Tight End Kyle Rudolph
August 25, 2021
Q: How are you feeling?
A: I feel good. It was exciting to be back out there with my teammates. For me, this was the first football I’ve gotten to play since December. I’ve still got a long way to go, a lot of work left ahead, but this is what I love to do. The last few months have been tough just watching each and every day, but I’ve got to give a ton of credit to our medical staff, our trainers, our doctors. Here I am today back at practice and it felt damn good.
Q: What was the hardest part about not being able to practice this long into camp?
A: The hardest part of any injury is just not being out there with your teammates. We get such few opportunities to be out here on the field and you really gain perspective of that when you’re not able to be out there. Nobody enjoys training camp. It’s hard, it’s a grind, but you don’t realize until you’re physically unable to be out there how much you miss it and how much you want to be out there.
Q: How important are these next couple of weeks, especially for you, to get that timing down with (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones)?
A: These next couple of weeks are huge. I mentioned it before, I just was able to get my feet wet today, but I’ve got a lot of work left to do. I’m just going to keep working each and every day chipping away at it. One of my favorite sayings is, ‘You eat an elephant one bite at a time,’ so if I look two weeks from now as, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to get ready to play a game?’ I’ll never get there. But if I just take it each day a time, I’ll be happy with where I’m at in two weeks.
Q: Is your goal to be ready by opening day?
A: My goal is to get better each and every day and make sure that I’m in shape to go when this team needs me.
Q: Where are you at physically in your own estimation, as far as endurance, speed, that kind of thing?
A: The only way to get into football shape is to play football. Like I said, I’m just trying to take one step in front of the other each day for the next two weeks and get ready to go.
Q: I know you can’t be sure, but you had said when you had the surgery that you didn’t think you would miss any football. Are you confident that you’ll be ready for Week 1?
A: Like I said, I’m just going to keep working each and every day to make sure that I’m continuing to progress the way I have for the last five months. Like I said, two weeks from now we’ll look up and see where we’re at.
Q: Did something change between late-June or early-July around the start of camp, as far as whether it’s a setback, or did your training schedule or rehab schedule change? Is there some difference there?
A: No, no change. It’s just been, like I said, from the day I had the surgery trying to get better one day at a time with the goal being Week 1.
Q: What has been your impression of Daniel Jones now that you’ve gotten some time to spend with him?
A: It’s been awesome to watch him. I was a huge fan of his from afar. Obviously, we came up with the Vikings a couple years ago and our defensive guys just raved about his talent. Now, getting to know him as a player and as an individual, his leadership ability, guys gravitate towards him, and that goes a long way, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Continuity is huge and we all rally behind Daniel.
Q: What was your schedule like these first couple weeks of camp? We didn’t see you doing much out here. Were you doing stuff at other times during the day?
A: Oh yeah, we were working. Just because you guys didn’t see it doesn’t mean we weren’t working. You guys know (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) better than that, you guys know he’s not going to let me not work.
Q: Running routes and stuff, were you getting that work in, too?
A: Like I said, we were working each and every day so that today I got to go out on the field. I’ve got a lot of work to do from here until the first game and I’m just going to keep trying each and every day to get better.
Q: Do you feel it?
A: I’m 31 years old and I’ve played a lot of football, I feel pretty much everything (laughs). That’s just the nature of this game, but I tell you one thing I felt, it felt damn good to be back out on the practice field today with my teammates.
Q: Do you feel confident?
A: I’m completely confident in my body.
Q: What have you learned or observed about Joe Judge?
A: I’ve learned a lot about him. I have a little bit of the ‘Patriot way’ in the (way) that they do things and the culture that Coach Judge came from because I played for Coach (Charlie) Weis at Notre Dame. I’ve followed this program for a long time, and you see the culture that he’s trying to instill here with us as the New York Giants. We have a really young team, it’s a team that needs to learn how to win. He says it all the time, ‘You can’t start winning until you stop losing,’ and you see that day in and day out the way he pushes us on our fundamentals, on our technique. To me, it’s the first time that I’ve had a head coach that’s not a defensive coordinator, it’s a head coach that’s in charge of the entire team. It’s been a lot of fun for me to get to learn from him.
Q: What have you learned about (Tight End) Evan Engram?
A: I learned a lot about Evan. I’ve been a huge fan of Evan’s for a while watching him the last four years. Extremely excited for him this year. He’s as explosive a tight end that I’ve certainly been around and that I’ve watched in this league.
Q: How can you help him? He talked a lot about learning from you. How can you help Evan?
A: I try to help not only Evan, but (TE) Kaden (Smith) and (TE) Nakia (Griffin-Stewart) and (TE) Jake (Hausmann), and everybody else in our room. I’ve seen a lot of football, I’ve been around a lot of football. We have an unbelievable coach in our room in (Tight Ends Coach) Derek Dooley and if I can ever add anything to the way that he’s teaching stuff or the way that he sees things, because I’ve been around a lot, I’ve seen a lot of things. Just trying to bring these guys along and help them reach their full potential and be the best tight ends they can be.
Q: What makes Kyle Rudolph such a red zone weapon?
A: Just a big target. I’ve got a lot of basketball in my background. You see carryover between the game of basketball and the tight end position. The thing about the red zone is the windows are a lot tighter, there’s a lot less space, but I try to (take) a lot of pride in making tight-window catches and when the quarterback has the confidence in me to throw me the ball in a tight window, catch it for him.
Q: You said you kind of understand the ‘Patriots way’ and what it’s all about. There’s people who see Joe and some of the things he does is he takes from (Patriots Head Coach) Bill (Belichick), and they see the hard training camp and they say, ‘He’s just another one of these Belichick assistants, disciples.’ What are your thoughts on that?
A: The thing that sticks out for me in Coach Judge and the way that he pushes us – certainly training camp is hard and we’re going to work, but he said it day one that it’s going to be worth it. It’s rewarding. It’s not rewarding if you go out and you haven’t worked for what you earn. This team is going to work for everything that we earn this year. Guys take a lot of pride in the product that we put on the field because we’ve worked for it.
Q: How does a young team learn how to stop losing?
A: We rely on our fundamentals and technique. When we get tired, when it’s today in the middle of practice or late in the fourth quarter, you just have to rely on your fundamentals and technique. When you’ve constantly drilled that over and over and over again, you fall on the fundamentals and technique when you get tired.
Q: Have you been on a better conditioned team than this one?
A: No, not at all.