NYG Postgame (vs. Falcons) Transcripts: Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: First off, give credit to the Falcons. They played a good game, they made plays down the stretch when it counted. I was pleased with a lot of things our team did today, but ultimately we didn’t finish. We’ve got to do a better job of finishing drives, finishing the game. A lot of things that we saw positive that we worked on throughout the week coming out of the Washington week showed up in the game in a positive way, but big picture-wise we’ve got to do a better job finishing the game – that’s coaching, that’s playing, that’s executing, that’s making sure we do what we have to do for 60 minutes. With that said, I’ll open it up for questions.
Q: How disappointing is this loss as mistakes keep happening?
A: Obviously, you prepare every week to have success. You come out of any game without success and there are things you’re obviously not happy about. The key for us is to make sure that we go back to work, we correct the mistakes, we keep being productive in things we’re doing well and we stay together as a team and keep pushing forward. That’s the biggest-picture thing right now.
Q: Your defense for the second week in a row gave up a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. How do you fix that?
A: Go back to work and we keep on working on it. I thought they stepped up at the end of the first half, did a good job in the short-field two-minute. We’ve got to keep making aggressive plays. Obviously, it comes down to making sure we’re in the right call, executing the techniques and the fundamentals at the time. We’ve got to make sure we put it all together.
Q: A lot of missed opportunities in the red zone, penalties again have come back. You preach discipline constantly. How do you clean this up? This is a few weeks of this now and it has to affect you. You’re the guy who says, ‘discipline, discipline, discipline’ – this keeps happening. How do you clean this up?
A: I think the thing that showed up today in terms of penalties on the field, really that comes down to more technique post-snap instead of focus and finish. We’ve got to make sure we keep drilling that and correcting that in practice to make sure it doesn’t show up again. That’s the biggest thing. Obviously, we had two of the tackling penalties. I’ve got to look at them on tape and see them a little bit closer in terms of what they are. We always stress keeping our eyes up, seeing what we hit, making sure we remove ourselves from the situation. Sometimes there are bang-bang plays that are pretty close. We’ve got to make sure we go ahead and put the players in the right position that we eliminate those shots right there.
Q: Do you have to worry about the morale of this ball club at all?
A: I think the DNA of our team is a team that comes back and goes to work. Look, no one is going to be happy after a loss, that’s the reality of what it is. The element of what we do as professionals (is) we’ve got to come back and go to work. We’ve got to watch the tape, we’ve got key on it and we’ve got to prepare for a tough opponent coming up next week. In terms of the morale of the team, I trust in the way the guys work, the way I’ve seen them work on a day in and day out basis and they stick together as a team. That’s the biggest part I’m looking for is how they work.
Q: You had a bunch of guys go down in the first half. What have you heard on (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez)?
A: I haven’t had any word on Blake. Obviously, they took him out. I was told the same thing you guys were told – knee . I have not seen Blake, I have not talked to the doctors after the game concerning Blake. I don’t have an answer on that one. Hopefully it’s not serious. Blake is obviously a key part of our team, he’s a leader, he’s a hard worker, he’s a tough dude. We’ll see where he’s at and hopefully it’s going to trend in the right direction.
Q: In the fourth quarter, you guys is you burned two timeouts early. How much responsibility do you take for mistakes like that?
A: On one we had the communication issue with the headset dropping down, in terms of the coach to player system, so I wanted to make sure we were in the right call. We had a third down situation – I wanted to make sure that with the system going down briefly that we went ahead and we handled that the right way. Obviously, we didn’t convert on that one and we kept on going. In terms of the other ones, talking about the end of the first half timeout, that was by design to go ahead and see what they were doing at that point based on where we were at in the half, what we had coming up, so that was by design on that one.
Q: On defense, you had two of your guys, (Defensive Back) Logan Ryan and (Cornerback) Adoree’ Jackson, both drop interceptions. Can the defense survive when its top players can’t make those kinds of plays?
A: Those are the things we talk about in terms of having opportunities and making sure we finish. We’ve got to make sure we keep putting the players int eh right position. Those guys played those plays aggressively, put themselves in position to get it and obviously it’s things we’ve got to keep on working in practice – JUGS machines, interception drills, things of that nature. Those are things you go back to work on, you focus on and you show the players in terms of, ‘Okay, this is what’s happening. Here’s what we’ve got to key on,’ and we make sure we keep pushing in the right direction to fix those.
Q: I don’t want to say, ‘Play scared,’ but does the defense in crunch time get nervous?
A: No. No, I don’t see that at all. I don’t see that at all. It comes down to making sure the calls are right, the execution is right in the moment. No, I don’t see anything in terms of that.
Q: Obviously, you’re working a game. Could you tell that the crowd was not happy a lot of times? (Tight End) Evan Engram got booed off the field when he had a fumble. It seemed like this was sort of a hostile situation at times. Did you sense any of that?
