Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: All right, so we spent yesterday obviously cleaning up the tape from Week 1. Before we left yesterday, we introduced the Washington Football Team to our players to make sure they had a brief glimpse in terms of big picture of who they are. The players spent last night looking through the scouting report and some of the preliminary cutups we had made for them and then came in today. We're going to focus this morning simulating more of a Wednesday install, which would include early downs, punt, punt return, field goal, field goal block. This afternoon, we'll come back and we'll do more of a Thursday install, which is going to be kickoff, kick return, hands team and third down install. Tomorrow morning, we'll show up and we'll simulate more of a Friday in terms of red area install, review all the special teams situations, review all the end of game situations and then we'll get on the train and we'll go on down to Washington.
I'd say when talking about this opponent, obviously, it's a division opponent. In talking about the NFC East, it's a unique division. I think these are different type of division games. Every division wants to talk about having passion and who you play. I think it's important to recognize the history of all the teams in this division, the physicality, the passion, the fan bases. These things all play a part in terms of how we have to prepare for this game and understand the environment we're walking into. Last year we played in Washington and it was very limited fans. We have to expect a very hostile atmosphere this week. I think it's going to be a great atmosphere to play in, personally. I think when you go down anywhere, when it's us versus everybody else, that's always good to really test your team sticking together and see how we operate in that type of situation. In terms of talking about these guys on the field, look, it starts with (Washington Head Coach) Ron (Rivera). I think Ron's a terrific coach. He does a great job. He always has his teams prepared. I think the theme of their team is really, they do what they do, and they do it very well. You look at the defense, between Ron and (Washington Defensive Coordinator) Jack (Del Rio), it's been the same defense for a long time. There's variation within it, however, the history of the defense is the history of the defense. We can expect to see in the game what we see on cutups, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a cakewalk. It means it's going to be very challenging. They don't have to do a lot because what they do is very sound. They have very talented, very good players, starting with their defensive front. Obviously, those edge players are second to none. All right, the interior tackles – (Washington Defensive Tackle Daron) Payne, (Washington Defensive Tackle Jonathan) Allen, and (Washington Defensive Tackle Matt) Ioannidis coming in there – these guys can all make plays. They're athletic, they're stout. There's multiples that they can operate in. You talk about their linebackers and their secondary, to me, the theme is speed and aggressiveness. These guys play very downhill. They're aggressive to get in the box, aggressive to make plays, aggressive to jump routes on the outside. They're fast. They flow over the top. They play off what the disruption of the front causes in front of them and they do a good job right there limiting big plays. You play against this team, you have to be prepared to go down the field tick by tick by tick. They're a very good team situationally getting off the field on third down and red area. They're a very good team of not allowing explosive plays. They're a good tackling team. Ok, you've got to make sure you try and challenge them in the open field when you get the opportunity. But this is a fundamentally sound team, they're very prepared. They come in and do what they do.
Offensively, (Washington Offensive Coordinator Scott) Turner's offense, we've seen a lot of it throughout the years. It hasn't had a lot of variation, that's not an insult. It's just they have what their package is, they know how to go ahead and dress it up a little bit, but they play to their players' strengths. They're consistent in what they do. They're able to produce plays. I think when you talk about their offense, obviously, they've added explosive weapons on the outside. They drafted (Washington Wide Receiver Dyami) Brown. They signed (Washington Wide Receiver Curtis) Samuel, I know he's on IR right now, but the focus for their offense has been adding explosive plays, pushing it down the field. Fitz (Washington Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick) not playing in the game, it's really looking at how Fitz plays and really giving that element. I think the thing you talk about with (Washington Quarterback Taylor) Heinicke replacing Fitz, they both have a lot of similarities in terms of their competitiveness, how they play and think on their feet, how they improvise during a game or how they extend plays. These guys are really true gamers, and I say gunslinger in a very complimentary way for these guys. These are guys you cannot sleep on. I mean, I have a lot of respect for Fitz. I think it's important to see everybody's players in the game and see everybody play. We cannot sleep on Heinicke. This guy's a good player. This guy's a talented player. This guy goes out there and plays 60 minutes and he's going to give us everything we can handle. We have to be very prepared. We have to play very sound, very disciplined and very aware with him on the field. You tie in, obviously, (Washington Tight End) Logan Thomas, one of the top tight ends in the league. They do a terrific job on third down, red area using this guy. They're going to find ways to isolate this guy in space and get him in the right matchup. He's a big catch radius type of guy. He makes a lot of contested catches. He's a tough matchup. You've got to get him before he gets going, that's easier said than done. We've got to make sure we get the right matchups and we understand how to play against this guy. Then obviously you talk about the backs, look, (Washington Running Back Antonio) Gibson, (Washington Running Back J.D.) McKissic, you can hand these guys the ball, they can make plays. You can throw screens to them. You can throw check-downs, you can get them on a swing route and you can put them out in the actual route going. They're very versatile. You can have these guys on the field – it could be 21-out personnel, meaning the fullback is out of the game, just the two halfbacks, and is it 21? Is it 11? They're really creating receivers with their running backs and spinning multiples. They can get to the same schemes in multiple personnel groupings, so it's a great challenge with these guys right here.
