Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Alright so we'll kind of continue obviously with the normal Friday today for our players and work on all the situations, all phases in the special teams, recap the game plan, make some necessary adjustments from the first two days of practice and keep on plowing forward. So that being said, I'll open up to any questions you have.
Q: Where do things stand with (Safety) Logan Ryan?
A: At the moment, nothing's changed. Yeah, nothing else has changed, so we're still waiting. He tests every day and we'll see how that turns out. Is there still a brief window? There is. We'll see how that turns out.
Q: If he doesn't test out, he could be back next week because of the 10 days?
A: Correct, that is correct.
Q: At this point, you're having to plan to be without him?
A: Yeah, that's correct. Do we have a contingency plan if something were to change? We do. But at this moment, he hasn't been available for us on the field, so we're planning without him.
Q: What about (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney)? Is he going to practice today?
A: He's with the trainers right now. We'll kind of see, move around a little bit early in practice, see how that goes. He's in key to the game plan. KT is a real smart guy, so in terms of being in the meetings, he's going through some of the stuff we do internally in the bubble with some walk thru stuff and all. He understands the concepts of what he has to do. It's been a couple of weeks as a young player that he's been able to get out there on a Friday and practice for us at a good level and get him into the game and make plays for us.
Q: Do you expect (Wide Receiver Sterling) Shepard to do some stuff?
A: He's kind of in the same boat right now as KT. We'll see with the trainers in terms of anything that changes going forward.
Q: Is (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph going to be a long-term thing?
A: I wouldn't think that's going to be too long-term. Again, he's in there right now moving around. We'll see how that is. Kyle was optimistic earlier in the week. I think sometimes players are a little bit more optimistic until they get onto the field. So, we'll have to see where his body reacts today.
Q: I noticed (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) is wearing a play calling wrist band. Why is he doing that this week? Is there anything drastically changing in the vocabulary or just adding things?
A: No, we really haven't changed any of the terminology actually. We kind of kept all of the language really the same for the players. That's something you don't want to really change in a short week. If you add something new, you might put on a new term here or there, but that's nothing different. You do that every week for an offense. You put a new play in, maybe a code word, something like that.
Q: So why is he wearing the wristband?
A: All of our quarterbacks will be wearing wristbands this week.
Q: What's new to the offense that they're required to do that?
A: It's something a number of our players and coaches have used in the past. We thought it may be helpful with our players just going forward. Just different ways of communicating.
Q: Is that something that you initiated or is that something that (Senior Offensive Assistant) Freddie (Kitchens) has been using in the past?
A: No, I said a number of our coaches have used it. I've been around it as well, just a thing our players have used. Through communication with players, coaches within the meetings, something that we came up with that we thought may help in some avenues.
Q: Does that reflect there's been a disconnect in getting the appropriate play conveyed to the quarterback?
A: No, no it doesn't. No, it doesn't.
Q: Is the play caller still a trade secret?
A: Like I said, they're all working collaboratively.
Q: What makes their offensive line so good?
A: I'm going to be honest with you, I worked with (Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line) Jeff Stoutland, I think he's a fantastic coach and he does a great job getting those guys prepared. They've got a ton of talent up there, they've got a ton of talent. I think what he does, he's done a great job through different systems, through different coaches that have been there, different offenses that are really adapting and evolving in terms of what they're doing schematically. I think he's just a great teacher that's able to take the talented players and really get them moving in the right direction. I think the one thing, you look at this roster up there, they've really assembled a lot of talent on that roster, and we talk about the success they're having. Look, I wouldn't expect a team with that much talent to have anything but success. I think they're obviously improving right now, they're moving, but there's a lot of guys on that roster that are very talented.
Q: I don't think you've really faced the real run heavy quarterback this season. What makes (Eagles Quarterback) Jalen (Hurts) unique? It seems like the way he runs is like a running back when he gets going.
A: Well, I think the way you said it right there is a little bit different. I think there's a lot of quarterbacks in the league right now that are using that skillset. I think the game has obviously just changed and evolved, right? You look at the players that are in the league now, it used to be everyone thought everything filtered down, right? Went from NFL to college and some stuff into high school. I look at it the opposite. I think really everything comes up. What you're doing at the level of high school, people start doing more in college because it's fast for the players who adapt and make an impact. That comes up to the next level because you start getting players who have been running quarterbacks or quarterbacks who can run in high school and college, you've got a guy like Jalen Hurts, why take away something that's such a strength of his? Find a way to utilize it and use it. There's different types of skillsets in the running. Obviously, you've got (Ravens Quarterback) Lamar Jacksons, where on one side of it you go back in time, the (Former Quarterback) Michael Vicks. I think you look at a guy like Jalen, he's different than both those guys, but he's extremely effective. He's got great running instincts. He knows how to stick his foot in the ground and get vertical right now. He really knows how to work off your leverage. He's a strong runner and that's one thing, he's not looking to always avoid contact. Not that he's lowering his shoulder to plow through all the time, but he knows he can run through arm tackles. So, if you don't do a good job in space of really gathering and wrapping up on this guy, he'll run through an arm tackle. So, he's a very instinctive runner, he knows when to pull it down and run and use his legs. He's not afraid to do that in critical situations. He's been effective throughout his entire career of high school to college and now in the NFL. I think it's just natural for him in terms of what his game is and they're doing a good job of using him.
