Head Coach Joe Judge
August 12, 2021
Opening Statement: What’s going on, guys? First of all, I appreciate all the fans that came out for Fan Fest last night. It was a great experience for our players and as much of a learning experience as well in terms of communication on the field, managing the atmosphere that comes up throughout the game. It’ll be a lesson that we can tie into this week’s preseason game against the Jets. Something we need to build on day in and day out, and even in the regular season, as well. That being said, today is going to be more of a recovery day for our players, back them off after three hard days. We’re going to do more of a situational walkthrough getting ready for playing, end of game situations, as well as things that may come up. Tomorrow, we’ll transition a little more back into a practice, a little lighter than what we’ve had earlier in the week and then we’ll get ready for the game on Saturday. So, any questions I can answer at this point.
Q: I know you mentioned Saturday you’re approaching it as if it would be like the final preseason game of past years. What does that mean in terms of the offensive line because I know you’re a little light on numbers, there are some guys banged up. So with guys that you’re projecting to start or whatever, will they get some snaps on Saturday?
A: Yeah, so right now we haven’t talked to players about who will be in the game, won’t be in the game and the amount of plays, so I’m not going to go into specifics on each player. We expect the majority of our players to play. There are a couple guys we’ve decided for one reason or another, all different reasons, they won’t play in this game, but we’ll talk to the players later today and make sure they know.
Q: Does that include (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones)?
A: So, I haven’t told him yet, but no, he will not play. So to answer that and put that aside, so we’re not trying to be coy, but Daniel will not play in this game.
Q: What do you want to see from (Quarterback) Mike (Glennon) then?
A: I want him to go out there and function, see the efficiency of the offense. To me, the quarterback’s role is always to make sure the offense operates the way it should, that’s they’re on the same page and just consistently improve. One thing I’ve seen in Mike is consistently taking a step forward every day. I’m pleased with the way he’s managing the offense, and the more experience he has with (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett) calling play for a year and playing with our players. -- obviously, he’s had a short-term window for that being in spring and being in training camp for three weeks now. So, more experience we can get together on the field.
Q: Is there a responsibility for a veteran backup quarterback, especially at this time of year, to sort of give the younger guys who are being evaluated their best showing in these situations?
A: Really its everyone’s responsibility. We look at it from a standpoint of trying to evaluate everybody, let everyone be out there and function. So, if you’re trying to evaluate a receiver, the offensive line blocking for the quarterback will get evaluated. Trying to evaluate running backs, whether that be the receivers getting in blocks on the safeties, then cutting off the corners. Everyone has to function as a team. You do consider that in terms of when you put certain players together or who’s having a little chemistry together in practice, or maybe certain units that haven’t clicked quite yet. You want to kind of keep ourselves out of a position where you can’t evaluate a player properly on the field. The ultimate goal is to evaluate our players.
Q: Joe, with only three preseason games, do the joint practices become the middle preseason game?
A: Again, I’ve said before, there’s no replication for a game. Any experience these players get in a game itself is critical at the beginning of the season not only for their mental preparation, but also physically getting ready with the flow of the game, the hits you’re going to take. The things you do in practice, you don’t do a lot of live tackling, so the game is obviously played and ends with some kind of tackle. So, the game itself is critical for them to be prepared physically and mentally, but in terms of the joint practices, it’s definitely a key part of our preparation. Obviously, next week we’re at Cleveland, after that we’ll be in New England. Both will be unique in our experiences in terms of what we’re going to focus on with the other team, but both will be critical for us.
Q: Where has (Tackle) Andrew Thomas made the biggest gains from a year ago or even from the start of this camp?
A: Well, I think experience carries over in terms of it’s not all brand new. Obviously, last year going through training camp, he didn’t have the luxury of having a preseason game, not a full season of games, so the things he learned last year on the field are definitely something he can bring over to experiences this year. With that being said, we’re in a position with all of our players right now where we’re going to keep harping on fundamentals and consistently improving and getting in the best shape to play 60 minutes on the field. In terms of his overall awareness and expectation of what the different schemes and how personnel are used differently in the league, I think that’s something you really have to go through a season to truly understand. We talk with our players all the time, it’s really a people league. It’s about the players on the team, the coaches and how they call the games to understand how the different pieces are being used. You have an exposure to different teams, different schemes, that’s obviously helping all of our linemen, Andrew, (Tackle) Matt (Peart), and some of the young guys, (Guard) Shane (Lemieux), that went out there and played.
Q: Joe, in terms of a dress rehearsal game for the starters, for the frontline guys, should we expect to see that maybe in the third preseason game two weeks before the regular season?
