NYG Postgame (at Cincinnati Bengals) Transcripts: Head Coach Joe Judge
November 29, 2020
Opening Statement: Look, proud of our team for fighting for 60 minutes. We talked all week, it’s going to be a 60-minute game. That team has played in a lot of close games. It's a well-coached team. They had the ability to make plays on all three sides of the ball. They did today. They took everything from us, all the way down to the stretch. I'm proud of the way we did some things. Obviously, there are some things we need to clean up. We need to have a good week of preparation going into our next opponent. But, for right now, we're going to keep the focus on how we played, what's correct going forward, what the health of our team is once that declares and what we have to do for the next opponent. That being said, I'll open it up to any questions you guys may have.
Q: What can you tell us about Daniel's (Jones) status right now?
A: I don't really know much. I actually talked to him on the sidelines in terms of how he was. It was at a point where he couldn't continue in the game, which takes a hell of a lot. Daniel is a really tough dude. So, we'll take a look and see what it is. I don't have much more information than what you guys probably got from the TV at the point right now. He just has the doctors and to get some MRI's - things like that are standard procedure. We kind of MRI everything around here.
Q: When he tried to go back in, was that his call? Or how did he get cleared to go in and then couldn't finish?
A: Well, he was cleared by the trainers to go out there and try it. It was his call to go out there and give it a few plays. Obviously, when he came back out, it was because he couldn't operate in the position at the point in the game.
Q: Can you talk about Colt McCoy, who has not taken any snaps this year. He did some good things obviously. You guys seemed to be conservative with him. At one point, he ran out of bounds, which I'm sure you're not happy with. Just overall, how do you think the veteran handled it? It was a tough situation.
A: I think he came in and managed the game well. I think he made some big time throws in some tough situations. He ran the ball tough. We'll talk about the situation, the four-minute strategy, so we will talk with the team. But, look, we talk about Colt not having a lot of snaps. I'll be honest with you, we benefit a lot defensively from having Colt run the offense against us on a weekly basis. I think he benefits from seeing a lot of competition in practice. But nobody gives our defense bigger headaches than Colt. Our final period on Friday of him going through the red area is always as tough as it gets because he's out there to win. He's out there to compete. He does a lot of things. He's a veteran. He has a lot of experience to draw from, but at the same time, he keeps himself as prepared as can be. He's mentally always into it. Physically, he's ready. I thought he got in the game today and he helped us win.
Q: I know you like to watch the film before you comment on specific plays, but I'm curious as to what you made of the special teams today? You gave up that kick return touchdown. I'm sure you aren't happy about that. There are a few other errors, but I'm just curious about how you felt about that side of the ball?
A: It wasn't good enough today. We're not going to be able to compete these next five weeks if we don't raise our level of play. Look, we've played well to a degree for the entirety of the season. We've had a lot of progress made in that phase. But it doesn't matter what happened before any specific game. It just matters what you do in that game execution-wise. We've got to play better, coach better; we've got to do a better job all around in that phase of the game. It has to be a strength for us. We have to make sure we get back to work this week to improve.
Q: Do you think the fact that Daniel was on the sideline walking around with his helmet on - you guys never really ruled him out of the game, are those reasons for optimism that he may be able to play next week?
A: Yes, I would say I'm optimistic at this point right now. Now, I don't want to go ahead and say yay or nay because I don't have the medical information. Again, once he talks to the doctors, we get information, I'm sure he's going to try everything he can. But I am optimistic just knowing what he's played through before and how he's handled different things. Again, I have to be fair to the player. I don't know how he feels physically. I don't know what the severity of the injury is. I have to make sure I have that information from our medical team. We don't ever want to put any player on the field if he can't properly defend himself or compete and execute the way we need him to.
Q: Niko (Lalos), a guy you elevated, came up with a big play.
A: He's definitely been a guy, from the beginning, he's a guy that just shows constant improvement every day. We talk to our guys all the time, it doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing. These guys have taken a lot of reps for us on the practice squad in their spots. He's worked hard on the special teams and made some improvements there. So we talked this week about who we liked in certain roles and his name came up. Obviously, he was a guy that coaches felt confident in, so we put him up for the game. He was able to go in and compete for us and make some plays. To be honest with you, we were not surprised he was around the ball. We see that every day in practice. Practice execution becomes game reality, so he showed up for us today.
