Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement:To give everyone a quick update in terms of what we did today and why we're going virtual, we came in this morning and we had the players using our indoor facility that we set up as a meeting facility since the beginning of COVID last year. Everything's been approved by the league. We started the day out in the bubble and we started out in position meetings. As the meetings are starting, we're getting alerts on a couple new positives that came up today along with several players who came up with flu symptoms. At that time, we deemed the best thing for the players was to end the meetings. We went immediately outside, we did a brief walkthrough that lasted about a half hour outside with the players masked and spaced out when they weren't involved. When that was done, we sent them home and then we Zoomed for about an hour and a half. We just ended that not too long ago. We'll bring the players back in here tomorrow more in the afternoon, which will take the place of our Saturday meetings. We won't do anything at the hotel tomorrow. We'll just meet here, we'll have a brief walkthrough on the field, we'll make sure that everybody's in an environment where it's spaced out and open air, all that stuff. We'll continue with our process getting ready for the game. That being said, I'll open up to any questions you guys have.
Q: Are you ramping up testing to every day now?
A: No, the testing protocol from the league really hasn't changed for us. The unvaccinated players test every day. If you come in and you're symptomatic, you test. If you're vaccinated and you're asymptomatic, you're not required to test more than once a week. In terms of the guys coming down with flu symptoms, we send them and make sure that everybody gets tested that's symptomatic. A lot of the symptoms are shared from flu and COVID. They all get tested for COVID immediately. When they come back as negative, they get tested for flu. Now, that takes a little bit longer to get the results on the flu than it does on COVID, so we always make a decision with those guys. Is it safe to keep them around our players? Is it best to send them home? Do we want to isolate those guys in a different part of the building, have them Zoom in for meetings and join us on the field? Everyone is a different case-by-case basis. Today, we felt it was best to get the players all away.
Q: Your secondary has been hit pretty hard in particular by the flu and the COVID stuff. I'm curious if you are worried about having enough guys out there in the defensive backfield Sunday.
A: We're talking through a lot of moves that could happen defensively and schematically, things we have to do to make sure we can adjust. Right now, there are some things in the air. We'll know a little bit more tomorrow in terms of guys like Zay (Safety Xavier McKinney) when his five days of testing are up and see where he's at. We'll go ahead and make any necessary adjustments we have to. I'm about to meet with the defense in a little bit and go through some different adjustments that could take place.
Q: Has Xavier still been testing negative to this point?
A: Yes, to this point he has.
Q: Are there any guys on the COVID list this week that have a chance of testing out of it, like (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) or (Linebacker) Cam Brown or any of these other guys?
A: I wouldn't say it's impossible for any of those guys to test out. We do check their viral loads, which show up on their daily testing. Typically, you want to get the number closer to about 35. As you get closer to 35, that's really when you test negative. You kind of watch as it goes up, if that makes sense. We'll watch as some of these guys raise and they get a little bit closer. It's a similar situation to when (Defensive Back) Logan Ryan was out, so we're keeping a close eye. Obviously, with the window we have left, there would have to be multiple negative tests in the next couple of days leading up to it. I wouldn't say it's impossible, but we're planning at this moment not to have them.
Q: Is your quarterback position affected at all by the flu symptoms?
A: At this moment, it has not been.
Q: If I could take us off COVID for a second, when Giants-Cowboys games late in the season have a chance for the visiting team – this goes both ways, obviously – for the visiting team to kind of turn a game into a home game with the fans invading and the home team selling their tickets to the road team. Obviously, this year that would be Cowboys fans invading MetLife. I'm wondering if that would be discouraging for you for a home game for Cowboys fans to kind of take over your building.
A: It's the National Football League, every stadium you go into has different jerseys. I think it's more discouraging sometimes when you go into a game and you see a jersey of a team that's not even playing in the game. It's more of a lack of common sense. In terms of whoever's in the stands, we've got a great atmosphere, our fans have been great this year and we look forward to getting out there in MetLife this weekend and hearing the fans in our jersey.
