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Joe Judge, New York Giants (September 14, 2020)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

JOE JUDGE ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Tuesday (video):

Opening Statement: Good to see everybody, it’s been a while. Hope everybody’s gotten a little bit of rest time and, again, I hope everyone’s families are safe and well right now. Just to recap and kind of bring you up to speed on what we’ve been doing since the end of the season, immediately after the season we took the next week, we did all of our self-scout evaluations on our personnel, on the team. We looked through our roster and each position coach breaks up all the players, the coordinators kind of establish the needs going forward, I meet with the coaches and the coordinators before we break on a vacation. And then we break on the vacation, we came back several weeks later after guys kind of caught their breath a little bit. We recapped our roster – we did that as an entire organization with our personnel departments, management and the coaches. We made sure everybody was on the same page in terms of how we played this year, what we have to do to improve the team, what needs we may need to address personnel-wise, and then we shifted our gear coaching-wise into scheme and we did a self-scout solely based on scheme and what we’d done the last year that was successful and what we can do better. That shifts into not only what we do, but then also studying the league, studying some college and seeing what’s productive out there that we can apply into our systems and use to give our players a better advantage. From there, we’ve carried over, our coaches have been working these last couple of weeks on league studies and presenting to each other right now in terms of finding better ways to incorporate into our own playbook and expand our offense, defense and kicking game schemes that will help going forward. All the while, we’ve been doing free agent evaluations and our coaches are currently working on the draft. Along with the personnel department, we’re trying to replicate as best we can the interviews we have at the Combine with prospects through Zoom. We’ve been doing that over a week now with several players a day. It’s been very productive. I think the difference this year is we’re all used to using Zoom, so it doesn’t take as long to get on the same page.

In addition, to update you on some staff moves we’ve made since the end of the season, we’ve added several coaches to our staff. Rob Sale has joined us as our Offensive Line Coach. I’ve known Rob for some time now, I’ve worked with him, I’ve stayed in very close contact with Rob over the years. He’s someone who’s always impressed me as a very thorough teacher, as a very detailed and energetic on-the-field coach and he’s someone who has a very strong relationship with his players. I thought he was a good fit. We made sure to do our due diligence – I talked to probably over 25 coaches personally, our staff researched an additional probably 15-20, we had several interviews in person and countless interviews over Zoom. I would say that they all did a good job and there were a lot of qualified candidates. At the end of the day, the best move for the New York Giants was adding Rob and I’m excited to add him to our staff.

In addition to that, Jeremy Pruitt, we’ve added him as our Senior Defensive Assistant. Jeremy’s going to work with all levels of the defense, the back end, the linebackers and the front. Jeremy’s another guy that I’ve worked with in the past, I’ve kept in very close contact. Jeremy’s a guy that’s coached on all levels, high school, college and now the NFL, and he’s always impressed me as somebody who’s been able to connect with every player on the field regardless of how they came up, where they’re from geographically – doesn’t matter, Jeremy just has a good knack of connecting with everyone. He’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever been around and it’s been fun to have him in the building and talking ball. I think he’s going to help our staff as far as bringing some new ideas and different ways of running our current schemes. One thing you’re seeing in the league right now is there are a lot of college schemes that are trickling up to the NFL based on the players and their skillsets and what they’re accustomed to doing. Having guys like Jeremy, [Inside Linebackers Coach] Kevin Sherrer and [Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer] give you a little bit of an avenue of looking into ways they’ve handled similar things in the college game and being able to do it within our own schemes, so it’s something that should help us right there.

We’ve added Pat Flaherty, he’s going to work in a consultant role with both the offensive and defensive staffs. He’s going to have responsibilities on both ends. Obviously, Pat’s specialty, being an offensive line coach in this league for a long time, a tight ends coach, is really dealing specifically with the front. I’m excited to have Pat here. Part of the strength is we’ve got two young offensive line coaches with Rob Sale and [Assistant Offensive Line Coach] Ben Wilkerson, and Pat’s a good sounding board for those guys to have. He’s also someone who can do some extra leg work for us and really break down opponents of what they’re doing, as well as share with our defensive staff maybe how some different offenses are running and give [Defensive Coordinator] Patrick Graham a different perspective on what he’s seeing on tape.

Offensively, we’ve had some different assignment changes and, again, Derek Dooley did a great job for us last year as a Senior Offensive Assistant. Really did a nice job as far as preparing for opponents, running our scout teams and breaking down what we’re doing. I thought he was a guy that we wanted to get him into a room, get him some guys – we’ve moved him to Tight Ends Coach at this point. Derek’s a guy who’s got coordinating experience, he has coached multiple positions, he’s been a head coach, he sees things through a big lens and really sees a big picture at the end of the tunnel, which is important for us, so he’ll be our Tight Ends Coach.

Freddie Kitchens is going to be our Senior Offensive Assistant. His primary responsibility is going to be working with the front. Freddie has coached quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, has worked hand in hand with the offensive line. Again, tying into having two young offensive line coaches with Rob and Ben, I think Freddie is going to be an asset up front working directly with them and helping bring together the game planning, like all of our coaches will, but working directly with [Offensive Coordinator] Jason [Garrett] with some of the things that are going to happen up front. All that being said, I’ll open up to any questions you may have that I can answer at this point.

Q: Year 1 was about the process and about progress. It was about improvement and development. What is the overall mantra as you get set and look ahead to year 2?

A: Yeah, that doesn’t really change. It’s still about being committed to the process, that’s really the biggest thing right there. Like 31 other teams, we have to start over this year. In terms of the commitment to the team, the development of depth on the roster, continuing to develop our players that are here, the identification of the right fits of players through free agency and the draft to add to our program, the theme remains the same. The process is to build a team internally and then add necessary pieces that can add to your team. So, the mantra for us is to come to work every day, do your job, work hard, be attentive and put the team first. That’s going to be the job for every player walking through the door and that’s going to be the job for every coach in this building, as well.

Q: Hey Joe, as all these colleges are having these pro days and there’s no Combine, how are you handling this? Are you sending people to every site? Is everything being done virtually? Are the guys who are traveling being given kits to stay healthy so they can test themselves?

A: So, in terms of traveling from site to site, I’ll let [Senior Vice President and General Manager] Dave [Gettleman] talk about the personnel department and how they’re handling that. We will look to put scouts in the right positions to watch these pro days. I would say that the thing to consider with the pro days going on around the country is the protocols or regulations are a little bit different state by state and school by school. The one thing that we’ve been told that hasn’t changed yet is our interaction with players at these pro days will be almost nonexistent. In terms of what school you’re at, you may be in the stands in the stadium watching a player operate on the field. Now, we’re going to get video tape of all these pro days, so very similar to the Combine, all 32 teams are going to get the same tape of all the players. Really your best view will be the up-close views of the tape that you’re given. Now, ideally leading into the Draft, you want to get out there, you want to meet in person with these players, you want to look them in the eye, you want to get on the field with them, you want to put them through drills and you want to really get a feel for these guys on the field – how they respond to your coaching, what they can and can’t do on the field and really get a feel for their skillset up close. You know, video tape is good, but there’s really no replacing in-person workouts. That being said, because of the travel around the country right now and then also some of the restrictions at the campus, we’re going to be selective about where we send coaches as far as being out to work guys out because, again, you’re more going there as an observer than you are to actually work out the players. It’s definitely different than in the past. I’d say it’s not too dissimilar than the Combine itself where you’d sit in the stands in Indy or in a suite and watch the players work out, but to be honest with you, I’d say 90 percent of the coaches and personnel that are in the booths or in the suites are looking at the guy on the field and then they’re looking at the replay on the screen on TV to get an up-close look at it. It’s not the most ideal view as it is anyway, so, long-winded answer, will there be people out there? There will. Is it going to be as much traveling as in the past or as much interaction? No, it won’t. However, I’d say we have a lot of confidence in going through the draft last year without pro days at all, dealing solely with talking to players after the Combine on Zoom and I think we did a good job working as an organization to evaluate them through that process based on their game tape, to get together and make sure that we agreed in how we saw the player and what the best decision for the team going forward was.

Q: Joe, this offseason seems a little bit different in terms of some of the top quarterbacks in the league and their potential to move around. I’m wondering if your stance has changed at all because of the potential availabilities of those players regarding [Quarterback] Daniel [Jones] and why or why not?

A: No, it hasn’t at all. It hasn’t at all. Again, we have confidence in Daniel, he’s a player that we want to work with going forward with this team. He’s shown us a lot of improvement, there’s a lot of things. I can go on and on about how we respect him and like him and how the locker room responds to him, but the simple answer to that is no.