A: So look, everything’s subject to change based on where our team is, but right now our plan is to go into the New England game and treat that as a traditional Game Three where we play maybe more of a full half. At that point, the units have kind of established themselves. Nothing will be final at that point, but it will be an opportunity at that point to go, ‘hey, get those guys together for an extended period of time.’
Q: Joe, many times you’ve said you’re an old school kind of guy, but the way you manage guys’ workloads seems sort of new school. Just curious how you came up with the philosophy of how you handle that with guys’ workloads out here in camp?
A: I always try to do what’s best for our players, so in terms of managing players, we have new information now. We have the ability to track what players are doing physically. We have the ability to understand what their past workloads have been, how the bodies have responded in the past while we’re trying to build them up. We try to use all of our experiences and information to make the best decision for our players. So in terms of being old school, I don’t think it has anything to do with what we use now to make the best decisions. I don’t think there’s anything functional about just go ahead and put someone through something for the sake of doing it. Everything we do has a purpose. So when I talk about old school, I talk about more my philosophy and the fundamentals of the game and how I believe the game is built and how a team has to be centered on discipline and fundamentals. In terms of using information and the new tools we have, I just think it’s a responsibility of the coach and of the organization to do the best thing for the players.
Q: How do you feel about the perception, even though you believe in that, that you run a really hard camp and the guys retiring kind of played into that narrative as well?
A: I can’t control the perception on the outside. I focus more on the players on the inside. I know what’s in my heart and I know that I have the best interest of our team.
Q: Do you think you run a hard camp?
A: I think I run a camp that’s conducive to getting our players physically prepared for the season.
Q: Joe, (Offensive Lineman) Jonotthan Harrison, what is he dealing with and is it a long-term thing? And who is your center because it looked like (Offensive Lineman Brett) Heggie got banged up yesterday, too?
A: Well, we’ve got to go through some medical meetings this afternoon and see where some guys are coming out. Obviously, we’ve had three hard days of practice, so everyone’s got a nick and a bump. We’ll back off them the next two days and see where they’re at. In terms of that decision, that may not be made until maybe mid-tomorrow afternoon based on where everyone’s health is, but Brett returned to practice. He was out there and finished it for us right there, so he finished last night and we expect our guys to be ready to play going forward.
Q: Where is (Linebacker) Lorenzo Carter at physically and what were your impressions of him before he got hurt last year?
A: I love the opportunity to have Lorenzo on the field and having him last year. It was unfortunate that he got hurt. He's done a great job of rehabbing and coming back. We’re at a position now that he’s going to continue to do more and more with the team on the field. We held him out a little bit last night, based on how we ramped up some of his rehab. He's going to walk through with the team today. He will be active in practice tomorrow. I'm not going to play him in the game because of his specific situation of coming off the injury and where he's at physically. But, I would say, in terms of where he was last year and where he is this year, I think just his overall understanding of the schemes and concepts that we operate in, his awareness of the situations has gotten better and better. He's able to go ahead and really communicate that to the younger players who have come in. He's a high energy, he’s a team-first guy. He always has a smile. He's here early, he stays late. I can't say more positive things about Lorenzo. I’m just excited to get him get out there now full speed.
Q: Joe, with the O-Line, are you comfortable with the depth and numbers that you have now?
A: Look, it’s our job to go ahead and develop everybody on the roster. Right now, with the guys we’re working with, we see daily improvement, we’ve got to keep pushing them forward. In terms of when we get closer to the season, there is going to be a lot of things that go ahead between now and then that change. At this point, I would say it’s early in camp, but we’re phasing to that kind of midpoint right there with the transition in camp. In terms of my focus, it’s on how they improve every day and making sure we’re put in the right position to successful.
Q: Do you need to see those guys in more game action, in terms of the guys that start out, the first teamers?
A: We have to see all of our players in more game action, and that's a universal statement.
Q: You’re not playing Daniel, are you planning on playing the offensive line?
A: We haven’t decided that yet, so I don't want to give an answer one way or another. There's a lot of meetings to have, and to talk to individual players. We're going to talk to our players later on and we’ll make that decision, but it won't be made any time in the next hour or so.
Q: Joe, is (Defensive End Ifeadi) Odenigbo dealing with something, or was he having like more of a maintenance day yesterday? What have you seen from him?
A: We thought he had something. It was a non-football issue. He's back in the building working with us today. He’ll be at the walkthrough today.
Q: What have you seen from him on the field? It seems like he might have some stand-up, hand-down versatility for you guys.
A: He does, he’s a sub pass rusher. He's a high-motor guy, he’s got some good speed and power. He has really good measure on a tackle. He can really dip and crank and turn that edge right there and make a play. He’s definitely a guy who goes 100 percent all the time.