Q: You guys are doing a lot of things around here that haven't been done since 2016 - three straight wins, a share of first place in the division. What does that tell you about the progress you're making as a program?
A: I don't think you can compare this year, period, to any other year. Every team is unique. Every situation is independent of another one. However, I am proud of the way our players are working. I'm proud of the improvement they’ve made. I'm proud of how they come to work every day with the mindset of improving and going forward. We don't make it easy on them. That's by design. But I like the way they respond to our coaching. I like the way they respond to adverse situations within games just like we showed up today in several situations. They responded the right way and we got the results we needed. I love this group of guys. They're a lot of fun to coach. They come to work every day. They're tough, physically and mentally. They're resilient and they've got the right mindset, which is come to work every day, do your job and improve.
Q: Have you said anything to the guys about being at the top of the standings right now?
A: I have not, no. We have to get ready for five more games. Everyone in our division is on equal ground. What’s going to matter is what we do in our next game. We have to keep our focus short-sighted on Monday and Tuesday to get ready for Wednesday and the progress we make Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before we get on a plane to go out West.
Q: On that punt return, it looked like he was one away from going all the way and Cam Brown made the tackle. What did you see from your vantage point?
A: Obviously, Cam made a game-saving tackle right there. (Alex) Erickson is one of the best returners in the league, I think he’s been that way for a long time. You take him, and you put the kick returner out there as well, and I’m telling you right now, these guys are elite players. I said it early in the week, Darrin Simmons is one of the best coaches in the National Football League, he does a phenomenal job of having his guys prepared. We knew they were going to have some tricks up their sleeves today, they went out there and they made some plays, they executed. We have to do a better job on our part of executing. Coverage has to be a strength for us as a team. I like the way Cam (Brown) has played, he plays with a high motor, he’s been able to make plays for us early in the season, he’s improved down the stretch, he’s starting to contribute a lot on defense as well. Obviously, we have to continue to work on the coverage phase and keep improving. That’s something we have to make sure we account for.
Q: How did you think the offensive line played in the first game since the coaching change? You were able to run when you wanted, but also a lot of untimely penalties, specifically on (Cameron) Fleming.
A: We don’t want any penalties at any time. I’ve got to look at the tape and get down to play in and play out how everyone played as a unit, but I’m proud of the way those guys have worked. They’re a tough group. It all starts up front for us and we knew to have success we needed to run the ball, get the ball downhill, physically move it, keep time of possession on our side, and we were able to do that. That starts up front as an offensive line. I thought they did a nice job today.
Q: Do you have anything on Darius (Slayton)? He wasn’t in much in the second half.
A: I have to see if he comes out of the game with any bumps or bruises on top of what he played through today. Obviously, within a game, guys get nicked up, banged up, but I don’t think anything there was by design to keep him out. Throughout the game he had some bumps and bruises that we had to get him in and out of the play and roll with our receivers as a whole. We took five (receivers) today, we knew they were all going to play, along with the tight ends and all the offensive linemen as well.
Q: How did your offensive change when you had to switch quarterbacks?
A: For the most part, not much. A lot of it was situational, how we wanted to go ahead and control the ball and move it in the second half. I think a lot of it was based on the clock and the score, as opposed to who was in there. I’m on the headset, Jason (Garrett) is calling the same types of plays. We talked down the stretch of some things that could come up situationally, and we really just stayed within our offense.
Q: What do you think when someone says you’re in first place right now?
A: Again, we have to be short-sighted and just focus on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I know that sounds like pure coach speak, I completely understand you guys looking at me like, ‘okay Joe”, but listen, we start looking past what we have to do to get ready, this conversation is going to be something of the past. We have to make sure we take care of what we have to take care of and put one day on top of another to have a chance next Sunday, which is going to be a great challenge for us to even be in the conversation of what you guys are talking about.