Head Coach Joe Judge -- August 24, 2020
Q: What were your thoughts on the intensity level of practice today?
A: The guys came out and they definitely ended with a good intensity at practice with competing at the end. We have to get it where we come off a day off and we start sharp. That’s definitely something we have to work on as a team and improve there.
Q: Can you update us on the statuses of some guys we either saw not practice or came off early. Darius Slayton, Jabrill Peppers, Spencer Pulley, and I think maybe Shane Lemieux and Rysen John?
A: We had a couple guys dealing with some cramps. I’m going to check with the trainers when I get back and see where all those guys are at. There’s a couple guys that we are monitoring as we go through training camp. As we check them with a day up and a day down and take a little bit off of them right there. Darius wasn’t with us today, he was the only one not really present at practice. The trainers are dealing with him. When we have more information, we will make sure we get it out to you.
Q: We heard you get into your team. I think it was before the two-minute drill there. You kind of huddled them up and got into them a little bit. What was the idea behind that and the message with that? Was that pre-planned or based on what you had seen previously throughout the practice?
A: We were just coming off of special teams and wanted to make sure we just established the emphasis of what the rest of practice was. Little bit more of a move the field competitive period and then working some 2-minute end of the half, end of the game situations. I just wanted to make sure the players were aware of what we were trying to do at the end of practice, so they knew the speed of the drill and the emphasis of the drill.
Q: Did you see what you wanted after that point?
A: Yeah, I thought the guys came out and they worked hard. I thought they finished the practice with a lot of intensity. We definitely got some good quality work. You value the opportunity in camp like we had today where you can work on sustained drives. You have to build in the football conditioning through playing football. We’ve done a lot of work with our guys with post-practice conditioning and trying to work through the drills to finish everything to build our endurance. Really it comes through playing down after down with the right intensity and the right technique. Our guys really did that today to finish practice.
Q: There was a theory going into this strange training camp that it would be very difficult for undrafted guys and guys at the bottom of the roster to make the team this year with no preseason games. How many times in your career has a guy on special teams made the team because of the last one or two preseason games. Do you buy that it’s going to be harder for some of these guys to make your team?
A: I would say that every year that I have been a part of the National Football League we’ve had some kind of undrafted player make our 53 roster and be a contributing factor to our team. I come from a school of thought of it doesn’t matter how you got there, it matters what you do when you get there. I can’t speak for any other clubs this offseason and this training camp. I know for us, it’s our jobs as coaches to evaluate after every practice and create situations where they can demonstrate the ability to play in those situations. Everybody is starting at ground zero with us. We’re allowing them every day to compete and demonstrate their value and production and that’s what we’re working on right now. We’ve had guys from all different experience. Guys who have been here, guys who knew the program all come out and demonstrate different levels of ability and consistency. I’ve been pleased overall with the roster.
Q: What makes you think Cam Fleming can be a quality starter in this league. He has been in it a long time and he’s obviously never been a 16-game starter? He got pushed up when Nate opted out. Where is the confidence level in Cam Fleming?
A: Well, I’ve played in a lot of big games with Cam Fleming starting at right tackle for us and we came out on the right end of that. I have a lot of confidence in Cam. He comes to work every day and works hard. He’s familiar with the system and he plays with the right demeanor. I have a lot of confidence in Cam, I don’t care what his history has been because I have been there for part of his history and we won a lot of big games together.
Q: At cornerback, it seems like a couple of weeks ago when camp started you guys were looking to add a veteran, we know what happened there. It’s been kind of quiet since. What’s your comfort level with the cornerbacks. You only have maybe two or three with any NFL game experience.
A: Again, it’s all about what you do going forward and how we can develop you and get the best out of you. We have a lot of young guys who are all working hard. They are developing and pushing ahead through competition. We’re letting the process of training camp develop every day for us.
Q: I just wanted to ask about one of those undrafted guys, Jarren Williams. He seems to be getting a pretty decent opportunity. He came to you guys late. What’s he been showing you?
A: Daily improvement, that’s the biggest thing. He’s a guy who takes coaching points from the classroom to the field. He’s very receptive, he plays with a good demeanor. He’s got a good body frame on him. He’s almost built a little bit more like a safety at times than a corner. He factors into different positions in the kicking game for you. I like the way he comes out every day. Jerome (Henderson) gets on him pretty hard. He responds the right way and he’s shown improvement.
Q: Was today a good example of what Evan Engram can bring to this team? We saw him throw some pretty big blocks. We saw him catch a ball down field. It seemed like he was very active today in all areas of the offense.
A: I think he just took advantage of his opportunities today like he does every day. Evan’s a guy who comes out every day and he really empties his tank. He focuses on what he has to do that day and what the focus of practice is. He does everything he can within his role to get better. I think there is tape in the past on what he has been able to do, and he’s demonstrated throughout training camp a level of improvement and upside. He’s definitely somebody who has been a pleasure to coach every day and I’m glad we get to work with him.
Q: You work so many drills in these practices. Going from 11 on 11 back to maybe some fundamentals you want to work on, back to tackling, back to 11 on 11. Do you find as you are more than a week into these practices now that you see results from day to day of mixing all of that in together by necessity because of the schedule and this year?
A: The number one emphasis is to maximize our time and give everybody the opportunity to work. It’s a lot easier to coach if you just set up one-station drills and kind of play 11 guys at a time. The reality is everyone doesn’t get to rep, everyone doesn’t get to work and everyone doesn’t get to improve. You want to look at where your club needs to keep developing technique wise. Situationally, set up drills appropriate to build those in. You want to start with the individuals, build into group and then build into team 11 on 11. You want to break up practice accordingly to have a good flow to it. Football is a game of transition. You go through the game of football and it starts with a special teams play. Kick or kick return, it goes to an offensive or defensive series, switches over to punt or field goal and goes back to a kick or kick return. It’s always a game of transition. There is sudden change, there is extended long periods. We have to get our guys to think accordingly and react. We move on from one period to the next, it’s important they understand the emphasis of the period and what we are transitioning over to. Every play is unique in the league. It’s important to understand the situation of the play. You’re not just calling plays out there, you’re calling it for a specific purpose.
Q: Obviously there was the false positive scare yesterday around the league. You guys had a couple staffers. I wanted to know what your opinion is on how the process is working. You kind of saw it action yesterday. How much time are you having to put towards this? It’s obviously a new thing on a coach’s plate this year.
A: We discuss everything within our program on a daily basis. I meet with the trainers and the doctors on a daily basis and talk about what’s going on in our program so I have all the necessary information. To be honest with you, we were pretty fortunate with it. Everyone came back with negative tests and were able to come back to work today. We were able to have all the players at practice yesterday. I can’t speak on other organizations and what they had to deal with. To be honest with you, I don’t have all the details or the information. I knew what we were dealing with, I focused on that and kept the rest of my focus on what we were doing football wise. I would just say we have confidence in what we’re doing. We’re focused on the protocols. We come in every day and we test, we socially distance and we wear our PPE’s. We come out and we practice hard. We make sure we are washing our hands, not touching our face and all that good stuff. To this point, it’s been effective for us as a team. As far as the details that the league is dealing with, I’ll let them hash it out. They are the ones with all the information.
Q: Did this experience cause you to lose faith in the testing and worry about what a false positive could mean right up against a game?
A: Those will be decisions that I will let be handled by the people who make those decisions. Our job is to show up to work every day. We test because we are required to. We emphasize staying safe with our team and our guys have been very receptive of that to this point.