Head Coach Joe Judge
August 27, 2021
Opening Statement: So, obviously we came back from the trip. I thought we got a lot of productive work with the Patriots. Playing against any quality opponents, which we did with the Browns and the Patriots has been two very, very good weeks for our team. I think these competitive practices against other teams are probably the best thing you can do for your team in training camp in terms of preparing them for the competition they’re going to see. Obviously, the intensity raises up. The volume’s very high as far as building in the conditioning and the fundamentals for the players. You get some schemes that you haven't predicted on the front end, some things different teams are trying out. While they’re not in a preseason game, they’re trying them out on different opponents to watch on tape. So, you get a look at a lot of different things that you can adjust as coaches and players and move forward. I'm pleased with the work we've got in the last two weeks. We’re a better team for it. Now, our focus shifts on to the game Sunday against the Patriots, and obviously we’ll get ready for the season after that. So, with that being said, any questions you have.
Q: How do you handle this game? What's sort of the plan? How long do you play the starters? Who gets into the game?
A: We’ll finalize all the personnel decisions later today so the players know tomorrow. But as I’ve said the entire time, we’re going to handle this as truly the dress rehearsal for the season. We expect to play the majority of our players for a minimum of one half. We're going to make sure there’s some key positions where we have to see some guys with a little bit of an extended exposure and make the right decision on the roster. There's still some jobs that are very competitive for the final 53. We'll make sure we have enough film and evidence and exposure to make the right decision.
Q: Will (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) play?
A: He will not play in this game, no. We’ll dress him out. He'll go through warm up. We’ll continue him on through ramping up. He won't play. Him or (Tight End Kyle) Rudolph won’t play in this game. The other players – there's a lot of guys where there’s still decisions being made. We’ll see how they come out today and even some tomorrow. We’ll see how they're going to look for the game. So, I can't give any final answers on a lot of guys. In terms of Saquon, our focus with him – he had a good, productive week last week. He did a good job when he got to New England with us. He had the volume we were looking for yesterday with him, it was exactly what we hit. (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett) did a good job as far as mixing him in as controlled as we could early in the drives where we could really go ahead and predict and call the plays to get him out and get him in some space and use him for some things. You know, going forward into the season, look, the focus will be really gearing him up to as much 11-on-11 as we can give with our own team, controlling the situation and then also putting him in some situations where he’s going to go out there and just react. That's really the biggest test physically coming off any injury is when you're on the field, it’s the reactionary quickness and the sudden shift to play.
Q: Do you have any sense on whether he'll be able to play Week 1 or not one way or the other (Saquon)?
A: No, I don't right now. We've got two weeks right now. We're going to just do right by him by seeing how he practices and make the decision based on that.
Q: What could you tell by how he handled that last catch and the change of direction, like near contact, did that show you more than you had seen previously?
A: I thought it was really encouraging, because you see it in the drill work on the field. You see him do stuff in individuals, but then to go out there and that's really what you're looking for when you’re getting the guy and really building back. I keep talking about the reactionary quickness. You’ve got to catch a ball, locate the defender, make a move, have some suddenness. I think your body just has to be able to go and play explosively. So, I thought that was good by Saquon. As he mentioned afterwards, ‘you know, I would have gone a lot further than when you blew the whistles.’ Yeah, I’m sure you would have, but look, it was good. He was out there. He was enjoying it. You could see the smile on his face. It's good to have him out there with us.
Q: In terms of making decisions on who makes the team or not, at this stage, in your mind do you feel you have a clear picture or are a lot of things still up for grabs?
A: Well, there's a number of positions that are still up for grabs. As we go into every game, every season, the best players will play, so whoever is practicing better will get the nod that week and in the game. In terms of the majority of the team at this point, we have a pretty clear picture on a lot of positions. We've had a number of exposures to these guys, whether it's preseason games, whether it's competitive practices, whether it’s practices here, training camp, as well as our knowledge of some things they’ve done for us in the past, here or elsewhere. But you know, they got to go out there and they’ve got to play and they’ve got to play with consistency. So, there is a clear picture for the majority of the roster, but there's still a lot of positions that are up for grabs.
Q: What positions are you talking about when you keep saying it’s up for grabs? What gets your extra attention this last week here?
A: I'm not going to go into individual assessments right now. I'll talk with the team directly about that, but I'm not going to go ahead right now and go ahead and put out positions that I’m going to watch.
Q: Do you have experience with guys who make a jump in that last preseason game and make the team who surprise you? Is it too late for some guys?
