Head Coach Joe Judge
December 11, 2020
Q: Obviously, we talked to you before practice yesterday. Did you ramp up Daniel (Jones) a little bit more? Did he show you a little bit more? Were you pushing him at all and how did he come out of it?
A: Yeah, we definitely did. We ramped him up a little bit, we put him through a series of drills. Look, I’d say this, he’s been getting better every day, he’s working very hard with the trainers. Coming out of practice yesterday, there was some progress made. We had a long talk with him after practice, long talk with him this morning again. We’re going to kind of put him through it again today, see how his body responds to what it was yesterday. Look, I’m fairly optimistic. At the same time, there are a ways to go and we have to be fair to him. I’m going to talk to the trainers, make sure the medical team and the coaching staff are on the same page and that we do the right thing by this guy.
Q: How about Blake (Martinez)? How did he come out of the practice?
A: Fairly well. He had a walkthrough on Wednesday, did mostly everything yesterday in practice for the most part. There were some things we kind of held him out of in terms of some of the more violent drills, I guess you could say, as far as hitting the shields and pads and things. Other than that, the guy went through practice for the most part for us, had a good day. Checked with him this morning. We’re going to go ahead and see how he is in the training room in a minute. Those guys just broke meetings. A lot of those guys are going in for a little extra treatment before practice. We’ll see where he’s at today.
Q: Are there any benchmarks or anything you need to see from Daniel today before making your decision? Or something that you weren’t able to see during yesterday’s practice?
A: I’m more concerned with just how his body responds in terms of the overall soreness and how his body responds physically, to make sure this isn’t going to go ahead and roll over, that one day over another, that are going to stack up and it’s going to be something negative on Sunday. We’ll see how he moves today relative to yesterday. I don’t necessarily think it necessarily has to be better. I just want to make sure that it’s functional and that he can protect himself.
Q: I guess he was doubtful last week. Do you plan on carrying that to game day again to potentially make the decision to see how he responds to today’s practice in a couple of days?
A: Yeah, I’d say in a perfect world, I’d like to make the decision before game day. I’d like to know tonight at the latest for myself. If we have to go into tomorrow and do something a little bit extra with the trainers, then so be it. Normally, I like not to do things with guys on Saturdays if we don’t have to.
Q: Because of the job you guys are doing, four straight wins, your name is starting to get mentioned as a Coach of the Year candidate if you guys continue on this. Pat Graham’s name is getting thrown around as a head coaching candidate. I just want to know what you feel about kind of those early accolades and that public response to the job that you and Pat and the staff are doing so far?
A: I’m pleased with how the staff and the players are working and improving. That’s really all we’re focused on right now. Look, names start getting mentioned around when teams have success. We’re just going to do the process of what we have to do to have success this weekend and going forward. Those things are all very complimentary. If you start reading those things and believing those things, you’ll find yourself in some different headlines pretty soon.
Q: I’m wondering how confident you are knowing what you do know at this point that Daniel and Blake will both be ready by Sunday?
A: Today is going to be a tell-tale sign for both of those guys, to be honest with you. I’m not going to try to put some kind of percentage on it. I’m optimistic on both of those guys because of, number one, the way they’re working, the way they’re responding to this point with the trainers. We have to trust our medical team. I know both guys are going to do everything they can to be on the field. Look, we’re planning and preparing right now with plans for both having both of those guys, as well as not having both of those guys. That’s something that it’s our job to do and make sure we can play accordingly.
Q: Last week you played a team that had DK Metcalf. This week, you’re playing a team that has DeAndre Hopkins. How important is that for you defensively to have a guy like James Bradberry?
A: It’s huge. But the thing we try to stress here as much as anything is even though we put certain guys on different receivers as matchups, it really has to be all 11 on the field doing their job. Look, it’s a whole lot easier covering an elite receiver when the defensive front is getting to the quarterback. It’s a whole lot easier defending that receiver when the underneath coverage is doing their jobs and eliminating those checkdowns or breaking on the ball when they give it to checkdowns and tackling them for a short loss. Again, those guys have all responded. I’m pleased with the way they’ve competed, they’ve made a lot of progress through the year in our man and our zone techniques, especially at the corner position. But we need all 11 to really show up. This has to be a team game for us this week.
Q: I want to ask you about Chase Edmonds, Fordham kid, who had a couple big games here, one against the Giants last year and one against the Jets. What does he bring to Arizona’s offense, especially as a pass-catcher out of the backfield? From your experience, do guys tend to play better in their ‘homecoming games’?
A: On the homecoming games themselves, I think anytime you let external factors dictate some kind of emotion or how you prepare for a game, I think you’re setting yourself up for failure. But I’d say this guy, wherever he plays, he’s definitely a dynamic player. Look, whether it’s on offense, running the ball, catching the ball, or on kickoff returns returning it, you put the ball in his hands, this guy can make plays for you. He’s different than (Kenyan) Drake, but they’re both very productive. This guy does a very good job in the passing game. He’s a threat if you get him in space. He’s very elusive. He’s an instinctive runner in space. He understands how to attack your defender’s leverage and create space, either cut back across their face or cut away from them when they create space. This guy is definitely someone we’ve focused on throughout the week in preparation of knowing where he is, knowing what they do with him in the game, and identifying who’s going to be matched up with him in certain packages. But we have to do a good job with all these players of tackling in space and playing with control and leverage.
