Head Coach Joe Judge
November 6, 2020
Q: I believe Will (Hernandez), the first day he’s eligible to come off the Reserve/COVID-19 list is tomorrow. You correct me if that’s wrong. I just want to see if there is any update on where he stands in that process?
A: I talked very briefly with Ronnie (Barnes) this morning, just in terms of the whole COVID situation with not only him, but the rest of the team and the protocols we’re following. I think you’re about right with that. I have to double check the exact dates. There are still more steps once he gets back in the building, though. You can’t just throw him right on the practice field. We have to make sure we do a number of tests with him and make sure he’s fit to go out there. We’ll make sure we take all the steps to make sure it’s in his best interest and the best interest of the team before we put him on the field.
Q: Has he been participating in meetings virtually? How has that been working?
A: Yeah, he has. A number of our players if they haven’t been in the building have been doing the virtual meetings. We did the entire team yesterday as a virtual day, both for our install and our cleanup on the tape on the backend. That’s worked out really well for us. I think the jumpstart we got in the spring really prepared us as a team for what we’re doing right now. I think it prepared our coaches for handling that medium for teaching. I think it prepared our players for staying engaged and how to be interactive, although being virtual and in different locations. Look, I’ve really seen good attention to detail and good practices as a result of the days we’ve gone virtual. We’re going to talk through this whole process. Obviously, there’s a spike nationally, there’s a spike throughout the league right now. We’re going to make sure that we take every precaution to keep this team healthy and on the field. I wouldn’t be too surprised if this ends up being somewhat of a regular occurrence, at least as part of the week. When I talk through with the captains and kind of get their opinion on it, see how they like it in terms of players. But I know as coaches, we’ve seen some good responses from them.
Q: Related to COVID, how are you guys traveling to Washington? Any differently than you would normally? Are you going by train? By plane? How are you doing it?
A: We’re going to do it on the train. What we’ve worked out early in the year, we talked about this back in the summer, they’ve actually arranged to have the train in the station early so that our crew can go in there and deep clean it and sanitize it for our players. We’re then going to ride the train. The players are always assigned which bus they’re going to be on. We try to stagger the personnel, whether it’s coaches or players, by positions, by groupings to make sure that we don’t have, for example, all of the offensive line on one bus together, something happens and they all go ahead and get pinged. We try to stagger and spread out the personnel as it is. We’ll do the same thing with the trains. The players will have a bus assignment and a train car assignment when they go down to Washington. I’d say the biggest thing with the train, obviously with trains, you can flip the seats around, you can stay there, you can talk and hang out and play cards. We have to make those adjustments now going to Washington. We can’t do that. It’ll be very much like riding on the bus. We’re going to have to make sure we close off certain seating locations to make sure we’re spaced out. You have to take into account the tracers that we’re wearing to make sure we’re that six feet apart, as well as just spacing for the health of everybody. Really our trainers are going to handle that part of it, of walking car to car and making sure before we take off that everyone is in the right seating, we have the right spacing and that everyone is kind of fit to go down there. Look, it’s a three-hour trip. Ultimately, it’s nice to be able to take a train instead of having to get on a plane and wait to take off. It’s a pretty smooth traveling deal. We’re looking forward to it. It helps us, you can always work on it. Part of the delay when you want to work on the plane is you get on the plane, there’s the loading and unloading process, the taking off kind of delays you. On the train, you can just jump on, pop the laptop open and watch some tape, or players watch their iPads, and get going pretty fast with it.
Q: Just wanted to follow up, one more thing on Golden Tate from this week. I know that you said that any punishment or discipline would be handled internally. Is there any plan or any thought to not starting him Sunday or sitting him for a series or a quarter?
A: We still have an entire day of practice to go through today. We’ll evaluate everything and make decisions on the back end of today of what we’re going to do going through the weekend.
Q: Is being inactive a possibility for Golden Tate or not?
A: I’m going to discuss a lot of possibilities today after practice.
Q: Alfred Morris, what made him attractive to you guys? Obviously, running back is kind of a young man’s game. What made him attractive for you when you guys signed him? How did you think he ran? Those were his first carries in like 16 months?
A: When we brought him in for the tryout, I thought he moved well. You could see he hadn’t been in a training camp, so there’s always a difference there in terms of how guys move. You could see he wasn’t too far away from being what we call game shape. We got him in, he practiced very hard for us, he’s very effective. He’s got familiarity with the offense from being down in Dallas with Jason previously. It gave him kind of the learning curve in his favor. He’s practiced hard for us when he gets his opportunities. I’m pleased with how he’s working. I’m pleased with how he’s able to perform and get in there and give us some production last week.
Q: Going back to Golden Tate for a second. Yesterday, it looked like he was practicing with the scout team. Is that something that’s going to continue today? How do you plan to use him in practice?
A: All of our players play with the scout team at some point or another. We have limited numbers, so everyone rotates on through. In addition to that, we have practice squad players that work in with our ones as well. With limited numbers out there, we roll guys as much as possible. Especially on a day like Thursday, which is a heavy passing day for us. It’s third down, it’s some red area, it’s two-minute. We roll all of our skill players equally on both sides.
Q: You’ve talked about breaking the season up into four-game stretches. You are here now in the second half of the season. What are you trying to accomplish, what’s your goal of what you want to accomplish now in the second half of the season? Or this third quadrant?
A: I just want improvement. I want to see better coaching, better playing, better execution and that should lead to tangible results. For me, it’s always about evaluating the team and seeing constant improvement across the board. The number one goal when you start the season is being an improved team in Week 16. How good of a team can you be after that 16th game? How much improvement can you make? We know as a team that most teams make a significant amount of improvement between game one and game two. This year was a little bit different in terms of what we dealt with on the front end of training camp. I’ve seen our team make a lot of strides going through this season. I’m pleased with that progress. Nothing changes for the second half of the season. I want to see marked improvement across the board from everyone, myself included.