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Joe Judge, New York Giants (December 13, 2020)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 14, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 26-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Q: When you looked back at the film, how did Daniel (Jones) move around to you on the film? Did you think he was able to protect himself? Was he moving around well enough to be effective?

A: You cut out a little bit on me, but based on the part of the question I could hear right there, I’d say the way he moved in the game was what we expected. We put him through enough in practice last week to make sure he was put in a position where he could protect himself. We knew that there were things that were going to come up in the game and some limitations that he was going to have throughout the game. We were willing to live with those. But in terms of the question did we feel like he moved the same in practice as he did in the game, I would say the answer to that is yes. What we expected to see, we pretty much saw.

Q: It did seem like by the end of the game, he was maybe limping around a little more. I don’t know if that was just wear and tear. How did he come out of the game from what you understand?

A: I had a conversation obviously after the game yesterday, and then I talked to him again this morning. Obviously, there are some bumps and bruises. He didn’t do anything that aggravated that leg injury right there. He felt like he came out… obviously, there was probably a little bit of wear and tear as the game went on. He took some hits in the pocket yesterday. I think that’s just kind of natural. Any quarterback getting up is going to have a little bit of wear and tear on them right there. I’ll check back with him tomorrow. I know he visited with the doctors after I talked to him today, and I haven’t talked to our medical staff other than very early this morning until they’re getting ready to leave the building today. The biggest meeting we’ll have will be tomorrow when guys are about 48 hours outside the game. That will kind of tell us in terms of going through the week who we can plan on practicing and managing and having for the game, things of that nature.

Q: Separate from that, what was your diagnosis on giving up eight sacks and five in particular to Hasson Reddick? When you went back and watched the film, was there any common theme there?

A: I think there was a multitude of things we have to do better, coaching and playing. There were some situations where it just came down to they were good in coverage. We blocked for a long time, and Daniel wasn’t going to pull the ball and run in some of those circumstances yesterday. Some of those were, you can call them coverage sacks if you want to call them that. But it’s all tied together. It’s never one person, it’s never one thing. It comes down to everybody on the field and the coach with the plan we put together and the plays we call in that circumstance. Look, obviously, he’s a good player. They made plays, you have to give them credit. They really showed up yesterday and played their top game. We have to be better all across the board, starting with myself.

Q: Did Daniel have any x-rays after the game or other injuries?

A: I don’t have the answer to that, not that I’m avoiding that. But when I check with the medical staff, I’ll kind of get more information on that. I can tell you there’s no broken bones or anything of that nature if that’s what you’re referring to right there, no. They would have told me that immediately.

Q: I was just seeking clarification, you said he visited with the doctors today. I didn’t know if that was just a routine checkup on the hamstring or if that was some new injury that needed further examination.

A: No. So, the checkup with the doctors, that’s routine. Every Monday, we have a full staff of guys in here. What they do is they meet with the players, they come in through the day, they check on everything. If there’s anyone that has to go get an MRI or an x-ray or some kind of an opinion on something they’re doing, they’re handling that today. There are circumstances where we go ahead and we handle things after the game immediately if they need to be. What they do is kind of compile because the guys come in at different times throughout the day. With the buildings being closed right now to the players and coaches, we have to stagger the guys that come in for treatment, for checkups, and for workouts throughout the day to make sure we keep the numbers thin. Right now, it’s a lot less, however you want to say it, it’s a lot less of a fluid situation of getting information back on the players because they’re truly staggered throughout the day, based on the situation with COVID, on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Q: If Daniel were to look the same way he looked going into this last game, would you play him against the Browns or are all options on the table for you in order to try and win Sunday, including possibly resting him?

A: Yeah, if Daniel is healthy to play and he looked the way he did in practice last week, I’d have no hesitation of playing Daniel at all. We made a calculation. We have a lot of confidence in Colt (McCoy). This has nothing to do with Colt. But there’s also a commitment we’ve made to Daniel as our quarterback and how we’re running this offense. We have confidence in all of our players. But if he’s healthy enough to go out there and protect himself, and we don’t feel he’s putting himself in greater danger to be injured worse, and he’s going to give the team a competitive advantage of going out there, then we’re going to play him. We have no hesitation. Just because we’re going to play Daniel doesn’t mean at any time that we’re not going to have a plan to put Colt in for a certain package or situation in the game, or we’re not going to have a plan for any other player on the roster to at some point be used in a certain situation or circumstance to give us an advantage. Look, all options are always on the table in terms of what we’re going to do by game plan. But to answer your question directly and simply, yeah, if Daniel is healthy enough to go out there, and we think he’s not in greater danger to be damaged or hurt, then we’ll play him.

Q: Just kind of piggybacking off that a little bit, based on the way Daniel kind of came through yesterday limited in terms of the running game, do you guys need to change your perspective or what you evaluate on him in practice to clear him? Do you need to have a different set of standards going into next week based on how last week played out?

A: In terms of what? In terms of him coming out healthy or in terms of what he wasn’t doing in the game plan?

Q: In terms of just seeing him through the week at practice, do you need to see him able to do more to be able to be more effective in the game than he was this past week?

A: No. Our evaluation was to make sure he could operate in the pocket, that he could defend himself. He had to leave the pocket a couple of times, he did that, he could do that effectively and be able to get rid of the ball or get the ball down the field and protect himself. In terms of how we call or structure the game plan, that’s on us as coaches to make sure we’re inventive enough and creative enough to put ourselves in situations that if we’re limited with any player in a certain something they can do physically, then we have to give them another option.