Q: Last year was obviously about evaluating him and coming to that decision. What do you need to see from him moving forward and what can you do in the next couple of weeks here or the next couple of months as we head toward the draft to help him get there?

A: Well, we’re limited on the interaction we can have with the players anyway. We touch base with our players – texts and phone calls. A lot of these guys come through the building, we sit down and have conversations, but it’s really not football at this point. It’s more just catching up, checking on these guys, making sure that they’re good, that their families are healthy, that if there’s anything they need from us that we can assist them with, but it’s not football at this point. In terms of anything we can do leading up to the draft, until we get clearance to start the offseason program and have the players here and really not get on the field with the players until phase two, that’s the first time we’re really going to get the chance to work with them on the field. Other than that, it’ll be meetings in phase one and some meetings in phase two, and then ideally if we have OTAs again, that’s really where they can make the most gains and improvement as a player. And that’s for all of our players. In terms of Daniel, like every other player and every coach, we all have things we have to improve on and take strides forward in this year. That’s no different for any player on our roster or any player in the league really. But our focus is internally coach some players, we all have to improve, we communicate that directly, I do with all of the coaches, we communicate directly with all of our players in things that we have to improve on both short-term and then long-term throughout their career, and then we put together a system and plan for them to attack that and go forward.

Q: Hey Joe, this offseason, how do you balance trying to plug some holes on your roster to win in 2021 with continuing to rebuild the roster and looking at the long-term picture, like when you’re evaluating free agent decisions and that kind of thing?

A: Look, I’m always a long-term picture guy. I think you have success by continuously building your team through the draft, by developing your players, by adding the right players in free agency that not only fits you schematically but fits you personality and culture-wise in the locker room. I think the one thing to keep in mind as we go through this free agency point of the year – and, look, it’s very exciting, and there’s a lot of press and media and it’s all over TV, but the reality is it’s not fantasy football. You can’t just grab a player, put him on your team and think everything’s going to work out. It has to be the right fit for your team going forward and that’s a fit culturally and a fit schematically, and it’s got to go both ways. There’s things that we do here that, look, we don’t make it easy on our players and coaches, that’s by design. The guys we have in this locker room have bought in, we have a lot of fun here through doing that, but we have a way of doing things. That’s not for everyone, to be honest with you. You have to make sure you bring someone in who’s going to fit the culture and that’s going to buy into what you’re doing, and that shares the same principles and values and team goals that you have. In terms of balancing that, to me it’s just about continuously adding good players to your roster and then it’s our job internally to help those players promote their career through developing and getting better on the field.

Q: You said you evaluated your own team and what you kind of need in regards to personnel, so obviously you’re not going to tell me exactly who you want to get or whatever. From a big picture, what are your goals personnel-wise for this offseason?

A: I’m going to give an answer and this is actually as clear and transparent as I can be – and it’s going to seem very generic and washed out, but this is as simple as I can put it – the priority is really just to add as many good players to this team that we see helping us down the stretch and building with this. That’s the goal. Add good players who fit what we’re looking to do, who can add to the skillsets we need as a team and at the same time fit the culture in the locker room that we’re building here. I know that sounds very generic, there’s guys at all positions that are available throughout the league. Ultimately, what it’s going to come down to is making sure that whatever position we bring guys in that they fit us and that we fit them.

Q: Being specific on one position at least, how important is it for you to add a top playmaker in regards to a receiver this offseason?

A: I think we’ve got to do things to help our players on our roster. We have to make sure we keep putting these guys in position to be successful and part of that is by adding talent and improving the competition on the roster. That can be through the draft, that can be through free agency, that can be a lot of different ways. In terms of adding specifically a receiver, look, if the right situation is up with a guy in free agency, then we’ll pursue it. If the right situation is up with a guy in the draft, then we’ll pursue it. My focus as a coach is when we get whoever we have in the building to continue to put them in the right position to be successful and use their skillsets.

Q: Hey Joe, you guys obviously added a lot of young offensive linemen last year and I know you made it a point to work them into the rotation throughout the year and get them some experience. I’m curious, how much do those guys play into your decision-making in terms of adding offensive linemen this offseason and how do you feel generally about that group coming out of last year?

A: Well, I think because you play five guys at a time at that position, you’re always looking for good offensive linemen to bring into your program and develop. You can never have too many good offensive linemen, nobody’s ever upset that they have a good offensive line. So, I’m very pleased with the development our young guys got last year, I’m pleased with the continuity they built in not really being just five guys working together, but really it was seven or eight guys working together through different stretches of the season and really getting a feel for each other. That being said, again, we’re always looking to add good players that can add to our roster and every player has to compete for what they get here. Specifically to the offensive line, I’m pleased with the progress those guys made last year and if there’s someone at some point to add to the team that’s going to be the best move for the team, we’ll always consider that.

Q: Where are you on [Defensive Lineman] Dalvin Tomlinson? How would you evaluate a guy who doesn’t have the biggest stats because of the position he plays, but certainly seemed to be really important to what your defense was able to do last year?

A: Specific to our players who are free agents, I said it after the season and I’ll say it again, I’d love to have all of our guys back, I really would. I’m not going to comment on anything specifically to contracts and obviously we have a lot of love for Dalvin as a person and as a player. To me, I don’t think stats are always the overlying factor. You have to understand how you use him in your scheme and the overall production he has sometimes by allowing other people to be productive. Look, in terms of Dalvin, I can’t say enough good things about him. I love him as a person, he’s a fun guy to coach. All that being said, we’d love to have all of our guys back. There’s a process every team has to go through this time of year through free agency and all that stuff will be addressed when the time comes.

Q: Hey Joe, have you talked to [Offensive Tackle] Nate Solder and do you expect him to play this season? Did he give you that indication? And do you need either him or [Guard] Kevin Zeitler around, if not both, to mentor your young offensive linemen?

A: I’d say both those players are players that are under contract and currently on our roster. Look, I’m not going to speak for Nate. The answer is yes, I have talked to Nate. To be honest with you, the majority of our conversations have actually had nothing to do with football. I’ve talked a good bit with Nate since the end of the season and just checked up on him in terms of how the year off went, how his family is doing, how his son is doing and how he’s doing personally. There have been a lot of conversations. We have talked some football. There are other areas of our building as well that are in conversations with Nate, but when the time comes to address all that, we’ll know. Obviously, these things don’t all happen in one day and we’ll see where everything goes, but these are players we’d love to have back, they’re guys on our roster.

Q: Hey Joe, this year in particular with the cap being lower, I’m just curious when you look at two positions like pass rusher and wide receiver, how you weigh what’s happening in the draft. It’s obviously a very deep receiver class, so does that kind of shift your way of thinking about that position and maybe the same goes for pass rusher where it might not be so deep and you might have to dip into free agency?

A: I mean, it’s our job to know everybody who’s in the draft as well as everybody throughout the league that’s a free agent. It’s our job to know everyone throughout the league and on rosters, as well. That’s just part of the job, knowing the people in the NFL. Speaking specifically on those positions, you’re always doing your homework based on what’s available in different avenues to add to your team, whether that’s in free agency or the draft. Sometimes they do well off each other, other times they may not. I think the decision always comes down to who’s available at what times and is it the best decision for the organization.

Q: Hi Joe, just following up on wide receivers. When evaluating them, especially because so much is not in person, what characteristics are you looking for on film or intangibles besides fitting into the culture?

A: For all our players, we’re really looking for smart, tough and fundamentally sound. Now, you can evaluate a good bit of that on tape, you can evaluate the smarts or the instincts that you see them play with on tape. You can evaluate the tough through how they play with a physical mentality and how they respond to the tough situations in the game. And fundamentally sound, you have to see on the tape how they play within a positional execution. All that being said, you’re evaluating critical factors not to what they’ve done, but what you think they can do projecting going forward. So, in terms of evaluating anybody simply on tape, you’ve got to do your best work in terms of really evaluating how they play. Ultimately, the most important evaluation is the game tape. With draft prospects, it’s important for us to do our homework on these guys, it’s important for us to have good interaction in person and be very intentional in the questions we ask them to find out the information we need.

Q: Coach, just to follow up on something you said in the beginning, you went through an offseason last year like none other. It looks like it’s going to be the same kind of parameters in terms of virtual. What kind of improvements have you identified that maybe you want to change going forward into this offseason to get better results?

