you’re running and make sure everyone is working at all times. Our coaches have done a good job of organizing the morning and talking to players about where they’re going throughout the practice. We have a lot of moving parts, but our players understand that there’s a purpose in everything we’re doing. We’re trying to make sure everybody maximizes the time on the field, maximizes our reps, and gives us a chance to evaluate everybody, and for them to improve on their individual techniques.
Q: How does that translate into success on Sundays, or Monday, come a month from now?
A: Football is a game of transition. You don’t just set up a practice to have all of your special teams and all of your runs and all of your passes. The game is a game of transition. It starts with a kickoff, kick return. It goes to an offensive and defensive series. It switches to our other kicking game scenario. It’s two-minute, situational plays, it’s red zone, it’s in the field. Our guys have to learn how to move and to think and adapt to the situation. Hey, defense comes off the field and the offense has a turnover, it’s a sudden change. We have to get into gear. We can’t afford to go ahead and let down and then a sudden change and we’re back on the field. Switch our thinking and keep moving period to period.
Q: Along those lines, for the coaches to evaluate these guys, you have two different groups going, how does that work? Do you have to go back and watch a lot more film? How do you evaluate?
A: Yeah, we’re going to watch all of the film. The benefit of having two different groups mirror the script for each other is we don’t just get to watch one group run a certain play and a player learns off of somebody else’s mistake. They all get to watch the tape and see themselves doing the exact same play as somebody else, see the differences and how they execute it. Maybe the other player executed it in what worked better for us. Then as coaches, it gives us just a better opportunity to see everybody play as much ball as we can.
Q: I noticed there were no names on the backs of the jerseys. Is there anything behind that?
A: No, we know who they are.
Q: But you had to take them off, right? Why not have names on the back of the jerseys?
A: I never commented on jersey names when I got here anyway. To be honest with you, I’ve been places where we’ve gone an entire offseason without numbers. To me, it’s important to know who the players are on the field across from you by their body type and how they move, more so than having to see a nameplate to identify your teammate. We should know each other as coaches and players by how we move and the way we carry ourselves. When a quarterback gets under center, I expect him to know, is that a safety in the box or a Will linebacker? I expect them to know, is that a sized defensive end on the outside or is that an outside linebacker walked up? The numbers and name stuff, we’ll do that on game day. Right now, we have numbers just to meet the rules laid out by the league. But to be honest with you, the identification of who the players are, we should be better than that as coaches and players by knowing our teammates.
Q: I’m sorry if you already addressed this, but did you talk yet about the thinking behind changing kickers and releasing Chandler (Catanzaro)?
A: I appreciate what Chandler did for us. I have a lot of respect for him. I’m not going to get into all the details in terms of the exact move until things are finalized. But I will tell you we did inform Chandler this morning we intend to move on from him. I would just say he did a tremendous job for us. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s definitely an NFL kicker. I think he made the right decision coming out of retirement. We were lucky enough to have exposure to him for a small window of the season, and I wish him luck along the way.
Q: When you’re cross-training the DBs and the corners, how important is it, not just where they’re aligned but also which of your receivers are going at them and how they’re adjusting to one play going against (Golden) Tate, the next play going against Corey Coleman and kind of the philosophy beyond that, if that exists?
A: That kind of ties in a little bit to the question I had a second ago about the names on the jerseys. It’s important to know who the person across from you is by how they move. If you’re a corner or a safety and you’re playing man coverage on a wide receiver, you have to know who they are by skill set. You don’t just say someone is a wide receiver and they line up out there and they’re the same carbon copy person as the other one in line. Everybody is different, everybody is unique. You have to understand what someone’s strengths are, what their weaknesses are, and what your own strengths and weaknesses are. Every time you match up, it’s a different situation, different scenario, and it ties into who the people are, more so than what the scheme is.
Q: Just a follow up quickly on Darnay (Holmes) and what you’ve seen from him early on? Just his competitive nature out there and what you’ve seen physically?
A: I think he’s doing a good job day by day. We’ve seen a consistent improvement from him. Like every rookie, they have to get used to the pace and the adjustments within this level of football. But I don’t think Darnay is really backing off from any challenge. I’ve been pleased to see how he comes out every day and competes. I’ve been pleased to see his energy and enthusiasm on the field, and that competitive nature definitely shows up.
Q: You guys put on the pads here for the first time and it’s three weeks later than normal. There is very little normal about this season. With what you’ve seen so far and coming into today’s actual training, you and your coaches, where do you feel the team is as far as knowing you have a game in less than a month?
A: At this point, it’s all day by day. Today was our first day in pads. You get used to the tempo of being in shells for a couple of days, then you throw on the pads, the intensity rises up naturally a little bit, the physicality rises up. We weren’t going live tackling to the ground or anything today, but that will be added as we go. The biggest thing is to make sure the technique and execution doesn’t break down just because the pads go on. I think initially the guys have to get used to the tempo and the physicality of the plays. I expect our next practice to be cleaner and better executionally than today, but we expect that no matter what they’re in. If it’s just helmets, shells, or it’s full pads, we’re always expecting marked improvement every day.