A: I love our crowd. It’s New York, it’s supposed to be a tough place to be, right? Isn’t that the nature of where we’re at? People demand excellence because that’s where we’re at, in the biggest market. Isn’t that what people want? So, that’s what we have to work to give them. It’s not their job to show up and here just go ahead and pat us on the back. It’s our job to entertain them and give them something to cheer about. That’s it.
Q: What do you say to Evan?
A: Keep your head up, keep playing.
Q: What about to the point where even at the end he got cheered coming off the field because of nothing of his doing? What do you say to a player to handle it?
A: We handle what we do in the field, that’s the reality of what it is. I got it, I got booed early in the game for not going for it on fourth down. We punted it and everyone erupted and cheered when it was downed inside the five. We’ve got to make the best decisions for playing the game and putting ourselves in position for success. In terms of any reaction from the crowd, I’m never going to criticize the crowd – what, are you kidding me? It’s our job to entertain them, it’s our job to please them. That’s the reality of what it is. In terms of our players and reacting to that, we’re supposed to have adversity, that’s the nature of what we do. We talked before about pressure, there’s supposed to be pressure in our job. That’s the reality of what we do and get paid for. In terms of reacting to something externally, we’ve got to focus on what we do each play and the process for being successful.
Re: losing Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton to hamstring injuries
A: I haven’t heard much about the status on that other than they didn’t finish the game with us, obviously. Hopefully it’s a quick turnaround for both those guys. They’re obviously integral parts of our offense. I was pleased with seeing some of the other guys step up. (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney did a good job, made some plays early on for us. (Wide Receiver) Collin (Johnson) made some nice catches down the stretch. Obviously, (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) played today, made some big time catches, so there were a number of guys making plays – getting the ball in 26’s (Saquon Barkley) hands and getting him started in some space. There were a lot of positives of guys stepping up. It’s our job to make sure whoever is available for the game, we put them in position and then it’s their job to go out there and execute.
Q: How are you assessing Saquon hitting the holes out there and can you talk about (Running Back Devontae) Booker being inactive today?
A: In terms of the inactives, there’s a lot of that goes in every week in terms of healthy scratches, injury scratches, whatever it may be. Obviously, we make the best decision for the team. There’s multiple roles that are always involved, so for whatever player is down for different reasons, it’s not always a reflection of anything that people want to read into in terms of confidence or trusting the player. A lot of times, it’s just in terms of how the flow of the game is going to be played and who’s available, what we have to do in terms of depth backups and different parts of the team, as well.
Q: About Saquon hitting the holes, how are you assessing the way he’s going after the holes?
A: I’ve seen him have some productive runs. I’ve got to take a look at the tape before I go ahead and make any broad picture statements on that.
Q: Is he banged up, Saquon? He seemed to be stretching a lot on the sideline and pulling himself out a bunch.
A: I didn’t see anything on that. In terms of him pulling himself out, I didn’t see that either. We kind of rotate all those back a good bit. Sometimes it’s (Fullback Eli) Penny, (Running Back) Gary (Brightwell) in for him there. That’s something we rotate a lot.
Q: You’re a big proponent of complementary football and the idea of all three phases playing together. You make a decision to punt there at the 50. (Inaudible). Is it more frustrating when you’re trying to call a game complementary-wise and one phase is not helping the others?
A: All three have to play off each other, so exactly what you said right there. We’ve got to make sure we execute at the time in terms of how it comes up. Obviously, the punt from the 50, we’re looking to pin those guys back, put them on a long field for that final drive. That was a big part of what we were doing. Obviously, at that point we’re looking to play to our defense and (had) confidence in how they had been playing throughout the game and things they were doing. Our punting game has been pretty good in the plus-50 zone. (Defensive Back) Keion (Crossen) made a big-time play earlier in the day for us. We looked to play for it right there, but in terms of offense, defense, kicking game, we all have to obviously execute when the number is called.
Q: How banged up was Kenny Golladay today? We saw his snaps cut back and before the game it looked like you guys were deliberating whether to play him or not.
A: Our medical staff gave us the green light to play (him) and they indicated that it was in the best interest of him to go out and play. It was something we watched throughout practice this week. We obviously managed some of the volume this week in terms of what he did and building him up a little bit. We saw enough from him pregame and the medical staff saw enough pregame to say he was good to go, and obviously he went out there and made some plays for us today. In terms of some gauge of exactly where he is percentage-wise, I couldn’t speak for Kenny on that. I know he’s a tough dude and he plays through a lot of nicks and bumps. At this point in the year, no one is 100 percent. There’s not a player in the league who’s 100 percent, so you’ve just got to make sure you put a guy out there who’s safe to play.
Q: What are your thoughts on the personal foul call on (Safety) Xavier McKinney and from your perspective do you think that changed the momentum late in the game?
A: I’m not going to comment on any of the penalties or anything called. I’m going to make sure I check the tape. We got a brief shot on the jumbotron. I’ll take a look at it in terms of anything technique-wise we need to focus on.