Head Coach Joe Judge
November 12, 2020
Q: You’ve had some issues, some OPIs called on you with those crossing routes the last three or four games. What’s the issue there? Is it just a matter of selling it more or is it technique wise? What seems to be the issue there?
A: Well, it’s something we have to clean up as a group, as a whole. Each one has its own individual issues. We just have to make sure we’re cleaner on that and not putting ourselves in a position for the officials to make penalties. We just have to keep moving in the right way and make sure we don’t do it the wrong way.
Q: Just to follow up, when you saw that (Evan) Engram flag last week, did you agree with that flag or did you kind of have to grab Engram and clean that up a little bit?
A: It doesn’t matter whether we agree with it or not. It was a penalty, so we talked to all of our players about what happened, why it was called and what we have to do differently to make sure we don’t put anybody in position to have a penalty called on them.
Q: How did you think Golden (Tate) handled the situation last week once you guys had that conversation and you came to the decisions that you did? He was in a different role obviously during the week.
A: We’re kind of past that issue now. We’re getting ready to play Philly right now. Golden’s getting ready to play Philly as well right now. I love the way he came to practice yesterday, I love the way he’s preparing so far today. We’re going to be on the field today. We’ll be over in the stadium. It’ll be a good opportunity for the entire team to work on the turf for a day today and get moving forward with it. But look, we’re totally past the whole situation last week. It is what it is. I look forward to getting Golden on the field with us. We’ll roll him in fast.
Q: How is Devonta Freeman doing? Where is your running back rotation at now with the way Wayne Gallman has performed?
A: In terms of the rotation part first, look, whoever’s at the game we’re going to look to use. Right now, Burton (Burns) is doing a good job just mixing those guys in throughout the game and kind of keeping them fresh. We discuss obviously keeping everybody involved before the game, and as we get into the game, Burton does a good job of knowing where everybody is individually and keeping everybody involved. Devonta moved around yesterday. He looks like he’s getting better along the way. Today is the first day we’ll get to see him really move in full speed, so we’ll get a much better look at him today in terms of how he looks. But he’s definitely making progress. He’s working hard, he’s done everything the trainers and the coaches have asked him right there, so he’s fighting hard to get back.
Q: I feel like I ask this every few weeks, but has Wayne sort of earned himself more opportunities?
A: I think every player on the team earns himself opportunities with the way they play. Right now, Wayne’s doing a good job of being productive for us as a team. He’s made a lot of improvement throughout the year. We have a lot of confidence in Wayne. He’s done a good job in the run and the pass game. I see improvements with him in terms of his pass protection. I’ve seen improvements with him really running downhill and getting into space and being able to make sure he extends drives right there. Look, I’m pleased with the way Wayne’s playing. I’m pleased with how Alfred (Morris) is playing, Devonta is playing and Dion (Lewis) is playing. These guys have all done a good job changing up when we hand the ball off to whether it’s a receiver or Evan or some different combination we’ve had, those guys have all ran the ball hard for us. I’m pleased with the way all of our guys in the run game have been playing.
Q: You might not be thinking about this right now, but I’m just curious with the bye week coming up, teams can’t leave for their bye weeks now because of the protocols. Can you bring families in so they can see their families? Like fly them in here? Or do you have certain things organized for guys to keep everything kind of contained or do you have to let them go? How does that all work?
