Head Coach Joe Judge
August 3, 2021
Opening Statement: All right, so we can open it up to any questions you guys have today.
Q: Joe, yesterday you said (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) is making tangible progress? We didn’t do a very good job following up, what does that mean? What’s tangible progress for him?
A: That’s really tied more into the strength and medical in terms of the numbers they’re looking at and where his body is compared to where it was in the past. The tangible results right there really reflect on the numbers, really can measure things directly to the strength, his recovery, all of that stuff. There’s sheets and stuff that we go over all the time and I just kind of tell them, ‘keep me informed in terms of where he is in the ramp up process and where you think he is compared to last week, the week before and things of that nature.’
Q: So, is there like a quantitative point he needs to get to in their eyes before they clear him?
A: I think it’s more than just a point. I think with this we got to take the whole picture into consideration. There is the point physically of what he has to hit like any player. But then there’s also the measure of getting on the field and having the confidence to play at that speed and that’s just going to come with phasing him in the right way in practice. I’ve explained to Saquon and I’ve said it before, he’s not going to go zero to 100 when he comes back, like any of our players. (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) will be out at practice with us again today and he’s not going to take every rep he would normally take either. It’s a situation where we get this guy phased in indy (individuals), some group work, limited team work, make sure that his body is in the right position to keep phasing and going forward.
Q: Joe, with guys like (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) and Blake who are in the protocol, is that for the sake of learning some of the stuff from last year? Is that— are they all the same as far as did they have issues with COVID that now have to be rectified? Or do you say, ‘I don’t care if they had symptoms or anything, this is what we’re doing because this is what we think is best for them?’
A: Well, first off, we definitely learned they’re not all the same. Everybody’s affected by this virus differently and exposure to it. So even if we learned last year that people were just close contacts, we have to take into account the time away from training that they’ve had, whether that’s five days, 10 days, two weeks, whatever it’s been in different measures. We have to take into account, one, they haven’t been training hard with us. It’s just like any new player we get into our program. We’ve got to make sure that we don’t assume that they’re ready to go, put them out there. Normally the first day, the anxiety’s up, the urgency’s up, they get through practice, but it’s the second and third day when that toll becomes a factor right there. So they’re not all the same. We’ve got to consider each guy as an individual. Both guys will keep doing more than they’ve done in the past. We’ll start doing a little bit more with Toney football-wise today. He’ll be involved a little bit with some individuals, some group work as we phase them all through. We’ll kind of see where his body reacts today as we build him into team going through the week.
Q: What are you looking for today? You know, you’re in pads for the first time.
A: Well, I think the biggest thing the first day in pads we’ve got to stress with our team is obviously the intensity’s up, the urgency’s up, but we’ve got to make sure we play at the prescribed tempo. That, as coaches, we control the tempo of the drill and as players, we don’t abandon our technique and fundamentals. It’s natural to go ahead and try to raise the intensity, raise the speed of the game. That happens naturally putting pads on for the first time. We’ve got to make sure all the things we’ve been working on – football position, feet, hands, eyes, knee bent, keeping the head out of contact, seeing what you hit, that’s got to carry over. We can’t turn around and say, ‘it’s the first day of pads, the handcuffs are off and you know, just go play as you want right now.’ We’ve got to make sure we enforce the fundamentals for the effectiveness and the safety of our players. We’re going to have some situations where we say this is more live. We’re going to have a lot of situations where it’s more what we call team-tempo, where that’s really thud, let the runner finish. If the runner’s facing us, we’re going to pop him, thud him up and then let him go finish down the field, so the defensive backs can finish their space pursuit and angle of entry. We’re going to work that. What we’re not looking for in team-tempo is the running back gets in a pile with defensive linemen and all of a sudden it just looks like a mosh pit and then no one else gets any work. We want to make sure the running back or receiver, whoever that is, continues down the field and gets as much work as he can on open field running technique and then everyone else can get the pursuit for tackling.
Q: With what you said yesterday, you explained the idea of the tight red zone and kind of gradually moving towards the middle of field. When the pads go on, do you go back to start in the tight areas or do you just kind of continue to gradually progress?
A: We continue that progression, we’re in the field right now. What we do a little bit different is when the pads go on, the periods become more run centered. Now it may be a 12-play period and maybe it’s five to six run plays, but there’s more runs mixed in. When you’re in shells, you’re going to sprinkle a run here and there but it’s really a passing camp at that point. You have specific run periods when you’re in shells. We’ll still have a run period where it’s run, play action pass and screens that we’re going to go ahead and make sure that the players get a number of short space contact and fundamentals of those plays, but then when it’s the team periods themselves, there’s going to be more runs mixed in. So, that kind of controls some of the volume that I have. In terms of the ramp up this week, yesterday was the shortest practice of these first three days, today will be the longest, tomorrow will be a little bit reduced. Same type of themes in the practices today and tomorrow, just a little bit less than the overall time on the field. That’s because three days are only days, we can control our players in each position.
Q: Joe, you had three players from some Super Bowl teams here yesterday, do you care to share any interactions they had with the team and what your impressions were when they were playing?
