Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement:We'll continue the progression today. A little bit more tempo down for us today being the fourth day. This is the same schedule we used throughout the week for the Kansas City week. Worked out well for us in terms of having the guys fresh and ready to go. We fly down, obviously, tomorrow, but today we'll kind of spit shot some things up and go through some adjustments and corrections as a team.
Q: (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan), where are we with him?
A: As of right now, we placed him on COVID/(Reserve). I'd say when you're on that, obviously you can't play. Is there a small chance that he could still test out and be available? There is. We're preparing for all the situations of him not being available, as well as if he turns around for the last minute and he is. We'll prepare for that, as well.
Q: Does that include a standby ticket to Tampa on Monday morning?
A: It would. It absolutely would. So, if he clears as late as Monday morning, we'll get him down there and have him ready to play.
Q: So, all he has to do is test twice negative in a 24-hour span?
A: He needs two negative tests, two consecutive negative tests, within a span of 24 apart.
Q: So that would go through all of next week too, right? Talking about the Eagles game.
A: That would, yes. The testing would continue all the way through next week, as well.
Q: Is he asymptomatic?
A: I'm not going to go into specifics of any player's illness just so I don't have to sit here and break it down for each guy individually. Obviously, if there were symptoms for any player, I'd put him in a different category.
Q: The impact if Logan can't play – I know next man up, but he does stuff that isn't just the way he plays between the snaps, but all the disguising on (Buccaneers Quarterback Tom) Brady. What's the impact? Can (Safety) Julian (Love) duplicate that?
A: Yeah, absolutely. That's what we work on between Jules and (Safety) Zay (Xavier McKinney) and those guys right now, (Defensive Back) J.R. (Reed) and different guys playing the safety position for us. They prepare every day for that. Again, we talk all the time about we don't want to lose any of our players, however, if we do, we have to prepare for the next man to step up and execute accordingly. These guys prepare hard. Jules, Zay, J.R., all the DBs have been getting together a little bit extra, working on communication and making sure we're on the same page. Had a good day of practice yesterday. We'll go out here today, have some teaching periods built in, as well as correction periods, making sure we iron out anything we had issues with.
Q: Is Logan still working virtually with the room?
A: He's been in virtual meetings and then, obviously, he can't be out here with us at the facility.
Q: Are you planning to activate (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas)?
A: We're going to see how he comes through and see how it looks right here. I'd say yesterday was a good day for him. We're going to see how he comes out today and really how the next couple of days go. We do have more of a window here right now to see where he's at. I'd say the next 48 hours will be big not just in seeing how he came out of yesterday's practice, but also how his body is recovering and how we think he's going to be able to go out there and repeat and sustain for a duration of time on Monday night. Seeing how his body reacts from the last couple of days will be big for us the next couple of days.
Q: What are your expectations for (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley)? Is there a possibility of him playing on Monday?
A: He's actually in the same boat as Andrew in terms of having a good week of practice, trending the right way and really progressing for us. The next 48 hours will be big in terms of seeing how his body responds and what we think it will look like for Monday night.
Q: If I'm not mistaken, (Linebacker) Trent Harris is out of elevations, so will you guys sign him to the roster? He's had a pretty big gameday role.
A: There's a possibility. We have a number of guys and we have some open roster spots right now. There are a number of guys who have made some contributions for us at different positions from the practice squad, so we're evaluating a lot of things based on different players' health at different positions and we'll make those final decisions. Being a Monday night game gives you some more flex time to go up to Monday to make those.
Q: You've carried fewer than 53 guys the last couple of weeks. Is that cap related, saving a few bucks there? What's the reason for not filling all 53?
A: A lot of times there's just the opportunity to flex guys back up, in terms of can we get them off a window. Other times, we've had more opportunity to flex guys up off the practice squad, so it's not a necessity necessarily to put somebody on the roster. There have been different reasons for all of them.
Q: Is (Linebacker) Lorenzo (Carter) back in the building yet?
A: He's not. He is not. We're checking on him in terms of how he's feeling today and see where that progresses to.
Q: So, no Lorenzo, maybe no Trent Harris. Is (Linebacker) Elerson (Smith) ready? He played special teams. Is he ready to contribute at outside linebacker?