A: Everyone has to test every day. In terms of trying to keep them around here, we’re going to give them off next week, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. That’s going to be done for the players already. We can make it available for the players if their families come in to come in and get tested and make sure they’re in the right position. I’ve talked to a couple of our guys already, I’m not going specifically into who, that are looking to bring their families up. We just want to make sure that everyone has what they need on the front end. Maybe get their families up here a little bit early, the opportunity to get them tested to make sure everyone is in kind of that same situation of knowing where we’ve been. That being said, I think it just comes down to we all have to be very conscious of what we do in those few days off, and make the right decisions on where we go and who we’re around. That’s easier said than done. Look, I can tell you personally from my standpoint, I have a ninth grader who’s in high school. He’s going to high school right now with kids from all over New York, New Jersey, some parts of Pennsylvania, going to his high school. It’s a deal right there where I have to remind him on a daily basis to of like ‘hey look dude, you have to make sure you wear your mask.’ There have been a lot of weekends where I haven’t been able to let him just go out and hang out at parties or walk the streets of some of the towns and hang out because, to be honest with you, we have to be conscious of if I let him do that, what am I bringing back into my house, what may I bring back to the team? There are tough effects it has on everyone’s individual families, a lot of sacrifices people are making that go very unnoticed. Look, our players’ families are making a tremendous sacrifice as well. You have players who haven’t seen their wives or kids for some time now, whereas if it was a normal year, they might fly up for the game weekend, see the game. Obviously, that’s not the case. In a normal year with a normal bye week, they would go home, see some family, kind of get a mental reset before coming back up. That’s not the case, either. We have to do the best job we can for the players of letting them have some mental downtime on the backend of next week. That’s something we have to do to kind of let them refresh and go through. We’ve been pushing these guys hard for some time. We’re going to push them hard again today and tomorrow. When we get into next week, we’ll figure out what’s best for the team based on how this weekend goes in terms of practice versus walkthrough with the health of the team and all that stuff. But at the same time, we have to let these guys have a little bit of time. Four days in a season now seems like a month, I’ll tell you right now. You get four straight days as a coach or a player, it’s kind of you come back and everyone is a little bit rusty, too, to be honest with you. It’s amazing how fast you can forget basic things when you can go ahead and shut your mind off for a minute. But we have to give them the opportunity to kind of mentally reset, and hopefully they do have the opportunities to see family or see friends. We just want to make sure they do it safely by knowing where everyone’s been and making sure everybody has been tested if that’s an opportunity.
Q: With Matt Peart, he has obviously played both sides and that’s a good thing for you, that’s a good thing for him to get on the field. But when you look at him, you obviously want him to, I’m sure, settle in at one spot eventually. Is his skillset better suited for left or right? Have you made that determination?
A: No, we haven’t made that determination. Right now, we’re just pleased with how he’s playing on both sides, and that’s definitely been a strength for us. As we work in the guards as well, we’re going to start moving different guys on different sides. That may be new for a couple guys, Shane (Lemieux), Will (Hernandez) and those guys who haven’t typically played on the right at different times. But we’ve practiced it that way. We’ll continue to practice it and play it. I talked in training camp a lot about that in terms of practicing all the linemen on both sides and building in their flexibility and versatility. You kind of talk initially about why that’s important. I think we’re seeing right now of how that’s important to the team to give us the opportunity in games of playing different guys on both sides. We’re not looking to play musical chairs just to confuse everybody. We’re just looking to make sure we keep building our team’s depth and get everyone an opportunity to get on the field and contribute.
Q: I know you’re obviously going to get really a first chance to see Will Hernandez back out there in pads, presumably today. I’m just curious how do you handle that over the next couple of days? I know it’s great to have him back in the mix. But does the medical team kind of have to handle his situation differently than maybe you would a different type of injury? From your perspective, how do you handle that?
A: As a coach, to be honest with you, I rely on the medical team right here. When they give us a thumbs up and say he can do X, Y, Z at practice, we put him through X, Y, Z. If they say he can’t do something, we don’t ask him to do that right there. Right now, we’re going into practice, we’ll be in pads today. It’ll give everybody a chance to kind of pop and get some contact and move around with the weight on them. Will looked good yesterday. It was only a walkthrough. We always typically get a little bit of a bounce in walkthroughs. It’s a little bit more than a walk. It’s more of a jog to stride, however you want to phrase that right there. But Will looked good yesterday moving around. Now that being said, there’s a difference in moving around in a walkthrough than it is going through a practice of high intensity. We’ll get a chance to see him today. Obviously, our guys will have their eyes on him to see how he progresses throughout the day, then also how he recovers tomorrow. There’s a lot more things at play than just, whatever you want to say, the lungs and things of that nature, from this virus. It’s also just two weeks of not playing ball. What’s the muscle fatigue, the muscle soreness like? How is his body recovering? Just more of the athletic stuff that comes with it. We have to take a look at Will and make sure we’re doing the right thing by him, and ultimately, that will be the right thing by the team.
Q: You mentioned earlier this week how you are aware and conscious of the bye coming up next week with a couple of the guys coming off injury. Does Will’s situation also factor into that timeline and how much you push him over the next couple of days knowing that you do have that on the backend?
A: We haven’t really factored that in for his specific situation. For Will, to me, it’s more of just where is he individually in a physical nature right now. It’s a little bit different than the other guys coming off possibly starting our clock on IR, whatever that may be. It’s a little bit different in that realm because you’re not battling the 21-day thing with Will. He’s back, he’s on the active roster, he’s back at practice with the team. To me, it’s just making sure that any player you put on the field can physically perform and defend themselves out there in action.