Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: Are you expecting to get (Cornerback) Aaron Robinson back for this game?
A: There's a chance. He practiced with us last week. He was out there with us yesterday doing a lot more. He's moving well. I'd say obviously coming off the injury, that kind of delayed his start with the season. I'd say he's been very encouraging in terms of how he's moving. He's been really involved schematically and game plan-wise throughout the entire course of this process with (Assistant Defensive Backs Coach) Mike Treier and (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome Henderson in terms of staying up on what we're doing – terminology, verbiage, communication. So in terms of everything we've done throughout the season, he's been very involved in that, so it's helped him kind of move up quickly mentally. We'll see where it goes these next couple days. Obviously, we've got (Defensive Back) J.R. (Reed) on the roster now and some other guys. We'll see how he kind of picks up the scheme stuff, but there is a chance.
Q: How about (Linebacker) Elerson (Smith)? I guess is this the same boat?
A: He's actually in the same boat. He's in the same boat. We'll see him out there today again. There's kind of a different list of guys at the corner, star positions, as well as the outside backers, so we'll kind of see how it shakes out.
Q: I don't know what most people do, but is it better to have your best guy shadow (Chiefs Wide Receiver) Tyreek Hill or do you throw different guys at Tyreek Hill? What do you do to defend Tyreek Hill?
A: I think it's all based on the scheme you're playing. You can watch some schemes where they match up best-on-best. Some schemes will match up best on second-best and give double-team help to the best guy. Different coordinators have different philosophies. Sometimes you do it differently based on different calls within the game. I think it's kind of six of one and half a dozen of the other in terms of how you do it. At the end of the day, he's a good player. So even if you're matched up best-on-best or you've got some kind of double-team help, one, they're very creative schematically to get him open anyway. You watch enough games where this guy's used to getting the double-teams and then also you've got to play with good technique and fundamentals and you've got to play the course of the play. That's the other key thing is these plays are extended plays. You can't play through when you think the play is over. You've got to play through when the play stops, the whistle's blown and it's fully done because you watch every game, teams that win the games against them, teams that keep it close, teams that get blown out, there's a common theme in all of them. It doesn't matter how the score ends up, they're going to hit some balls down the field on you. That's just going to happen. You have to keep playing the course of the game on through and not lose your mind when they make plays.
Q: Does it help that your two top outside corners, (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) and (Cornerback) James (Bradberry), seem comfortable in the slot where maybe not every outside corner does?
A: I'd say the versatility our guys have built in gives us some flexibility in the schemes, so in terms of whether that's this team or another team, that's something that we don't have to overthink too much in terms of how we use our players. They've played inside, outside. They've run zone. They've run man. That stuff's all matched up for us.
Q: You mentioned the other day that offensively you kind of have to decide if you want to try to grind it out and hold the ball and keep it away from them. Or do you want to just go for it? Where does the running game come into play with that? It seems like your team has done some good things, but the running game still seems to be something that's like, I don't know if you think you can count on it.
A: Are you saying like how much does how we're playing the run, how much does that affect whether or not we try to –
Q: I mean, you can't really grind it out on them unless you can run the ball.
A: Well, there's different ways to grind it out on teams. I know what you're saying in terms of the grind out the runs. You watch a lot of teams throughout the league, there's some games where teams barely throw the ball at all. I've been in games where we've had different game plans where we'd say, 'we're going to grind it out,' and the entire game plan is dink, dunk passes, screens, things of that nature. But the run game has got to factor in some way, shape or form. You have to be able to be balanced and run the ball. When I talk about balance, again, it's not always you've got 25 runs, 25 passes. To me, balance is you have to be able to run the ball or throw the ball when you have to.
Q: With (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) not in the mix, do you go into each week and do you think you can get enough done in the running game? I mean, I know you want to, but sometimes the numbers just aren't there.
A: Yeah, absolutely. We have a lot of confidence in the running backs on our roster – Book (Running Back Devontae Booker), (Fullback Eli) Penny and (Running Back) Gary (Brightwell). Those guys right there, they work hard. (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) does a good job in the running game, as well. In terms of manufacturing the production in the run game, we have to find different ways of doing that, but we have confidence in the players we have.
Q: What are those three guys going to do today – (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney), (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and Saquon?
A: They'll start with the trainers. They should incorporate and be more with the team today than they've been the last few days. We'll see how they go with the trainers. We're expecting to get a little bit more out of those guys today though.
Q: Yesterday (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan) was talking about how he feels like the NFL needs to do away with the turf fields because he thinks there's a lot of injuries that are happening there.
A: I'm fully aware of what his statements were. I'm going to go ahead and just keep the focus on the football part. I'll let the facilities crew deal with the other part.
Q: Guys like Aaron Robinson, when he's on IR or PUP or whatever, is he involved in all the walkthroughs? Like is he out there when you guys do the walkthrough in the second practice on Wednesday? Is he out there on the field with you guys?
