Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Obviously, we didn't do enough to have success today on the field. You've got to give credit to that team. Obviously, they played better, made plays when they had to. There were some things that we could do in the game better to give us a better chance. Ultimately, it wasn't good enough. I'm proud of the team for things they've done and fought through and stayed together as a team this year. Ultimately, it's not good enough. The fans deserve better. It doesn't meet our expectations as a program. It's not going to be acceptable and the things we have to correct we're going to start on immediately going forward in the future and start on next season. That being said, I'll answer any questions you may have.
Q: How confident are you that you're going to have the opportunity to do that moving forward?
A: I'm not going to worry about these hypotheticals right now. I appreciate it. I understand it's going to be the question of the day. Just understand that it falls under my baseline answer of hypotheticals.
Q: Can you explain those QB sneaks you guys ran?
A: We were backed up. Had a shot at the play-action to get the ball out in the flat. We've got to make the throw and hit the guy right there. (Fullback) Eli (Penny) was open there. It would've been a good shot coming off the goal line there to get us some yardage and get us some space. Ultimately, we were backed up, I wanted to get room. We were going to push it on forward. I wasn't going to live through what happened last week in Chicago, so we're going to give ourselves room for the punt. We did that, we gave ourselves room for the punt. We protected it, we covered well. We played the field position situation I wanted to play. We held them on the next drive and that's the way we want to go ahead and play that. Do we want to do that all the time we're backed up? No, but that was a situation that with where we were we wanted to make sure that the things that we had an issue with last week in Chicago was not going to repeat itself.
Q: You talk a lot about having faith in your players. Do you feel like that shows faith though?
A: I think it shows faith in the fact that I knew we were going to cover the kick and then play defense right there. In the situation of what it was, that's how I wanted to play right there.
Q: You said you're going to get to work immediately on fixing things. What's at the top of the list?
A: There's a number of things, there's a number of things. Obviously, we have to have better offensive production. We'll go through the evaluation process and get into that. There's a number of other things on the list, as well. I'm not going to go through a full diagnosis. I don't think it takes much thinking to go ahead and list the offensive production as an obvious thing we've got to correct immediately around here.
Q: On your first possession on fourth-and-one, you ran a vertical play as opposed to going up the gut. Their linebacker came through unblocked. Was it just that they had a good defensive play or was it something that you thought you saw in the scheme?
A: There was something we saw on tape in terms of how those defensive ends had played in those situations, in terms of taking it, in some success modes with similar plays against these guys. They made a better play, they got us right there. Obviously, we adjusted and we don't want to have that happen again. Just start working more vertical.
Q: On that (Wide Receiver Kenny) Golladay vertical, what happened there? It looked like (Quarterback Jake) Fromm had him and Golladay misjudged that or something. What did you see on that vertical play?
A: From what I saw, just threw it outside of his reach. A little outside of his reach.
Q: When do you expect to sit down with (Giants President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara and have a conversation about the state of things and the typical end of season conversation?
A: It'll definitely be this week. I'll keep that between us internally in terms of when something's scheduled.
Q: How far away or close do you think this team is to being competitive?
A: I made a statement last week and when I talk to you guys, I tell you the truth. I told you last week that I know we're closer than we are further away. I'll leave it at that. I know the targets of things we have to fix. We have to get moving in the right direction. I talked last week at length, which I'm sure everybody here has listened to several times by now, about the things that are going in the right direction in this program. We have to build on those things. And the things we have to fix, we have to fix immediately. That's just the nature of what it's going to be.
Q: The team lost six straight games. Is it a relief to get the season over so you can start to move forward and try to build this?
A: The funny thing about this is there's only one team every year no matter what the results are that has a happy ending to their season. That's just the reality of it. When you get into the stretch of the season, it's a long season, it's a grinding season. You build relationships and you go through all the grind with a lot of players that you really build and support and really rely on each other. At the end of anything like this, I don't think there's ever for any of the other 31 teams any feeling of relief to be done. I know for me personally it doesn't matter what the situation is – we're playing last year, we're playing for a different situation. The teams I've been a part of in the past, and you're playing to keep advancing and get to the final whatever it may be – but this year is really no different. Mentally, you're always trying to stretch it out. When you walk in every week, you're thinking, 'Okay, this could be my last opportunity to coach a guy on a Wednesday, a Thursday, a Friday.' You're trying to extend those things, trying to make sure you don't waste those opportunities. Personally, that's how I feel. It's how I've felt in every postseason game I've ever played, last year's finale, including this year. You look at guys and there are a lot of guys that you know are not under contract. There's a business element to this. You don't have a crystal ball and know exactly what the future holds. You look at those guys that you obviously have strong ties to and bonds to and you try to soak up every second you get with those guys. You want to see them have success. You want to make sure you do everything you can to give them an opportunity to get their hard work rewarded. That's a big part of it. To me, as I've been taught before, it's always a crash landing except for one team.
