NYG Postgame (vs. Cleveland Browns) Transcripts: Head Coach Joe Judge
December 20, 2020
I appreciate your patience. I wanted to check on a few of the players after the game. Like always, I wanted to make sure I make my rounds to guys before they get out of here. Look, before we get going, I'd like to give credit to the Cleveland Browns. They played a good game tonight. They have a talented football team - it was well coached. They were able to take advantage of a lot of situations and opportunities. You have to give them credit. There were a lot of things that we did well in the game. We didn't do enough well, obviously. We have to capitalize and finish drives. We have to make sure we do a better job of getting off the field and taking advantage of field position we created right there. With that said, it's obviously all three phases and all coaches involved. We all have to do a better job. With that being said, I'll open it up to any questions you may have.
Q: You were more aggressive than usual on those fourth downs in the red area. How much was that impacted by Cleveland has a very explosive offense, you guys were short handed, you felt like you needed to maximize those opportunities?
A: Field goals weren't going to win this game. I'm not afraid to call things aggressively. I'm not afraid if I think we have a good scheme in the kicking game to call a fake. I'm not afraid to run the ball on fourth-and-one. We'll play to our defense at times. If we don't get that, we have to go out there and stand up defensely. Our defense has done that consistently throughout the year. We're going to play to the strengths of our team. Look, I'm not afraid to call it aggressively. We went into that game with that mindset. We have to do a better job of making sure that we coach the right way, execute it the right way and come out with the results we want. With that being said, we're going to call this game aggressively and we're going to play it aggressively. When you make calls like that, you let your players understand that you have confidence in them and that they can play the game aggressively. We have confidence in our players. I want them to go out and play aggressively. I can't tell them all week that they have to go into this game with an aggressive mindset and then hold them back at some point where we feel like we have a chance to make a play.
Q: Can you explain what you saw and what happened on the fake?
A: Look, they did a good job. They obviously fell off and made the coverage. Mike (Priefer) does a real good job of coaching those guys. They were situational - there was a little confusion at first, but they settled on down. We thought we had a chance at it. It was worth rolling the dice right there and playing to our defense. They made a play, we didn't. That's all right. I thought the scheme was sound going in and if we have something else, we'll always look to use it in the right opportunity.
Q: How would you say the operation was with Freddie (Kitchens) as opposed to Jason (Garrett) and how'd you feel like the offense performed tonight? I know you only scored six points obviously.
A: I'm not going to make any type of comparisons here with one or the other. I thought the offense did a good job tonight working together. I think there was good communication. Obviously, everything was cooperative this week with the offense and how they had to do it. I thought they did a good job as a staff in terms of communication through different mediums. Obviously, Jason through a lot of Zoom stuff and then Freddie getting ready to call the game. I felt Freddie called the game in the right way. He kind of moved the target on them a little bit. We had some opportunities down the field to make some plays. We called it aggressively. We just have to make sure that we put ourselves in better positions to execute and finish drives more often.
Q: How much did James Bradberry's absence impact what you guys had to do on defense? How difficult is it defending a team that runs the ball well but also can kind of find those windows in the zone when it has time?
A: I think they did a really good job tonight of using the run game to set up the pass. I think our defense did a good job, for the most part, of really limiting an explosive run game. These two backs are two of the best in the league. Look, they were able to go and find some open windows and take advantage of them and keep drives moving. It's our responsibility to have the players that are in the game coached up and ready to go. We focus on the players that are at the game. We never make any excuses or explanations for anyone who is not at the game and we're focused on the guys that we have tonight.
Q: This is now the fourth straight game where you've scored under 20 points. How would you describe the state of your offense at this point?
A: We just have to come back in here on Wednesday and get focused on Baltimore - find the best opportunity for our team to go down there and make plays. We have to go ahead and finish drives right there.
Q: Tell me about the decision about going with Colt (McCoy) over Daniel (Jones). What do you think of where Daniel is physically for next week?
