Head Coach Joe Judge
September 2, 2020
Q: Dave Gettleman was just on with us and he described the 2020 New York Giants as he’s sure they’ll be the ‘Fighting Joe Judges.’ What do you think that means? What would the ‘Fighting Joe Judges’ team look like? Are you maybe going to make some money on this by getting ‘Fighting Joe Judges’ t-shirts going?
A: No, I’m more concerned they represent the area of New York and north New Jersey a lot more than just Joe Judge. Look, we want to have a smart, tough, fundamentally sound football team. We’re working every day to put our best foot forward and making improvement to build that. I’m pleased with the effort. I’m pleased with the urgency our guys come to work with every day. But it’s important to me that when people watch our team in this area, they’re proud of the product they see.
Q: What does it say to you though that the general manager has confidence to say he believes that your team is going to reflect what you’re about?
A: We’re all on the same page as an organization. Like I said before, we’ve had great synergy through all of the conversations, starting in the offseason, free agency, the draft, leading up to now in training camp. I think it’s important we’re all on the same page with how we see this team going forward, what it’s going to take to get us to where this long-term vision really is. I appreciate the confidence in me, but I’m going to come to work the same way either way.
Q: I know you guys signed Jon Halapio back today. I was curious what the thought process was there and if that says anything about how you’re feeling about the way the centers have been playing lately?
A: Absolutely not. It’s just an opportunity for us to add another good player to the roster. It gives us some depth and versatility inside. Jon’s a guy who can play center, but he can play guard as well. Again, it’s about position flexibility inside. You can only keep so many guys on the roster. The more players you keep inside that can play multiple positions, it gives you strength as a team right there. So no, that’s no indication on anything we feel about our current players on our roster. I have a lot of confidence in Nick (Gates) and Spencer (Pulley) and Tyler (Haycraft). They’ve done a really good job. Shane’s (Lemieux) coming along. We’re working on developing him in time. He’s been playing a lot more at guard due to our current situation, but he’s working as a center as well. We’re developing all of our guys the best we can at multiple positions.
Q: What have you liked that you’ve seen out of Tyler? He played tackle in college. What have you liked about him and his ability to move over to center the way he has?
A: I think the biggest thing right now is the way he’s mentally handled it. He’s been able to make the calls inside and have good command. For a young guy, that’s not always the easiest thing. He’s really excelled in kind of some of the zone run schemes for us early on. He’s shown his ability to match up against some size guys inside and play above what his size is. He’s done a good job progressing on a daily basis. He’s fun to have in the meeting room, too. He’s a good guy to have around.
Q: Just real quick, you pushed practice back a few minutes. Last time you guys moved practice back, there was a bigger reason. I’m just curious if there’s anything going on or if it’s just something minor?
A: I got long-winded in my squad meeting today so I pushed everything back. That’s on me, guys. Sorry about that.
Q: As far as tomorrow’s scrimmage, how is that going to be structured? Is it going to be treated like the fourth preseason game where you’re kind of leaning more towards younger guys or guys on the roster bubble? Or are you going to play the top guys and give them as much as you have in the first two?
A: This is going to be set up a lot more like a situational practice for us tomorrow. We’ve kind of made that decision based on where we’ve gone as a team. We got a lot of good work in. We still want to put them out there in the stadium tomorrow and get used to the atmosphere, the surroundings, so we can work as coaches and we work with the team in terms of substitution, breaks in the action, still building that game flow that we can create. But the majority of what it’s going to be tomorrow is just simulated situations of the games, some move the field periods where we’ll put the ball down and let them play. But we’re going to limit some of the action and exposure we give some of these guys tomorrow just based on workloads they’ve already had.
Q: I guess I’ll be the guy to go there. Yesterday, we got to see the video of your part in the ball security drill. I’m just curious, many have seen the reaction from the outside, but the reaction from your players, did you notice the reaction in their faces in that moment when you get up after securing the football? What does that mean to you, what does that tell you as a coach about your team?
A: It means I’ve still got it in ball security, so I’m not going to let that thing slip away. We have a lot of fun as a team. We really do. It’s a great group of guys. We wake up every morning as coaches, we’re going to work them hard, we’re going to work them long, but we’re going to make it fun when we can. We’re going to make sure that they understand that as we’re pushing them and we’re demanding, there’s a ‘why’ to what we’re doing. It’s important they understand what that ‘why’ is. These are intelligent young men that when you explain there’s a purpose to it, they can not only do it with confidence but they can make the right decisions in game action when something’s different. But look, it was just an opportunity for us to work on some fundamentals, have a little bit of fun together. This part of camp right here, you have to go ahead and change up a little. We’ve been staring at each other too long. Normally, you have preseason games coming, you have a chance to hit somebody else. At this point, they all want to hit me, and that’s okay with me. But we need to make sure we keep it light sometimes and take time to keep it in perspective.