A: No, it's never too late. Again, we still look at this more like that third preseason game. We kind of treated those earlier ones, we kept saying more like the first or fourth preseason game for guys to really go ahead and make an impression. This to me is more the third preseason game where you're getting your guys as ready as you can for Week 1. At the same time, you’ve got to really go ahead and see a lot of other guys that are in competition and see if they could make that kind of lasting impression. We've had a lot of exposure, so one play is not going to make it, but it’s never too late.
Q: How did (Cornerback) Adoree’ (Jackson) come out yesterday? You said he was going to work with the trainers a little bit.
A: He’s going to be out moving around with our trainers and all today. The medical team’s optimistic about this guy. We’re just going to kind of continue with the progression in his rebab to get him back with the team. He’s moving along nice.
Q: What do you think of the offensive line in these joint practices and just where do you think they are right now?
A: Yeah, obviously we played against two very quality opponents with a lot of talent. Different schemes, so different challenges. I thought we handled a lot of things very well. There’s a lot of things that we’ve got to learn from and clean up. It's really about consistency, you know, with the entire team. The offensive line’s got to play those five guys as one and again, we'll play six to seven if we have to based on having guys ready for the game. So, a lot of things we're very encouraged with, and then obviously there's still things to learn off of and correct. We've got to keep getting better every day.
Q: Back to Adoree’, when I think back to last year, you guys kind of had that revolving door opposite (Cornerback) James Bradberry every week. For as long as Adoree’s out, are you back to a revolving door or do you feel (Cornerback) Rodarius (Williams) or someone else has stepped up where they're that next guy on the depth chart?
A: We'll see how they play within the next – Sunday night, as well as next couple of weeks. So, in terms of answering that question, I don't look at it as a revolving door. I look at it as if you're at the game, you’re there to play. We're not bringing guys just to dress up and eat hamburgers. Like if you're at the game, you’re there to play.
Q: How has Rodarius’ camp been? It seemed like he was targeted a lot that first game and then, just watching from television, it seemed like he played much better the second game.
A: He's got a lot of ability. He’s got some good instincts. I think for any young player, it's about just getting into games and learning from the experiences. We've seen improvement the entire way through with him. There's things you just have stay on and correct with every player – the techniques, situational awareness. But he's definitely a guy we've seen improvement from along the way. He's a hard worker. He's got a good competitiveness to him. He’s a guy that we have confidence in because you know he’s going to go out there and give it 100 percent. He's a young player, that's our job as coaches to put him in the right position and keep coaching and correcting him. But he's done enough this training camp to show that he has that ability to develop in that position.
Q: He walked off at some point at the end or near the end of practice with a trainer yesterday, is he good to go?
A: He should be good to go.
Q: When you evaluate the offense, like after this week, is it about the execution from the game or is it about actually scoring? What are you looking for in that regard?
A: To me, based on how we play, it’s really more about the execution and the consistency. There's going to be the final score, maybe one way or the other. Look, we play every game to win. Preseason, postseason, it doesn't matter. We're playing every game to win. That's just our mindset here and how we're going to do things. That's what we do, however we have to. In terms of the preseason game, really right now we just want to get our units out there. We keep talk about developing chemistry. We've had a lot of opportunities the last couple of weeks against Cleveland and New England to get out there and develop chemistry. I thought yesterday was a great day for our team. It really was. It was a situational day. You just throw them out there and have them just play out fourth quarter situations and whatever comes up, comes up. Obviously, me and (Patriots Head) Coach (Bill) Belichick kind of control of a lot of the situations to either extend drives or manufacture plays to kind of make sure we experience more of the situational aspect at the end of the game. I thought yesterday was just great. Guys had to get in the huddle, get a play, lineup, play it. Whatever comes your way, comes your way, adjust, make it right. If something bad happens, get lined up, play the next play. So, there was a lot of experience we can learn from yesterday, but in terms of the game going forward, it's going to be about execution for us.
Q: You have a lot of guys who are sort of on that injury bubble to play, who are veterans with kind of NFL experience. (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) doesn’t. How close is he to playing on Sunday and how pressing is the need to get him on the field?
