Head Coach Joe Judge
August 19, 2021
Opening Statement: We’re just getting here, getting started. Looking forward to a couple good days of work against the Browns. Our emphasis will remain on our installs, our systems, our fundamentals. Obviously, we have a new opponent, so it’s an opportunity to see different levels of talent, new players, different schemes. A good opportunity for our team to go ahead and change it up a little bit come out here and compete.
Q: What are you expecting from (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) and (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay today?
A: Both those guys are going to focus more on the rehab with the trainers. We’re going to keep ramping up those guys as the week goes. They’re both on different levels in terms of their individual bodies, but while we’re here we’ll use the facilities that the Browns are allowing us to use. Our trainers will be here with them, (RB) Saquon (Barkley) as well will be in that boat. He won’t do anything competitive against the Browns, so we’re just going to focus on these guys getting in better shape, focus on getting healthy and getting back on the field and 100 percent.
Q: We did see Saquon sneak into a seven-on-seven rep or two the other day. Was that a step forward for him?
A: He didn’t sneak in. Everything we’re doing for him is very scripted for him, so a few one-on-ones, a few seven-on-sevens for him. There’s times where we put him in a red jersey. We’re very specific about who he’s working against on our team to make sure we’re really controlling the reps. Our guys have a lot of respect for all of our teammates, especially guys in the position Saquon’s in coming off injury, so we want to make sure there’s no miscommunication or misinterpretation of what the drill is. We’re going to limit the contact at this point. He’s definitely advancing in his rehab. We’re going to keep on pushing him as far as we can. Going against another team in competitive drills, we don’t think that’s the smartest avenue for any of our players coming off of injury right now, so we’re going to be careful with Saquon, but he is progressing in his rehab.
Q: In some strange way, if you were not having a joint practice and you were back at the facility, would Saquon do a little more than he’ll be doing these two days?
A: It’s safe to say the answer to that would be yes. I couldn’t tell you exactly what that would be, it would be more along the lines of the one-on-ones you saw the other day or the seven-on-sevens you saw the other day. It wouldn’t be 11-on-11 contact, I can tell you that right now, but it would be more than what you’re going to see these next couple days. We’re going to make sure that we get the volume up and simulate as much as we can while we’re out here.
Q: If you’re having the 11-on-11 – and I know (Browns Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) had said yesterday and I assume you’re on the same page with the idea of not bringing guys to the ground – how do you teach that for your guys, especially when the juices get going?
A: We work that every day in practice. We call it our team tempo and when we say ‘team tempo’ we’re playing fast and we’re playing aggressive, but we’re playing controlled. We’re playing on our feet, we’re not cut-blocking or taking someone to the ground. We’re not live tackling all the way to the ground, we’re not taking kill shots on players. You can thud up a runner if you’re looking at him and he has the opportunity of avoiding you. We’re not taking any kind of shots on a player or a defenseless player on the side, we’ll tag off. We’re going to thud the runner close to the line then let him finish and carry down the field so all our defensive players can finish in pursuit, as well.
Q: How can you manage the scenarios in a joint practice, what are you guys going to work on today?
A: You’re going to see a mix of a lot of things. We’re going to work some team blitz periods, a different mix of team run and play-action periods, some team two-minute periods, work a seven-on-seven. You’ll see a mix of the offensive line and defensive lines in one-on-one scenarios, see some receivers and DB’s in one-on-one type of drill periods. You’ll see the tight ends, safeties, running backs going one-on-one in pass drills. You’ll see punt and punt return emphasis today in the kicking game. Tomorrow will be kick and kick return emphasis in the kicking game, but these are all things that you can really go ahead and work with the other team and make sure you’re on the same page. You talk about the tempo of the drill, the reps of the drill. It’s something that goes all the way up to as late as last night, making sure that we’re both on the same page in terms of the health of the team, who we have available in practice, to make sure we manage the reps for everybody involved, and that we get the most out of practice, but that we’re smart with our players.
Q: Do you have to caution the players prior to this to not cross the line or do you want to see their juices flowing because it is competitive?
A: It’s football, so it’s going to be competitive. Right now, the leadership group on our team and the Browns are talking, making sure we’re on the same page. Both staffs have talked to the players extensively. I spoke to our players, Kevin spoke to his players, we’re both giving the message that we’re here to work together. We don’t have to get on a plane and fly cross-country to come get in a fist fight. We’re out here to play football against a good team and improve what we’re doing as a team.
