Head Coach Joe Judge
September 6, 2020
Opening Statement: I appreciate your patience. I apologize for the slight delay. I got caught up with a player and didn’t want to cut that conversation short, so I appreciate you guys staying with us. Since the conclusion of practice the other day, we’ve really been focused full-time on the roster development, working down through the 53 cuts as well as developing our practice squad. As the actual practice squad is finalized, we’ll make sure to release that to you. I don’t want to give you any information that isn’t 100 percent, so we’ll wait until that’s finalized in a whole. I’d like to just go ahead and thank all of the players that aren’t going to be with the program at this point. Everybody we’ve had in at training camp did a tremendous job, showed a lot or urgency and effort. We really appreciate and respect every player that came through here. To answer your question, yes, we’re going to keep every player on a short list to bring them back. We have a lot of respect for the guys who went through our program. Obviously, they know our system. In any year, let alone a year like this year, we’re going to have to make sure that we have guys in the fold that we know, we trust, and that know our system and would be able to carry on in a short time period going forward. On that note right here, I’ll open it up to any questions you may have.
Q: Two for you if I may. First of all, I think some people might have been caught by surprise with Ryan Connelly being let go yesterday. Just some thoughts on what went into that decision? Then just your thoughts on the wide receiver depth, especially moving on from Corey Coleman today, given that none of the top three wide receivers played all 16 games last year?
A: First off, we’re pleased with the wide receiver depth we have. I think we’re going into it right now with some speed at the position. That’s something we’re definitely looking to add right there. I think we have good position flexibility with all of our skill players on offense. We feel good with where we’re at right now. Look, it’s the National Football League. We’re always looking to improve through our own roster development, develop through our practice squad, and throughout the year as different moves happen on different rosters, that can obviously impact our own roster as well. With Ryan, we have a lot of respect for Ryan. He’s a good football player. We had to make the decision ultimately that was best for us. We wish him good luck. If things worked out perfectly for us, we would have loved to have him back on the practice squad. We didn’t expect that to happen to be honest with you because he’s a good, accomplished player and there are a lot of teams in the league that were going to be looking to claim him. We wish him good luck in Minnesota and look forward to seeing him play.
Q: What do you like about the three guys you claimed today? Separately, personally for you, has this been a tough couple of days for you delivering this news? You said you wish you could have kept all of these guys. What’s it been like for you?
A: This is not a fun part of the business. This is a very tough time of the year for every player and every coach. There are guys in the locker room who are seeing teammates walk out the door. There are coaches who invested a whole lot personally in players to develop them. The reality in this league is you can’t keep everybody, and that’s just the nature of the business. It’s not an easy few days. They’re not easy conversations. You want to make sure you give every player the direct truth on why the move was made, what we think they can work on going forward to get themselves the best chance, and really open it up for any questions the players may have so that you can always give them all the information necessary for them to improve in their craft. In terms of the guys that we’ve added to the roster, each one answers specific needs at that position group, really as far as establishing more depth and giving us some versatility within the position. We were able to add some speed at the skill positions, safety and receiver, obviously. The offensive line gives us some position flexibility with the long body of Jackson (Barton) coming in here. That’ll be some moves. We’re going to work on getting these guys caught up to speed on our systems, on our calls and our terminology. It’s our priority right now as coaches to get them going as fast as possible.
Q: I was wondering if Ryan Connelly was a health-related decision for you guys? If he just didn’t have enough time to get on the field. Also, are you concerned about your linebacker depth with him obviously, and David Mayo hurt as well?
A: First, I’ll say Ryan was obviously healthy and he’s healthy going into Minnesota, so we wish him the best of luck. We feel good right now about our linebacker depth. We have to get everybody on the roster developed at all the positions and building our versatility at each spot. Right now, we feel comfortable with where we’re at, but we have to push to improve going forward.
Q: We didn’t have a chance to talk to you since the trade became final, but what do you like in Isaac Yiadom and how quickly can you get him up to speed to be a factor in the secondary?
