Head Coach Joe Judge
June 4, 2021
Q. What could you envision Kenny Golladay bringing to your offense?
JOE JUDGE: Look, like all of our players, we are trying to right now get these guys in playing shape, get them caught up on our schemes and systems. Like every team, we have made adjustments in the off-season to play to our strengths.
When you add new players to the roster through free agency or the draft, you're going to try to build in different things that fit to their strengths. Obviously there's going to be an element of what he did so well in Detroit that we'll try to incorporate and let him play to his strengths, and then we'll try to find things that fit us that he hasn't done in the past and make sure we fit them in as we go.
Right now, it's all about football movement, getting these guys in shape and training their bodies. That's the most important thing for us at this time as a team, and understanding the systems and the schemes.
In terms of all of our players, I expect a high level of performance from every player and coach in this organization. That's what we all get paid for and that's what we work every day for.
Q. What is it that you saw he did well in Detroit that you can incorporate here?
JOE JUDGE: Everyone saw on tape this guy has been a physical player for years. He's made a lot of tough catches, a lot of big plays with the ball in his hand running. He brings a physical toughness; that's something we saw on tape, and we plan on building into his strengths whatever we can do with our offense.
Q. What's Nate Solder been like?
JOE JUDGE: He's been working hard for us. He took time to get his body back going, obviously with time away from the game, take time to re-acclimate and get back in playing shape. He's been doing a good job being in the building, working hard on the field. He's been great with the guys. He's obviously an older guy, brings a lot of experience and he's been a good voice in the room as the entire offensive line has had great communication with Rob (Sale), Ben (Wilkerson), Pat (Flaherty), Freddie (Kitchens) and all those guys been working together. I've been very pleased with how that entire unit of players and coaches have been working and the progress they’re building towards right now.
Q. Are you a believer that a veteran player like Nate with a year off to get his body right can be more of a benefit than a younger player missing all that time would be a detriment?
JOE JUDGE: I think it depends on the situation, depends on the player. I don't think you can make a blanket statement on any one vet or one young player. To me, everyone is on equal playing ground right now. The best players will play and we'll let training camp sort out the competition.
Right now we'll focus on getting these guys moving, back into football movement. Everybody has had a length of time off. Every one of our players had approximately five months off before they came back, and obviously Nate didn't play last year, so he had a little more extended time. But in terms of everybody, no one has played football in a long time and we have to get everyone back going.
Q. I know it's early, OTAs and no pads and all that, but can you talk about what you're seeing from your rookie group?
JOE JUDGE: I'm pleased with the way they work. With rookies, what you see a lot of time is you see a level of improvement week-by-week more so than the vets because they are so young. It's like watching a bunch of pups grow up. They come in, they drink from a fire hose in rookie minicamp; in terms of just getting on the same page, you have to remember these guys walk down the hallways and just try to remember everyone's face and names.
So you start plugging it all together and moving fast going forward. These guys, it slows down for them every week, you know, the scheme, the systems, the terminology. You start seeing their bodies get in better shape. I think one thing with all the rookies right now and talking to a bunch of other teams, they are seeing the same thing. When you get these guys from the draft in the rookie minicamp, they have been so far removed from football training. It's that combine training, it's that personal trainer. Kind of let's go at your own pace. You have to get back into team football where you are moving at a high intensity and higher volume and you're moving in more team drills.
That football movement we talk about, it's very important. In terms of the rookies, they have to get their legs back under them, but we see a lot of improvement every day from these guys and it's stacked week-by-week so far. I'm pleased with the attention to detail they are giving for us, and the way they are working with the rookie development program and I'm excited to get the pads on and see them go full speed.
Q. Evan Engram gets beat up quite a bit by a portion of the fan base, frustrated with drops and things like that. When you are dealing with Evan, do you have to -- with every player there's a physical and a mental, do you have to pump him up, gauge his confidence, things like that, a guy like Evan who is obviously talented but has had some ups and downs in his career?
JOE JUDGE: Confidence comes from practice, execution. I'm telling you when you watch us practice and you watch No. 88 on the field, no one empties the tank like this guy. This guy goes hard every day. We have to tell him to tone it down more than pick up his pace based on what kind of phase, practice room, walk-through, jog through, provo pace, whatever you have at the time of year. Evan is always a guy that makes you say, hey, Evan tone it down a little bit. He works on the details, takes coaching well, he's mentally tough and a physically tough dude and takes care of his body, ready to stay on the field.
I think the dependability factor for teammates when they know you're working your hardest every day and doing everything you can to help the team, then you know you've put everything into it and when something falls short on the field from any player, they can trust the guys to put in the work and preparation, and at that point we have to help the guy improve.
But I'm very pleased with the way he works. He's a fun guy having in a program, he's a fun guy in the locker room, he's a leader on our team and he's a very productive player for us. I enjoy coaching him every single day.
Q. You can't watch TV these days without seeing somebody say, go get vaccinated. Without citing the HIPAA rules, do you envision by the start of the season most of your team will be vaccinated?
JOE JUDGE: I honestly couldn't give you an answer to that and to be completely honest with you, when it comes to anything dealing with medical protocols, vaccinations, I'm not a medical professional. I let our training staff and doctors talk to the team in regards to that. I let them deal with those issues right there. Everyone has a choice to make, players.
So that's their decision. I'm not getting involved in that. Let them deal directly with the medical professionals. I don't have enough expertise in that area to give someone direction one way or the other.
Q. Did you get vaccinated?
JOE JUDGE: The answer is, yes, I did get vaccinated. I want to make something clear, that's not any kind of statement, alright, one way or the other. That's pure and simple. We were asked to get vaccinated by the league to be able to be part of the draft rooms, to be part of coming in our building and working. That's something that for myself I thought was important to do. So that's where I go on that point.
Q. Daniel has been back in the building and back on the field a couple weeks in OTAs. What have been areas where you've seen him improve and how much have you seen things slow down for him now that it's his second year in the system?
JOE JUDGE: I think his overall understanding and command is really becoming where we want it to be and you saw that last year as he grew within it. You know, he didn't have the opportunity last year to have a spring, to have a true training camp to go out there. You know, going with the same terminology, alright, the same language this year, that slows it down a little bit for any player. In terms of being in the huddle, his command has really always been great. I think the biggest thing right now for any quarterback, including Daniel, is just getting on the same page with all the players and getting the timing down. This time of year, really, for those guys is crucial to be able to go out there and throw routes and get some timing.
Everybody is a little bit different. For all of our quarterbacks, they have to get a feel for the specific guy they are throwing to and the routes and that route may look different with certain guys, what they do at the top of route, how their release may change and where they put the ball as a quarterback and where they can expect the ball.
So they have to get a feel for each other and that just takes reps and time, and I'm proud of those guys working hard every day and putting that time in.