Head Coach Joe Judge
September 1, 2021
Opening Statement: Look, I’ll just open it up for questions today. Obviously, there’s been a lot of roster movement. I’m sure that’ll be part of the whole thing, so I’ll just let you start firing away.
Q: With a young team, in particular a young team, is it important to let the guys know it’s 17 games, you can’t get too high, you can’t get too low, and you’ve got to grind it out?
A: Yeah, it’s all about the process. Look, no matter whether it’s really good or really bad, it’s important that we go back to the tape every week. We look at what we did well, and we build on that. We look at what we did that we have to fix, and we correct that, and we make sure that we understand not only what we see on tape, but what the opponent is watching as well. We’ve got to have visual evidence of the things that we’re teaching and we’re emphasizing on the field for guys to see when they do it right or wrong, and how it turns out for them. To me, it’s all about kind of staying steady with the process and just buying in day by day. You’ve got to put the work together to get the result. You can’t ride the emotional roller coaster and the reality is guys, look, it’s a league of extremes, right? One week you’re the greatest thing out there, the next week you’re the worst thing out there. You can’t ride that emotional roller coaster. You’ve just got to stay committed to the process and keep pushing forward every week and do a good job every day, so that on Sunday you can have the rewards.
Q: The questions you had about your team coming into training camp, do you feel like you answered those? Or did the injuries kind of – like you didn’t get to see your first-team offense a lot together. You didn’t get to see your first-team offensive line a lot together. Do you feel like you got the answers you needed or did injuries kind of prevent that?
A: Well, it’s always unfortunate when players get hurt. But I’d say in terms of the way I view it, look, to me, September is really an extension of preseason in a lot of ways. Obviously, it counts toward your record in the regular season, but throughout September, you’re really figuring out your team. There’s a lot of roster movement. There’s guys that we’re going to have on our roster on day one that we didn’t go through training camp with. That’s just a natural part of the National Football League. It’ll be a part of the process of us really identifying what we’re doing well, things we have to overcome and keep improving as we go through it. To me, you’re never a final product to begin with, especially not early in the year. It’s about going out there, having good fundamentals, giving yourself a chance with execution and operating in the situations.
Q: What do you want your offense to look like?
A: Smart, tough and fundamentally sound.
Q: Is there anything that you like to rely on? You know teams have staples, ‘we know when we need a few yards, we’ll just power run it and we can rely on that,’ right? So, do you have any idea what you have here with these guys?
A: Well, there’s always an aspect of that. I mean, to me, it’s always about playing to your players’ strengths and we’ve got to find out that formula. We’ve got to find out what that recipe is with these guys as we piece them together and when we go out there and operate. There’s always something you go in with your base playbook and what you’re going to install and what you’re going to build on, but then you start finding out little by little as you go through the season what you really do well. We started out last year with a lot of outside stretch zone runs and we found out as we went through the year, like, ‘hey look, we’re better going downhill,’ and that’s something we emphasized. Now, is that going to be mirrored and be the same this year? I don’t know. We’ll see. We’ll see where it goes, too. We’re going to work both schemes, both families and see what’s better for us as a team. But you don’t really have the answers at this point in the year. You’ve got to go with your base fundamentals of what you’re doing. You’ve got to build on and really think more about the players you’re playing with and what they do well, then some magical scheme that you’ve got. I mean if we all had Mr. Coach Klein’s magical playbook from The Waterboy then we’d all be pretty good, but it’s really about the players on the field. That’s what we’ve got to go ahead and rely on, is what they do well.
Q: I think it was reported that (Guard) Shane Lemieux has a partially torn patellar tendon. Is it? I think I have that right.
A: I didn’t read the report. I’m not going to comment on the specifics of any injury.
Q: But would it be realistic that he could be a tough guy and play through that injury?
A: Oh, I think it’s very realistic. He’s a tough guy already. He’ll be out there practicing with us today.
Q: He’s going to practice today?
Q: Pass rush – I thought beyond (Defensive Lineman) Leonard (Williams) having a great year last year, I thought you guys did something very difficult to do and kind of schemed a pass rush without a dominant edge rusher. Is it realistic to do that again or is that really hard to repeat? Like, can (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat (Graham) do that again?
A: Oh, I don’t know if that’s a commentary on our roster. We have a lot of faith in the guys on our roster right now and the progress they’re making. Look, to me, the pass rush, it’s all tied together. It’s all 11. It’s not just one guy on the edge. Like look, when (Former Giants Player) Lawrence Taylor walks back in here, we won’t worry about scheming anything, we’ll just go ahead and let him rush off the edge. But right now, we’re relying on all 11 to do their jobs. It starts with the coverage on the back end to deny quick access throws. It ties into the responsibilities with the mid-tier, the second-level, the linebackers and drop downs safeties based on the defense, and then it comes down to the execution of the guys upfront who are involved in the base-four rush or the blitz. So, can scheme help you? It can. It comes down to individual execution, alright? But in terms of can you out-scheme another team, we don’t want to rely on that all the time. We just want to make sure we put our players in the position to play to their strengths. Sometimes it may look like some kind of scheme, but for us, it’s week by week, it’s a different plan.
Q: The two offensive linemen you traded for, are they going to be here at practice today?
A: (Guard) Ben (Bredeson) is making his way back over. (Offensive Lineman) Billy (Price) will not be today. But he’ll be in the fold with us this week.
Q: What’s the acclimation process like and is it realistic for them to be ready if they need to start even in Week 1?