Special teams-wise, (Washington Special Teams Coordinator) Nate (Kaczor's) a great coach. They're really built for coverage units. They've got a very good core of very talented specialists, big leg specialists. I think (Washington Punter) Tress Way has been one of the top punters in this league for a long time. This guy's extremely fast. He's tough to pressure. You don't want to waste too much time really trying to go after this guy. He does a great job getting down the field. They've got speed on the outside with their gunners to force fair catches. The other thing is, you've got to do a good job with Tress of the balls on the ground of stopping the roll. He gets a lot of hidden yards for the net punt that comes off of balls that are not fielded, that he gets rolling towards the goal line and they steal extra yards right there. So we've been very sound with our specialists this week. We've got to be sound in our protection units. These guys will do a great job putting size on the inside. We expect to see some size in the A-gap to try and test our protection, as well as on the field goal protection. These guys do a really good job coming off the edge. You've got to make sure that you're stout in there and you protect for your specialists and we give (Kicker) Graham (Gano) a chance to get the ball off.
But there's not one part of this game playing against a team like Washington that they're not going to have talent and a lot of players and they're not going to be sound in their scheme. So, it's going to take a good week of preparation. Obviously, it's a short week. There's different challenges that come up in these weeks. I'd say first off, primarily, you want to make sure your guys are physically recovered as much as possible. You want to have a fresh team going into Thursday. The best way we can equate it to our players is you come off of a game on Sunday, all right, you're really getting ready for a Thursday practice, which for us is a higher volume, higher tempo type of practice. We have a lot different situations with them and a longer practice on the field for us throughout the week, so our guys can have a little of that simulation in terms of knowing what they have to prepare for in that short period of turnaround. And then mentally, you want to make sure that you can go out there, operate, and execute whatever you ask your team to do. It's very important you understand who the opponent is. It's also very important to understand who you are and how you have to execute how you have to play. So, with that being said, we have a lot of work to get done in a short period of time for Washington. When we get on this train and we want to make sure our guys are prepared and when we get there Thursday night, obviously, we want to make sure we're ready to go out there physically and mentally to be able to run and hit and play fast football. With that being said, I'll open it up to any questions you may have.
Q: I know you're always confident in all your players. Did you get more confident in your offensive line? You just spent some time on how good Washington's defensive line is – the way your offensive line held up against Denver's pass rush, did that –
A: You guys ask me all the time about the offensive line and that's (what) your job is supposed to be, you guys are asking the right questions. I see a lot of things at practice. (I) talk all the time about I see things that you can build with. I see things you can build with. I see things in practice. Like the number one thing in my mind, like look, I'm going to tell you now, like you come into my meeting on a Monday, I don't care if you win by 30, lose by 30, it's always the same tone, same meeting. I kind of try to keep it like this and when I turn the tape on, the first thing I see is what do I have to correct right now? What's the opponent watching and what do we got to fix? How do we help our team right now and go out there and teach our players of how we've got to fix it? So, the first thing I'm thinking is corrections, but then I'm looking for, what did we do well enough to win? What can we build on? When I watch our offense line, the first thing that starts with any offensive line is the camaraderie. They've got to play together. Now, some teams, that's just five. I say it all time, if you're on the trip, you're playing. I want all of our guys playing. I want them building chemistry and making sure we have the right kind of mixes that we only get in a situation someone has to play because of need. I want to play guys playing because we're developing all of our players. We're going to be able to play with all of our players on our roster. We keep bringing along, we can play a little bit fresh, a little bit ahead. So, starting with the camaraderie with those guys, like look, what's said on the outside, we don't worry about it on the inside, OK? But they're aware of it. They're aware of it. That's a challenge for these guys and I like the way they respond to that every day. They come out and they work, and they don't really care what's being said about them. It's not going to deter from how they work and stick together as a team and support each other. They go against a very tough defensive front every day in practice – ours. So, that's one-on-ones, two- on-twos, games inside, they're going against a very talented front and they've got guys who are going to get after them every single day. We like that because we feel that when you play a front, like Washington's, who's very talented, obviously, we've prepared them for that. So, they've seen a lot of the things, talent-wise, speed-wise, power-wise and schematically, they're going to see from different opponents. I wasn't surprised to see our guys go out the other day and operate the way we planned on going out there and operating. I wasn't. I expected them to go out there and play well. Are there things you got to clean up? Yeah, absolutely. There's always something you got to clean up and I always start with, what do I have to clean up as a head coach? What do I have to do better? What can I help the coordinators do better? What can we get the position coaches doing better? And then we got to get to the players. Until we get it right as coaches, the players can't do anything. So, we're going to always look to fix things and clean things up. However, along those lines, I'm not surprised by the way the offensive line plays. I see the way they work every day. I know what we demand on those guys. I know the situations we put them in to challenge them and make it tough, make it tougher than it's going to be in the games a lot of times. I see how they respond to it. I like the way they respond to coaching. I like the way they respond to tough criticism. So, I'm not surprised with the way these guys played because of how they work.