Q: How much can you particularly learn about your offensive line going against their defensive line? I know they’ve got some talent over there.
A: They’re a very talented team. In terms of what we’re trying to learn, we’re trying to really focus on our fundamentals and how we can progress. It’s definitely going to be a different look against their players. It’s different when you see the same guys in practice day in and day out, you can really get a feel and a rhythm for what they do as a player technique-wise. You can watch all the tape you want, but once you go ahead and get in live action or at least faster paced competitive action against a different opponent, it’s going to always be different. They’ve got very talented players on this roster, it’s a very well-put together team, it’s a very well-coached team, so it’s going to be a great challenge for our guys these next few days coming out here and competing.
Q: What do you think you’re going to get from the three guys you’ve added to the roster since the preseason game?
A: We’re really just looking for competition right there from those three guys. We’re giving them the same opportunity everyone else on the roster has to come in and demonstrate they deserve a place on this team, to earn a spot on this team. We’re giving them the opportunity these next couple days, or two weeks, depending on how long it goes, to give them a chance to go ahead and slug it out with our guys and show they’re one of the best 53.
Q: Specifically about (Cornerback) Josh Jackson, what did you guys like about him that made you want to make that deal?
A: There’s a lot of things we like about him and it’s not just one specific thing. We thought overall it was not only a good move for the team, but it was good for the players involved as well. We appreciate everything (Packers DB) Isaac (Yiadom) did here, he made a lot of contributions to the team, we love him as a person, respect him as a player. He was a guy who was very well-liked in the locker room. I have all the respect in the world for Ike and for what he did for our team. I think it’s going to be a good situation where he’s going for him. I wanted to make sure that as a vet in this league and someone who’s really contributed to our team that I make the decision to always help the team, but also had his interests in mind as well in giving him the opportunity with a few weeks left in camp to go out there and make a team.
Q: You and Kevin have orchestrated how you want these two practices to go. Your team periods back home, they know. They’re not going to know the fronts and the schemes, things like that, right?
A: No, we’re not tipping our hands on what we’re doing. All you tell each other as coaches is the emphasis of the period, you tell them what personnel is going in the game because that’s information you would know on game day anyway, you talk about the down and distance and the hash. After that, the offensive coach calls his play, the defensive coach calls his play and you go ahead and you play.
Q: Do you anticipate looking over film tonight and seeing, first, some guys looking a little out of sorts or a look you didn’t see? And two, is it maybe a take a step back to take two steps forward type of thing?
A: There’s always adjustments and that’s part of these exercises, as well. For us as coaches, what adjustments do we make tonight going into tomorrow? What adjustments can our players make? And also anticipating what adjustments might they make based on the schemes they see. Now, today is going to be a lot of early down, in the field work. Tomorrow is going to be a lot more red area work, so you’re going to see different schemes within those parts of the field, different things show up. It’s not going to all mirror each other day by day, but you are going to see some adjustments day to day.
Q: So Saquon will not participate in drills against the Browns?
A: He will not. Nothing against the Browns right now.
Q: When we talked to you on Sunday, the sense was you guys needed to add depth on the offensive line. Obviously, you even thought you might see a body added. Is that a sign that the guys who weren’t participating last week have gotten healthier or at least healthy enough to be a part of this out here?
A: That’s definitely a part. (OL) Jonotthan Harrison is back out there fully practicing with us now. (OL) Ted Larsen we added right before the game last week. I didn’t want to throw him in a live action without him even having a snap in training camp. That really wouldn’t have been fair to him, that was more of a break glass, emergency type of situation. We were able to get through that without using him. He’s obviously been practicing with the team now, so I feel like we’ve added a couple players right there to help with our depth.
Q: Who was the best quarterback in the Philadelphia Catholic League in the late-1990s?
A: Brett Gordon. Brett Gordon was a monster. He played at La Salle -- I don’t think anyone likes to admit it about La Salle -- but Brett Gordon was really, really good. Played at Villanova. I can’t remember if he was part of the national championship team or not. He’s actually coaching. He coached at Ole Miss when I was playing at Mississippi State. We actually intersected on the field before the game a couple of times. It was fun catching up with him. I think he’s coaching high school again right now in the Philly area, but Brett wasn’t one of the biggest guys. I think Brett was about 5’9”, he was a scrappy dude, but he could air it out. Brett was really, really good and those La Salle teams were pretty damn good. If you ask our strength coach (Director of Strength and Conditioning) Craig (Fitzgerald), he’s a La Salle guy, he’ll tell you all about them – not that anyone cares to hear about them, but he was good there.
