Head Coach Joe Judge
August 7, 2021
Opening Statement: What’s going on, guys? I appreciate the guys that work on the weekends missing out on a good time with their families, but we’ll continue on our normal progression. Today will be a lot like yesterday, a lot more team emphasis, getting the guys on the field, hearing the calls, executing and playing football. We’re lucky we have a full officials crew here from the NFL today, so that’s always good reinforcement back to our players, good communication with our players and make sure we eliminate penalties. That’s always a focus of ours. Tomorrow’s a players’ day off, so in terms of the rest of the day, we’re going to make sure we have a good day on the field. We’ll talk to the team briefly afterwards, get them off their feet, get them some much needed rest and then get them back here on Monday ready to work. With that being said, any questions you guys may have I’m glad to answer.
Q: There were a few guys that left practice yesterday. Was that a heat-related thing? Guys like (Running Back) Gary Brightwell and (Defensive End) Ifeadi (Odenigbo)?
A: There’s actually a lot of guys that are kind of playing based on whether – physically, every day we may bring out for indy (individuals) only, indy and teach. Some guys may be part of rehab, whatever it is, so we bring them something extra. It’s all independent and different. Nothing I’m aware of heat-related, nothing’s come across us, but there are different ailments this time of year that we get different guys at practice and then it’s more beneficial to them to go back in the training room or the weight room while it’s more empty and they can get focused, one-on-one attention.
Q: What are you seeing from (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney)? He’s been on the field more these last few days.
A: Yeah, he’s obviously ramping up, he’s doing more and more. I see a guy who’s doing a good job taking it from the meeting to the field. For any young guy, it’s important to demonstrate that you can just hear the call, relay it, line up and play. He’s been really good in terms of transferring the material within the details within the assignment, and that’s been really good. I think he’s a guy that, obviously we’ve talked about before, this guy really does love football and shows up, and just his energy on the field, the way he smiles and goes about it. Look, it’s exciting for us to have all these rookies when we get a chance to coach them. Having KT out there and doing more and more each day -- he’d spent some time ramping up. We’re still phasing him in a little bit but doing more and more each day. It’s all been positive.
Q: Joe, I know it’s more of a big picture question and it might be a little too early, but when you look at crowds coming back into the stadium – obviously, Wednesday night is going to be the first time you have fans in the stands for that Fan Fest and then that preseason game – how focused are you of being able to simulate crowds, especially for the offensive line because those guys really didn’t have that last year?
A: That’s actually a large part of how we’re going to focus. We went through this initial install, you guys hear it all the time with music being at practice. That’s not just for noise and trying to get the juices going, that’s for forced communication. So, we build it in through our individual teaching periods and starting next week we’re going to carry it over a lot to the team periods, as well. Anything that’s going to come up in a game, whether it’s crowd noise or blasting noise, just forces extra communication. Whether it’s ball security, we put the grease balls out there early in practice, make sure they’re extra slick so that we handle the ball in the worst conditions. When it’s any type of situation that’s going to come up, we’re going to always make sure we present it to the players in as challenging a situation as we can, so when they have the opportunity to execute it in a game they’ve already been through it in as much of a simulated pressure situation possible. We’ve got to try and make sure that we put them in a position where when they have that experience in a game, they’ve already had that experience in practice.
Q: Joe, I wanted to follow up on something we asked (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett) about the other day. As far as it was tracked, you guys didn’t use a lot of pre-snap motion last year and you look at a lot of the best offenses did use a lot of it. Is that something you think you guys should do more or is there some philosophical reason why you didn’t use it maybe as much as other teams?
A: Look, I’m not going to delve into last year’s offense. I will say obviously we had a large focus this year on things we have to do better as a team on all three phases. Obviously, each game plan for us is very independent. So, some may have more motion and shifts than others based on the tempo we’re playing at, based on the opponent we’re playing against, based on the players we have available. That’s something we’re always going to look to use and implement. You look at our offense right now and you can obviously see this time of year there is a lot of movement. It’s great for our defense as well. It forces communication on defense and the adjustments they’re going to show. Offensively, it forces our guys to break the huddle and handle multiples and start building on what they have to retain. In terms of what we’re going to do game by game going forward, I couldn’t give you an answer on that right now. Is movement part of our offensive package? It is, like any other team. We’ll measure what we think is necessary per game plan as we get going.
Q: This has just sort of become a hot topic in the football world. Does it put stress on the defense? Are you looking at them that way and obviously that would benefit your offense?
