Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Before we get started with Giants football, just two quick thoughts. We want to give our condolences as an organization to Sam Huff. Obviously, a great player for this organization, did a lot throughout the years. (Condolences) to him and his family. And then a local football coach, Drew Gibbs. For someone who lives in the local community, I know it has hit a lot of people that I know directly. The impact he's had on a lot of lives, this kind of ripple effect goes across high school football. Obviously, high school, college, NFL, we're all kind of connected in the same world, so our thoughts and prayers go out to him, his family and the team up there in Ramapo. That being said, we'll go ahead and jump into questions.
Q: Anything you can tell us about (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan)? We saw he is out today because of COVID-19.
A: So, we're still waiting on some official test results, in terms of the long-term ones. He wouldn't be completely ruled out at this point for the game. We've got to wait and see in terms of the test results coming up. As of right now, we're getting ready to place him on the COVID/(Reserve list) just to go ahead and create the spot movement-wise. I'd say beyond that, close contact-wise, they're going through the whole process. Anytime you have one of these things, (Senior Vice President of Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie Barnes and (Assistant Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist) Justin Maher, for each one of these things that pops up, it's like three hours' worth of contact tracing, who was where, who talked to who, who ate next to so-and-so. There's a whole map full of things. In terms of practice today, everyone will be out here with us. The only one who will be an exception would be (Linebacker) Zo (Lorenzo) Carter. He's at home again with an illness completely unrelated to COVID. Has nothing to do with COVID, but it's another illness and he's going to be home, as well.
Q: Just to clarify, Logan has a positive rapid test, correct?
Q: Because he's vaccinated, he doesn't have to test every day, right? So, did he come in and tell you guys he was feeling unwell and that's why he got tested?
A: I'm not going to go into the specifics of his personal situation, but it was something that drew an alarm to get him tested beyond just once this week.
Q: When do vaccinated players get tested? Do they have a standing day?
A: It's once a week, generally on a Monday. After a Monday night game, it could be a Tuesday for us, but generally Mondays.
Q: (Safety) Xavier McKinney is a guy who's in the room with him. He has said he's not vaccinated, right? How does that work with him as a close contact?
A: Out of precaution for all those players that are unvaccinated, we had a lot of them Zoom in today to thin out the rooms and make sure that they weren't exposed to being close contacts or to being in that situation. The way we set up the rooms anyway in the bubble and the meeting rooms, they're extremely spread out anyway. We're very specific about where certain players have to sit to make sure they're not close contacts with other people, kind of keep them protected. And we've talked throughout the year in terms of both the players who are not vaccinated being very conscious of who they're putting themselves around in terms of being in crowds, in the locker room, the cafeteria, things of that nature. Then also, we have to remind the team as well that you've got to respect their space, as well. We know who the guys are internally. We've got to respect their space, so they're not always all over everything and giving them room to operate.
Q: It sounds like you've ruled out the possibility with Logan that this is a false positive. Since you tested him yesterday, I presume—
A: There's still another test, we're waiting on the results coming back, so there's still another test we're waiting to come back. But I would not say this is not a false positive at this time like we had last week.
Q: There's also a risk at this point Logan may miss the Philadelphia game next week…
A: Again, these are things that there's a risk of that. We've got to wait on a couple of different things to come back, so nothing is officially ruled out at this point for the future beyond what we're doing right now.
Q: So, the guys who Zoomed in will be out at practice, right?
A: That's correct.
Q: If he can't play, I assume that means a bigger role for a lot of guys, but mostly (Safety) Julian Love?
A: Yeah, Love has a significant role in the game for us anyway, so Love will be out there playing a lot. Obviously, if you have Logan (out), there's several guys on the practice squad who will be in effect, as well.
Q: How big of a loss though is not having Logan? I mean, this is one of your leaders back there in your secondary in a game when you're facing (Buccaneers Quarterback) Tom Brady.
A: I'd say throughout the year, we've already lost a lot of significant players. We don't want to be without any of our guys, especially a captain, a leader, but that's something we've already gone through as a team. Everyone has to prepare every week, we have to get the team prepared every week. Doesn't matter who we're playing, you want to have all your players out there, but the most important thing is everyone has to be prepared that when they go out there, they can produce.
Q: You guys have done a pretty good job on (Chiefs Tight End Travis) Kelce and (Raiders Tight End Darren) Waller the last couple of games. (Buccaneers Tight End Rob) Gronk (Gronkowski) is similar to those guys or is it just they're all great tight ends, but his game is much different than those guys?