Q: Obviously the practice was intense and you talked a little bit about that. Knowing that you have a short amount of time and not really time to spread out the intensity, how do you balance that plus the desire to keep these guys fresh and healthy before the season opener?
A: It’s just a lot of how we have to structure practice. We put the players on the field. We explain the tempo of each drill, is it full, live, is it team, is it working tempo, is it walk through, what is it every period. They just have to work through the tempo of the period. As coaches, we have to do a good job of setting up the practice to make sure we account for the depth on the roster, where people are physically as we go through the week. That’s always changing day by day. We have to tempo the schedules, we did a while back. We know what we’re working to get towards. That changes on a daily basis based on what we think we need more of. The conditioning of the team is paramount. We want to make sure we are pushing them, at the same time knowing where everyone physically is and adjusting to make sure we are not putting them at risk.
Q: How important is the overall focus and preparation in a short training camp and what have you seen so far in that regard?
A: I don’t think there is any difference because it’s a shorter training camp. You always have to be focused. You always have to be very intent in how you come to work and what your goal for the day is. I don’t think there is any difference in that, football is football. Every team in this league is good, everyone has talent, everyone has good coaches. You have to come to work every day to improve. In training camp, you compete against your teammates. Sooner than later, we are going to be competing against other teams in the league. We have to understand that and make sure our focus is sharp every day going forward.
Q: You’ve gotten a chance to see Saquon from afar before. Now that you’ve had the opportunity to see him up close, what do you notice about him as a player, as a pro, that you couldn’t possibly have seen from afar?
A: One of the toughest things when you see them from afar is you don’t know how they are as a person, how they respond to coaching. I think the most pleasing thing about Saquon so far is how eager he is to be coached and how he is always looking for a better way of doing something. I think our roster as a whole has been very receptive to different coaching points, buying into what we’re doing and that’s been very impressive. I love the way he works on the field. He comes out every day with a purpose and that’s important. You can see what he’s working on specifically not only from our own install standpoint but personally based on what may have happened in a previous practice. Or a technique or fundamental that he has to improve on himself. He has a unique skill set and he is going to give himself an opportunity to maximize that by the way he’s working right now.
Q: With the two practices going on at the same time, do you have a script for yourself so you know exactly what you are going to be watching every single snap? Do you go by feel, I need to watch here more or I need to watch here more? Is everything predetermined?
A: Early in practice, I know the drills going on, I know what we’re installing that day. I want to see certain guys and what they are working fundamentally on. I want to see certain position groups schematically and how they are building in the daily install. Early in practice I know exactly where I’m going. As we get into the team periods, I know the plays I really want to see with each group based on who a certain matchup may be. I kind of earmark certain plays where I may work back and forth between field one and field two or either drill. When we get to one spot, there is not much of need to float anywhere because everything is in one spot. When we are going two spots though, I just want to make sure I am conscious of everything going on. A day like today when we are all on the same field, it’s easy for me to stand at midfield, turn one way and watch an offensive play, turn around the other way and watch the same offensive play going in the other direction. We try to vary the snaps a little on the timing of it so that two plays aren’t running exactly consecutive. It gives us a chance to see both plays.
Q: So you do have to try to be synced up a little bit. One play and then another play so in the best possible world, you watch one play, you turn around and watch another one, is that correct?
A: That is correct. That doesn’t always match up exactly. As you guys noticed today in practice, we keep our periods a little bit shorter. We maximize the reps and fly around and get as much as we can. The theory is we want to get everybody as much reps as we can so we can evaluate the team, and everyone can work as much as they can to improve.
Q: What’s the benefit of having practices at various times throughout the week? We saw Grant Haley working on the side.
A: Grant was working on some extra conditioning as he was coming along. In terms of the varying of the times, there is only really one variation on the time for how we are going to work. Tomorrow we are going to go out there for an evening practice. The thought is we are going to work them hard Sunday, we are going to work them hard Monday morning and then we will go out there Tuesday afternoon and give them a little extra recovery time. We will bring them in a little bit later tomorrow morning to give their bodies more time to freshen up. Let these guys sleep a little bit, let them get a little extra treatment, tell them to get their body right. We expect a high level of urgency and intensity when they get in the building. After that you can’t just grind them into a stone for six straight days. You have to vary your week a little bit where you push them hard and then you have to back them down. The way our training camp is set up right now, we are going three harder days, the fourth day of the week for us is really Wednesday. We are going to back down a little bit, we will be on the field in more situational work, and we’ll continue with some install. We’ll get back out there Thursday and pop the pads a little bit. We’ll kind of fly them around a little bit if we can. Friday is the scrimmage. Whether it’s a scrimmage or eventually it becomes an intrasquad game. We kind of structured the week that way and then Saturday will be the players day off. We want their bodies to have some consistency in how they train so they can adapt and we will push them to that affect.