A: I’d say the first thing is in terms of the makeup of this offseason, nothing’s been done officially that we’ve been communicated to about. I’d say our hope is still to have the players in person, whether that’s in intense protocols or whatever it may be. Obviously, it’s a voluntary program, so it’s on the players and what they want to do with their offseason. I could tell you this, easily over 90 percent of our players talking at the end of the season voiced to me their desire to be here this spring and the importance they know on working here. I think we have a young team who understands that we have to work to improve, but that being said, it’s a voluntary program. We want to do everything we can do to help the players when we’re allocated the time. Now, I’d say specifically into the virtual part of it, actually we had a long talk about that after the season when we evaluated everything we do as a process. We had a long talk about the virtual element of the program, whether it was spring or in-season, and that’s something based on whether or not we have to do it because we’re mandated to in the future, whether that’s spring or the season. Also, we looked at some of the benefits of using it as a change up like we did some times this year throughout the season. We saw benefits of doing it at different times possibly virtually. Now, that’s got to be the right makeup of the team, the right time of the year and the right situation to use it. One thing I thought our staff got very good at and our players as well was being very interactive at the end of the year through Zoom. It wasn’t so much just tune in and listen, but it was really the interaction and we were able to really simulate those in-person meetings. The more interactive the meetings got, the more benefit we saw on the back end of the year. I would say that just seeing what we did last year that was beneficial, that would be the main focus to carry into the spring. The other thing too is, we reached out to a lot of people and we tried to find out what they do differently. I’m talking about talking to college programs, what are they doing differently with a younger generation of players? Talking to high school coaches, how do they have to interact with their players? Talking to teachers at high schools and professors in college, what are the things that they found beneficial as far as teaching? What are the tools that are out there that we’re not using that can keep players stimulated and engaged throughout meetings? We’re always looking to go ahead and do it. To me, the number one thing is interaction.

Q: Hey Coach, I wanted to follow up on Rob Sale. You guys have obviously put so much thought and effort into offensive line with Freddie’s new role, with bringing in Pat Flaherty. If you can just expand on why you think Rob Sale is the right guy to come help this young offensive line.

A: Like I said earlier, Rob is an excellent teacher. He’s a great, high energy coach and very detailed on the field. His guys respond to him. I’ve watched him develop a number of players at different places, whether he was at Georgia, Arizona State, Louisiana, I’ve watched him develop a number of offensive linemen that have been successful. I think the biggest thing is when you look at some of these programs, they start out with these higher recruits and their ceiling is high, but the room to get to the ceiling isn’t always as high. What I’ve seen with Rob is some of the guys he’s developed in the programs he’s been in where he’s truly had to mold them and bring them along both from their physical development as well as their mental understanding and their on-field performance. Look, I’m very pleased with what him and Ben have been doing the last few weeks working together, but tied directly into Rob, his ability to teach, his ability to establish relationships with his players and the response he gets from his guys and how they play on the field. That, to me, they all just line up to be the best fit for us.

Q: Joe, as you self-scouted your pass rush last year, what did you think of it? And now that [Defensive Lineman] Leonard Williams will be back with you guys, how does that impact how you view that area and entering free agency and the draft?

A: Well, look, it’s a passing league, truly it is. You have to be able to stop the run to be effective on defense, but when you look at the guys getting paid the most money, it’s obviously the quarterbacks. It’s a passing league. When you talk about the pass rush, it can never be just one player, you have to have depth at those positions and it has to come from multiple areas. To me, the improvement of the pass rush as the year went on last year was a combination of the improvement made up front with the defensive line and the outside linebackers in our pass rush schemes and then also on the back end with the way our defensive backs improved in the coverage on the back end to give them more time to get to the quarterback. Nothing really happens independently of each other. If the coverage isn’t sound, you can’t have a pass rush. If the pass rush isn’t sound, they have to cover for a long time and then all of a sudden that ends up not being really in your favor. Really, I saw improvement from the defense as a whole. That’s what we have to really go ahead and keep emphasizing is making sure all three levels, the defensive backs, the linebackers and the defensive line, continue to improve within our schemes. And then we have to make sure that we use guys in the best situations and matchups to be successful.

Q: In terms of Leonard Williams and him coming back, how does that impact how you view things going into free agency and the draft with your pass rush?

A: Like I said about all of our players, I’d love to have Leonard back. He’s a guy that obviously we really value in this building and we’d love to have him around here. When we talk specifically about how that helps the pass rush, I think good players help you play good and it’s no secret that he’s a very good player.

Q: Hey Coach, you talked about going over schemes and making some adjustments. I’m curious, at the tight end position, you and Jason (Garrett), do you feel that you fully utilized [Tight End] Evan Engram and even a guy like [Tight End] Levine Toilolo in the offense the way you attack defenses? And after looking at every play – I’m sure you looked at every play, how do you feel about Evan Engram still? Do you feel this guy is the future here?

A: I love Evan. I have a ton of confidence in Evan. He’s fun to coach, the guys have fun playing with him, he gives everyone in the locker room a ton of confidence. This guy goes out there every day and this guy works tirelessly, I mean tirelessly. This guy is a tank every day, so in terms of confidence within the program, absolutely we have confidence in him, 100 percent. He’s a guy that obviously we have to keep continuing to feature in the offense along with [Tight End] Kaden Smith and Levine and all the other tight ends that will be in our program because these are guys with skillsets and we’ve just got to keep on doing things to use their versatility and skillsets to put them in a position of strength.

DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media on Tuesday (video):

Opening Statement: Good afternoon, folks. Trust you’re all well and your families are great also. Just to catch up on where we’ve been, what we’ve done since the season ended, obviously when the season ended, we had a thorough review of our roster and then we’ve been getting into the UFA’s, so we’re well on our way there. On the college side, we’ve had two rounds of Zoom meetings with college scouts. They are out and about at the pro days. Our final prep meetings for the draft, we’ll reconvene in early April, hopefully some of it in person and it’s not completely Zoom, we’re hoping for that. Right now, we’re involved with Zoom interview sessions in lieu of the Indy interviews. We started those last week, we’re doing three players a day on average in the afternoon, so that’s where we’re at. Finally, just so you understand, I completely understand why you guys have to ask about contracts and negotiations, I understand that. I hope you understand my stance on this. Philosophically, it’s between the player and the club. I think it’s very personal and in terms of timelines, contracts get done when they’re supposed to get done. That’s the way I feel about it and that’s the way it’ll go when you ask me about negotiations. Let the questions begin.

Q: Last year, you had [Defensive Lineman] Leonard Williams play under the franchise tag number. This year, how debilitating would it be if you have to do that again with Leonard Williams at almost $20 million dollars of cap space?

A: Well, we still don’t know what the cap number is going to be. We still don’t know that, so that’s a hypothetical. Don’t know what the number is going to be, but it is what it is.

Q: Theoretically, how much would it hurt you in free agency moving forward if you have to allot all that money to one player on a franchise tag?

A: Well, obviously it certainly makes it a little more difficult, but we’ll operate, and we’ll manage.

Q: With reference to Leonard and a franchise tag, have you guys officially used the franchise tag on Leonard yet? I know there was a report this morning that you were going to.

A: Today is the last day. We’ll see where it goes.

Q: So you haven’t made an official decision on that either way?

A: No, we’ll make a decision later on.

Q: Just in terms of the way this offseason is shaking out, I know last year you started one way in terms of how you were able to do all your evaluations. You still had the Combine and then obviously everything changed, and you had to really fly by the seat of your pants. Overall, do you feel that it’s more challenging or less challenging going into this year having gone through and offseason like last year or are there things that you still are kind of uncertain as to how things are going to play out from a scouting perspective, from free agency because of the uncertainty that’s still involved league wide?

A: Well, the uncertainty really doesn’t play into unrestricted free agency. Those are players that are in the league, scouting them is not the issue. The uncertainty certainly falls on the college draft piece. Last year, despite the fact that the world essentially closed down mid-March, we had already had Indy, we had the all-star games and obviously had a full college season with full normal access. You had all that. This year, it’s obviously different. The way the pro days are set up, each team is only going to be allowed to have three people attend and most likely you’re going to be in the stands, whether that’s in an indoor facility or in a stadium, who knows. It’s going to vary from school to school. We also have to have our scouts tested and show up with negative tests, so there’s a lot of that going on. The other problem you’re going to have is that critical face-to-face contact, you’re not going to be able to have it because even at these pro days you’re not going to be allowed to have one-on-ones with the players. It’s going to be different. I’ve had conversations with people in other leagues and how they’ve handled it and I’ll continue those conversations, but really and truly there’s always unknowns and there’s just more unknowns this year. The one thing that I will say is we’re used to Zoom, we’re used to operating differently and we’re used to trying to be innovative as to how we operate, so that part of it is ongoing.