A: I mean, we’ll wait and see. It’s our job to get them ready. That’s what I’ll always rely back on. The offensive line coaches, the offensive coordinator, myself as the head coach, special teams coaches involved with them as well – we’ve got to do our jobs of giving them the information and make sure we can relate to what they already know, so they can build on a faster transition into this offense and get them caught up as fast as we can. I mean, look it’s different than in previous years as well, where you may claim somebody and you’re playing five days later. So, if we have a couple of extra days to work with, that’s a bonus. That’s something we’re going to embrace with these players we’re picking up, but obviously we’ve got to do a good job as coaches educating them and they have to do a good job as players keeping up to speed and communicating with us of what they need more help on.
Q: You’ve turned over that group a lot since the start of training camp. What’s your comfort level as a whole with that group and especially with what you saw in the preseason from them?
A: I have faith and confidence in all the players on our roster. Look, as I’ve said before, this is the time of year there’s more roster movement in the league than at any other time of the year. It’s our job to do our due diligence and always know who’s out there, and any decision we make it’s always for the best part of the team.
Q: We saw you claimed three guys. I don’t know if you can tell us, do you know what the corresponding moves are? Did you put anybody on short-term IR or release anybody?
A: I’m going to hold on that right now until everything is final. In terms of the young guys that we claimed, these are three guys that we’ve known about. Obviously, two being rookies this year, the other being a rookie last year, but these are guys that being young in their careers we obviously knew coming out of college. It’s our job to know the league, to study who’s out there and know who’s available. They’re three guys that we’re looking forward to working with and developing and giving them a chance to come in here and compete.
Q: What will (Running Back) Saquon’s (Barkley) workload look like today?
A: It’ll be increased from what you saw last time. Obviously, yesterday was a walkthrough, I wouldn’t count that. But from what you saw last week, including him in New England, it’ll be increased from that.
Q: Including getting hit?
A: Today is a shells practice, so we’re not going to be hitting each other today.
Q: So, tomorrow is the big day for him, I would assume?
A: If we decide to go pads, it could be.
Q: Not definitely going pads?
A: I haven’t decided yet. We’ll see where our team is with a lot of things.
Q: Does the weather affect what you want to do with him? It’s going to be on wet turf today, does that play at all into it?
A: No. The footing is the footing over there. We’ve got the shoes that we put on, we make sure that everyone’s in the right footwear that’s best for them and safe for them. We work on the fundamentals of planting off the correct foot with the right body position all the time. Look, to be honest with you, we haven’t had a rain day yet in training camp. This is kind of a blessing today and hopefully it comes down a little bit for us.
Q: You were at Miami’s pro day. Did (Linebacker Quincy) Roche work at that? What do you remember about him from that?
A: He did. I remember him having a good day down there. Obviously, he’s a good-sized player. He’s got some short area quickness, initial burst. He’s got a good motor. You actually go back and watch his tape – you can watch Miami, you go back to his days at Temple, there’s enough on tape that makes you interested. He played a lot down in Pittsburgh this preseason, so there’s enough tape to go ahead and evaluate and kind of project – part of our job is projecting. Excited to have him in here to start working with him.
Q: One of the mantras that some of the veteran guys have been using lately is, ‘you’ve got to learn how to stop losing before you can win.’ I don’t know if that comes from you or elsewhere. Did that happen last year or does that have to happen again? Where are you in that process?
A: I think that’s always a part of the game. Look, there’s a lot of parity in this league. There’s a lot of talent. The league is structured that the worst teams have the earliest draft picks, you get compensatory picks for players you lose in free agency. The league is built for parity. There’s good coaches on every team, there’s good players on every team. It’s too close a competition. Over a third of the games – I believe the stat is right now – are decided by three points or less, so mistakes kill your chances of winning. We talk all the time about being smart, tough and fundamentally sound. That ties into being smart in knowing the assignment and the execution. Tough, physically and mentally tough, to be able to go out there and handle adversity. And then fundamentally sound, for us at every position to have good execution on every play. Every good play starts with good fundamentals, so we’re always stressing those three principles to make sure that we’re not having turnovers, penalties, mental errors. That’s obviously a key component for us. It’s tough enough to win a game in the National Football League. If you put yourself behind the eight ball with self-inflicted wounds, it becomes even tougher.
Q: Will practice squad guys be practicing with you today?
A: We’ll have some. I’m not going to go through the whole list. When we have it finalized, we’ll release it to everybody. We should have some guys out there today with us.
Q: Any update on (Tight End) Evan Engram?
A: To be honest with you, there wasn’t really much to report on from yesterday. He wasn’t out with us on the field, he was with the trainers. Yesterday was really kind of a down day for him, in terms of what it is. I don’t think we’re going to have anything hard evidence-wise in these next couple of days. The plan is really to give him a few days, which extends really through this weekend, to see how his body responds and see where he’s at.
Q: Have you heard anything from the League about the Saints game yet?
A: No, I have not. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of guys in here with ties down south, ties specifically in Louisiana, so there’s a lot of guys who are constantly talking to me about their families down there and how everyone is doing. Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people down there in that storm. A lot of us were down there through (Hurricane) Katrina, so you think back 16 years ago about what it was and what it looked like this time of year, it was a different time. In terms of the game itself, I know (the Saints have) relocated. I don’t have anything on the logistics of that. I’m sure the operations department will handle that and wherever they decide to play, that’s where we’ll be.
Q: But it won’t be here?
A: I can’t rule that out. I have not had a conversation about that at this point. To be honest with you, we’ve been so busy on personnel stuff and the end of training camp and our own install, I really haven’t spent much time on where that game is going to be.