Q: Was there any more pressure coaching today's game? Was that a more difficult game given the stakes, your job, other jobs on the line?
A: Again, I don't get into all the hypotheticals. My focus all week was on Washington. My focus was on our players. I owe it to them, I owe it to the organization not to get distracted by outside noise. That's the reality of what it is. You're in the National Football League, it's high stakes, every game is important. Every game is important. It's important to play the first game the same as the last game. We talk all the time about playing every play the same regardless of situation or circumstance. We always take that approach, we take that attitude. I talk to you guys all the time, you want to know what rollercoaster we ride, but we don't do that. We stay right here as an organization and as a team. We came in every week, whether it was Monday or a situation they came in on Wednesday. We get after the tape and we keep it to what are the facts, what's on tape, what's the truth? What did we do well that we have to build on? What are things that we have to improve on? That's really our focus going forward right now. Look back at the season, what are things that we did well? What are things we can build on? What are things we have to improve on? Obviously, you start with what you have to improve on. You narrow that down, you attack it with a plan of how you're going to make that better, you map out how you're going to go down the course of that action and then you go ahead and identify, from what we're going to build on, how do we tie that in while we're adjusting things we have to make better.
Q: (Washington Head Coach) Ron Rivera said that he was upset by something that you said last week.
A: You can talk to Ron about that. You can talk to Ron about that. I've talked to Ron myself. We talked on the field. You can ask him about that.
Q: What did you tell him on the field about that? Did you try to clarify it when you were on the field with Ron?
A: No. I'll keep anything that I said to Ron between me and Ron. That's the way I am with everybody.
Q: What have you learned after two years here as a head coach, what you expected versus what the reality has turned into?
A: A whole lot. A whole lot and this is probably a better answer for a later time. I could tell you – I'm not going to go into a diagnosis of everything, but last year there were a number of things that I learned of how to do on the job. There are a lot of things you learn of how to go ahead and operate within it. Probably this year, some of the things I learned are a lot more of what not to do. Some of it was things that I was involved in or something that I observed, but there were a lot of things this year that – obviously, the results aren't what we wanted, so while there are a number of things that I learned of how to do it, there's also a number of things I've learned of that will never happen again. There's a list of things that are just tattooed. You touch a hot plate, you learn it's hot. You're not going to touch that thing again. There's a number of things that I've gotten from this year that I absolutely understand. Sometimes, the more valuable lesson is you learn what you can't do again or what you can't allow to happen again. I file everything. I file everything in terms of what I learn. Everything is an experience, everything is a lesson. The important thing with what happens, any lesson you learn, is that you move forward with it and make the right decisions going forward with the information that you gathered.
Q: We saw (Senior Vice President and General Manager) Dave (Gettleman) taking pictures with his family before the game. It's not really a secret that there's probably going to be a change at GM. How does that impact you from where you stand?
A: Again, I'm not going to get into any hypotheticals. I'll let Dave speak for Dave. I'll let Dave speak for Dave.
Q: It was actually on this date two years ago that you were introduced as head coach and you laid out your vision of where you thought you guys were going to go. Do you feel two years later that you have to defend the progress that you guys have made or at least the progress that you see?
A: In terms of two years to the date or anything, I don't really get too sentimental about anything like that. But in terms of defending, no. I'm not in a mode of defending anything. I'm more in the mode of looking at what's the truth, what's the reality and where are we at. To get where we want to go, what do we have to improve on immediately? That's really the mode I'm in, sit on down, lay out the plan. I'm the harshest self-critic I could be. Before I get to anybody else, any player or any other coach, I always start with myself. What could I have done better? What am I not doing well enough that I have to adjust? I always start with that and then I have to look externally at what else has to be adjusted, what else has to be fixed? As we go through this process, we've got to make sure we make all the necessary adjustments. Obviously, the fans deserve better than what we gave them this year. Our team deserves better than what we accomplished this year. I have much higher expectations as a team. I'm never going to compromise or negotiate on that. My expectations are what they are. As I've said a number of times, I'm very proud of a lot of things our team has done through a lot of adversity this year. There's a lot of circumstances they've handled without blinking. I'm very proud of that. I'm very proud of that. Ultimately, it wasn't good enough. My focus right now is already on next season immediately and changing everything we have to, making every necessary adjustment so we come out here next year and we play the type of football that we have the exact results that we want to have as an organization.
Q: How much does that mean overhauling the offense?
A: I'm not going to get into any specifics right now in terms of hypotheticals. I've already identified the obvious critical first need would be to improve our offensive production. It wasn't good enough.
Is Judge just politely not throwing Kitchens under the bus? Ends it with it won’t happen again, and going vertical. Such an odd response if he isn’t covering for Kitchens.
Had he shown even one moment of brilliance in the past 2 years I would say maybe. This team really doesnt look like they even practice.
On what grounds could you trust him?
I think he might be a good coach someday. He maintains a great relationship with players and seems like with a few years of seasoning might make something of himself. Maybe not at this level.