Q: Even if [Running Back] Saquon [Barkley] comes back 100 percent, do you need playmakers, one or two more? How do you look at that?

A: Every team needs playmakers, let’s be honest. Good lord willing, Saquon will be 100 percent and obviously he’ll make a huge difference. A healthy Saquon obviously makes a big difference, but, again, you’re always looking to add good players. And, oh, by the way, we’re not playing until September, so we’ve got free agency and we’ve got the draft, and we’ll see how it plays out. It’s not like we don’t realize what we need, but, again, at the end of the day it’s also about adding really good players. You can never have too many good players at any positions. Sure, we have our eye out for that, but we also have our eye out for guys that fit us culturally and fit where we’re trying to get to.

Q: Seems like this year more than ever there’s a lot of potential quarterback moves in the league and certainly a lot of high-ranking draft picks to come out. [Head Coach] Joe [Judge] said a little earlier that you guys haven’t changed your stance on [Quarterback] Daniel [Jones]. Was it at all tempting to look at some of those possibilities or how did you handle that situation?

A: Well, you do your evaluations. We’ve had Daniel for two years; we’ve done the evaluation on him and we really believe he’s the guy. No reason to go look. What we’re doing isn’t fantasy football, we’re not playing, we’re not doing that. We’ve got a conviction on him, he’s everything we want, he’s got all the physical skills and again I say this all the time, the kid just finished his second year of NFL football. How many of us after two years at our new job were great? No, we all start at point A and we hopefully get to point Z, but the one common denominator is it takes time. Everybody has to understand that. We believe in Daniel and that’s where it is.

Q: Do you feel like there’s a deadline to get this team to championship caliber before he gets to a second contract? Do you need to try to win on his rookie deal?

A: You giving me the window theory? Microsoft Windows is nice, but I’m not a window theory guy, I’m just not. I never have been, and I never will be, so we’re going to keep working the process, keep getting better and we’ll get there.

Q: Since you arrived at the Giants, I think this is year four of the rebuild and while I’m sure you might quibble with this, PFF had your offensive line ranked 31st this season in the league. I’m just wondering where you think you guys are in this rebuild and did you think it would be a little quicker, frankly?

A: Well, we’ve talked about that. I went to Carolina and it worked out well, it worked out quickly. We all want things to happen fast. Just for what it’s worth, in terms of where our offensive line is, they’re young and they’re talented. Things take time. I said it earlier, things take time. We believe in these guys, they all came along, we finished the season fairly strong. One of the things that I would say to you is we were 4-2 in our division and if you look at our division, all of those defensive lines that we play, all those fronts are big, powerful, athletic defensive lines and our guys held up. So, we’re getting there. It’s the old saying, you’ve got to run the ball and you’ve got to obviously be able to protect the passer. We’re young and we’re getting better.

Q: If I may though, you can only say you’re young if you don’t have [Guard Kevin] Zeitler and [Offensive Tackle Nate] Solder because they’re not young, they’re absolute veterans in this league. So, are you implying that they’re gone, and the young guys have to make it happen now?

A: I’m not implying that at all.

Q: But Dave, then your offensive line isn’t young. Respectfully, you don’t have a young offensive line, then.

A: When your center and your left guard and your left tackle are rookies, basically you’re young.

Q: With the uncertainty and lack of information in the scouting process this year compared to others, is there an argument for trading back in the draft more this year than other years and acquiring more picks to take more swings at the plate, so to speak? Or even maybe moving and acquiring more picks next year because the process might yield clearer results in the scouting process than it does this year? Or do you try to handle it as normally as possible through all those hurdles?

A: Well, I think that you can make the argument that you’re going to have the most information on the top 100-150 guys and as you work backwards because of a lack of touch and whatever, you’re not going to have as much information or have as much confidence in your ability to work your way through that group. You can make the argument to trade back because of this thing. There are guys in this draft that when they put pads on in August it’ll be the first time in 20 months they’ll have put pads on, so you’ve got to think about that piece and some of those guys are very, very highly rated, so you’ve got to think about that. Your point about moving picks and trading back and getting 2022 picks is very valid because hopefully we’ll be back to somewhat normal and we’ll be able to draft in 2022 with that kind of thorough information that we had in 2020, but not in 2021. So you can make that argument for that, you can make that argument to trade back, accumulate picks for next year. You can make the argument that you sit tight. You can make the argument that, knowing that your best information is going to be on the top guys, maybe you trade up. So, who knows? I think what you’re saying makes a lot of sense.

Q: Can I refer to you as an old GM?

A: Wow, that’s getting personal. Sure, if that makes you happy, have at it.

Q: This year with a reduced salary cap, is renegotiating with guys with existing contracts more of an option this year?

A: The goal to best manage the cap is to get flat contracts. So, if a guy is making $15 million – it’s a 3-year deal at $45 million – you’d like to have a $15 million cap number every year, that’s the goal. once you start restructuring or renegotiating, you usually back-end load them. What you’re doing is you’re kicking the can, so it depends upon how much pain you want to deal with. That’s really what it is. Some teams philosophically say, ‘The heck with it,’ and they restructure and some people don’t. It’s a philosophical conversation, but it’s not a good place to get to, to constantly restructure and renegotiate.

Q: Hey Dave, this is your first draft since having to let go of DeAndre Baker. Pre-Dave Gettleman, the Giants were burned by some immaturity issues with Eli Apple and with Ereck Flowers. I’m wondering if in this draft, organizationally you guys have tightened standards to where any hint of a red flag is a no-go for you guys or is that just not possible because too many talented players have at least some hint of a red flag?

A: What I’m going to say to you is, again, you have to remember how young these players are. It’s not the old days where you had four guys that played four years, almost everybody red-shirted. [Offensive Tackle] Andrew Thomas just turned 21. I told you before, I drafted two 20-year-old guys when I was in Carolina. They’re coming out younger and younger, so there is that piece to them. They’ve been covered their whole lives and they’ve been taken care of and they’ve been covered and they haven’t had to be as accountable as maybe they need to have been, so when they get to us they have two things that are very dangerous and it’s time and money. Some handle it better than others. At the end of the day, that is something that we really try to work our way through. We talk about maturity all the time with players. Again, you turn around and you interview the players and you ask them the question, ‘What do you think is going to be your biggest challenge?’ And they turn around and say, ‘Well, I shouldn’t have any problems.’ And I’m saying to myself, ‘Well, how much does he know? How aware is he? How self- aware is he? Does he really understand what he’s getting into?’ When I tell him, ‘You’re 21 years old and you’re going to play against a 28 or 29-year-old man who wants to rip your lungs out.’ It’s different, you’re not in college anymore. The long way around to that answer is the maturity piece is really important and you work on it. At the end of the day, sometimes you’re not right.

Q: In regards to a young line, if that’s the case, are you comfortable going into the season with two players in their second year like [Offensive Tackle] Matt Peart and Andrew Thomas as your starting tackles?

A: I am, yes.

Q: We didn’t see a lot of Matt Peart, so I’m wondering what you saw that gives you that confidence in him.

A: When he played, he played fine. He played pretty damn well. At some point in time, you’ve got to let the young kids play. Listen, every player was a rookie at some point or a young player at some point. At some point in time, you have to have confidence in who’s on your club and you have to put him in there and let him play. Like I’ve said to some of you, how many of you had Pulitzer Prize-winning articles your first or second year?

Q: You don’t have the proverbial number one receiver or dominant edge rusher, the bell cow I think as you said last year. How realistic is it to fill both those spots in one offseason considering how much those positions get paid?

A: Well, there is a draft, right? So, you don’t necessarily have to buy them both. We’re just going to see how it plays out, see what guys are worth and what the expense costs are, and just keep moving forward.

Q: Hi Dave, you guys added Kyle O’Brien into your front office the other day. I’m curious what went into that decision, what’s his role going to be in the front office and what do you think he can bring to the table?

A: Well, what Kyle can bring is a variety of experiences. He’s worked in pro, he’s obviously been a college scout, a director of college scouting, a vice president of player personnel. Kyle went to Harvard and we’re always looking to add smart people. He’s a quality evaluator and we had a chance to add him and you want to add quality people, so Kyle will be very involved in what we’re doing.

