Head Coach Joe Judge
August 31, 2021
Opening Statement: Obviously today is a significant day in the calendar year in the NFL to be in compliance with the NFL’s mandates. We've reduced our roster to 53 at this time. This is not an easy day for any coach or player in the building. There's a lot of guys that sacrifice a lot for you that put a lot into it for you. You walk in there and look at empty chairs, that's not easy for any coach or player. I think it's natural to come into work today with a little bit of a deflated mood. It's our job and responsibility to get back up and get on the field and prepare going forward today. I'd say today, we're going to focus on as a team, as you watch practice, is really a situational day, we'll tempo down. You want to take these three days now and prepare for the upcoming opponents early in the season, work on some of our own corrections and fundamentals, but we're also going to focus hard on the situations that may come up throughout the season. We're going to work on some unique ones that kind of come up with the end of half in the games, but you might only see once a year. Want to make sure we get them installed today and make sure we’re on the same page when they do come up, we can go out there and efficiently operate. That being said, I'll open to any questions.
Q: You picked up two offensive linemen yesterday and one today. What is the reason behind them and what do you like about those guys?
A: I think both guys have upside to work with. They have potential to go ahead, and I think improve our team. Every decision we make is always with the team's best interest at hand. There are two guys that are available this time of year, there’s roster movement on all 32 teams. There's more players available this time of year than at any other point in the NFL calendar year. There's a lot of communication between clubs and obviously everyone's responsibility to do their due diligence and find out who's available and see if someone's out there to help your team
Q: Any updates on (Tight End) Evan Engram’s status?
A: No, to be honest with you, we'll kind of see in the next couple of days where we think this could go. We're only a few days out right now, he's a guy that's shown some quick turnaround in the past. Last year he had something very similar, so we'll see where this is. It's not the same injury as before, but we'll see how his body responds, make decision for him and the team.
Q: How much optimism do you have that he could be ready for Week 1?
A: I really couldn't give you an answer to that right now. It's very much a gray area right now in terms of where he's going to be going. I’ll kind of give him a couple more days, see where he's at, see how he progresses, see if we move around a little bit, we'll kind of make a decision from there.
Q: How much do you stress that this is an initial 53-man roster, knowing that there are still things that you guys can do in the next couple of days?
A: Yeah, I think what's unique this year, obviously compared to previous years is you have the extra week. I think you're going to see a lot more roster turnover than probably in previous years because there’s going to be a lot of players that have been claimed or will be claimed, that are almost going be on short term tryouts, a lot of teams. There's going to be a lot of roster turnover, in our opinion, these next two weeks. In terms of stressing that this is short term, it's our job and responsibility to inform all the players all the time of that this is a production business. It's a day-to-day business, for all of us, coaches and players. We've got to make sure we show up and we operate every day, and we execute efficiently. The players have to understand that they have to come in and perform every day as coaches we have to perform as well.
Q: Are there any guys that made the 53-man roster that you know will be going on IR tomorrow or in the future?
A: We’ve got a couple of guys we're discussing right now. Not all decisions are final, so before I go ahead and make a statement out in public, I'll wait until we make it internally.
Q: What did (Cornerback) Sam Beal show you to make the initial roster?
A: He's a guy that’s quietly improved for us. He just goes out there every day and he's a guy that obviously, he's missed some time with ball, hasn't played a lot of ball in the last few years, but he's gotten better for us day by day and then he's been able to be competitive in some of the joint practices we've had. He's been out there and played a good bit in some of these games’ pre-season wise. We're pleased with the progress he made. That was obviously a very competitive position for us this training camp. He's a guy that obviously did enough for us that, at this point, he's factored in.
Q: What kind of workload can we expect from (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) today or this week that we didn’t see from him in the past?
A: Today, it's going to be mostly a downtempo practice (for) the entire team. I don't think anything you're going to see one way or another today is going to reflect anything going forward with any players. He spent some time with the trainers, strength staff, tomorrow we're going to put him in practice and start building his volume more than you’ve seen the previous weeks and then we'll see Denver week, where that takes us. There won't be a decision made on Saquon until Denver week and it's probably not going to be Monday either guys, just to give you a heads up on that. We’re going to go ahead and see how his body responds and where he's at.
Q: Was there anything you can see from practice that makes you gauge that he’ll be closer to being able to brace that contact?
A: Well, I haven't seen the contact yet, so I couldn't tell you deliberately on that, but I would say just as body movements and how he's moving efficiently and how his body's responding, I've seen that progress positively throughout the way. I rely a lot on the information from our training staff and medical staff and doctors who spend a lot of time with him. I know he's been working hard, we get a lot of GPS numbers and different readings on his body, they trend in the right direction for him with how he's working. I'm very pleased with how he's working. He's had some good days on the field with us. We've been building his volume little by little, probably the biggest day for us was seeing him on the field against New England last week. He knows a lower volume day for him and limited plays, there's some things he was able to do out there in terms of the reaction on the field, in short space and with some quickness that showed his body's progressing beyond just rehab.