A: He's present through them. Now, there's some things he can and can't do through PUP as far as being involved with certain kind of walkthroughs. But in terms of the meetings, we do a lot of meetings on our feet. We do a lot of meetings that we kind of talk and walk at the same time where it's not like just a full-out practice walkthrough, but it's more of a kind of – we just call it a meeting on our feet. He's done a lot of that. He gets a lot of extra work throughout the day with our coaches and, again, that's been really good for him to stay up and current. He's a smart dude. He's very involved. He's a good communicator. He's very, very focused. That's something that jumped out to us right away with this guy when we met him down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. It definitely carried over when we got him. Obviously, a lot of guys get hurt and they get disengaged, especially young players who don't know how to respond to that. He's done a really good job of staying very engaged and very present in the moment, understanding, 'OK, my role this week may not be active at the game because of my situation, but my role this week is to mentally be engaged, make progress going forward and then be with the trainers and the strength staff to go ahead and get physically better, so I can get on the field.' He's done a really good job of that.
Q: What does he bring skill set-wise? We haven't seen him do anything.
A: A-Rob? Well, he's got real good top-end speed. He's got very good short-area quickness. He has good instincts in terms of matching receivers. He has very good ball skills. He's got a physical presence to him. That's one of the things that really jumped out to us when we looked at this guy through college tape and down in Mobile. He's a physical corner, he really is. Physicality comes into how you tackle but then also how you can play on the line of scrimmage with hands and really go ahead and be disruptive. He does a good job of that. He's one of those guys when you watch him from across the ball, he doesn't blink much pre-snap. He's always looking into it, he's anticipating moves. Physically, this guy's got a pretty good skillset.
Q: You guys have done a little bit of a better job this year of containing tight ends than maybe in previous years. With that being said, how do you plan to contain (Chiefs Tight End) Travis Kelce?
A: I think all these players are different, so it's not just about the tight end position in general, it's about the players who are playing the schemes they use. Look, they're going to find ways to get him the ball. He's one of the top players in the league for a reason. They're going to find ways to get him the ball, they're going to find ways to try to find a matchup they like whether it's against zone or man. They're going to be very inventive with him. Some of the things you look at that (Chiefs Head Coach) Andy (Reid) does is very specific to the players in terms of freeing them up throughout the game. He'll see if you're trying to give help to somebody and they'll find a matchup against whoever is single. It's going to take everyone to go ahead and help on this guy. We've got to go ahead and make sure that whatever we play, we play sound with good fundamentals. We've got to do a good job of tackling this guy in space. A lot of people make the mistake of going in there on him with assuming with a lot of tight ends that he's going to be more a straight-line runner. He's got real good vertical, one-cut ability. That short space, he sticks his foot in the ground and makes you miss. He's got a good stiff arm. He's very instinctive in terms of running and he knows how to set up the blocks down the field. You see a lot of guys slipping and fall on their field out there. I think these guys do a good job as a team playing to that advantage of understanding their surface. When we watch opponents play, there's a lot of guys on the ground. We've got to play with good footing, put our feet under us, keep our cleats in the ground. You talk about a guy like Kelce, he understands in space because he is a bigger type receiver as a tight end, guys are going to play a little bit more out of control with him. They're going to try and go ahead and get their shoulder into him and make sure they secure the tackle, he can cut back very effectively, and if you go ahead and soft play him on the edge because you don't want to get run by, he can lower his shoulder and play through the contact right there and keep extending the play.
Q: With the schedule on Monday and being on the road for a Monday night game, I would imagine you're going to try to use your time as best as possible. That old cliche of 'the hay is in the barn', is the hay ever in the barn when you're playing a Monday night game and you have the entire day to kind of go through things or can you think too much?
A: My philosophy is I don't think the game plan is ever fully complete. You want to give your players what you're doing going in as a plan. But you kind of think of it this way, if you would make an adjustment on the sideline or at halftime, why be afraid to make that adjustment the night before the game? Why be afraid to make that adjustment the morning of the game? If there's something you think of that's going to help the team, make it while they have time to really go through it and understand it fully. I know a lot of places, that's, 'hey, we want to have the game plan fully complete, and everything's done.' We obviously get the majority of all of that done. We have a game plan that's ready to go. I wouldn't say it's set in terms of we're not going to make adjustments off of it. It's more in terms of here's the game plan, now anything we see along the way that makes an adjustment to give us an advantage, we do. The last meeting I have with the coaches before the game every week, I always express to them all the time, don't be afraid to make adjustments. If you see something that's going to help us that's different from what we prepared for, let's make sure we clearly communicate and explain to the players what we have to do.
Q: Last week's practices incorporated more fundamental work or you returned to it with some physicality as well, did you keep that intensity high this week or did you dial it back down? How did you handle it this week?
A: No, the core principles when we're working on fundamentals, we always try to have. In terms of the elements of some specific drills that we did last week, they carried over. Wednesday for us – it's a longer week, we did kind of a double walkthrough day. Yesterday was in pads. We went out and practiced, had some good tempo, popped the pads a good bit. We got some good work in the run game, some good individual matchups for one-on-one, pass, seven-on-seven, some extra things that we had to get to just for more of the fundamentals where it was more Giants on Giants, and then we had time to get to team period versus the Chiefs. That's something that we had to focus on right there. Today, we'll continue to work on the fundamentals out here.