Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: What's the plan for today with the snow? Are you guys going to the stadium or indoors or what?
A: No, we'll be out on field three. They've plowed out the snow for us. It looks like there's still a little bit of residue out there. We'll be out there playing in the snow today.
Q: We saw (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) practiced a little on Wednesday, didn't go yesterday. What's his status?
A: Yesterday he couldn't go through practice with us and he remained with the trainers. The plan today is to kind of move him around early in practice and see where that goes. If we think he has a chance of getting more in team drills, which he should have about a good half hour or so before we get to that, we can get him implanted and see if we can give him a chance to play. No decision has been made at this point, but we'll look and see where he is today.
Q: So, he hurt his shoulder in the game. Is that going to require something in the offseason surgery-wise or anything like that?
A: That's more of a question for the trainers right now. Obviously, we're looking to get him ready for the game. In terms of what will have to be corrected in the offseason if something was long-term, that's really more of a question for (Senior Vice President of Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie Barnes.
Q: Obviously, this isn't related to the last five games when we all know you've had some personnel limitations. More big-picture offense, I remember you saying you wanted to be a flexible, versatile offense, game by game you could do different things. Moving forward, does this offense need more things it can hang its hat on? Like, every game we know we're going to be able to do this, X, Y, Z well.
A: I'd say that's a pretty general statement. The answer to that would be yes in terms of just having staples within your offense of staple runs, staple pass plays, staple themes of how you want to play. That being said, those same staples have to be flexible in terms of how you have to play each game individually. I'm a firm believer in versatility because to me you prepare for the opponent and you have to make sure that whatever you do you can take away their strengths and expose their weaknesses. Based on the circumstance and situation in different game plans, that may require a different way of attacking. You want to always be able to be a balanced team, talking about being a balanced team of running or passing when you have to and when they know you have to do it. That's the way you want to play. It's not simply about 50-50 run-pass relationship. You want to be a balanced team. If we're going to run the ball, run the ball downhill. That's an aspect of this program that we have to have. That's just he way we've got to play. It's the New York Giants, it's got to be a physical running team. In terms of throwing the ball, you want to be an accurate, efficient team and it really flows through the quarterback and allows your players to make plays in space and prioritizes getting the ball in the hands of the playmakers. The quarterback's job is to facilitate. It's also his job at the line of scrummage to be able to make adjustments or checks within the system, as he's prepared to do. I saw (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) make a lot of improvement at that throughout the last year and a half up until when he got hurt. That's something that was getting better for us as an offense and that he was able to make some productive plays this year. That being said, there definitely have to be some things to hang the hat on as far as staples, but you also have to have the flexibility per game plan to play however you have to play that week.
Q: We've heard a couple of your defensive players say, 'We know we're a defense-first team. We have to win low-scoring games.' Is that your philosophy or is that what your team is suited to? You have a better defense than you have offense, so you try to win low-scoring games. Would it be different if maybe you had different offensive personnel and you could be a high-scoring team, if that makes sense?
A: My belief is to play complementary football. That's my belief, to have three phases that complement each other. Some games will be high-scoring, some games are going to be low-scoring, and that just happens within the flow of a season. You've got 17 games in the regular season, they're not all going to be the same. There are always different challenges and different things you have to deal with each week. My answer to that would be my vision is to be a complementary football team, to play good in all three phases and to utilize the strengths of each phase to complement the other and take advantage of field position created by the kicking game on both offense and defense and be able to capitalize on the field position sustained by the defense to get it back for the offense.
Q: Just to circle back to Kadarius, a more big-picture question – how much of a challenge was it this season to really have a chance to develop him and coach him up the way you would've wanted when he's battling all these injuries and stuff like that? Obviously, with rookies you want to spend as much time with them as you can, but he was pretty banged up this year.
A: With rookies, obviously every snap you get is invaluable. When time is eliminated due to injuries, that's definitely a challenge. The reality is, whether it was KT, A-Rob (Cornerback Aaron Robinson) or (Linebacker) Elerson Smith, these are three guys that lost a significant amount of time through training camp and different points this year. I've seen improvement by all three of these guys throughout the year. Actually, I just talked to Elerson a little while ago and was telling him he had missed a lot of ball through opting out of his senior year, through not having a true training camp, through being on PUP to start the season, but the important thing was we saw improvement every game going forward, and there are things he has to work on. The invaluable thing he can take is the experience, but you have to understand there are a lot of reps these guys have missed. I think A-Rob's another guy who has improved a lot throughout this year. He's got a great skill set and demeanor. He's a long way from where he's going to be as a player. He's going to be a good player in this league and that's the same with KT. There are a lot of things he missed, the opportunity this year with injuries. I think all three are intelligent players, guys who go out there with the right demeanor, but they've got to gain more experience and that's true for any rookie in this league and especially guys who have dealt with injuries early in their career.
Q: We saw Elerson Smith went on IR the other day. How serious is that? We see it's a neck injury. What do you make of his rookie year?
A: He obviously missed a lot of time. I saw a lot of improvement along the way. You can't make up for the lost snaps right away, but over time he's got to keep developing. The important thing for these rookies going from year one to year two is really make a physical jump and their bodies have to continue to change and adapt to the demands of the league. From year two to year three, the important jump is really production-based. Going back to Elerson, obviously he wouldn't be able to play this week, that's why he went on IR, to clear available spaces if we need them for different reasons. As far as a long-term concern, from everything we've been told by the medical team and the trainers, this would not be a long-term concern at all, but it would limit him both this week and probably next week if we were playing as well at least.
Q: With Daniel, he's still on IR, obviously. Do you keep on getting updates about any progress he's making? The fact that he hasn't been here the last five games, does it almost make you appreciate even more what he can do for your team considering what's happened to the offense without him?
A: I appreciate all of our players who come to work every day and put it on the line, first off. And I didn't need to lose Daniel to appreciate him. So, the answer is yes, I do appreciate him, but not because of something I haven't had with Daniel. I appreciate him more for what he does every day in the building of how he comes to work and puts the team first. In terms of the medical question to that, the answer is yes, I do get updates on where he's at and then, as I said yesterday in the press conference with you guys on the patio, the updates of the frequency of imaging and things of that nature, those updates decrease a little bit. In terms of the amount and quantity and frequency of those images, they obviously decrease once you're removed from playing status and put on IR. We do talk about our players all the time. I wouldn't say it's a daily update on Daniel at this point. We do talk at least once a week about how's he doing. I talk to Daniel on a regular basis about how he's feeling. Obviously, this is a guy who wants to be out there with the team. This is a guy that really wants to be out there and breaking the huddle himself, but he's here supporting his teammates when he can't do that.
Q: Has this been an especially tumultuous week for you? Do you feel any particular pressure going into this game?
A: No. My focus is on playing Washington, that's it. We talk all the time about ignoring the noise. Whatever is going on outside this building, a lot of times I have no idea about. I tell you all the time, (Senior Vice President of Communications) Pat Hanlon and a couple other people close to me kind of keep me up to speed on what's going on outside of this building, more so that I know how things may be affecting our players. In terms of this week in itself, no. I'm concerned about getting our players ready to go. We've had great energy at practice. We get an opportunity to go out there today. One more practice as a team. We get to play in the snow and have some fun. We're going to go out there and embrace this opportunity, not look back and say we wish we had done it differently.