Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Hope everyone had a safe trip back. Some of you were out there with us. Appreciate your time last week out there at practice and some of the stuff you guys helped us with. Today we start our prep on the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously, this is a team that's very, very explosive. They're playing very well on all three phases right now. You talk about the special teams with Bones (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel), we always talk about the aggressiveness with the fakes and the gimmicks he has up his sleeve. Make sure we prepare for that throughout the remainder of the week. He's also a guy who's had a lot of production this year on punt rushes and field goal rushes. Our protection is going to have to be stout. We're going to prepare a lot this week in terms of what they're doing and be ready for them being very aggressive.
Defensively, they're doing an outstanding job right now with their front, the movement and the blitz schemes they're incorporating. They're playing a lot of man defense behind them, making it very challenging on the receivers. Doing a very good job disrupting a lot of the quarterbacks right now and making it tough for them. The man coverage on the outside pressed up, the pressure on the inside, is making a lot of quarterbacks make rushed decisions and throw the ball into coverage. Getting a lot of production on the backend.
Talking about their offense, obviously you start with the running game with these guys. They've got a very, very talented offensive line that gives them a lot of freedom to run the ball and a lot of freedom to sit back there and have good shots down the field with good protection. You've got to do a good job stopping the run. You have to eliminate explosive plays on this team. You have to do a good job tackling in space, whether it's the checkdowns, whether it's the deep shots down the field, whether it's the run game. You have to do a good job eliminating the yards after catch or the yards after contact with the run game. That being said, obviously this is a very tough opponent. We're going to have to be dedicated this week, do our best preparation, give ourselves a chance on Sunday. All that being said, I'll open up to any questions you may have.
Re: (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) …
A: Really status quo right now. Still hasn't been cleared for contact. Talked to the doctors. I don't have an immediate answer in terms of when that will change. He's going to continue to practice with us, stay on the field, work on his conditioning. He's in the training room, he's in the meetings with all his teammates, but there's no change of status right now.
Q: Obviously, (Quarterback) Mike (Glennon) is your guy Sunday.
A: Mike will be prepared to play and so will (Quarterback) Jake (Fromm).
Q: Were you able to glean anything else from that appointment on Monday in terms of the information they gave you?
A: No, there's really no change of status right there.
Q: Was it just a matter of will he be cleared and the answer was no?
A: When they feel he's good for contact, then they'll clear him.
Q: Given COVID and what's happening around the league, have you guys considered virtual meetings just to be careful?
A: We have. We've had a couple things pop internally ourselves today. All the players are in masks, they're all spaced out. We're making sure that everybody is completely aired out. We're in the bubble behind you where there's more air. We'll make sure that we're safe throughout the remainder of the day. Anyone who's been involved in any kind of a close contact or test at this point has either been removed or separated from the team and they're in virtual meetings. We'll talk as a staff and I'll talk with the captains today about the remainder of the week of handling meetings partially virtual and then getting the guys over here to practice. We've done that in the past and it has worked smoothly.
Q: Has anybody besides (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) tested positive?
A: We've had (Wide Receiver) John Ross (III) test positive, X-Man (Linebacker Oshane Ximines) tested positive. There are a couple close contacts tied to those guys who will be out of the building or testing for the next few days.
Q: Are the three guys who tested positive all vaccinated?
A: I'm not going into players' individual statuses.
Q: Any staff members or just those two players?
A: Right now, it's just a couple players. There's no staff members at this moment.
Q: (Offensive Lineman) Wes (Martin) is still out?
A: Wes and (Quarterbacks Coach) Jerry (Schuplinski) are on a plane as we speak, flying back here, so we expect Wes to be back here this afternoon and get on the field with the trainers, start his ramp up, and Jerry to be in the meetings and out for the walkthrough this afternoon with the players.
Q: Those positives, obviously besides Kadarius, those two will go on the list?
A: They will. They'll all be placed on the list.
Q: Daniel is still a young quarterback. What is he missing in those three games and if he misses the rest of the season?
A: I think he's missing experience and an opportunity to grow. That's really nothing of his fault at all. Just as any young player in this league, every rep you take is an experience you learn from and one thing I can say for Daniel is really as you watch him throughout his young career, there's been a lot of things that have really demonstrated growth. There have there been times where he has made mistakes on the field that he's shown decisions later on to make sure he doesn't repeat that mistake. There are things he's picked up in terms of management of the game or how to handle something at the line of scrimmage that he's carried forward. Daniel has done a good job working, preparing and growing throughout his career. I think the biggest thing he's missing out is just that experience and the opportunity to grow within a craft.
Q: With that said, is there any thought of just shutting him down?
A: We consider that with every player. We're always thinking about their health before anything else. We're not going to put a player out there when they're at an injury risk. In terms of where Daniel's at medically, we've got an entire medical team with doctors and second opinions that are going to weigh in more on that. I'm not a doctor. I've got to take the input and the advice that they give me. I'm not going to put a player on the field when they're an injury risk. When they give me the greenlight to play a player, then I know that that guy is able to go out there and play safely for that game.
Q: There's a report out today that Jake Fromm could play in this game. Aside from Mike getting injured, do you have plans to play Jake in this game?
A: Mike is going to start the game for us. This isn't being coy or anything. Every player who's at the game can play and we have plans for every player within a role of what they would do. Do we have anything bracketed out at this point in terms of is he going to play certain plays or anything? We do not. We do not, so we're getting Mike ready to play the game, but Jake will also be getting ready and prepare to play the game.
Q: Coming back to Jake this week now, is he more ready?
A: I think it's a fair statement. I think it's a fair statement. Being here a couple weeks with us, hearing the terminology, getting more reps last week out there in Arizona, that obviously helps his growth and development in the system.