A: He’s been in here today already kind of talking through some different things, trying to get caught up to speed. He has an iPad, he has a playbook and availability. We like the way he plays on the line of scrimmage. He has some experience within the league. That goes a little bit of ways, but it’s our job as coaches to get him caught up to our system as fast as possible. There won’t be much carryover necessarily from the other system, but we try to keep as many of the techniques similar for him so he can carry over as fast as possible. But we like the energy and effort he plays with, we like the physicality he shows on the line of scrimmage, and obviously, this is a guy that we remember when he came out of college not too long ago in the draft. We’ve known about this guy in the league for a while.
Q: With you being up in New England and the time when he was at BC. Were you familiar with him up there maybe even more so than you would have been normally for a guy who’s out there?
A: I don’t know more so just because of the location of the two programs, but I was familiar with him coming out, absolutely.
Q: I wanted to follow up on those cornerbacks. Can you have them up to speed enough to possibly start for you on Monday night?
A: We’ll have to wait and see. I can’t answer that right now, but we’re definitely going to give them all the information we can to make sure we put them in a position to play to their strengths.
Q: You’ve kind of had this question since May, who’s going to replace DeAndre Baker? Do you feel like you’ve answered that question with this roster?
A: We’re going to see. Right now, we’re looking to play as many of our players as possible at those positions. Keep them fresh and rotate. One thing we haven’t had yet is a preseason game or a regular season game yet obviously. We’re going to make sure we use all of our guys, roll them on through, and we’ll see who performs the best. Whoever the hot hand is we may go with, but we’re going to make sure we keep rolling them on through and building the experience of the group as a whole.
Q: You talked about the unpleasantness of what this situation is like for a head coach. Telling players they are gone. Can you fast forward to tomorrow when you get your team on the field for the first time. It will be the 53 and the practice squad guys. Will that be a moment where you look around and now alright we are on to the next phase here? This is the team getting ready to play the Steelers.
A: Well I think it’s just a natural transition from training camp to regular season Week one. Tomorrow for us will be about an hour and half on the grass moving around. They’ve had several days off in a row. We have to knock the rust off of them, have them break a sweat. Get some conditioning in, work on some fundamentals and some specifics for us as a team. I don’t really go into any one day and look at it as a defining moment in the season. I think it’s a natural transition. We have to change the way we think and the way we prepare from preseason now into the regular season where we have a defined opponent to work against. The playbook is not a general overview of install, it’s specific towards an opponent and how we are going to play next Monday.
Q: I know when we spoke about the possibility of quarantining a quarterback, it was a hypothetical. Now that we’re here, what do you plan to do with Cooper? Is he just going to a part of the quarterback room and be a part of practice? Do you do something to keep him separate?
A: At this moment in time, we’re going to keep him in the building and working with the team. We’ve discussed those hypotheticals. I think the one thing we have a lot of confidence in right now are protocols we have. The daily testing has been effective for not only us, but for the league as a whole. We’re going to keep the discipline of what we do on a daily basis. This is a guy we want to keep in the program, keep developing, keep involved in game plans. Keep the rest of our team as a whole.
Q: People might look at it from a distance and say Ryan Connelly was a last year draft pick. This is now Joe’s team. He’s the one driving this, making these decisions and making it his roster. What do you feel about that, about this being your roster? By that, I don’t mean you are making the decisions on your own. I mean sort of molding it to what you’re looking for in players and specifically talent wise and ability.
A: All the players that we kept on our 53 and our practice squad are guys that we think give us versatility and have the ability to develop and keep shaping this roster in a positive way. Really, this is our team, this is the New York Giants’ team. We look at this, everyone in here is in it together, the coaches, players and personnel. We’re pleased with the players we have. Again, it’s the National Football League, we’re always looking to sharpen and develop. There’s natural attrition throughout the year so we have to be aware of everyone else who is involved in the league on transaction moves.