A: We'll see where he's at with the trainers today and keep on moving him forward. Obviously, we want to get all of our guys out there. There's a number of young guys that, look, it's unfortunate, but there’s a number of young guys that we haven’t been able to get them as many reps as we really want to this training camp to really get them ready for the season. As a young player especially, you can't lay back on getting years of experience. Kyle Rudolph's a much different situation. He’s played a long time in this league. He's got vast experience in different systems, different coaching. He can draw on his experience and get ready. Now, that doesn't mean you just go ahead and roll the ball out there on day one and this guy’s going to practice. He’s not going to be, you know, his absolute peak performance. We’ve got to get him there and keep moving him along. With the young players especially, you asked about Rodarius Williams a second ago, we had a question about getting this guy moving. They need the experience to get them going. No one just jumps out there because they have ability or talent and is going to play in Week 1 or Week 2 or whenever they get out there, like they’re going to play in Week 8, Week 10, year two, year three. They're going to keep on progressing as a player. So, in terms of getting him ready, whenever we're afforded the opportunity to get him on the field, we’re going to get him ramped up and get him going.
Q: Does he have a chance to play on Sunday? I mean, we haven't seen him practice.
A: We've got to check with the trainers right now. We've got to consider a lot of things in that in terms of can he go, the volume of work we’re going to work him at. Is it the best thing for him individually? Is it the best thing for our team collectively to put a guy out there who hasn’t had a lot of reps? That's with anybody. It's like when we had (Offensive Lineman) Ted Larsen. Ted’s got a lot of games in this league, right? He’s played a lot. He got here for one game and we could've probably brushed him up and got him ready to jump on out there and he could have functioned. But you put him next to a couple of the guys that are playing next to him, that creates other issues, as well. You want to make sure that you can evaluate everybody on the field. All of a sudden, you put one piece out there that's not really on the same page, that affects your ability to evaluate other positions, as well.
Q: You’ve had some draft picks like (Linebacker) Elerson Smith and (Cornerback) Aaron Robinson who have not been on the field. I noticed Elerson came off PUP, but do you almost have to give them a redshirt year with final cuts coming up?
A: A redshirt year doesn't exist in this league. It's our responsibility to get those guys ready, however they can. The one thing about this year you’ve got to keep in mind is it's a longer season than it’s been in the past. This is a different type of year. Spring was much different this year. Training camp having less time in the spring and leading into the first game where you actually have a deadline to get guys ready for a game, that changed the whole timeline of preparing your team to be honest with you. There's a lot of things that these young guys that didn’t get on the field, didn't have the experience to get out there and do. So, we have to prepare them however where we can. Like I said a second ago, it’s unfortunate a couple of these young guys haven’t been able to get out there and get the experience, but like anybody else, we’ve got to get them going and get them rolling. Look, last year (Safety) Xavier McKinney, it was unfortunate we lost him at training camp, he didn't have any preseason games. He missed a chunk of the season on the front end, but we got him back on the back end. As I explained, we’re going to ramp him up and build him up and not kind of trying to take him from zero to 100 right away. But he did become a productive player for us and by the end of the year, he was obviously playing a lot more and a lot more productively because we allowed him the opportunity really to learn and gain that experience little by little as we go. So, it won't be too much different with all of these young players you're going to see. We're not going to take them, just throw them in there and say, ‘hey, now go handle a full game.’ You’re going to bring them in on a specific plan, let them execute and focus on that, keep their windows small and then growing it a little as you go.
Q: Do you have to carry them on the 53 and then IR them?
A: There's always a lot of gymnastics with the rosters.
Q: Two quick ones, is (Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) something you're going to have to manage long-term for the season? And would you like to see (Wide Receiver Kenny) Golladay and (Quarterback) Daniel Jones get at least some game action before the preseason ends?
A: So, I'd say the second part first, in terms of Daniel and Kenny, we're not going to see Kenny in the game this week. He's not going to play, so that's not going to be a reality. We have to make sure we get that experience, however we’re afforded it, before we get to Week 1. In terms of Azeez, his really came more off kind of something that happened in practice. The other day we had to kind of like calm down and we got out there and we kind of watched his volume the last couple of days. Time will tell. We're trying to learn all these young guys, learn their bodies, learn these new guys. I know Azeez and the program he came out of and I know they go hard, and they go four days a week they go hard. I’ve been in that program before at a different place, but I know what he had to go through before. We’ve talked to his coaches, his trainers and understood what he did in college in terms of how they were able to manage him to a degree. Again, this is a guy that shows up every day to work. For us, we're not going to take the approach with any player of we're going to limit them at this point, and they can't do X, Y, and Z throughout the season. We just have to take it kind of on a case-by-case basis of what's best for them. We’ve just got to be smart about when we prepare players, but we'll make sure that they're prepared for whatever it is they have to do on Sunday and that's physically and mentally.