Q: Who was the second best then?
A: In the ‘90s? If you’re trying to refer to me and Kevin, I didn’t play in the Philadelphia Catholic League actually. I played for Landsdale Catholic, we were in the PIAA, we were playing for the state title. Catholic League was playing for the city title, so it was different schools and different eras right there. But I appreciate the trap question. Later on, we’re going to have a punt, pass and kick competition with me and Kevin if you guys want to stay after for that. Tomorrow it’s a relay race.
Q: Kevin said yesterday that you seemed destined for this as your life, coming from a football family, etc. I don’t know how well you knew him back then, but did he come across that way as a guy that was probably going to be a coach at some point?
A: It was a short term that we were actually in the same school together. My brother was a couple years older than me, him and Kevin actually played together for a few years. My brother had all the respect in the world for Kevin and I did, as well. I know my brother got pretty close to him as a player being on the same team– he was a senior and Kevin was a sophomore. I think the one thing that always came across to me about Kevin is he’s got a natural toughness to him and he’s got a natural focus to him. If you were to ask either of us back then when we were 14 or 15 years old, I don’t think either of us would’ve looked at each other and said we were going to be coaches at the same time together, but I don’t think there was anything that would’ve doubted where I think Kevin could’ve gone in life. He’s always had that drive, always had that focus. It’s funny, when you talk about the Philadelphia Catholic League, it’s a small area in that part of Pennsylvania. You keep up with everybody in terms of who’s playing and what they’re doing. I always kept up with those guys from Prep, I kept up with those guys from Father Judge (High School) and other schools down in the city. But, I have a lot of respect for Kevin, I knew he was a tremendous player. I knew when he played at Penn, he played DB and did a really, really good job. I wouldn’t put a ceiling on anything Kevin is doing. I have a lot of respect for him as a person, a lot of respect for him a coach, a lot of respect for him as a player. I can’t say enough good things about him and, as I explained to the players, part of the reason we’re here working with this team is me and Kevin having conversations back in the offseason and our relationship together that we know, the respect together, what we want to accomplish to get our teams together. We both have things in our mind that we want to accomplish and it doesn’t mean coming out here with sloppy work. I know how his team plays, they play hard, they play fundamentally sound, they’re very well-coached. They had a lot of success last year because of the way they put the team together. We’re looking to come out here this week and just get better as a team, and that’s really the goal right there. Does it work out well to be able to work with guys you have a relationship with? Absolutely. Absolutely.
Q: Does this mean anything for (Senior Offensive Assistant) Freddie (Kitchens) to be back on this field?
A: I can’t speak for Freddie. I know it means a lot for me to have Freddie on my staff to be out here with us today.
Q: Could you give a hint as to how much he helps you and what he does for you?
A: Freddie is hands-on with everything. I’ll tell you what, the funny thing about the NFL is it’s a small league. There’s equipment managers I’ve worked with before, there’s receivers coaches I’ve worked with before, there’s people in the personnel department that I’ve worked with before, so it’s not uncommon anytime you crossover with organizations that there’s familiar faces in places you’ve been before. Next week, we’ll be in Boston. That’s a place where I spent about a decade raising my kids, but I’m a Giant now. You move on, you move to the next place, you carry the experiences with you, but you move on and you work where your feet are at that time. I can’t speak for any one person on our staff, but every single person on our staff – Freddie is obviously in that category -- is a tremendous help to me. I rely on these guys for their expertise, for their insight. I rely on them for their leadership and the way they develop our players. He’s great for me, he’s great with the players, he brings a natural intensity with him. He brings a lot of experience. He brings, obviously, a different personality. At times he can crank it up intense, at times he can make it really light and loose in the meeting room, and you need a combination of both of those right there. I think our personalities play off well in our staff. Look, we’ve all got a public persona, we’ve all got a way we address these meetings, and then we’ve got behind closed doors for our players of how we are, as well. It’s fun to see the personalities, let your hair down a little bit with your guys and how everybody plays off of each other.