A: Hopefully, he's doing better. We'll have to look at him again on the grass this week in practice. But, the decision for me was simple. He obviously had two injuries this week. He was worse off than he was before. I say all the time that I want to put guys out there in a position to defend themselves. This team does a really good job of rushing the passer, good flow, and aggressive calls. I want to make sure that I put this guy in a position to defend himself. I didn't think that at the state of where I saw him at practice this week that I was doing the best thing by Daniel long-term. Everybody understand that? I have to make decisions from 30,000 ft. I have to look at what's best for this team in a short term. I also have to consider our players long-term. I have to consider the safety of the guy going forward.
Q: This is a Browns team that has scored over 40 points these last two games. You held them to 20. My question is, had you known they were only going to score 20 points, would that have changed your earlier decisions to be that aggressive?
A: No, you don't go in with some sort of crystal ball and say they're only going to score 20 points. We knew when we got down there that we were going to have an aggressive mindset to go ahead and finish it. Then defensively, we're going to have confidence in our players to go out there and hold them to field position and make a play in the return game with a punt return. That's how we have to gear this game up. My thinking has to be that if I take a chance here, that we have to play to our defense and give ourselves a chance to establish field position in special teams and then put our offense back in field position. That really happened the first try. They stopped the fake. Our defense was able to stand up on a fourth-down right there. We had field position. We were able to get on down there and get a field goal. Look, that's the way that you have to go ahead and play it sometimes. We have to go ahead and make the decision to be aggressive. Obviously, their team scored a lot of points throughout the year, with an explosive offense that does a very good job of moving it, sustaining it - they've really been on a hot streak lately. We knew coming in what type of team they were and we had to call the game a certain way.
Q: Why did you run the fake instead of keeping the offense on the field for that fourth-down play?
A: Just real simple. I thought it was a well-designed fake. We've executed and practiced that consistently throughout the year. I thought the timing was right. You look to go ahead and just roll the dice sometimes and take a chance. You hit that thing, you're the guru. You don't hit that thing, everyone wants to second-guess your decision. I understand that completely. But when the coaches come up with a good scheme and we think it's got a chance to be successful, we're going to go ahead and play that right there.
Q: You had a chance to go back into first place and now you've got two games left. Do you get the sense that time is running out or how do you approach it?
A: Look, our approach is still going to be the same. It's going to be come back to work on Wednesday and put everything into it. We have two weeks left, but the reality is, the only thing we can do anything about is this week right here. So, we have to show back up on Wednesday. We'll have our best week of work as a team. We're going to need our best performance as a team next Sunday. We have to go down there and play a Ravens team who is well coached and they have a lot of talent and are a physical team. Obviously, there are a lot of multiples they can create on offense with the skill players they have along with the physical offensive line. Again, we have to clean up mistakes from tonight before we move forward, but this has to be a game that we make sure we improve on consistently as a team throughout the week and put it together next Sunday.
Q: Are you getting enough play in your pass rush right now? How difficult is it to win a game when the opposing quarterback completes 84 percent of his passes and Dexter Lawrence is the only guy who can get a sack?
A: Obviously, if the other team has that kind of success, they're going to be able to move the ball on you. This team did a good job tonight with the time of possession. Look, we have to go ahead and play the hand of whoever it is. You can't call everything as an all out blitz or fire. You have to play a lot of things based on what their offense is. We just have to consistently do a good job of playing zone defense, matchup in man and win our leverage when we do play man defense, tackle in the space and getting off the field when you get a chance to.
Q: Did the fact that you guys were down Bradberry and (Darnay) Holmes impact how aggressive you guys were with the front seven at all?
A: No. We're always going to go ahead and call it based on the people we have and how we can play it. A lot of times, it's based on who the opponent is and how they play their offense as well. One thing this team does a really good job of is the run game, which sets up the move the pocket plays - the boots, the sprint outs, and things of that nature. If you get caught too much in being too overly aggressive without reason and you're not sound on the back end in terms of closing on space, you can really take advantage of defenses like that who just guard you willy nilly with blitzes and boot away from it, get Baker (Mayfield) in space and make plays when it's clear in front of him right there. But look, that's a talented team. They have a lot of really good players. They have good scheme. They have good coaches. They did a good job tonight. You have to give credit to them. We have to do better as an organization.