Head Coach Joe Judge
October 20, 2020
Opening Statement: We’ve shifted all of our prep over to Philly today. The players are in the building. This morning we’ll spend more as a Wednesday for our early down preparation. We’ll come back after a lunch break and really shift this afternoon into a Thursday, a bit of a third down, hit our two minute and just a little bit of the red area this afternoon. As far as on the field work, our priority is really getting the players’ bodies back, making sure they’re healthy and full speed on Thursday. We’ll operate mostly at a walkthrough pace today. There are a couple of players with the trainers. They have to move around and take a look at them to determine where they’re going to be for Thursday night. We’ll take an early look at some of those guys today. But for the most part, it’ll be a walkthrough for the remainder of the team.
That being said, we’re focused going into Philly. This is definitely an explosive team on all sides of the ball. Howie’s (Roseman) done a good job building this team with a lot of depth and playmakers. Obviously, starting with Doug (Pederson), he does a great job of calling the offense and really isolating matchups. This is an explosive team in the run game and the pass game and can make plays at any turn. Anywhere the ball is on the field, they’re looking to get the thing into the end zone. They do a great job on situational football, so on third down, red area and two-minute, we really need to elevate our level of play to be effective against these guys. They do a great job.
Defensively, (Jim) Schwartz is one of the top guys in the league. I think he does a great job with his rush, crush, chase mentality. His players play hard, they play disciplined. They don’t do a ton, but what they do, they do very, very well. You watch that defensive front, they’re very deep, they’re loaded, they rotate their players equally so they stay fresh throughout the game. They do a great job of getting after the passer. But then more importantly than that, they’re very disruptive in creating negative runs and really affecting early downs to put you in those third and long situations where they can really get after the passer.
Dave Fipp has always done a great job on special teams. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dave. He has explosive units. They’ve been phenomenal in the return game throughout his tenure there in Philly. They’re one of the best block teams every year in the league, whether it’s field goal block or punt block. It’s an aggressive mindset on all sides of the ball. They make big plays in all phases. This is a team that no matter where you’re at in the game scoreboard-wise, we all saw it last week and multiple weeks before, they can score at any time, they can close the lead. But this is a team you definitely don’t want to fall behind on. They’re very explosive. That being said, I’d like to open it up for any questions I can answer for you at this time.
Q: I just want to ask you about Carson Wentz. A lot of struggles it looked like early on. How have you seen his game these last couple of weeks? It looks like he’s using his legs a little bit more. He had a 40-yard run against the Ravens. How do you see his game?
A: This guy is a playmaker. I think sometimes, some of the things that are getting lost right now are some of the things that they’ve hit bumps in the road on. But let’s be clear, this is a really good football team. This is a really good football team. Let’s not make any mistake about that. Really offensively, it all goes through No. 11 for them right there. He’s a big armed quarterback, can make any throw he needs to on the field, so you have to defend the entire field. What that does is that opens up the deep balls with guys like (DeSean) Jackson coming back this week and Alshon (Jeffery). It also opens up the tight ends underneath and the running backs. They’re great catch-and-run running backs. You can create a screen or a check down for these guys and it replicates the punt return, kick returns they kind of carved their way into the league with right now. I think Carson’s doing a really good job. I think when he runs the ball, he’s a big, physical, tough guy. He can extend plays. You can’t just tackle this guy like any quarterback. You have to treat him like a running back in the open space. You have to wrap him up and get him on the ground. This guy runs physical. You watch that run against Baltimore last week, he’s not looking to get out of bounds. He’s looking to extend it vertically and gain as many yards as he can. This guy is a good quarterback. They make a lot of plays and they’re an explosive team. The other thing about this Eagles team is, look, this is not something new where they’ve had to change personnel, they’ve had bumps and bruises throughout the year. They do a phenomenal job of managing personnel, keeping everybody ready, and they string together whoever can play in the game. They’re very productive and they’re very explosive. There’s a reason they’ve been so successful.
Q: I wonder if you could talk about some of the lessons of Lansdale Catholic Coach Jim Algeo that you learned from him that impact what you do today?