Q: Just wanted to touch on something you were talking about earlier with less information that you guys can get this year. Everybody’s in the same boat, but is there a little bit uneasiness going into a draft like this when you don’t necessarily have access to the people that are around these players when you don’t get to see these players in person? Is there a percentage of less information that you would have on a prospect this year than you normally would?

A: Really, what makes you uncomfortable is the lack of personal contact you have with the players. That’s really what it is. Watching them operate, talking to them, just not having that personal touch is very difficult. The other thing that’s strange is most of the time when you’re talking about players in April once all the smoke has cleared, you’ve had Indy, you’ve had your pro days, you have your own personal measurements on these guys. The 40-yard dash times are your times, so there’s going to be a lot of information that we’re hoping is accurate and crisp. When we talk about players, we talk about play speed. I’ve been pretty vocal about Indy being the ‘underwear Olympics’ and last time I checked when you play football you have full pads on. It’s not what a guy runs in a 40-yard dash time, it’s how fast he plays, so I think that’s going to come into focus even more. We can get with the coaches, the assistant coaches and the folks, that’s not the problem. The problem is the personal contact with the players and where the measurables are coming from. Especially for me, more so it’s the height and the weight, the body measurements. The 40-yard dash is a watch, I really believe in play speed. It is a little unsettling, you know. I’ve said this before, what we’re doing is educated guessing, so this makes us a little more uneducated, not having this personal touch with these players.

Q: With the doctors in particular, the medical stuff, not having your own doctors get a chance to look at them, too. Does that play in?

A: Sure because, like I said, there is going to be an Indy in regards to medical. I believe they’re talking about having the top 150 go to Indianapolis and have a full, thorough medical. There’s going to be some telehealth interviews involved and whatever, but it’s a little unsettling. It is with the medical piece because there’s some unknowns. The more unknowns you have, the more unsettling it is.

Q: When it comes to Saquon Barkley’s situation coming off the injury, do you guys have to see him on the field before opening up long-term contract talks? Just curious what the injury history plays into that as he goes into his fourth year.

A: Well, I think that’s part of the discussion and obviously we’re going to have to make a decision in the spring on whether we pick up his fifth-year option or not. You know, again, it comes back to that medical question. It’s unknown and what you have to do is get your trainer and your doctors involved and make your best decision.

Q: Dave, last year I don’t think you had any undrafted free agents – actually, I take that back, [Defensive End] Niko [Lalos] made the roster later in the season. With that said, do you feel like given the circumstance that you’re missing out on maybe some smaller school gems? Have you adjusted how you’re going about your scouting process to maybe pick up some of these guys and pay more attention to them?

A: You’ve got to remember, last year we had ten draft picks. That’s an unusual number, so you can make the argument that you take three of the seventh-round picks, the last three, and if we had signed them after the draft – one of them was the inside linebacker from Georgia, Tae [Crowder], one of them was Chris Williamson, who was on the practice squad and the other guy I’m not sure, it wasn’t [LB] Cam Brown, Cam Brown was the sixth – but the point is those guys made our club. You can look at those as free agent signings after the draft. The other thing you have to remember is right now some of those schools are playing, some of the smaller school guys are playing and we’ll do the best we can with evaluating. There’s film available – you’re trying to get all the draft information and look at these kids, so it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge, but we’re working at it.

Q: Big picture here, you guys have won five, four and six games in your three seasons here. What are your expectations about how much better this team should be now that you feel like you have kind of settled things at quarterback, which is a big question? How much better should this team be in 2021?

A: Obviously, everybody has expectations. It’s about getting better. I’m not going to put a win number on it, I’m just not going to go there. I think we’re just about there. Talking to you guys, you’ve alluded to some of our needs and I believe we’re going to get there.

Jan 042021
 
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Joe Judge, New York Giants (January 3, 2021)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

JANUARY 4, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 23-19 win over the Dallas Cowboys and the 2020 NFL season (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Statement: Guys, I appreciate you pushing the time back a little bit later. Today was kind of a lot of exit meetings with our players, so I wanted to take the time and make sure we spoke with the majority of the players. We still have a handful that have to come back through tomorrow. I want to make sure I spend enough time with those guys before they get on the road and really start their offseason fully.

Before we get started with questions, I just want to take the opportunity to really thank everyone who was involved with this season. Every player, every coach, every staff member, every family member of a team member who was involved with the sacrifice involved with this as well, and especially the fans. This was a different type of year not having the fans in the stands. I can assure you; your absence was definitely noticed. We’ve already talked today collectively, players and coaches, about how much everyone is looking forward to next year when we can go ahead and open the gates and fill the stadium. That being said, I’d like to open it up to any questions you might have that I can answer.

Q: I’ll start with the little bit of news that’s out there. [Defensive Coordinator] Patrick Graham interviewing with the Jets. Do you expect you’re going to lose Patrick this offseason after the job he did for you?

A: Look, I just want to say this just very clearly, kind of on some of the topics with other things as well. I’m not now nor will I ever comment on any coach’s job, job prospects or any hypothetical reports about jobs until something is finalized and official. I appreciate the question; I respect the question. I think it’s easy to acknowledge we’ve had a number of coaches do a good job. I probably expect a number of requests for several of our coaches throughout this offseason. We’ll deal with that internally as they come up.

Q: At your introductory press conference, you talked about you wanted to have a team that reflected the grit of this area. Do you think you accomplished that?

A: You know it’s funny, we had that conversation last night. Someone asked me the same question in the locker room after the game. I can absolutely say yes. When I think about the people of this area, I think about hard working people who wake up every day regardless of the circumstance or situation, that have to go ahead and provide for their families. I think about people that work in tough conditions. I think about people who have to work through the COVID era. I think about people who have to go ahead and do things that are tougher for them just to make it better for other people. I think about people who don’t have a choice but to finish the job they start. And I think about our players and the way they’ve played this season, and you talk about adversity and going up and down when things aren’t always going right, things aren’t always peachy. These guys showed up to work every day to work hard, they showed up with a level of commitment, they showed up to make sure they made the decisions that were better for everybody else involved, even when it didn’t include themselves personally at times. I think about people when it was 0-5 or 1-7, didn’t question what the plan was, didn’t question what the process was, but they showed up on a daily basis to make sure that they played hard, they worked hard, they earned their paycheck and that they fought until the end. I think that reflects on the tape you turn on. It doesn’t have to be any quote from me. I think when you turn the tape on, that’s the attitude, the identity that our team has reflected on the play on Sundays. Obviously, there are things as a team you always have to collectively improve on going forward. There is no finished product. You never arrive. However, when you think about this area in terms of what this team should mean to the people out there, our guys have worked to make the people of this area proud. That’s something we talked about on a weekly basis. That’s something we’ll always continue to emphasize, along with the history of this program, the players that came before. But being the pride of the people of New York and North Jersey, that’s a main focus for the players and coaches in this building. That’s something we’re always going to go ahead and prioritize in terms of how we work, how we play and the types of players we have in this building.

Q: Do you expect to move forward with your staff intact, most notably Jason Garrett as your offensive coordinator? Also, do you expect to move forward next year with Dave Gettleman as your general manager?

A: Again, I respect the question. I’ve enjoyed working with every coach and staff member in this building. But respectfully to that question, I’m not going to comment on any jobs, hypothetical or anything like that, until anything is official. Don’t read anything into that. I’m just saying point blank it doesn’t matter what the question is. If it’s about a job of a member of our staff, I’m not going to comment on that at any point now or going forward.

Q: Do you label a season a success or on a scale of 1-10, whatever your system is? If so, what do you grade this season for the Giants?

A: I’m not a grades guy. I’m a process guy. I’m a steps along the ladder guy of what you have to accomplish. My number one goal as a coach this year was the foundation and the culture. The reality in this league is, every team, all 32 teams, have to start over to start the next season. You can’t carry anything over. However, you can build a foundation to build on the next season. You can build a culture in the locker room with the players and coaches that you’re working with. I can absolutely say with certainty we accomplished that. We accomplished that with how we worked on a daily basis, we accomplished that with how we held each other accountable as players and coaches, and we accomplished that with how we came to work every day with team-first in everything we did.

Q: Within the next couple of days a year ago, this week a year ago, you would have come in to interview for this job. I’m curious a year later, how close do you believe that you are to the vision that you sold this team and this franchise that you would bring in year one and also beyond to set the foundation for what you wanted as a program?

