Head Coach Joe Judge
June 8, 2021
JOE JUDGE: First, want to give condolences to the family of Coach Fassel. Very sadly, he passed away (yesterday). Look it's a honor being inside this building where his impact was directly felt, carries over into the history of our organization; a coach around the league that worked together and had a lot of good relationships, have a lot of respect for his son (John), just all the respect in the world for what they are doing, and obviously our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the impact he made here for the Giants, something we talk about as a team and we'll make sure we reflect on today.
Q. Does this minicamp serve as a springboard for the season to build a foundation necessary for the year in some regards?
JOE JUDGE: I think it's just another opportunity for us to really hit the field, and yeah, again the No. 1 focus is building our football movement, get the players in shape. Give them more exposure to our techniques and systems and schemes on the field.
What I would really like this to do is just give these guys a jumpstart carrying into the five-week break until we head back to training camp, but they have got a feel for what they have to work on in that absence and also a feel for their conditioning and overall shape and strength they have to work on right now throughout the summer.
Q. Would you just share with us what an honor it is to coach this franchise following the passing of Coach Fassel that you talked about?
JOE JUDGE: Yeah, this was something I addressed kind of early on in my tenure here, in terms of when I was fortunate enough to even get the phone call to even interview for this job. I knew right away this job was not like every other team in the league. And to me, that reflects directly on the history of the team, the impact it's had throughout the history of the league and the people that have come before us. That's something we stress on a daily basis with our players and our coaches, to understand the people who have been in the building and have made an impact on the field before we came here.
It's our responsibility to not only know their history but also carry out with class the way that they operated in. It's important to represent the Mara and Tisch families accordingly and it's important to represent the former players and coaches accordingly.
With the passing of Coach, it's something that makes us sit back and reflect and brings back a lot of great coaches who have been through here. It's definitely an honor to be in the same position as all of those coaches. I'm far away from achieving anything they have at this point. I have a lot of work to do myself, but I'm proud to be able to be in this position to have this opportunity to come to work every day and be a New York Giant and work in this great city and for this great organization.
Q. A decent amount of players chose not to come to the voluntary workouts. Kadarius Toney was the only rookie who did not participate. Can you shed any light on why he wasn't participating?
JOE JUDGE: Kadarius was here through a portion of the period. Not all our players are on the field every day for one reason or another. I would say in terms of the voluntary portion of the spring, I'm not going to comment on any attendance, who was or was not here across the board. That's something I expressed to my team early in the process. We are going to work with every player we could virtually, in person, whoever was available to us. I think all of our guys have done a good job working getting to this point. I'm excited about working with everybody on the field today and excited to work with Kadarius on the field today, as well.
Q. In trying to build the offense to become a top offense in 2021, what do you want to accomplish this week on the offensive side of the ball to know what you have going into training camp and how can you set yourself up for the kind of season you want to have on offense?
JOE JUDGE: Well, in terms of knowing what we have, we are really not going to know that until we get to training camp and pads are on and we are playing actual football.
When we get into the preseason games, competitive practices, when we get to some of those in training camp, those will definitely be vehicles for us to really evaluate our team in competition.
At this point right here, this is all about learning, this is about functionalities and this is about conditioning and football movement. Give our offense every opportunity to get together and work on timing and the passing and that's critical. Every opportunity our offensive line has to work together and gain chemistry and to the communication and being on the field next to each other, picking up blitz concepts, different rush concepts, executing run blocking assignments together. Those are always things we have to learn from.
It's invaluable having meeting time and being in the same room as opposed to Zoom. It's invaluable being on the field together, and not only play and execute but also mistakes you make to know how that felt and how you have to correct those and then you develop chemistry with the players around you going forward.
In terms of our offense, we are just in the infantile stages right now. Obviously we are working on knowing our roster as well as we can. We have some new guys that we have to evaluate. We have things we know about them from the practice field or college experience and then we have got to get them on our field and really just keep working with them until we learn them inside and out. That's as much as the mental part of it, as much as their understanding of the game, how we can best teach them and help them and then look, that shall carry into giving us a good jumpstart in training camp, but I don't see this as necessarily being a springboard or anything. It's hard to evaluate your team when they are not in football pads.
Q. How valuable is this period for the rookies and what are you looking for in this mandatory period to see how they stack up against the veterans?
JOE JUDGE: Yeah, I'd say overall compared to the OTAs we've been in before, there's really not much of a difference. It's a little longer of a day. We have longer meetings, more review time on the back end, we'll be on the field a little longer.