Q: Is there any inclination to – I mean, you're not going to put a guy out if he's not ready to play – but is there any inclination to say, 'Gee, we'd love to see what he can do in a game'? You can force it if you want to.
A: There's always a part of that. There's always a part of wanting to evaluate everyone. At the same time, you want to make sure you give your team the best chance for success. Based on how they practice and prepare and who we think gives our team the best chance to have success out there, that's how we'll play the players.
Q: How much has (Cowboys Linebacker) Micah Parsons grown in the month-and-a-half since you guys saw him?
A: Again, this guy coming out of college, we knew he was going to be an impact player. We had a lot of love for this guy in the building, a lot of respect for him. We knew he was going to be a good player. They're using him in different spots right now. (Cowboys Defensive Coordinator) Dan (Quinn) is doing a really good job of matching him up and letting him play with his pass rush skillset, playing coverage with speed. He's become a factor in a lot of different areas. You've got to know where he is on the field. They're moving him around, they're definitely doing a lot of things to help his skillset or use his skillset to help the defense. This guy is a phenomenal player. I don't think anyone is surprised by that. We knew he was going to be a really good player coming out and I think it's a tribute to how they're using him down there to his strengths, how he's able to complement that defense and make a lot of impact plays.
Q: Did you assign Daniel to be a de facto quarterback coach standing there on the sideline? It seemed like he was serving that role.
A: No, we absolutely did not, but that's definitely in his personality. Daniel's a guy, like Colt (McCoy) was last year, as well. These guys are very invested in our team, invested in the success of the team, they prepare throughout the week and if you're not on the field yourself as a quarterback, they're invested in helping those other quarterbacks through communication. When they all look at the tablets, whether Daniel's playing and (Quarterback) Mike's (Glennon) looking at the tablet or vice versa, whether it's Colt last year, these guys do a tremendous job whether it's Jerry with them, (Senior Offensive Assistant) Freddie (Kitchens) with them, (Offensive Quality Control) Nick (Williams) with them, whoever it may be, of going through it and sharing what they see, as well. There's great communication on the headsets and great communication on the bench right now between all of our guys. I'm very pleased how the offensive staff is working together collaboratively of moving through the game to find different matchups and keep us moving. I'm very happy with how the players are contributing information back to them. One of the toughest things to explain to players is to just give us accurate information. Give us what you see, we can make adjustments on the field and then also, tell us what you feel in the game, as well. If you come to the sideline and say, 'I can get so-and-so on this route,' we've got to find a way to fit that into the game plan then, we've got to find a way to call that and go to you. You just better win on it when we call it, but Daniel's been doing a great job right now as far as being in the meeting room, preparing, doing everything the team asks him to do. I'm not going to say 'patiently' because I know he's always anxious to get out there, but he puts the team first in everything he does so you can't see any impatience in his mannerisms, if that makes sense.
Q: Do you have any updates on (Defensive Lineman) Leonard's (Williams) elbow?
A: He'll be out here a little bit with us today going through the walkthrough and we'll see how he progresses throughout the week. We expect him to be practicing with us and we'll see how he progresses into the game.
Q: As much as you're looking at players these final weeks and games, how much are you looking at coaches and the collaborative effort on offense? How things are working? A potential coordinator? How much is that an emphasis, as well?
A: Absolutely. Everything's always evaluated, every player, every coach. Everything's always evaluated. The way you present yourself in meetings, the way you handle practice, the command you have with your players, the organization and preparation you put into the game plan and having things organized at practice, the way your players play, the way you cooperate and work with others. Everything's always evaluated. Your personnel evaluations, your knowledge of the league. Everything's always evaluated.
Q: How challenging is it to evaluate whether you'd keep Freddie Kitchens in this role and to be the offensive coordinator next year when he doesn't have a starting quarterback to call plays with?
A: Our job is to prepare the players we have available and give ourselves the best plan to go out there and have success. I think the offense right now, the staff offensively, is working together to do that. I'm pleased with the way that Mike's working every day. He's a good teammate, he's a hard worker, he's coming out here and giving us his best every day and we're going to keep pushing forward on that.
Q: Do you buy into the spoiler role? Can a team take that on, especially with a team like the Cowboys?
A: If you want to label yourself in that category. Our focus is just to go out there and win a game. That's it.
Q: Can it be motivation? You know what the standings are and a lot of people in this building and in New Jersey would like you to beat the Cowboys.
A: Our motivation is to go out there every week, regardless. You get 17 opportunities a year. If you need motivation, you need a pep talk, you need a song, you need some kind of a speech, you're probably in the wrong locker room.
Q: Worst case scenario, if Daniel does have to be shut down, do you feel like you've seen enough of him in the one-plus years you've worked with him to feel good about his future here?
A: I feel good about Daniel already. I want him to keep growing and developing his craft. Obviously, he's a great asset to our team. You want to have him available to play with the team. That's obviously something that we're not keeping secret. There's not really much more to say past that. Daniel's done a good job growing for us. We're going to keep on pushing forward with him.
Q: With (Quarterback) Jake Fromm, is it fair to say you'd like to see production in practice before a player plays?
A: Yeah, that's fair to say. That's fair to say and that's with any of our players. How you practice is a very good indication of how you're going to play. We have to see guys go out there and execute in practice. I can't rely on someone telling me someone's a 'gamer.' I don't even know what that is. Good players come out every day and they play. He's a young quarterback, he's still developing in this league, he's new to this system. We're going to give him the opportunity to keep on working through it, but absolutely. For any player in any position, production in practice equals opportunity in games.