A: Coach Algeo, first off, was very, very old school, the whole faith, family, football mantra that we had right there. He was definitely a guy you looked up to and you respected, and you had a healthy fear of him when you’re a high school kid playing on his team. I think that kept a lot of us in line and really taught us a lot of valuable lessons. That being said, you play for him for about three years after freshman football was over, and you learn a lot about how to treat people. Of how you can be hard on someone and discipline someone, and really let them know that you’d be doing it because you care about them. Look, he was a guy that meant a lot to me and had a very large impact on me, both as a person, as a husband and a father, and in my own coaching style right now. We talk all the time at LC (Lansdale Catholic) about kind of being the rare breed and how we look at ourselves as we’re a smaller school, we didn’t have all the talent. But we knew on Friday nights that we could line up and play with anyone because we were going to play tough, we were going to play fundamentally sound.
Q: You talked a little bit earlier about Carson Wentz. I was kind of wondering if you see any similarities between him and Daniel Jones, especially with the way they extend plays and can make things happen with their legs?
A: I think you could draw some parallels in terms of they’re both guys with good size, they’re both guys that have the ability to run with the ball in their hands and extend plays. Both of these guys make a lot of big throws down the field when they get outside the pocket, and they can really extend it and let the receivers get open. There are definitely parallels you could draw with them. But we have a ton of respect, obviously, for Daniel. We deal with him on a daily basis. But there is a ton of respect for Carson across the division, across the league. This guy is a tough competitor. Look, sometimes, you know how it is in Philly. It’s a great town because people are very critical, are very hard on you. Sometimes, that highlights some of the things that aren’t going as well. When you look from a different perspective and you see how you have to play the guy as an opponent, you understand all of the things that he really does well and what he really has as strengths. He’s really a very good player.
Q: With the opportunity that you have right now in the NFC East with it being as wide open as it is, starting with a big game on Thursday, could you just share some thoughts with us on is that something that you’re going to discuss with your team at all? Is it something that you’re looking at?
A: I don’t think anyone in the division needs any motivation to play anyone else in the division. This is a big Thursday night game. We’re going down to Philly. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, we’re going to have fans at the game. Obviously, we haven’t had a chance to play the Eagles yet this year. It’ll be a big atmosphere for us right there. To me, we’re just trying to go 1-0 this week. That’s our goal each and every week. I’ve told the players from the very beginning of the season, it’s a long year. If you get too focused on looking down at the end stretch at this point right here, you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have to keep grinding week by week, but the focus stays on going 1-0 each week. No matter what happened last Sunday, we need to come in with the same mindset to improve as a team, to improve individually, which will lead to our collective rise, and then to be able to match up our opponent and just play well for 60 minutes on Thursday night.
Q: What is the Judge family ticket count for this game?
A: I have to see, it’s not fully decided. I talked to our in-house people about tickets. I have a large number of cousins who have requested as early back as in the summer when the schedule was out. My wife and kids, I’ll see if they can make it. The kids have school on Friday, so we’ll kind of see how they’re going to manage that. They’ve gone to school plenty of times tired making games, it’s something they don’t like to miss. The opportunity that it’s such a close game and the opportunity that it’s the first game they are going to be available to go with fans. They definitely don’t want to miss it. My only rule is anybody who shows up that I either grew up with or have blood ties with, they have to wear blue. I respect their love for the Eagles from being in the town, but hey, look man, you ain’t showing up cheering against my kids’ Christmas. You better come out in some blue cheering for us.
Q: Obviously, you weren’t here for most of this, but you guys have lost seven straight to both the Cowboys and the Eagles, 14 straight to those teams. What do you think about the idea that you guys can’t be taken seriously in the division until you’re actually able to beat one of these teams or both of them?
A: I don’t really think about that at all, actually. Our goal right now is to prepare for this year’s Eagles team. This is a different team than it was in the past. We’re a more improved team than we were in Week 1 and we’re an improved team than we were seven days ago. Our only focus right now is getting ready for Philly. There’s a lot of things that can be drawn out and compared to, we don’t focus on that. We’ve got enough to think about just getting ready for this offense, defense, and kicking game unit.