Q: Did Dalvin Tomlinson have to run any penalty laps for what he did with the hose?
A: No, I was glad he had good aim with it. That’s a plus for him.
Q: The fun part of this. Why is that important to you? There certainly are coaches who want to be distant, want to run their players as hard as they possibly can. Is it at all important to you that players like practicing under you, or is it just more important that they do what they’re told and get the results that you want?
A: I think it’s important the people we bring in to this program love football. When you love football, you’ll do whatever is important to be successful in it. That’s the most important thing with it right there. Look, we’re going to always push our guys and we’re not going to accept anything less than their best. That’s just the way it’s going to be. Now, along with that, there has to be a personal connection. We’ve all played at some point in our careers, you play a lot harder for someone when you understand that they’re a person themselves, they have a life outside the building like you do, and that they actually care about you. I think that’s important to keep in perspective. This isn’t an easy time of year for players or coaches. You have a lot of guys right now that are looking around the room, they’re looking around the league wondering where they’re at. They know that this is a time where there’s going to be a lot of roster moves. As coaches, we invest personally in every player we coach. Everybody on my staff, I made sure I brought in the right kind of guys that this is not going to be a staff who are pointing fingers and saying, ‘it’s the players’ fault.’ We’re not going to go ahead and have a group of guys who don’t care about the players. That’s not the culture we’re building here. This time of year is very tough on coaches and players because of the stress level with the season coming up. There’s a stress level of making the right decisions for the personnel on the team. You also feel the stress the players are feeling themselves. You want to make sure you can find a way to keep it into perspective to let them understand that we’re in the business of keeping as many good players around this program as possible in whatever ways we can create. We’re looking to go ahead and develop these guys. We wish them all the best of luck. We want to keep all of them New York Giants for as long as we can, and build this program with as much depth and high quality people as we can.
Q: How do you feel about your offensive line now that you’ve been able to see what you have there, at least on the field, for the last couple of weeks? How close are you to having the five guys set as the starters for Week One?
A: Again, everything in our program, I wouldn’t say anything is ever in concrete. We’re very clear to our players, it’s a production business. It’s week by week. It’s whoever’s playing the best at that time, whoever gives us the best chance for a game plan matchup against an opponent, that’s who we’re going to play. To look at it just in terms of any position group in just saying we’re set at that position group, we don’t want to get comfortable, so we want to make sure that guys understand that no matter where they’re at on the roster, they have to come into work every single day and be their best on the field. Now that being said, I love the way these guys work. The offensive line on any team is always a group of guys that’s fun to watch. They hang together, they move together, they’re definitely the tightest clique out of any position group. It doesn’t matter where you go. These guys are always blue collar guys, they’re tough dudes. They have to be unselfish by nature of the position they play. I think working with Ben (Wilkerson) and Marc (Colombo), it shows just the heartbeat of that room with how they play for each other, how they play with toughness, they play relentless, and I’m very pleased with what’s coming out of that room right now.
Q: I know New England runs that sliding water slip n’ slide drill. Did Bill Belichick ever do that? Did you ever see him do that?
A: No, but he doesn’t have nearly the ball security technique that I do, so I wouldn’t put it on camera, either. You know what, actually, that was something that yesterday, Pat Graham kind of grabbed me at practice. We were kind of talking and he said, ‘hey, what do you think about doing the fumble recovery drill?’ We’ve been talking about some opportunities to do the turnover drills. We had a rain day the other day. Sure enough, the sun comes out and dries up all the rain and we wouldn’t get a chance to do it as a whole team. But we took the opportunity yesterday. With the tempo of practice and what it was, we thought it was a good way to end practice and kind of get these guys rolling a bit.
Q: Just glad you’re not on the injury report today after that yesterday.
A: Are you saying I’m not a good athlete?
Q: I didn’t say that. You’re a better one than I am. Question for you is actually about the practice squad. You’ve talked a little bit about building that before. Dave was talking about how important it is. When you look at constructing a practice squad, do you have to look at covering as many positions as possible versus just taking the best 16 guys? How do you balance that?
A: That’s a good question, and there’s definitely a mix of both of those avenues right there. I think, ultimately, you want to keep the 16 best players who you can help develop and grow within your program. At the same time, for the season we’re about to go through, there are considerations you have to have based on your own team’s depth, as well as necessary positions that you may want to provide some insurance with, going through this season. I think we’re all very aware of the sudden change you can have at any position group or a team, based on some kind of testing or protocol that may get flagged. We have to be ready as an organization to always be prepared and have guys ready to play in the game. We’re talking about that right now. It’s going to have to be a longer conversation that we’ve already started between where we balance out keeping the 16 best, and which positions do we absolutely want to insure that we have. Both parts are a conversation. That’s a little bit of a kind of gray area answer for you, but both are true at the same time for us.