A: Look, I’ve stuck true to what I believe in, and I’m always going to do that. I’m always going to do it with my own personality and be myself. But my vision for this team of being a blue-collar team who’s going to come to work every day, that we’re going to do it with the right kind of people and the right kind of commitment to the team, that we’re going to work to reflect the area, that’s something I’ve stuck to consistently and I’m always going to stick to consistently. When I talked to ownership when I came on my interview last year, there was nothing that we did this year that I didn’t talk about on that day. At no point did we talk about it being easy. At no point did we talk about it being smooth through transition. But we talked about it being a commitment to the process and building this team the right way from the ground up, and laying the foundation and having the team with the right mentality and makeup to fight through the adverse situations and build this thing for a duration, and that it’s a long-term vision that we’re building. I talked at-length early on about not taking shortcuts to try to go ahead and feel good about year one in terms of win or loss column. But our job is to win games, don’t make any mistake on that. But we didn’t want to take any shortcuts. We wanted to make sure we did it the right way and that we could build this thing for sustained success over the years.

Q: This isn’t groundbreaking insight, but you look around the league, the best teams score the most points. You guys were 31st. How do you get from where you are now to where you need to be offensively?

A: I’d say the process of the, let’s call it a month and a half to two months, is going to be about us doing internal self-scouting, evaluation, schematically, personnel, how we’re using our players, what could we do better. That’s going to include not only what we’re doing but also things around the league as well. That’s kind of standard throughout the offseason of a lot of teams. Whereas last year we got together as a staff, there was a lot of install to get the systems in as a staff. This year, it will be a lot of self-scout and the league study to make sure we can find better ways of using our players, putting them in the best position possible going forward, and making sure we make any playbook adjustments, schematically or philosophically, going into next year. We want to have all that finalized by the time we hopefully get the players back in the spring, assuming we’ll have some kind of spring with the players. But to get that work started going forward, that should build into a strong training camp and help us in the season. I don’t have a one word or one phrase answer for you. It’s going to take a lot of work and studying in making sure we not only look at what we’re doing, but more importantly, who we’re doing it with and make sure we always put the players in a position of strength.

Q: You talked about laying the foundation and creating the culture, and you say you’ve done that. What’s phase two?

A: What’s phase two of it?

Q: What’s the next step?

A: Just like I didn’t go into step one right here, I have kind of a vision internally that I know where we’re going, and I have a process and steps. Obviously, we have to improve on the field with some tangible results. We could look at that. We have to make sure we make progress across the board with personnel and schematics. But I have kind of measures in the rungs along the way that I kind of keep tabs on. I make sure the team is moving in the right direction. Not to be kind of evasive with that answer right there, but I’m not going to set out some identified goal for everyone to go ahead and measure us against on a yearly basis.

Q: Just in terms of the question before about the scoring and the offense, how much do you want to have some continuity with Daniel [Jones] in terms of the system that he’s going to be playing in in 2021?

A: Look, I think it’s important for all of our players to have a base to build on in terms of schematics. That being said, in all phases, there always needs to be adjustments year to year. The league is always evolving. You’re always trying to find more creative ways to do things. For any player on the team, notably the quarterback, it’s important to have a solid base on it. But they have to evolve in their careers as we go along the way as well. You can’t be afraid of changes or adjustments within your own systems of schemes, adding different types of plays, finding different ways of being creative within your own personnel. That kind of ties into all the self-scouting and studying that we have to do going forward to make sure we’re doing the best things to help our team going along.

Q: Did you think that the Eagles did anything wrong in how they approached last night’s game? Can you walk us through what you were doing and how you were observing it? You had told us you were going to be preparing with Bucs film. Kind of watching it as you were doing that.

A: I’ll let Philadelphia speak for themselves on that in terms of how they approached the game. Real simply, I was in my office last night. I watched our film from the game yesterday and then I was actually watching our first Tampa game with the Philly-Washington game on in the background. There’s been a lot made of that game internal or from the outside. Let me just be very clear on this, we had sixteen opportunities this year, that’s it. It’s our responsibility to take care of our opportunities and perform better and execute the situations when they’re on our plate. We don’t ever want to leave our fate in the hands of anybody else. We’re not going to make excuses as an organization. Not now, not ever. We had our opportunities. We need to learn from the lessons we have from this year and carry them forward. That’s the experience you truly gain. That’s really the most important thing right there, our opportunities. That being said, obviously players have asked me throughout the day. The one thing to keep in mind with this season is we had a lot of people opt into this season. We had a lot of people opt in. Coaches, players, that includes family members as well. To look at a group of grown men who I ask to give me effort on a day in day out basis and to empty the tank. I can look them in the eye and assure them that I’m always going to do everything I can to put them in a competitive advantage and play them in a position of strength. To me, you don’t ever want to disrespect those players and their effort and disrespect the game. The sacrifices that they made to come in to work every and test before coming in. To sit in meetings spaced out, to wear masks, to have shields over those masks, to go through extensive protocols, to travel in unconventional ways and to get text messages at 6:30 in the morning telling them practice was going to be canceled we have to do a virtual day. To tell them to please don’t have your family over for Thanksgiving, please avoid Christmas gatherings, we know it’s your wife’s birthday let’s make sure we put that one off to the offseason. There’s a number of sacrifices that have been made by all the players and coaches in this league. There’s a number of sacrifices that come along as well for the family members of the people connected to them. To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the National Football League, to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win. We will never do that as long as I am the head coach of the New York Giants.

Q: What did you learn about yourself in your first year as a coach?

A: I probably have to step back and kind of do a self-study on myself to be honest with you, which is part of the plans anyway. I don’t think I am prepared at this moment right now to give you some kind of quick pin answer on that. I think I really have to step back and look at our team as a whole and that’s going to tell me a lot more about myself in terms of how I managed situations or handle different things. I don’t have a quick answer for you on that one right there. Maybe I can think about it and give you a better answer later on. I’m not shying away from that. You can ask that again later on if you want to. Patti, I think you had a similar question to that. It’s going to take me a little bit of time to step back and really think about it and do an assessment of how I handled everything this year. I’m very critical on myself so I want to sit back and kind of pick apart my own self as well. Along with myself and the help of several key staff members. Kind of analyze some of the things we did and service so criticism internally as well.

Q: Going back to what you were talking about before, the question before. Have you reached out to anybody with the Eagles based on what you said? Have you talked to Doug Pederson specifically?

A: No, that’s not my job. I’m focused on the New York Giants and what we have to do going forward. I’m just directly responding to questions I have been asked throughout the day by players, making sure that everybody understand our philosophy and what we’re going to do here. When we say that we’re going to come to work every day and we’re going to make the area proud and we’re going to be a blue-collar team. We’re going to do all that stuff, that’s not going to be lip service. We’re going to do everything we can all the time to make the sacrifices and the commitment to be successful, and to put the players in a position of success. Really simply, it’s my job as a coach. It’s our job as coaches to give these players some kind of edge or advantage. It’s their job to go out there and play, execute and perform. We can’t put them on the field and not do everything in our power to give them every advantage possible.

Q: Is there one do over that you want from your first go-round as a head coach that you would be willing to share with us?

A: Ask that a little while later like Jordan’s question. I don’t want to shy away from that but let me actually stop and think about it. I’m not a big regrets person to be honest with you, I’m really not. I’ll say this though, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look at the staff or a player and go you know what I screwed that up. If I screwed it up, I’m going to let everyone know hey that’s on me. I expect everyone to own their mistakes. In terms of a do-over, I think we have to learn from all our experiences and carry them forward. Let me kind of think about it. There’s been a couple calls in games that I kind of come out of the game and said man Joe, that was pretty stupid. You shouldn’t have done that there. There’s a better way of doing that. There are always those things. Sometimes those are more valuable to do and learn from so you don’t repeat that mistake.

Q: Given this year and how it went – and none of us want to repeat it ever – is there a chance that you connected better or differently with new people around you, meaning staff, players, the whole gambit at the Giants facility because of the challenges that we were all under in 2020?