Q: The Eagles present kind of a unique challenge with the Jalen Hurts factor. They ran a couple plays the other day where both Carson and Hurts were in the backfield together. What’s unique about Hurts and how much more gap discipline do your defensive players have to have against that?
A: I would say the first thing about Jalen is the amount of respect I have for this guy just based on what he’s done throughout his career to this point. I know he’s young in the NFL. I have a lot of friends who coached him in college. The way they talk about this guy as a teammate, as a leader, as a competitor. This guy won a lot of games in a very tough conference, won the ultimate prize at that level. He was replaced as a starter, this guy was a tremendous teammate. He had a captain type leadership to him. Transferred to another major school, was able to win a lot of games there. Look, I don’t care what level this guy has been at, he’s been successful. He definitely has the ability to run, that’s something they are doing a good job highlighting and using. I wouldn’t fall asleep at all on this guy throwing the ball. This guy has thrown for a lot of yards to a lot of really good players, against a lot of good players as well, and he’s been very productive. I think the way they’re using him is obviously very inventive, it’s very productive for them right now. You have to be very aware of how they get him on the field. A lot of times they like to sneak him on there late and kind of try and see if you can make your defensive call. All of the sudden, okay we have a different quarterback or both their quarterbacks out there. You have to be aware of how they’re doing things. That comes from our communication on the sideline and our awareness of the game and situation. Our players need to be tied in as well not just what personnel group is on the field, but specifically who’s in that personnel group. Is it 11 personnel or is it 11 personnel with Hurts at quarterback? What kind of personnel grouping is it? They present a lot of different things. One thing they’ve always been really been good at in Philly is scheming up certain plays per game plan and finding a way to really expose something you’ve shown from a previous game. Work off almost a copycat play, if you will, but then put a curve ball at the end of it that you’re not expecting.
Q: I know you talked about it a little bit yesterday. How special is it to come back to the “Linc” as a head coach?
A: I’m really just focused on the Eagles as an opponent right now, to be honest with you. I’m sure it will be a little bit different riding down the street like it always is when you kind of get back in that town. Ultimately, right now, I’m just focused on the football part of it. To me, that’s the most important thing I can do. Any time your mind drifts a little bit down some other road, you’ve got to reset pretty fast because they’re not caring about someone coming home for some kind of homecoming tour. They are getting ready to try and beat us. We have to have the same mindset to be able to do the same to them.
Q: With regard to Daniel, obviously, it’s a different system this year that he’s running. Last year, he had a number of games where he was slinging it around, had some big numbers but obviously made a lot of mistakes, a lot of rookie mistakes. I’m curious if you can speak to the line that you try to walk here to try to keep the mistakes down, but you still want him to sling it around and win the ball game.
A: I think Daniel has done a good job operating what the game plan is and the plays that have been called for him. We want him to be aggressive, we just want him to smart. There’s times where our game plan may include throwing the thing down the field on deep passes. There’s times where maybe nickel and diming a little bit, get the ball to some guys underneath, let them catch and run the ball. Whatever the defense presents us with and the opportunity arises, Daniel’s job really is to facilitate the other players by getting them the ball when they’re open. We’re not really worried about stats here, that’s not something fueling anything we’re doing. We come out of the game really evaluating how he played within what was presented to him, within the play calls and situations. That’s the evaluation for all our players and all our coaches as well. We’re not a stats-driven organization, there’s only one thing that matters. There’s a couple key, critical factors that lead into having success in the NFL. The other stuff is a lot of just fluff.
Q: The election is in two weeks. I was just curious if you have spoken to the guys at all about the importance of voting and everything that comes with that?
A: To be honest with you, we did it back in the spring. We talked when we started all the social justice things and the Team of Teams stuff. We did, we spoke about voting. My take on it is I’m not a very political person to begin with. The one thing I voiced to the team and they voiced to each other and different teams have echoed, there’s nothing more American than voting. I don’t care who you vote for. You have an opinion, you have a right to exercise it, get out there and use it. You can sit there and talk and whine and complain about what is going on, but in our system, this democracy, you do have a voice. You have a right, you have an opportunity to use it, so don’t complain about it.