Q: I know they've changed their coaching staff since last year, you were very pointed in your comments after the end of last season with them being disrespectful to the league with the way they handled their last game. Is that even a factor going into this?
A: No, there's nothing from last year that's going to be relevant on Sunday.
Q: When you guys are putting together your game plan, you're obviously deciding, based on down and distance, what personnel would work best. When you get to a game situation where you see things, how much adjustment can there be within the groupings? In the case with that fourth-and-1 the other night, you guys didn't have (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) or Kadarius on the field. Is that a situation where if you guys wanted to say whatever worked during the week, we need Kenny and KT on the field for this play?
A: Yeah, I believe you always have to be flexible within the game. You have to be able to make adjustments. Now that really starts back in training camp in terms of the system you put in, to be flexible within it. The vocabulary you teach your players so they can have flexibility with where they line up and create multiples. Then within the game plan, you have to be fluid enough to know that you can get back to certain base concepts that maybe you didn't work as much in the week that they went back to in terms of how it's been installed, where I'm a big 'same as' teacher. Sometimes you can change something in a game and say, 'Hey guys, it's the same as this scheme, except we're doing A and B.' Keep it very familiar for the majority of the guys and change the key pieces you have to. You have to be fluid to make adjustments within the game. I think it's the biggest part. To me, you talk about going into halftime and making adjustments, but there's not really enough time at halftime to sit down and make all your adjustments. If you're not adjusting consistently throughout the game every time you go to the bench, you're not making corrections and coaching on what's coming up on the game, how you're going to call the next series, what the issues are, how we correct that and what we can take advantage of what they're doing, then you're not really coaching the game. You're just there watching, might as well be in the stands.
Q: They've done a good job of using the run to set up the pass. Do you guys want to see your team run more to set up the pass?
A: I think you have to be balanced. I talk about all the time, balanced in this league means you have to run or pass when you have to, not necessarily to have 50-50 portions. I think in this league, the run game really does set up the pass and that's really for all teams. There's different elements to the run now. There's different elements of it, but to be able to throw the ball effectively, you really have to be able to run the ball to a degree to set up that. Now, that really sets up, what kind of pass game does that set up? It doesn't always set up the drop backs because a lot of times in certain passing situations, it's third-and-7, third-and-8, that's a situation that's pass heavy. So, a lot of teams would be playing different types of defenses on that. You really want to be able to throw the ball on early downs and really you have to have the threat of running to get them into more of a defense and personnel that's geared towards stopping the run first and that creates the matchups in the passing game. They're doing a really good job through the RPOs and the quarterback zone reads and things of that nature of having the run element, and then when they have to drop back, they can as well.
Q: Going back to last year's draft, how unusual or unexpected was it for two division rivals to make a trade like that over you and what do you think of the player that the Eagles got in that trade?
A: Well, two part, I'd say the unusual part of it, I guess history speaks more than anything because you don't get a lot of those trades. Unexpected, we kind of had an idea they were going to do that anyway, to be honest with you. Like that was something that leading up to it, we had a pretty good idea they were going to do that. Now, in terms of the player himself, this guy's everything you thought he was going to be in the draft. He really is. He was a guy that was very, very impressive coming out. Not just in terms of how he played, everyone sees that on tape, but the competitiveness, the leadership, the instincts, the intelligence and just the whole package. This guy was very, very impressive leading up to the draft and you can see that the things you saw in college that the biggest knock on him coming out was the question mark of is he big enough, right? That's the thing everyone asked was he big enough to go ahead – and you had to go back in your evaluation and say, 'he's done it at every level.' (Offensive Assistant) Jody Wright would tell us stories all the time about when they were at Alabama's camp and he was working out, they had the same questions about him. Every coach asked the same questions, like 'this guy, he's not big enough. Look at his legs, they're skinny legs. This guy can't do this or that.' Well, he made a whole lot of plays in Tuscaloosa, right? Now, he's making a lot of plays in Philadelphia. He's obviously their go-to-guy or one of their go-to-guys. So, I'd say in terms of the evaluation of the player, we watch all the guys that come out in the draft and we watch all the guys as they go through their career and you want to stack up your evaluations based on what that player's doing both on and off the field. Because everyone has strengths, weaknesses, concerns, whatever it may be through the draft, so you look at everybody and you say, 'OK, were we right on that guy? Were we wrong on that guy? Did we misevaluate him or what's the reason this guy's career kind of took a left turn or whatever it may be?' So, we always take a push on that and I'd say with this one right here, it's kind of what you evaluate him, what you expected is what you saw.