A: He's been working hard and making progress. We're pleased with the way he's working and getting out there. Obviously, there's some guys that are a little bit older and more experienced, but we do like the way he's progressing now. It's unfortunate this guy missed a significant amount of time and didn't go through training camp. He missed the first part of the season being with the team, but in the last few weeks being out there – I think last week was really big for him in those couple of practices we had with the younger guys getting some extra coaching, extra technique and some extra competitive situations. We've seen him grow in just that short period of time. We'll see how it progresses going into Monday night.
Q: Do you have any stories of what it was like being behind the scenes with (Buccaneers Tight End) Rob Gronkowski for such a long time? He has such a unique personality and I'm sure you interacted with him quite a bit.
A: Yeah, actually, I've got a lot of stories. I'm not going to share a lot of them. I think the thing about Rob that kind of goes unnoticed is this guy is really an extremely hard worker and he really does prepare the right way. The way that this guy takes care of his body, the way he prepares on the field. I know there was a lot made earlier this year, someone commented about watching tape. I know Rob is prepared for games, I've been in there with him. This guy does study, this guy does prepare, he does work. He's a great teammate, he's a great teammate. Everyone's got their side that they can let their hair down a little bit. I think the thing that people miss on Rob is when he walks in the door how much business it really is. He really comes to work every day. A lot of fun with Rob, a lot of great memories with him. I wish him the best of luck, but we've got to compete against him this week.
Q: You're obviously expecting him to play and if he does, how much does he change the look of their offense?
A: I think we have to anticipate the possibility based on him practicing this week with the team and being a full participant the last couple of days. That's something we have to look at as coaches and say, 'Okay, what's it going to do? How is it going to alter?' Then, the first thing you start with with a guy like Rob is situationally, where is it going to impact the offense? How are they going to use him in the red area? How are they going to use him on the third down? How is he going to be a factor in two-minute? What do we think they're going to do with this guy maybe coming off injury different than earlier in the season when he was healthy. We have to factor in all those things right there, but I'd say this in terms of his relationship with the quarterback down there, it's obviously very unique. There's a lot of experience between those two. They've made a lot of big plays throughout the years. It's obviously when you've got that kind of relationship with a receiver, you can expect in critical moments to see those guys be targets.
Q: We've seen (Center) Nick Gates in the building a little bit. He's been out of sight, out of mind for a little. How is he doing? You had a pretty dire forecast for him last time we spoke to you about him. Have you seen any improvement or is it too soon to know what his future holds?
A: I know he's working hard to do everything the doctors and medical staff ask of him. He's really started getting back into the meetings with us and for a while, he was really limited in how much he could be around in the building, around other players, things of that nature while he was healing up. He's at a point now where he comes in, he's got his rehab schedule obviously with the trainers, but then also throughout the day he's in our squad meetings, he's in the offensive install meetings, he's active with the offensive line and going through the mental and the communication. I'd say whether it's Nick, (Safety Jabrill Peppers) Pep – Pep just had his surgery – (Linebacker) Blake Martinez. These guys who are critical parts for us – (Guard) Shane Lemieux, he's another guy that's in that mix, too – these are really big-time leaders for us. These are guys that are foundational pieces for us in this program and these are guys that have done a good job on the field for us, but the thing that you don't always see is how involved and connected they stay off the field. We had a captains' meeting this morning. I actually brought in a bigger group today of different guys from different leadership aspects of the team and talked to them, and there were (Defensive Back) Nate Ebner and Blake sitting right there in the first two seats. You see those two guys right there and when they're full go, there is obviously on and off the field impact. When they're not full go, then these are guys that still have an impact throughout the locker room in terms of staying engaged and keeping guys moving mentally, and also keeping guys on the right track in terms of how we're thinking as a team. These guys have done a great job for us. Having Nick in the meeting rooms, you always notice the eyes looking back at you. Nick's got a very distinct look on his face when you're talking. He's a guy that wears his emotions on his sleeves, so you can see as you're talking, you can tell right away how receptive he is, how in tune he is with different things. It's always positive having Nick in the meeting room.
Q: When (Wide Receiver) Dante Pettis went to get surgery in the bye week, what exactly did he have and is there a chance he comes back this year?
A: It looks like he won't be returning this year. It was his shoulder. I'm not going to go into all the specifics of that stuff in terms of what it was. I'd say Dante is a guy that worked extremely hard for us, made some impact for us. It was a shame to lose him. He's in there rehabbing right now and getting healthy. I think the biggest thing for him and in the future is get healthy and be ready to contribute and compete for us, as well.