Head Coach Joe Judge
December 18, 2020
Q: From what I understand, you’re going to have your outdoor practice today. Everything is a go?
A: Yes, everything is a go right now. We’re all good.
Q: Now that you’re back somewhat on schedule having a practice outdoors, will you determine today for Daniel (Jones) for Sunday?
A: I’d like to have a much better idea. In a perfect world, I’d like to have a decision today if possible. Tomorrow will be a walkthrough for the team in the morning. I can’t say 100 percent that’s going to be the case. But I’d say I’m leaning towards possibly making a decision today if that’s possible.
Q: Obviously, you guys had another wrench thrown into your Sunday plans with James Bradberry being declared out because of the COVID. I’m curious how do you feel about that? What is your reaction to it? Obviously, he’s been such an important part of the defense this year. You don’t really have that many pure cornerbacks on the active roster right now.
A: Yeah, it’s unfortunate. Obviously, we want all of our players at the game. We definitely don’t want anybody sick or hurt or injured on our team or on any other team, to be honest with you. But look, it’s our job to prepare the players. It’s every player’s job to be prepared to play when their number is called on. Look, we have guys on the team who have past history at cornerback. Versatility is definitely a cornerstone in how we build our team, especially our defense. That’s no different. We work a lot of guys at different positions when we start the weeks of practice. Sometimes that doesn’t always show up in games, but we’re always thinking ahead and thinking of the ‘what if’ scenarios. The last thing we always talk about as a staff on Saturday in our staff meeting is everyone go to bed tonight and wake up and make sure we have a solid plan in place that if you wake up tomorrow and we get some bad COVID news that we have a progression of who’s going to do what and how we’re going to continue the game plan or adjust the game plan. This is something we’ve talked about on a regular basis. This is no different.
Q: You talk a lot about the toughness of the team and wanting to be tough. I would think that this week is a good test of that, both physically against a Browns team that seems like it’s one of the more physical teams in the league, and also mentally with everything that’s coming down on this team. Do you see it that way?
A: Well, definitely there have been some challenges thrown our way all year, but that’s no different from any other team in the league. We’ve all dealt with the same thing, same obstacles. Some in different doses or different timing, but this is not unique to the league what we’re dealing with this week. We just have to go ahead and plow through and move ahead. In terms of the Browns, this is definitely a physical team. This team runs the ball, this team is good on run defense, this team is good in the kicking game in terms of creating field position. They play with a good nasty edge. I think when you think about their defensive front, a lot of people want to highlight the pass rush they have, which is obviously no secret. But these guys do a tremendous job against the run. Their interior players are very quick and elusive. They play with good penetration and anticipation and get around your blocks. Their edge players are very good at setting the edge and compress it and make sure they bottle up your run game right there.
Q: If Colt McCoy were to play for you and start for you on Sunday, what did he do well in the Seattle game to help you guys win?
A: I think he did a lot of things well. First off, I love the way he just controlled the flow of the game, the tempo of the game. Colt was on the line of scrimmage, identifying what the defense was in, putting us in the right place, made some big plays for us down the stretch with some key completions to continue drives. He did a good job when he had to go ahead and check from a run to a pass or vice versa. I thought just his experience really showed up in that game. The biggest thing he’s very good at is Colt’s a very positive guy. He’s a competitor and he’s a very positive guy. He understands the flow of we’re always getting ready for a 60-minute game. If things aren’t going well initially, you’re never going to hear him complain or tap out. He’s very committed to the process. Any adjustments you have to make, Colt’s a smart dude. He’s always in tune to talking on the sideline about, ‘hey, what do you guys think about maybe changing this up?’ or ‘do you want to stick with this?’ He may come back and say, ‘hey, I like this play, call it again.’ Colt’s very, very mentally into the game. That carries over and really gets the rest of the guys involved as well.
Q: James Bradberry, reportedly he was a high-risk contact to a chiropractor who’s positive. How much time do you spend looking into whether that’s a breach of your guys’ protocols? Or does everybody have that kind of an arrangement with their different masseuses and chiropractors?