Q: With (Offensive Lineman) Shane (Lemieux), did he reinjure his knee? Or is that just something that you guys are going to have to manage?
A: Everyone's got individual things we have to account for. I thought (Guard) Ben (Bredeson) got in the other day, he did a good job. I thought Shane did a nice job when he was in there, as well. We have a number of guys coming out in the short turnaround. (If) today's really Tuesday, it would be a player's day off. So, we had a number of guys right now we're going to kind of start with the trainers today and kind of move them into practice. It's a walkthrough practice, but kind of move them as we get going and see where they're at physically. I wouldn't say anybody's involvement or lack of involvement in practice today would have anything to do with playing on Thursday. We still have Wednesday to get guys out there. It's a walkthrough day. We've had a lot of meetings this morning, more meetings this afternoon, followed by another walkthrough. I wouldn't look too far into involvement one way or the other right now going into the game.
Q: What can you take from what the Chargers were able to do against that pass rush particularly early in that game? They really neutralized, especially those edge guys.
A: Well, I would say this, we've got expect to see a lot more production from Washington than what we saw in last week's game. You can take a look at the tape right there and you can say, obviously, there's some things schematically that the Chargers did. They did a lot of things that's nice with the quarterback and tying in the run game and quick passes, getting out. However, to me, anybody you play you have to expect to get their absolute best. It's a division game. Like, look, if you try to fall asleep on someone because you think they didn't do what you thought they're going to do in the first game, like I promise you, we're going to see the best Chase and Sweat had to offer. That's not going to be a surprise to us. We know we're going to get their absolute best.
Q: You said Young and those guys, what is it that makes them so good?
A: They're both long. I'm going to talk about Chase and Sweat right now. Look, they're both long, they're both extremely fast off the snap. They're first step quickness is extremely quick. They eat up a lot of ground. They have those long legs. They don't waste momentum. They don't waste motion to get into it. They use those long (?) with their arms to get in your chest and bull you back. Sweat's really a powerful guy. He's really a power – he's a long, powerful guy that can really play through your edge and he can get through your chest thick if you overset him and he can get to the inside shoulder and it's tough to go ahead and reset down on him once you lose that leverage. Chase is a rare guy. To be that big, that fast, that strong, that powerful and that athletic. I think this guy really, you look at the traits this guy has off the field. I mean, this guy's a true leader. This guy's a bell cow for these guys. He was as a rookie last year. You can see the way they rally around him and you can see the way he works and prepares, and it comes in a game right there. I mean, this guy's a special player. He's really one of the elite guys in the league. Just a rare combination of all the skill set, which obviously in the draft is why everyone was so high on the guy, but I think that nobody misevaluated this guy, I'll say it right now. Like, maybe he didn't go high enough.
Q: On the quarterback position, you obviously spent eight years with the best there in New England. Just curious when you're coaching (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones), do you ever talk to him about things that (Former Patriots Quarterback Tom) Brady did in terms of preparation, attention to detail and ball security? If so, does Daniel embrace those conversations?
A: I don't try to live in the past. Obviously, we share experiences with all of our players from places we've been. You've got to use your experience with other players in terms of things that may have helped them along the way. I don't try to live in the past. I don't want to walk into anything and say, 'this is how somebody else did it. You do it that way.' You can't emulate and imitate anybody. Look, Daniel prepares extremely well. Daniel goes out there and practices hard every day. He goes out there and we have confidence in him because of the way he prepares on a weekly basis, doing everything it takes to be ready for the game. In terms of going ahead and reflecting back on what somebody else did, sometimes you can tie that in a little bit schematically, maybe talking to a receiver on a different kind of route pattern or some kind of stem and you can kind of say, 'Hey, listen, this is how some guys used it,' but you use that from tape you see on tape every week. I mean, you can watch Denver from us just playing them and telling our receivers, 'Hey, you see how (Broncos Wide Receiver Jerry) Jeudy did this right here, like, that's a good way of doing it. That's some good, savvy mannerisms right there.' You can watch the Chargers and say, 'Hey, you see how they ran this route right here. If we're going to have something similar in the game plan, this is the way we can go ahead and set it up right there.' So, you want to use everything available you have as a tool to teach. Anything that you can use to paint a mental image for your players and get them to go out there and play faster because they can understand exactly what you're looking for, you want to use that and not waste any opportunity. Do I walk in and I say, 'Hey, I've had the opportunity to be around really good players at other positions. You should do it this way'? Absolutely not. Everyone's a unique player. You have to let them play to their strengths. You have to let them be their own player. We've got to go ahead and teach as best we can, but we're not looking to try to go ahead and make anybody a version of anybody else. We want the New York Giants to be the New York Giants.
Q: Is there any chance (Tight End) Evan Engram is going to be able to go this week?
A: Yeah, I hope so. Yeah, I hope so. I know he's been pushing. He had a real good day of rehab the other day, moving along. He's making a lot of jumps in terms of how he's working. We'll see where he is today physically and reevaluate that probably tomorrow based on how today goes, and we'll see if he can get ready for Thursday.