A: I think there’s a lot of truth to that. I think that question holds a lot of merit and I think a lot of it is because we had to be very intentional in how we establish relationships. We couldn’t take anything for granted. When you’re trying to form a team through Zoom, just like we’re doing right now, you have to be very intentional about how you set up the day, you have to be very intentional about how you organize interactions, you have to be very intentional about how you demand guys to learn about each other and be able to speak in front of the team about their teammate and share information. You have to make sure you set up the team in the right environment that they have to form a bond. I told the players, I said, ‘Guys, my number one goal in the spring was to make sure when we show up in training camp we don’t have strangers,’ and that was clearly evident when we saw guys walking down the hallways shaking hands, slapping high-fives and kind of catching up on time. And these were guys that didn’t play with each other on previous teams and that was something that very early in the process you could see that our guys were committed to whatever we asked them to do. They did it full speed ahead and that showed up early on. That really tied up over to the other thing I talked about, the big picture goal of year one coming out with the foundation and the culture. Look, that’s a lot harder and it’s a lot bigger within the big scope of things than is sometimes realized. Sometimes they’re just kind of catchphrase words that everyone says, ‘Yeah, yeah, I got you, foundation and culture.’ But those are really the most important things in any team. You hear [Jason] Kelce last night after the Eagles game, made a sound bite talking about the culture of the team and I think he was spot on with that. You talk about it’s truly all about the team. You have to form that team environment not just so for the guys that are in the building right now, but for the guys that we’re going to bring into the building, draft picks, free agents, people that we acquire throughout. It’s got to be important to the guys in this building, the guys who went 0-5, the guys who went 1-7, the guys who fought through those situations and went through year one of this, that whoever comes in here has to understand what’s expected not just by the coaches, but by the players as well, the guys who built this and established this and have helped get this going. It’s important to those players, it has to be true ownership from the inside. When the players buy in and they’re a part of it and it’s their culture and their foundation, it’s easier to bring guys in and get them acclimated to what you’re trying to do. You know, in terms of the big picture scope of it, that was very important. Going back to the original question of it, I think going through this kind of virtual orientation, or however you want to, of forming a team you had to be very intentional of it and in a lot of ways you couldn’t take it for granted, and in that way it was a lot more effective.

Q: I assume you’ve been going year-round since you’ve been hired. Are you going to give yourself time to decompress, to get to know your family again, to talk it over with the dog and see what you want to do this year, things like that?

A: Yeah, definitely. Look, I laid out the calendar for the coaches. To be honest with you, really beyond most of February there’s a lot of unknowns. We don’t know what the spring program is going to bring, the Combine is not really in concrete yet, we don’t know if that’s solid, we’re assuming the Senior Bowl is going to go on. There’s a lot of kind of marker points throughout the year – even the free agency dates – that aren’t in concrete yet for us to work on, so we’re going to work this week as coaches. There’s a lot of end of season reports, player evaluations, initial scheme evaluations, things that of that nature that they’re going to finalize by the end of the week and then I want them to get out of town, to be honest with you. I want them all to get out of here and refresh mentally, catch up physically, get some sleep, see their wives, see their kids. Look, we’ve got coaches on this staff who haven’t seen family since July. [Running Backs Coach] Burton Burns’ wife and grandkids are down in Alabama, weren’t able to come up here with the COVID situation, so Burton hasn’t seen his family since July. [Assistant Coach of Special Projects and Situations] Amos Jones’ family, he’s got a kid in high school out there in Arizona. He hasn’t had a chance to have any interaction. In a normal year, they would’ve come out here for games. This has been a weird year because of travel, they’ve been without seeing each other, so it’s important for me for them to go see their families, reconnect with their wives and kids. I’ll absolutely do the same, but there’s going to be a number of things that come up on my schedule a little bit different, I won’t be able to fully step away at all times. However, there is going to be a period of a week, two weeks, whatever that may be that I’m going to go ahead and throw the phone in the drawer, which I kind of do – unless your last name is Mara or Tisch, don’t give me a phone call, I’ll get in touch with you. There’s going to be time that I’ll find time to reconnect with the family, the kids especially, that’s definitely a key part of it. I think this is kind of a weird part of the year to be honest with you, this first week away from the season. Our wives really want us out of the house more than in because we just kind of come back and screw up the natural order of things that get ran when we’re not home, so we kind of want to stay away for an extra week to quit being pests until we kind of decompress from the season and get back into it. But, yeah, I’ll definitely find some time for myself and my family and make sure we reconnect.

Jan 032021
 
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Leonard Williams, New York Giants (January 3, 2021)

Leonard Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 23 – DALLAS COWBOYS 19…
The New York Giants defeated the Dallas Cowboys 23-19 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday afternoon. The Giants finished the 2020 regular-season with a 6-10 record (4-2 in the NFC East). If the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Washington Football Team on Sunday night, the Giants will win the NFC East and will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the playoffs.

Leading 20-9 at the half, the Giants almost let this game slip away, including some gut-wrench moments late in the 4th quarter. But defensive lineman Leonard Williams dominated with 7 tackles, 3 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, 3 tackles for a loss, and one pass defense.

The Giants received the ball to start the game and impressively drove 78 yards in six plays to take a quick 6-0 lead (the extra point was missed). A mixture of passes from quarterback Daniel Jones and runs by running back Wayne Gallman set up a 23-yard end around by wide receiver Sterling Shepard that went for the score.

Dallas picked up two first downs on their initial drive and then were forced to punt after a 3rd-down sack by linebacker Blake Martinez. However, the Giants gave the ball right back when Gallman botched a handoff from Jones. The Cowboys recovered at the New York 27-yard line. The Giants defense held when Williams sacked quarterback Andy Dalton on 3rd-and-8 from the 14-yard line. Dallas kicked the 38-yard field goal to cut the score to 6-3.

For the next six consecutive drives (three by each team), the Giants and Cowboys struggled to move the ball. New York picked up three first downs and Dallas could not pick up one. All six of these possessions ended with punts.

Midway through the 2nd quarter, the Giants’ offense began to click into gear again. New York drove 65 yards in six plays with Jones finding Shepard for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Shepard also caught a 21-yard pass earlier on this possession. Giants 13 – Cowboys 3.

The Cowboys finally began to move the ball themselves, driving 44 yards in 10 plays to set up a 46-yard field goal. Giants 13 – Cowboys 6.

With 2:13 left on the clock before halftime, New York decided to remain aggressive. It took just four plays for the Giants to drive 75 yards, the two big gains being an 18-yard pass to Shepard, followed by a 38-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Dante Pettis. The Giants now led 20-6 with under a minute to play. Unfortunately, the defense allowed Dallas to gain 35 yards in 45 seconds, setting up a successful 57-yard field goal as time expired.

At the half, the Giants led 20-9.

The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out by the Cowboys to start the 3rd quarter. However, two plays later, on 2nd-and-10, a pass from Jones intended for tight Evan Engram bounced off of his hands and was intercepted at the Dallas 38-yard line. Worse, Cowboys’ momentum continued to surge as Dallas drove 62 yards in 10 plays to cut the score to 20-16. Running back Ezekiel Elliott scored from one yard out.

The Giants gained two first downs before an illegal crackback penalty called on Shepard pushed the Giants back, leading to a punt. The Cowboys then began a long, 13-play, 62-yard drive that was finally stopped by linebacker Kyler Fackrell’s 8-yard sack on 3rd-and-9 from the Giants’ 10-yard line. Nevertheless, the 36-yard field goal cut the score to the slimmest of margins early in the 4th quarter. Giants 20 – Cowboys 19.

After both teams exchanged punts, with another sack by Williams, the Giants put together a key 8-play, 48-yard possession that ended with a clutch 50-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. Shepard caught another 21-yard pass from Jones on this drive. Giants 23 – Cowboys 19 with six and a half minutes left to play.

Starting at their own 25-yard line, the Cowboys began a potential game-winning, marathon, 17-play possession that took over five minutes off of the clock. All looked lost when Dallas was able to set up a 1st-and-goal from the 7-yard line. But Williams sacked Dalton for a 10-yard loss. Then on 3rd-and-goal from the 17-yard line, safety Xavier McKinney intercepted Dalton in the end zone with 1:15 left to play.

However, the game was not over and Gallman gave New York fans a huge scare when he fumbled on an 8-yard gain on 2nd-and-5. Gallman recovered the loose ball at the New York 39-yard line. The Giants then knelt on the ball to run out the clock.

Daniel Jones finished the game 17-of-25 for 229 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. His leading receiver was Shepard, who caught 8 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown (he also ran for a 23-yard touchdown). No other Giants had more than two catches. Gallman carried the ball 11 times for 65 yards.

Defensively, the Giants sacked Dalton six times: Williams (3), Martinez (1), Fackrell (1), and defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson (1). The defense was also credited with nine tackles for losses and six pass defenses. Linebackers Martinez and Tae Crowder were each credited with 11 tackles.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
P Ryan Santoso was activated from the Practice Squad for this game.

Inactive for the game were WR Golden Tate (calf), OT Jackson Barton, OL Kyle Murphy, DE R.J. McIntosh, CB Madre Harper, and P Ryan Santoso.