A: Some of it cut out, but I think what you’re asking is in terms of him dealing with a chiropractor outside of our system. Look, that’s obviously something that we try to avoid. Ronnie (Barnes) and his staff do a great job of making multiple people available inside. If someone is external, we’ve talked to our players repeatedly and re-emphasized that as well, that if it’s someone externally, I don’t care if it’s a chiropractor or a dentist, a barber, whoever you need contact with, get them in our system. We’ll get them tested, we’ll make sure you’re safe, make sure we make all the right decisions. Look, I want to be clear. James wasn’t defiantly doing anything. He didn’t do anything malicious to hurt the team. It’s unfortunate. Sometimes you make a mistake. I don’t want to speak for James, but I can echo that his assumption of this guy was with another NFL team and he was under the assumption that he was tested every day. What we can’t do as a team and coaches and players is make those assumptions. We have things in place to keep our team safe. We have to trust the process, trust the protocols. We have to rely on Ronnie and his staff a great deal to get us through this. They’ve done a tremendous job the entire year. We’ve been very fortunate with the limited number of cases and the limited number of postponements or adjustments to our schedule that we’ve had to make. Yesterday was really the first day we’ve had to go ahead and cancel a practice. We made adjustments in the day of how we’re going to go ahead and make progress. But we’ve done a good job throughout the year of really staying on course. Look, obviously, people feel there’s an end in sight in terms of the end of the regular season. We have to make sure that we tighten this thing up and not feel like we’re in cruise control and that everything is going to take care of itself.
Q: Whether it’s Colt or it’s Daniel, can you expect to have success as a team when you get 100 yards passing, very few touchdown passes. I mean, the passing game has kind of, even when you were winning, has kind of just been there. Do you need more from that aspect of the game?
A: Whatever it takes for us to have success, we’ll go ahead and adjust in the game to make sure that we’re moving in that direction. We always expect to have success. We work for it the entire week throughout. Look, we’re not afraid to make this a grinding game in any way, shape or form against any team. I think we’ve shown that throughout the year. Our defense is a key part of how we play. Our kicking game and field position, we have to continue to improve in all of those phases. Then offensively, look, we want to be able to run the ball and throw the ball effectively when we need to. Some games, it’s more running. Some games, its more throwing. Whatever presents itself, whatever is working within the game, we’ll always make the adjustments to keep that going.
Q: We talked to Freddie (Kitchens) earlier. Freddie said, ‘what I want to do is get my players in the best position to make plays.’ Does he have carte blanche to do what he feels is right? I assume he may call a pass in a situation and Jason may call a run.
A: Listen, the offensive staff has done a good job putting together the game plan. That’s a very cooperative process. They all work together, they share ideas, they ping things off each other. Obviously, I’ve been involved talking with the coordinators the way I may see a game being played or adjustments I want made as well. But look, once you get into the game, the play caller has to call it how he sees the game. You can’t script an entire game, you can’t go by some template of how the game is supposed to go. You have to have a feel within the game of how you see it, how the quarterbacks are seeing it, what’s working, what adjustments they have made and what we have to do to adjust on our own part. Yes, to answer your question, when he gets into the game, he has to be able to call plays as he sees fit to help this team. We’ll discuss those situations and scenarios before we get to Sunday, like I do every week with all of the coordinators, and make sure that we’re on the same page in terms of, ‘ok, what are you thinking in these situations?’ Then there’s always the ‘what if’ scenarios that present. What if they match us with this? What’s our answer? What if we can’t get this going? What’s our answer?
Q: The other question that was brought up earlier is can Jason get on at halftime and say, ‘this is what I’m seeing’?
A: No, we can’t have any external contact.
Q: With Daniel, what’s the plan today? What do you want to see from him?
A: This is kind of like a broken record, to be honest with you. It’s a lot like last week. I just want to see how this guy moves around and progresses. Now having the day off yesterday, we’ll see how his body responds after doing some things on Wednesday and see how it looks on Friday today. Again, I just want to see how he moves around, see how the injuries have kind of progressed. He’s been working hard with the trainers. I just really want to see his mobility overall. We’re not going to have some kind of obstacle course we throw him through. It’s going to be just seeing him through football movements, some individual drills, of some team settings, and how he looks out there.
Q: Is he going to get some first team snaps to try to prove that to you?
A: Yeah, he’ll get his share today.