A: I think any time you create movement with a defense, it forces communicating. I think the pressure, in terms of the communication, really goes back to the question about the noise and the external factors and how you can tie that all together. Any time you can force communication and force adjustments, it’s definitely something that gives you an edge, and that’s on all three sides of the ball. You have to have adjustments as well offensively, based on what the defense shows you as well. The one thing that’s very positive for our offense and defense is we definitely see a lot of different looks and multiples throughout training camp. We run a different kind of defense with a lot of different packages, whether it’s different personnel, whether it’s different kinds of schemes. (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) and the offense gets a really good look every day at different multiples and then in terms of the defense, they obviously are getting a good chance right now to see all the movements, the motions, how we’re using personnel in different ways and being aware of who’s on the field. Again, how is (Tight End) Evan Engram different than (Tight End) Kaden Smith? That’s important for our players to understand. It’s a people league. It’s all about the people – the coordinators and the people on the field and how they’re using the players. So it’s important to not only understand what the defensive call is, what the offensive call is, but who are those people that you have to go ahead and play against and how do they play and what do they do to use that really effectively?
Q: Joe, what are the points of emphasis for your offensive line coming off of a practice like yesterday that was kind of sloppy?
A: The points are very simple every day. You’re starting with the fundamentals and that goes through individual periods and then it carries over to group periods and are more competitive against the defensive line – the one-one-ones, the two-on-twos, the five-on-four drills that we do. And then we’ve got to see it show up in team periods. I’ve seen a lot of encouraging things from our offensive line in the team periods. We’ve really done a good job of adjusting to what the defense is doing and creating a good pocket. There’s some coaching points for our receivers and quarterbacks as well that sometimes amplify what you see from the offensive line, but it takes all 11. Everyone’s got to be on the same page and execute at the same tempo, so it’s not always just one person’s issue. It’s not just the offensive line and maybe it’s something else on the field that affected something in a different way. But in terms of the offensive line, I am pleased with the way they’re working and competing. We’ve got a couple of guys we are looking to get back as soon as possible. With that being said, we’re coaching everyone we have on the field. We do see some daily improvement from them, but we’ve got to be more consistent with that and keep going forward.
Q: Couple guys on the side, I’m just wondering, (Defensive Back) Chris Milton, (Cornerback) Jarren Williams, (Defensive Back) Montre Hartage, and (Wide Receiver) Dante Pettis, if there’s anything you can share on how those guys are doing?
A: We should see a few of those guys in there today for more individual and teaching only and we kind of will get them phased back as much as we can. On the backend of this week, there's been a couple guys you'll see today that we're going to back off a little bit with the emphasis of getting them back early next Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. So, having the day off tomorrow, they can take a little more off from today, give them a little bit more rest time on their bodies, and get them back for the early part next week.
Q: Is that what you did with (Cornerback) Adoree’ (Jackson) yesterday? Was that like an (Offensive Tackle) Andrew Thomas situation, just dialing back?
A: Yeah, it was. That was pre-planned right there with Adoree’ yesterday, based on some of the things he's done. He's had high loads early in the week. We just kind of look at the guy as a complete player, in terms of what his body has been doing. We look at not only what he's done, but we have coming up as well. I want to make sure they balance him as much possible because we're still in that point of training camp where we’ve got to acclimate these players and get him going forward. It's not a 60-minute game yet for these guys because they're not in playing shape yet, so we’ve got to make sure they won't just throw everything out at once and have their bodies react worse. We have to make sure we build them up.
Q: You saw (Offensive Tackle) Nate Solder when he was younger. After the year off, does he look like the same guy you’ve seen out there from what you remember from New England?
A: Yeah, I'll be honest, I'm really pleased with the way Nate is playing right now, I really am. He's showing a lot of improvement every day. He's doing a lot of things that come up in meetings, whether it's with me or the offensive line coaches that are emphasizing it. He’s carrying it over on the field. He had a couple of really good reps yesterday in one-on-ones. As you watch it, you don't just watch it in terms of did he win his reps or how did it go? But you look at in terms of what technique did he implement? How did he go to counter the defensive lineman? He’s using something that he learned maybe a couple days before that we said he's got to improve on, and then all of a sudden, boom, it flashes, it shows up. He's taking coaching through individual periods to the group ones, and now he’s going ahead and pushing forward. Nate has done a really good job working for us. Everyone has been away from football now for some time. Obviously, he missed the entire season last year, but I'll tell you what, he's doing a really good job of working hard and getting back in the swing of things. We're all starting over at this point, so you can't carry over any momentum from last year.
Q: How has (Cornerback) Sam Beal looked after his year off?
A: Same thing. He's working very hard every day. It's a lot of improvement from Sam on a daily basis. We're always coaching all of our players, especially defensive backs, on football position and playing with good fundamentals. It's so much reaction of the game back there. We’ve got to be in position to stick our foot in the ground and accelerate to either break up a pass, intercept the pass, and put ourselves in position to make a tackle in the open field and not give up a big play. That's something I see Sam working on. We have emphasized with him a good bit. He's doing a good job proving it to us.