A: I'd say all three have very different games and skillsets. The common thread would be they're all very, very productive and effective players. Rob is a great player. He's one of the best to ever play that position of tight end. He's obviously going to be a guy who's a key focus if he's on the field. We've got to be very conscious of where he is with situational football. This guy has had a lot of big plays throughout the years playing with the same quarterback, Tom, so obviously he's a big part of their game plan.
Q: You said yesterday you'd have a better idea about (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) after practice. Is he closer, you think?
A: I thought he had a positive day yesterday for us. I wouldn't say that we've ruled anybody officially in or out but coming off the field yesterday, he had a good day for us.
Q: Would you say he's trending in the right direction though, still?
A: Yeah, I would say that.
Q: You know Tom so well. What's your thoughts on trying to hand him what would be his third straight loss?
A: I said earlier in the week, I've seen this movie before. This guy prepares relentlessly. He's the ultimate competitor, so in terms of what's happened in previous games, none of that will have any bearing on this game. It's all going to be about how their team executes and our team executes for 60 minutes.
Q: When a young player like (Tackle) Andrew Thomas is playing as well as he was before the injuries, when he comes back, do you handle it any differently? Do you start from a different vantage point not expecting a guy like that to all of a sudden pick up where he left off if he does move forward?
A: I'd say he's had a positive course of practice so far, but I think what you said is very fair. When a guy comes off any kind of long stint away from the team, whether it's an illness, an injury, whatever it is, when they come back, I don't think anyone just picks back up right away immediately where they left off. There's always a transition coming back. Now, a lot of times you can get that back through practice and you get in the game and you're still playing at a high level, but I don't think anyone just walks onto the field and just picks right back up immediately. You've got to get back in the sync of things playing next to the other guys on the offensive line, being within the calls. You really need the competition we had yesterday in practice to really go ahead and get him back ready. He had a good day of practice for us yesterday in terms of we had a lot of good-versus-good competitive work. He had a good practice for us yesterday.
Q: Are you more confident in him after yesterday's practice being ready for Monday or is it still kind of the same spot?
A: I'd say in terms of movement-wise of being out there and moving around and staying on the field, I'd say seeing him physically go out there and compete does give you more confidence. With that being said, there's going to be some other measuring sticks over the next couple days we'll take a look at.
Q: Would he have been listed as full yesterday? You said he did team stuff it sounded like. If he can do some team stuff, would he have been listed as full?
A: I don't know if he would be exactly full on that right there, but he did some stuff mixed in – team, some individual for us. It was good to see him out there finally doing some football stuff and moving around.
Q: If Saquon has had some down moments this season, it would be understandable given – especially, the stepping on the foot thing. What have you seen from him in terms of continuing to lead even when he's not on the field?
A: Are you referencing down moments in terms of his attitude or leadership?
Q: I don't think attitude, but I would think sometimes he says to himself, 'This sucks.'
A: I can't speak for him. I just know I watch him and how he interacts with his teammates and the impact he has on the team. I'd say I think anybody who's not available to play on the field, (it's) natural they want to be out there. I don't want to put a word in front there and all of a sudden create something for him. But, when I see him with the team, great energy, great enthusiasm, encouraging his teammates, competing every time he has an opportunity to compete in anything, whether that's answering questions in the meeting, it's on the field doing rehab, practicing, whatever it is. To me, he strives to be an impact on this team. That comes through in how he works to get back or whatever the case is and he's done a good job for us right now as a leader.
Q: What have you seen from (Defensive Back) J.R. Reed? Is he a guy that if Logan is down is working towards being a part of the game plan?
A: He's a guy that's obviously gotten more familiar with our system these last few weeks. He's definitely a competitive guy, he's an intelligent guy and he's a physical player. Those three things right there really help you when you play in the deep part of the field in that safety position. He's definitely a guy that factors in all of our safety positions and some of our sub defensive positions, just like Logan, Love and Zay (Xavier McKinney) do, so he's definitely in that mix. He's a guy that's been working for us on the field and playing. We rotate all these guys throughout practice. We try to prepare everyone that you never know what's going to happen. It can be something before the game, it could be something two plays into the game. Someone's got to go in there and go ahead and answer the call. He's done a good job progressing for us. He's a guy that as you get more comfortable, you play more aggressive and we've seen that from him.
Q: Are you aware of the stat that Brady's only lost three games in a row once ever in his career and that was in '02?
A: Over the course of his career – there's a million stats you can tie into a lot of things. I don't think any of that stuff's relative to what we're going to do or relevant to what we're going to do Monday night.