Q: With regard to Logan Ryan, obviously he's always been very standup and accountable. He was very accountable for that long touchdown last week. I'm kind of curious, what is the process of a player getting over that and moving on? What is your level of appreciation for guys that take ownership for mistakes like that?
A: I'd say the first thing, that's just what I believe in. I believe in when you make a mistake, you own up to it. Look, I make mistakes all the time. I make a point of when I screw up, I make sure the team understands that I'm going to own it in front of them. We come out of games and I tell them all the time, 'Guys, that's a mistake on my part, it's not going to happen again.' I expect the coaches to do the same thing, which they do. That way I expect the players to understand, you make a mistake, you don't hide behind it. You own it, you move on, you make the correction. People respect people who own their mistakes. We don't really have much of a tolerance for people who point fingers and make excuses. That's not really what the culture in this building is. It's not what we're ever going to allow it to be. In terms of the appreciation and respect of someone being a standup guy, that's what we expect and that's what we do respect here. On the other part, in terms of the process of getting over giving up a play, you've got to have a short memory as a defensive back in the National Football League. You have to. You've got to be able to move on to the next play immediately. When that happens, you've got to learn from it. You've got to realize what mistake you made and how to correct it and make sure you're on the same page as teammates. As any defensive back in the NFL, you've got to move on the next play immediately. You don't have time to dwell on that.
Q: The flu going around is just the flu, right? It has nothing to do with COVID? How prevalent would you say it is? Is it just because it's flu season and guys get the flu?
A: You're correct that the flu stuff has nothing to do with COVID. I don't know that I have any more diagnosis than what you just described it as. It's flu season and things go around. We're wearing masks in the building, we talk to our guys all the time about being smart about who you interact with outside of the building. It's just common sense this time of year. None of our guys have really done anything that we would call foolish or anything that's putting themselves at risk other than just living a normal life. We've just got to be careful at all times of the year understanding where everything is. Washing your hands, taking proper protocols, disinfecting things around the building. The cleaning staff here does a phenomenal job, the medical staff does a great job educating our players with it. We kind of just stay on that and stay proactive with it. It is what it is. The guys that come in with symptoms, sometimes they can go out and practice, sometimes they Zoom in for meetings and stay isolated from the team, sometimes they go home and get rest and then stay in through the post-practice film through Zoom. It's always different, but there's been cases of guys who wanted to get IV's or pumping their body full of fluids, coming over it quick. A lot of the guys come in the next day and feel a lot better. I'm getting a lot of those reports from these guys. You've just got to be aware of when it comes up, you're looking to avoid it spreading throughout the building.
Q: At some point, you look on social media and you see teams around the league that have 20 guys out, people debating whether games should be cancelled, top quarterbacks are out, it's a competitive advantage or disadvantage. At some point Sunday morning when you know who your team is and who everybody out there will be, how difficult is it to just put it all aside and say, 'That's it, no more COVID anymore, now we've just got football'? It's really unprecedented stuff here, isn't it?
A: I mean, it's been football for us the entire week. I don't have any control over an illness. We coach who we have available to us. We get those players ready and prepared, so it is what it is. We've known from the beginning. Same thing as last year, the games are going to go on. Whoever you have, you have to have them ready.
Q: How did (Defensive Lineman) Leonard (Williams) do yesterday and what do you expect from him? Can you just talk about if he is going to be available and that trajectory from the early pretty dire tests in the week to where he is now?
A: He had a good day yesterday. Moving around well for us, was able to use his upper body, do it, test it out. Today was a day we were going to push it a little bit longer and, to be honest with the way things turned out with how we had to do things, kind of bought him a day, if you would. We'll bring him in here tomorrow and move him around early in the afternoon before all the other players get here, get us a better view of what it would look like going into a game day. Whatever he can do, we'll make sure we go ahead and utilize that putting him out there, if he's safe to go out there.