Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Happy holidays, guys. We'll pick up today. Obviously, it's Thursday and we'll continue with our preparation. Today is obviously a normal up-tempo practice. We'll get a chance to look at the players, get some execution on the game plan and schemes, get an opportunity to evaluate the quarterbacks as we go out there and practice on through the day. Any questions, I'd be happy to open up to you.
Q: Anyone off the COVID list?
A: (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney), (Linebacker) Oshane (Ximines) and (Defensive Back) J.R. Reed are all back in the building. All three of them will work with the trainers at least to start practice to see where they're at, to ramp them up. We'll see if there's any opportunity on the backend of practice even with some kind of a walkthrough with the team or where they would be. We'd have to remove them from the list and activate them to the roster to include them in team activities. First priority is to see where they are physically. Obviously, the trainers will check with them in terms of just how they feel. They've cleared all those tests, they've tested negative to get back in the building, but the bigger part will be getting them out here and seeing where they are from a standpoint of inactivity for the last week-and-a-half as well as the symptoms they had to deal with.
Q: Anyone else you expect to get back tomorrow or this week in general?
A: We're hopeful about a few, but really at this point there's nothing to report on it.
Q: I'm curious, how difficult is it for the guys like (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) and Kadarius who were injured beforehand and now they weren't here? What's the likelihood you can get them ramped up in two or three days?
A: That's definitely a different challenge because you've got to consider not only coming off of the inactivity and the symptoms, (but) you also have to consider where they're at with the injury. They haven't really been able to be with our trainers, they haven't been able to do a lot of the rehab and activity on the field. That's just a natural setback right there. Just not having them out here, that's an issue you've got to deal with. You're concerned about guys like Adoree' that are you playing with fire a little bit if you try to get them back and get them ramped up within that one-day report of getting directly into the game? So, there are some things we have to consider with that. We are able to check in with the players and see if they're doing anything as far as just physically moving around, but we can't advise them to do anything until we know they're symptom-free and it's okay to clear them through some kind of a ramp-up.
Q: Why do you think you and (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Patrick (Graham) and (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome (Henderson) do such a good job with the secondary? You lose players, one week it's (Cornerback) Aaron Robinson on the outside, the next week it's (Defensive Back) Jarren Williams, but it seems like the game plan and your execution on the backend doesn't suffer. What do you think the key is there?
A: Well, the focus for the DBs is always the same as the focus for any other part of the organization. We always talk about next man up and preparing all the players. We truly work to prepare every player on the team. Our guys have the expectation and they get in there for the game – I don't care if you're on practice squad, I don't care if you're a rookie, I don't care if you just got here, it doesn't matter. You're expected to play. We've added a couple players to the practice squad with (Cornerback Darqueze) Dennard and (Safety) Dwayne Johnson (Jr.) and the message has been clear to those guys from when they got here yesterday and today of getting the playbook, getting the game plan, getting with the coaches. You're expected to know what to do, expect to have your number called.
Q: You haven't had any new positive tests, right?
A: We have not. Not at this moment, no.
Q: What do you like about Darqueze Dennard?
A: What do I like about him? I'm familiar with him from playing in the league early on and actually when he first came into the league, I was coaching special teams against him. He was the gunner, he was a core guy for (Bengals Special Teams Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach) Darrin Simmons in Cincinnati. He's got good speed, he's got good physicality, obviously his skillset to matchup on the edge as a corner. He's got experience in the league. Having some experience down in Atlanta with (Falcons Defensive Coordinator) Dean (Pees) this year gives you a little bit of some familiarity a little bit within the system. At least it's some familiar language that it doesn't seem completely foreign if he hears it. Just the availability of him being out there. It's a good opportunity for us to bring in a guy with some experience in a need position we have right now.
Q: Is that a position where it's an easy position to come in and parachute in and say, 'Cover that guy'?
A: No, because there's a lot of communication that's involved in our secondary on a lot the levels. I wouldn't say any position is easy to drop them in and just go. Probably kicker and punter are the easiest, absolutely. But in terms of playing corner, just the communication and the understanding of the defensive scheme, whether it's a coverage, a pressure, whatever it may be, situational calls that we have right there, there is still a lot to get caught up on.