Q: The Cardinals came into MetLife Stadium last year and really handed it to the Giants. It was one of their more disappointing performances. How much do you use any of that as far as the personnel, lessons with the guys who are back?
A: I would say any time you have any carryover from an opponent like that, that you played last year, it’s important to go ahead and reference more of the matchup piece of maybe how they may try to go ahead and matchup your defenders or offensive players with someone they have on their roster and vice versa. How you can go ahead and cover a guy with success, that player may have had last year? That being said, everything else we really count on as being irrelevant. We always stress to the team, it’s the lessons you learn. If you’re a player who was matched up on someone the year before, again, it may be a different technique, a different scheme, a different rule. There’s a lot of things that factor in to how someone may have played in a previous game. We try to keep everything current looking forward. We don’t try to make anything about any kind of revenge games or payback games. Every team is different every year. Every coaching staff, every roster of players. Every year, it’s a unique team, a unique situation, so you can’t make anything about the past. That’s never really relevant. You get one opportunity to play a game, you have to make the most of it. This year against the Cardinals isn’t about this years’ game against the Cardinals. Simple as that sounds, that’s really what we have to make it about. In any case, we do look back at familiar tape just to really see the personnel matchups more than anything.
Q: Logan Ryan revealed earlier this week that he was on the who had the helmet when Blake was on the sideline, the idea of communicating all the calls. From your experience, how unique is it to not have the linebacker with that and have a DB? Does that speak volumes about the trust you have in Logan? Not just on the back end but the entire defense.
A: I think it does say a lot about how we trust Logan and his ability to communicate with the defense. He’s definitely a signal caller for us out there. The other thing about that is he’s very consistent as far as being on the field for us in multiple packages. Very rarely do we take Logan off the field. In terms of giving the secondary helmet to Logan, a lot of that just fits in terms of this guy is always out there for us. The other thing about him is he’s very intelligent, he’s articulate. He has command in front of the huddle to communicate. He also is the one, in terms of if they use tempo, if we have to make a call before Pat (Graham) gets it in, maybe if the headset, which does happen at times, goes out, or maybe it’s checking the sideline getting signals, we just know that he can do it. We have several other players that can do it as well. We work it in practice with multiple players, linebackers and safeties. I don’t think it’s entirely unique to have a safety with the headset in the helmet. I think typically it is a linebacker, normally the mike linebacker. We have other mike linebackers on the team that also are on that list who would have the speaker in. I think the biggest factor is, number one, Logan already being a signal caller for us. Number two, he is on the field all the time anyways. So, if you lose Blake, whether it’s for him tying his shoes or he has to go and use the bathroom, you still have Logan on the field.
Q: Arizona has played the Patriots, the Lions, the Dolphins. You obviously have relationships with those coaching staffs. Do you pick their brains about common opponents? How does that work with friends you have around the league?
A: I think it’s more valuable really just to watch the tape more so than kind of looking to listen. All of our rosters are different. While you do have common friends on different staffs, everybody sees the game a little bit differently because of who they piece together on the roster to use. To me, it’s more about watching the tape. You’ve got to look at it in terms of they’re probably looking at those games relative to us to think we are going to play something similar. That being said, even though there is a lot of things from the same tree, or the same system. there’s a lot of differences in what we’re doing this year because of who we have on the roster. We’ve really evolved into what works for us. I think each team has done that in their own right. Not everything carries over. Miami’s game plan, Detroit’s game plan really is very different from how we play with our players. I don’t think it’s any secret to Kliff (Kingsbury). I think he watches the tape, he understands that on the front end. You’re just kind of trying to find similarities of things maybe they’ve done that because they didn’t know what you’re doing. In terms of calling coaches and asking, ‘hey, what did you call here’, sometimes I think that poisons what you’re going to do in your own game plan. I think you have to trust your own instincts. You know your players better than anybody. You have to look at the tape and understand how can we use our guys to stop their system.
Q: Isaiah Simmons, I’m sure he’s a guy you spent a lot of time scouting before the draft. What did you see from that and what do you see from what he’s done this season?
A: I think he’s a very talented player. Obviously, he’s a guy that in college was playing back deep, he was playing up towards the line as a linebacker. He was more of a kind of rover player that they used schematically. I think he’s doing a good job when they use the guy in blitz packages. He’s a young player, so there’s obviously a lot of things they are kind of finding homes for him on. I think that’s evolving as the season has gone on. You see this guy having more of an impact as we go. He’s a very talented player. There’s no doubt he is going to be a very good player in this league. I think like a lot of rookies in this league, it was no different for any of the guys on any team. They had to come in and get a feel for the speed of the game, the tempo of the league. Really go ahead and find their own home going forward.