Head Coach Joe Judge
September 17, 2020
Q: I know going back to really one of the foundation pieces of your philosophy with your staff is about players, don’t tell me what they can’t do, tell me what they can do. I’m just curious the evolution of that, how much of that is trial and error? How far do you go before you kind of pull the pin on a guy and say ‘maybe he can’t do what we’re asking him to do’? I mean that across the board, I’m just curious from your philosophy, how do you balance that challenge?
A: I think there is a fine balance between developing somebody into a certain role and seeing how they fit within the scheme, and then determining where we put them in a position to play that doesn’t fit them. I think we’re still early right now with what we’re doing. Obviously, the first game was the other day. We’re not ready to pull anybody out of anything we’re doing at this point. That being said, it’s about favorable matchups for these guys, putting them in a position to be successful. We’re always trying to do that to give ourselves any kind of advantage we can. There’s always something you identify with a certain guy, ‘let’s not ask him to do this.’ But I think we’re early in the system right now still to turn around and just say about any one of our players, ‘let’s eliminate his opportunity to do x,y,z.’
Q: The Giants and the Bears played not too long ago. I’m curious, how much do you gain from that, did you look back at that matchup? I’m sure you did. How useful is that for this game?
A: I think the biggest thing that helps you from watching last year’s matchup is some of the similar players we have on the roster, and some of the ways they really looked to isolate and attack guys who are still on the roster. Schematically, there are some differences, obviously. You try to look at a lot in terms of coordinators, in terms of the experience you’ve had against them. Whether that’s going back to the Miami days with (Bill) Lazor, whether that’s going back and watching some of Pat’s (Graham) experience in Green Bay against the Bears, or maybe some of the old New England games, some of our defenses, how they attacked it, how they used it. Then offensively, how they attack both our personnel and then also maybe when Jason (Garrett) was at Dallas. You look at everything you can to gather as much knowledge and then try to form how you think they’re going to attack you and have a plan that fits that.
Q: It’s probably been a little overlooked on the outside just because it’s usually a common occurrence, but you have to take the team on the road this week for the first time with the new protocols and the new systems. What are the challenges there?
A: I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t have a lot of concerns about the actual logistics of our team traveling. It’s a little bit more in terms of just fitting the schedule to make sure with the testing, the boarding the busses, getting on the plane, that’s really kind of the small things that factor in. In terms of the actual schedule of getting into the hotel, meeting, waking up, playing the game, I love these early games. I like waking up on the road and just getting up and going to play, getting out there and going to see the opponent. I think we’re going to be fine on that. Obviously, in preseason, you gain a little bit of experience for the players to go through. The one thing I think does play into what we’re doing is last week, being a Monday night game and being a night game for us, we had to stay in a hotel due to protocols the entire day on Monday. That actually simulated a little bit of a road trip feel for us because once we came here for meetings, that kind of simulated the travel part of it. We’re in the hotel all night together doing meetings and hanging out. Then the next day, we’re there together doing walkthroughs. Really the home game last week kind of prepped us a little bit for the away week because of the new rules.
Q: I’m sure you’re in touch with a lot of coaches throughout the league. What were some of their experiences on the road when you guys sort of compared notes? Is that what you found, that it was pretty much the same?
A: You know what, I didn’t hear anything that was really too unusual for them. A lot of it came more into just the logistics on traveling, the busses to the airport, making sure the players are spaced out. Some of the airplane seating, some of the coaches mentioned how they’re spacing their players out a little bit differently than in the past. We’ve discussed a lot of options. We’re going to finalize that tonight as a staff in terms of things we think we may have to do. The actual trip with the football part of it isn’t what you’re kind of dealing with anything different. I think our guys are used to just traveling for football games, whether it be college or previous years in the NFL. Right now, it’s really kind of the early part of the trip. Bussing, planes, how you get your food on the plane, little things like that that people don’t always calculate. We feed these guys on the plane, we’re always hydrating on the plane. One of the factors that I’m going to have to talk to the team about is, hey listen, we’re obviously wearing masks on the plane. Anytime you have a mask on, it slows down your hydration. Also when you’re on the plane, you naturally dehydrate from the air pressure and the way it affects the cells and the moisture in your cells. We need to make sure we do a really good job traveling with hydrating on the plane, even though we have masks on. We have to be conscious of that.
Q: We saw Logan Ryan a decent amount on Monday night. Now that he has another week to sort of digest the playbook, how much more can we see him? Do you expect to sort of expand his role now moving forward?
A: We’re not going to limit Logan on anything we’re doing. As Pat puts the packages together and sees the matchups, whatever we can do to get all of our players involved, we’re going to do. But I don’t think there’s anything that we would hold off on using Logan for. We just want to make sure that whatever package we’re putting together, we space out to use all of our players and put ourselves in favorable matchups.
Q: You guys obviously had a tough group to block last week in terms of pass rushers. This week, you have Khalil Mack that you have to deal with him. How confident are you in your guys’ ability to get after a guy like that? What kind of challenges in particular does he present?
A: I’ll tell you what, I’m confident in every player we have on our roster, number one. Number two, every week we play, you look at our (schedule), we’re going to have elite pass rushers and an elite front, defensive tackles on every team we play. That’s just the nature of our schedule, the nature of the NFL. However, specific to Khalil Mack and (Robert) Quinn on the other edge as well, these are two of the top guys in the game. They’re both explosive, they’re dynamic, they play with high motors, they do a good job making hustle plays, they put pressure on the quarterbacks, whether that’s through strip sacks, flushing out of the pocket, whatever it may be. They’re guys you have to come in, you can’t blink, you can’t fall asleep. They have high motors. They’re coming on every play. If you let down your guard for one second, that’s going to be a bad play for your offense. Obviously, we have a tremendous challenge in front of us. We will every week, but this week specific to the Bears and their edge pressure, we really have to rise to the challenge.