A: First off, Osi (Umenyiora), Kiwi (Mathias Kiwanuka) and Justin (Tuck) coming back and talking to the team, that was huge for us. I’ve said it from the beginning, this is a different organization, there is a connection between past players, past history of these teams and the players that sit in these chairs today. It’s important our players understand and have respect for the history that they come after. They have to understand what’s happened, the players who did it, and the culture and the standards that remain consistent throughout those great times of this organization. Without going into direct specifics of what they said, I would just say that everything you could ever ask to be said to a team and needed to be said, they covered. Covered very direct from a player’s perspective, very strong message, it was very well received. I heard from a lot of players, a lot of coaches, I could say from my own perspective of the impact it had on the team in terms of understanding the standards, the expectations of former players, this is different. Some organizations, you kind of come and go. This is one of the different ones where history matters, history carries over. In terms of former players coming back here, if anyone hasn’t heard my voice yet, I hope they hear it now, I want them back. I want them here, I want them involved with our team, I want them here at practice, I want them in meetings, I want them around our players, I want our players to understand the pressure they should have on them from past players who achieved great things here. I want these guys in this program. They were here before us and the history of this program will go on after we’re gone here. I want them to understand they are valued, they are respected and they are important to the players who are currently on this roster and our current players have to understand the significance the players played in establishing the culture here.
Q: How do you think (Quarterback) Daniel Jones has done and what are you looking from him today?
A: Yeah, I think every player on the team right now needs to keep improving on the system basis. There’s been a lot of positive things. There’s no one player, no one position group, no one unit that’s put it all together yet. At this point, we’ve all got to coach better and play better. We’re looking for significant improvement each day in camp but that comes from daily practice. There’s still a lot of things to get done. Obviously, there’s things internally that we coach every player to improve on. Every player has something to do. We’re far from a finished product. Look, at this time in training camp, you’re going to see offense flash, defense flash, certain phases of special teams or players flash at different times. You can’t ride that roller coaster, you’ve just got to watch the tape and coach the fundamentals, keep it consistent with what you’re demanding of the players so they understand what they’re doing on a daily basis, and just make sure that we coach them well enough that they can improve every day.
Q: Where’s (Offensive Lineman) Kenny Wiggins? Is he out here today?
A: He’ll be out here today.
Q: Joe, your secondary looks a lot different this summer than it did at the end of last year? But against an improved wide receiver corps, where do you think those guys are, (Cornerback) James Bradberry, (Cornerback) Adoree’ Jackson, all those guys? What’s your confidence in them right now?
A: A lot of confidence in every player on this roster. They’ve got to come out here and compete every day, keep improving and we’ll have confidence going into game one that we’ll go out there and execute the plan together to win. But I’d say in terms of how those guys work together, they’ve got a great rapport, they’re very competitive. Our DBs versus our receivers, our tight ends, our skill players, those are definitely matchups that we’re looking to go ahead and watch through training camp to see how guys match up against each other. I love the way they’re working right now. That being said, everyone’s far away from where we need to be. We’ve got to improve across the board in all aspects, all phases, every single player, every coach, we need to do our jobs better. If we think right now is a measuring stick to where we’re going to be, then we have no standards here.
Q: Joe, what have you liked (Running Back) Devontae Booker?
A: I like the way every day he comes out to work, improving on his details. He’s definitely shown up as he’s gone through spring with us and training camp at this point. His conditioning has improved every day because of the way he’s practicing and attacking every day. I’m very pleased with that. He’s a fun guy to coach. I think he’s a guy like a lot of these guys who are waiting for the pads to get on because that’s really where their game steps up a level.
Q: Joe, what made (Quarterback) Mike Glennon the right choice for this team’s backup quarterback? Unless I’m missing one, there’s not an obvious staff connection to him throughout his career and I feel like quarterbacks usually go somewhere they’re familiar and coaches usually sign somebody they’re familiar with.
A: We just liked Mike from knowing the league. He had history, obviously, some experience playing a lot of games in this league. He’s had some production along the way. He’s got physical tools that we think will fit into our system very well. We like his demeanor and his mentality as far as coming on in. We obviously looked at a lot of quarterbacks this offseason. He was a guy that was available and a fit for us, so we work on him, (Quarterback) Clayton (Thorson) and Daniel every day and the competition will sort itself out.
Q: What did (Tackle) Matt Peart show you guys last year in the reps you gave him? And what do you want to see from him in his second training camp?
A: Kind of sound a little like a broken record, I just want to see consistent improvement from him. What we saw last year was competitiveness, very coachable player and daily improvement. Obviously, he showed up. The first action he got last year was versus Washington in that first game we had. It was kind of on short notice. He jumped on in there, we threw him in there on the edge and he held up pretty well for us. And as we went forward, he gave us confidence to mix him through and we had a three-tackle rotation, and he kept getting better week by week. He had a setback with injury at the end of last year that kind of took a little playing time away from him because he couldn’t go out there and give 100 percent, but we had confidence in him every game last year to put him out there when he was healthy. And look, right now between all of our tackles, we’re looking for all of these guys to keep on improving and as many players as we have that we’re able to get in the game, we’re going to play them.