But in terms of the actual what they are going to be doing in practice, there's not a great deal of difference from what they have been doing the last two weeks in OTAs already. The focus for us will be on football movement, group teach periods, get some 11-on-11 work to control tempo to make sure we are at least getting the feel of all 22 on the field.
The one thing we can work on this time of year that you don't need pads is communication. To me with the rookies, one of the most important things they can get right now is the communication with the vets, guys who understand our system a little better, have a little more experience with what we are doing and getting used to being on the field and talking with it.
You have to remember when these guys got here a few weeks back, they are naturally just shy guys walking down the hallways trying to learn everyone's faces and names. For them it's not natural to sit down and have a conversation and say, hey, can we try to bridge that gap as much as we can. This is part of the process to make sure when they are on the field there's no hesitation in having the confidence to speak up and make the right check, put yourself and be in the right play call and be all on the same page.
In terms of this time in the spring overall with the rookies, this is really valuable. The more time you get with them here just to help them catch up, really, the goal for the rookies this time of year is just give them an opportunity when they get to training camp to be able to compete with the vets in front of them. The reality is every vet in this league has an advantage over every rookie based on maturity level, experience, expertise, they know how to handle their body better and they have seen NFL football and know the speed of the game.
The advantage rookies have is they are younger, they are generally healthier and they recover faster with their young bodies. That's generally their advantage right now. They have to mentally catch up and technically catch up on the field with the fundamentals to be able to compete with our vets when we get to training camp.
Q. You spoke a little about Kenny Golladay last week. His size and his length, do you think that was missing from the offense? What can that do to help a quarterback and an offense?
JOE JUDGE: I think the second you stand next to him, you understand he's a long guy, and that showed up on his tape before we got him here. There's enough evidence in the experience of the league that we know that about him. In terms of how that can help a team, I think that only helps as well as you can use it to your advantage. There's a lot of tall guys in this league that can't create separation and can't make contested catches.
There's a lot of players you would maybe say who are a little on the shorter side who are very elusive and great at the catch point great at securing the ball and getting vertical with the ball to gain yards. To me, it's all about your individual skill set and how you can use it. There's enough evidence with Kenny that we are going to work it to use his strengths and we plan on having impact but again that depends how he produces on a daily basis. We have high expectations for all our players and he's no different and giving him an opportunity to work within our systems and give him an opportunity to make plays.
Q. A lot of defensive backs were not at the voluntary OTAs but a lot of those guys got together down in Florida. How valuable is it for those guys to get together away from the facility?
JOE JUDGE: Yeah, I think that's great, that was definitely a point in the year where we couldn't have them in our own facility and work with them. Between guys getting together in Florida, multiple places, a couple of our D-Linemen got together for some different events, football-related. Look, the more your team can be together and bond and build chemistry and work together, the better that is for your locker room.
We need a strong locker room to have a successful team. And it's one thing we've emphasized in building here, we have great character on our team, and I love coming to work with these guys here and it shows up when they are away from the facility and their work ethic and they know what to expect when they come back.
Q. What is Saquon's status and expectations?
JOE JUDGE: In terms of where he's at right now, he comes in every day, he attacks every day from a rehab standpoint. He's had a phenomenal attitude and great motivation, he's been tremendously positive.
We are going to make sure that we take Saquon's rehab at the correct rate for his individual body and injury. It's not any mirror of anybody else's injury out there. We have to make sure that we let him get it at his pace and put him on the field, can play 100 percent aggressive and confident and he's going to play safe and he can play effective. Typically we do Saquon's rehab in the morning before practice so when the players get out there he's already been off the field and a lot of times he's not out there when you're out there.
We are getting a lot of our rehab done during some of the meeting time. Couldn't be happier with how he is working, showing tremendous leadership this off-season. He's chomping at the bit to get back on the field. We are taking it day-by-day and he's getting better every day.
Q. Do you have any numbers on how many players are vaccinated? What percentage are you at right now and where do you want to be when training camp starts in terms of that?
JOE JUDGE: Look, in terms of all that, we are going to work everything within league rules and do whatever we have to do. We have a great staff here; Ronnie Barnes and the doctors have done a tremendous job communicating and educating our players and making any medical treatment, vaccine available when they need it. Players have a decision to make individually. As a team we are going to work within the protocols within the league. Players that don't have the vaccine, that changes the protocols a little bit individually, but we are going to operate as a team within the rules.
I don't have a specific number for you right now. I don't want to get in the business, to be honest, of putting out percentages and numbers. We are just going to operate within the rules and make sure we do our best for the team.