Tight Ends Coach Freddie Kitchens -- August 23, 2020
Q: I don’t think we asked you this last time. I’m curious if you gave any consideration over the offseason to opting out or anything like that given the heart scare you had a couple years ago?
A: No, I didn’t. I never gave it any consideration. Of course, you want to make sure you’re safe, take all the precautions and then go live life.
Q: What kind of accountability does it build in a team when a coach has the assistant coaches and coordinators running with the players after mistakes?
A: I think it instills the motto that we’re in this together. Of course, in life, in football and in everything, there are consequences for your actions. Doing things to hurt the team is not tolerated. I think it builds accountability throughout the program.
Q: I also wanted to ask you about one of your depth tight ends, Garrett Dickerson. He caught a couple of touchdowns the other day in the scrimmage. What have you seen from him?
A: Garrett’s working hard and getting better each day. He’s going to continue to do that. He’s prepared in meetings, he comes to practice ready to work every day. That’s what I expect out of him, to try to get better each and every day.
Q: I don’t think we talked about your past with Joe (Judge) when we talked to you last week. I’m just curious, when he was back building your swing set, did you see him have this type of future ahead of him?
A: I always thought Joe was a very bright guy. So much of this has to do with the way we progress in coaching. Joe had just finished playing when I was at Mississippi State. He was there one year as a player and then stayed around and helped as a graduate assistant after that. It’s all about going to work every day and kind of building those habits. Joe’s done a fantastic job over the course of the years of continuing on that path. So, of course, he’s made the best and the most of his opportunities given at every stop. That’s a good thing.
Q: Can you give us the scouting report on Joe Judge the player?
A: You have to ask him about that. Ask him about the Alabama game his senior year. I’ll tell you this about Joe, he was a hard-nosed, physical kind of player that had everybody’s respect on the football field. Offensively, defensively, everything. Joe was a good guy to be around.
Q: Was the Alabama game when he ejected someone from the bench area?
A: Like I said, you have to ask him about that. That’s one of those things you don’t really celebrate as a coach.
Q: How is Joe doing, in your mind, as the head coach of the Giants right now? Have you given him any recommendations about being a head coach in this league?
A: Our conversations stay between Joe and I. I think Joe’s doing a fantastic job of getting everybody focused and concentrated effort to moving in the same direction, holding guys accountable, and a very organized person. Joe’s done a fantastic job up to this point, and he will continue.
Q: With a guy like Evan Engram, we know the last couple of years, he’s been banged up and kind of in and out of the lineup. I’m curious, as a coach, especially at this position, what can you do to help a guy like that stay healthy? Are there things you can do, do you use him differently? How do you go about that?
A: Well, football is a physical game. It’s a physical game played by physical people. It’s a tough game played by tough people. Evan’s in the mindset of he’s a tough player, physical player. Evan wants to get better each and every day in all aspects of his game, and that’s what we’re going to continue to work on. We’re not going to live in fear.
Q: So, keeping him out of certain situations isn’t something you’re probably considering, I can take that from that, right?
A: No, I wouldn’t take it from that. I would say what we’re going to do every day is we’re going to put Evan in situations that’s best for the team and organize it that way. Jason’s (Garrett) done a good job of that. We’re going to continue to do a good job of putting him in a position to help the team win, because ultimately, that’s all it’s about.
Q: You were on the other side of a pretty big trade between the Giants and the Browns last year. I’m curious what you thought of (Kevin) Zeitler and (Jabrill) Peppers when you had them with the Browns?
A: Kevin Zeitler’s a tough, hard-nosed player that comes to work every day and works and works and works. He works good, works hard. Pep is a physical-type player that tries to do things the right way and he plays with a mentality that’s physical and good for a football team all the way around. As for the other situation, I’m not going to revert back and talk about anything dealing with Cleveland.
Q: Do you see that first-round potential in Peppers?
A: Pep’s a good player. After you’re drafted guys, it doesn’t matter. Once you’re in the league, it doesn’t matter where you were drafted. Everybody is evaluated the same. Pep’s done a good job of coming to work every day, trying to get better, getting the system down, working hard to be the best player he can be.