Q: Daniel took a lot of hits. You said he had bumps and bruises. When you watched the film, was any of that a result of him not being able to move like he normally can?

A: I think everything is always connected. I think, obviously, he took some hits in the pocket. Were there some times that maybe he could have left the pocket and extended plays? You could argue one way or another. Were there other times that had nothing to do with that? Yeah, there were definitely times like that as well. I think any player that comes out of a game… look, there’s been every game this year that guys come out with some kind of bump or bruise, whether it looks like he didn’t get touched at all or not. You play through a professional game, everyone is coming out the next day sore, tired, worn down, and everyone’s getting checked on all the time.

Q: Was he at some greater risk? Maybe not for the hamstring, but bumps and bruises or other injuries? You think he could protect himself, but he could not move or escape some of the hits like he normally could.

A: I just go back to we saw he could protect himself in the pocket and move fluidly through the pocket. He could get rid of the ball if he needed. If he had to eat a sack at some point, that was something we were going to go into the game plan knowing it could happen. Obviously, there are some things that come up in the game. You get hit in the pocket at certain points. He is no different than the other 31 quarterbacks in the NFL. They all deal with the same risks every time they drop back in the pocket. To answer you directly, he was able to protect himself yesterday. No, there is no regrets, there’s no second guessing. We took a lot of time discussing a lot of things, scenarios with doctors, coaches, making sure it was the best position for the team. That’s the decision we went with and move forward.

Q: In regard to one particular hit that Daniel took late in the game, he seemed to come up limping on his left leg noticeably. He stayed in the rest of the series. He came over and had a conversation with Colt and then Colt immediately started taking warmup throws. It seemed like something in addition to the hamstring had happened.

A: At that point in the game, I had just made the decision to go with Colt. It was late in the game at that point. I was going to get Colt in just to get a few reps at that point. That had nothing to do with something that happened on that drive.

Q: Do you expect Daniel to be ready to practice Wednesday? Is it a little too early to know?

A: I honestly couldn’t give you accurate information. I have to talk to Ronnie (Barnes) and his staff along with the doctors’ feedback. Talking to Daniel this morning, the conversation was more about the hamstring. How his leg felt and how he was through the flow of the game. He assured us he came out with the hamstring really the same as what he went in. He felt good through the flow of the game. We had a long conversation. I’ll let him speak for himself on a lot of things. There was really no talk about anything other than the hamstring going on.

Q: You fell to second place. How do you move forward and how do you talk to the team about the situation and the three games left?

A: I’ve already addressed the team today in a squad meeting. Real simply, the focus is still what the focus has been the entire year: to come to work, to improve as a team. Move forward and play our best ball next Sunday. That’s the only thing that can help us, that’s the only thing that really matters. Our focus this year was very clear-cut and simple, to become the best team we can be, to establish a culture and lay a foundation for this program going forward. That included becoming the best team we could be this year. That includes daily and weekly improvement. I’ve seen that from this team. Obviously, yesterday, we had to coach and play better. That wasn’t the result we were looking for. We need to come back to work on Wednesday. Put our nose to the grindstone and keep moving forward. In terms of all the division standings, the same as when last week everyone wanted to talk about being in first place. That wasn’t the focus of the week and being in second place, that’s not the focus of the week either. The only thing that’s going to help us right now is playing our best game against the Browns.

Q: Does it matter to you whether or not this team makes the playoffs?

A: The only thing I am concerned with right now is the Cleveland Browns. Anything beyond that, again, are hypothetical games. At this point right here, we need to go out there and play our best game this Sunday.

Q: What did you think about the ability of your receivers to get open and create separation? It looked like they were pretty tightly covered a lot of times, at least where the ball went.

A: You have to give them credit. They had a good game plan. They definitely did a lot of the stuff in terms of double teaming and bracketing a lot of our receivers down the field. There was definitely some tight coverage in man situations. I saw a lot of opportunities where our guys made catches in tight situations. I saw a lot of guys separate from man coverage and get open at times. There were times where we have to do a better job of winning our matchups. That ties into a lot of things. That’s not just each individual receiver. That’s the timing of the routes. The timing of the throws. That’s calling it at the right time. That’s making sure we recognize the coverage and get ourselves in the right situation. There’s a lot of things that tie in together right there. Obviously, we want to win more matchups. We want to make more plays down the field. We have confidence in our receivers, and these are the guys we’re going to play with going forward.

Q: The last couple of weeks, you’re not playing as well on special teams as you did for most of the season. Have you noticed teams are trying to take advantage of you schematically? Are there execution issues that are taking place that you are not happy with? What’s happening on some of these breakdowns?

A: We all have to do our job better, number one. This hasn’t been one thing. It’s not a schematic disadvantage. We’re not getting isolated into something and we can’t make an adjustment, make a correction. There haven’t been repeat mistakes, but over six phases, if you have an issue in one phase per week, it’s going to be glaring and go ahead and be magnified over time. That’s fair, that’s the way the National Football League is. That’s what we signed up for. We’ve got to coach it better. We have to play it better. It starts with me. Yesterday, obviously with the returns, they did a good job on us. We have to do a better job covering in space. That comes down to playing with good field leverage, good space tackling. That comes into specialists doing their job, the coverage units doing their jobs and make sure we tie it all together. This has been a strength for us for most of the season. There’s been a one-off here or there. Those one-offs on special teams, everything is a one-play situation, one-play scenario. There is not second down on special teams. You go out there and you have one chance to operate and execute. We have to make sure we make the most of our opportunities.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The assistant coaches will address the media on Tuesday. The players return to practice on Wednesday.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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