Q: Do you anticipate getting contact in the next two days?
A: Well, we're going to talk about that tonight, actually. We’ve got to decide which one these next few days will be padded, so we’re going to talk as a staff today based on when we get our practice squad in here and what we think is the best for our team.
Q: Is that set up of your schedule the way it is because you don't have a practice squad here today and you probably won't have one tomorrow when you hit the field?
A: We're actually going to bump the practice time back a little bit. We originally had you guys scheduled for about noon. What I'm going to do is push it back a little bit so, we'll give you the official time when we do that. See if we can get some practice squad guys in here tomorrow, kind of help with some of the numbers and just get those guys back on the field. In terms of today, today was just scheduled to be a later day, anyway, with all the roster moves. You don't want to do an earlier practice today and have guys in and out of the building. You want to be fair and go through the process the right way.
Q: In the roster release you list Casey Kreiter as being released. Is that a handshake agreement that he’ll come back? Can somebody else step in?
A: Yeah, legally they can do whatever they want to do. I can't speak for 31 other clubs.
Q: Is (Offensive Lineman) Shane Lemieux one of those guys you have to decide whether he's short-term, long-term or do you expect him to compete for a starting spot?
A: I'd say these next few days will tell a lot. I don't think we're going to see anything today that's going to really push one way or the other on that. He's been trending the right direction, he's had some good work. Obviously, we kept him behind when we went to New England to work with the trainers. That was a positive week for him. Tomorrow and Thursday will kind of be big tells for us in terms of going in that Week 1, maybe what we can expect to see.
Q: Are you done with the Offensive Line movements?
A: I don't think your roster is ever final guys. I think you're always looking to go ahead and move as needed, sometimes that’s through necessity, the nature of the game is there's going to be injuries at times, people get banged up and anyone we see out there that we think could improve us, we're looking to keep as many good football players in this program as possible. We don't have a cap on how many we're going to keep at this point, we'll see what's best for the team as we go. I would say that we're always looking to add good players.
Q: I know the next couple of days, as you’ve said with previous players, to ask about (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay). It looked like, at least publicly, he did more pregame Sunday than he has publicly for us. Have you seen him take a next step where you've advanced in that or is it still the same?
A: Well, I definitely saw what you saw. I mean, it was publicly he was on the field. There was a lot of our players working out on the field, before the game. Really, to be honest with you, for a lot of those guys it was some of the best work they had and it should be because it's further along in the rehab for everyone, so it should constantly get better. Reports on him is he's been improving and working really, really hard. When I've seen him with my own eyes, I've seen progress from when we first lost him from practice to where he is right now, we'll see where he is next week. The good news is there's still a good bit of time between now and a game for what he's dealing with. We'll see where that is. There's also obviously things you have to iron out. It's not just get someone to the game and say, ‘Go ahead and go play ball, roll it out there.’ You've got to get in there, have to practice with the team, get the timing, execution, the communication down. These are all very real things we have to count for as a team. As coaches, we'll spend the next few days really kind of narrowing down as much as we can, schematically what we want to focus on against Denver and even going into Washington with the short turnaround after that. I look at the players we have available, we'll spend Wednesday, and Thursday really evaluating some of these new guys, see how they look on the field. Then, next week we can get in Monday, it'd be a good day coming off that three-day break to see some of these guys move around, see how their bodies responded and hopefully on Monday, it gets us a better window going into Wednesday to get Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, practice. Again, I don't think anything's going to be made on Saquon on Monday. Maybe some of these other guys, we have a little bit more of a glimpse into it accurately of what we can expect out of them within a week at that time.
Q: What caught your eye about (Defensive End) Raymond Johnson III?
A: Yeah, he's a high motor guy, he's definitely shown some pass rush skills for us. He's a young player developing, quiet guy, big personality as far as the smile, but it's kind of a big quiet person, I don’t know if that makes sense to you. Kind of, if you know him, it kind of does. Definitely gets out there and works hard for us every day. He can play to his length. He's still far away from where he's going to be as a player, midway through this year and this year, next year, and that time he's going to keep on getting better. That's going to happen because of his commitment to the process and work ethic.
Q: Was the plan with Kenny Golladay always to take him along slowly and then ramp him up two weeks before the season once he got injured?
A: No, absolutely not. With any of our players, I'm of the mindset, we're not determining what's important, what's not important, preseason is not important. Like that - that's not the way we think, but in terms of Kenny, the focus has been get him healthy at the right pace for his body and as soon as we can get him back, we'll get him back. Same with all the other guys on the same list. We're not in the mindset here of it's only preseason, don't worry, just get him to the opener. That's not how we operate. I mean look, to me, training camp is critically important to get players ready for the season, both as a team, but then also just their own bodies physically. A large part of what we do in training camp, as you guys see, is get them physically ready through conditioning, football position contact so we can callous their bodies with what they're going to have to experience throughout the season. But to answer your question, kind of just short and to the point, no, we weren't trying to get anyone just to a game.
THAT is some versatile shit!