The Giants reported no injuries from the game.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
If the finish in first place, they will be the first six-win playoff team in NFL history.

The Giants ended a seven-game losing streak to Dallas. They had last defeated the Cowboys in December 2016.

The Giants won despite finishing 0-for-7 on 3rd-down conversion attempts. This is the first time the Giants won a game without converting a third down since the 1970 merger.

This was the fifth game this season in which the Giants did not allow a first half touchdown.

This was the first time in wide receiver Sterling Shepard’s 5-year pro career that he scored two times in a game.

The Giants finished the season with 40 sacks, their highest total since they had 47 in 2014. Leonard Williams led the team with 11.5 sacks, the most by a Giants’ player since Jason Pierre-Paul’s 14.5 in 2014.

Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson became the first Giants defensive player to begin his career with the Giants and start each of his first 64 games in the league since the NFL went to 16 games in 1978.

Kicker Graham Gano’s 50-yard field goal with 6:27 remaining in the 4th quarter was his 30th consecutive successful attempt, a franchise record. Gano made 31-of-32 attempts this season, a .9687 percentage that is the second highest in Giants history. In 2018, Aldrick Rosas made 32-of-33 attempts, a success rate of .9696. Gano kicked his fifth field goal this season of 50 or more yards, including four against the Cowboys. That is a franchise single-season record.

ROSTER MOVES…
On Saturday, the Giants activated linebacker Kyler Fackrell and cornerback Madre Harper from Injured Reserve. To make room for these two, the team placed fullback Eli Penny (illness) on Injured Reserve and cut quarterback Joe Webb.

The Giants placed Fackrell on Injured Reserve in early December 2020 with a calf injury. Up until that point, he had played in all 11 games, starting eight, and accruing 30 tackles, three sacks, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. Fackrell was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. The Giants signed Fackrell an unrestricted free agent from the Packers in March 2020.

Harper was placed on Injured Reserve in mid-December with a knee injury after playing in nine games with no starts. He was signed by the Las Vegas Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. The Giants signed Harper off of the Practice Squad of the Raiders in late September 2020.

The sole fullback on the team for the past three seasons, Penny played in 14 games in 2020, rushing the ball six times for 15 yards (2.5 yards per carry) and catching two passes for 20 yards. The 6’2”, 234-pound Penny was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cardinals after the 2016 NFL Draft. The Giants signed Penny off of the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in September 2018. He has played in 44 regular-season games for the Giants with four starts.

The Giants signed Joe Webb to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in December 2020. Webb was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He has spent time with the Vikings (2010-2013), Carolina Panthers (2014-2016), Buffalo Bills (2017), Houston Texans (2018-2019), and Detroit Lions (2020).

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Jan 012021
 
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Golden Tate, New York Giants (November 2, 2020)

Golden Tate – © USA TODAY Sports

DAVE DeGUGLIELMO TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19…
New York Giants Offensive Line Coach Dave DeGuglielmo has tested positive for COVID-19.

“Dave DeGuglielmo, Guge, has a positive test,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “There are two potential close contacts. Immediately upon notification last night, we isolated all three. We’ve had no close contacts other than those three. We’re going through all of the information. We went through it with the league this morning, went through all the players, went through all the coaches as well. We deemed it safe to open the building. We’ve been going through our normal protocols. All of our players have been masked up and wearing the protective shields and spaced our accordingly. We’ve continued with our meetings which are in our indoor facility and about as well of a ventilated space as can be. We’ve continued with our pre-practice walk-thru an abbreviated version to make sure it’s extra spaced out and avoid more close contacts. We’ve moved on now. The players are getting dressed and getting ready for practice.

“Really, we’re trying to keep the day as normal as can be. We went through everything last night to make sure it was completely safe to open the building. All the information we’ve been given, we deemed it was. We’ve not been a club who’s been slow to delay or change the schedule at any point this year based on a positive. But because we were out of the building on Monday and Tuesday and with the close contacts being very limited on Wednesday and having a virtual day yesterday, all information pointed us in the direction that today was safe to bring the players in the format we have and continue with normal Friday prep.”

Judge indicated that the other two people affected were not players and that Assistant Offensive Line Coach Ben Wilkerson will coach the offensive line in person while DeGuglielmo is out. DeGuglielmo will also continue to work with the offensive line via Zoom.

“I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Ben,” said Judge. “He’s a good coach. He’s a good, young coach. Draws from a knowledge of playing the game. He’s a very good communicator. He has a very good passion for the game. The players respond to him very well. He’s great on the field with technique instruction, and he’s very good in terms of communicating and forming relationships off the field. Look, this is a guy, to be honest with you, when I got here last year, Ben was down at the East-West Shrine Game coaching. We had more requests put in for Ben Wilkerson last year while he was down there. This is a deal where I talked to him before he went down there, I said, ‘I won’t make any moves on the staff without talking to you first.’ Then we agreed when he got back that I would like him to stay, he wanted to stay, we made some arrangements with the contract, and I’m glad to have him on our staff going forward. This is a guy that obviously we want in the program. He’s going to help us going forward.”

JANUARY 1, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY UPDATE…
FB Eli Penny (illness), WR Golden Tate (calf), and LB Cam Brown (illness) did not practice on Friday. Penny has officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Tate is “doubtful” and Brown “questionable” for the game.

WR Sterling Shepard (ribs), TE Evan Engram (calf), and S Jabrill Peppers (ankle) were limited in practice. All three are expected to play on Sunday.

QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) and CB Darnay Holmes (knee) fully practiced and are expected to play on Sunday.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Dec 312020
 
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Dion Lewis, New York Giants (December 27, 2020)

Dion Lewis – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 31, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY UPDATE…
FB Eli Penny (illness) and WR Golden Tate (calf) did not practice on Thursday.

WR Sterling Shepard (ribs), TE Evan Engram (calf), and S Jabrill Peppers (ankle) were limited in practice.

QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) and CB Darnay Holmes (knee) fully practiced.

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

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 New York Giants practice on Friday (11:40AM-1:00PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Dec 302020
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (December 27, 2020)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 30, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
FB Eli Penny (illness) and WR Golden Tate (calf) did not practice on Wednesday.

WR Sterling Shepard (ribs), TE Evan Engram (calf), and S Jabrill Peppers (ankle) were limited in practice.

QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) and CB Darnay Holmes (knee) fully practiced.

CB Madre Harper, who has been on Injured Reserve since December 12th with a knee injury, returned to practice. He is eligible to be activated at any time.

WR David Sills, who has been on Injured Reserve all season with a foot injury, has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

NEW YORK GIANTS ASSISTANT COACHES ADDRESS THE MEDIA…
A video clip compilation of the media sessions with the following New York Giants assistant coaches on Tuesday is available at Giants.com:

  • Quarterback Coach Jerry Schuplinski
  • Running Backs Coach Burton Burns
  • Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert
  • Offensive Line Coach Dave DeGuglielmo
  • Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer
  • Linebackers Coach Coach Kevin Sherrer
  • Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson

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 New York Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:00-1:45PM). Head Coach Joe Judge, the team’s coordinators, and select players will also address the media.

Dec 282020
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (December 27, 2020)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 28, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 27-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Q: I’ll start where I think everyone wants to start, which is the playoffs. Did you watch those two games yesterday? Obviously, you got the help you needed. With no fear of looking ahead, there’s nothing after Week 17, will you change the approach about discussing the playoffs with your team this week?

A: No. I actually met with the team last night when we got back to make sure we were set on what the plan for the week was. Our focus still needs to remain on the Cowboys. That’s the priority this week. We remain focused on improving as a team. We have a division rival coming up ahead, it’s a big game for us. Obviously, there are implications. As I’ve said all along, those games right now don’t exist. Until I can talk about any kind of opponent coming up beyond who we’re playing, there’s not a conversation to be had. Our focus remains on the Cowboys.

Q: I’ve been doing some studying of the numbers, it looks like in your last three games, when you come out in the second half, the scores have been a little bit closer, perhaps indicating a quicker start. I’m just wondering what’s been the difference with getting started up a little quicker in the second half versus getting started in the first half?

A: I think our coaches have made good adjustments at halftime. We’ve come out, obviously, schematically, to change a few things and use our personnel just a little bit differently. Nothing drastic, but just something to go ahead and change up something that may have been an issue in the first half. Again, we have to be able to adjust on the fly. That’s within the game. We can’t wait until halftime to make adjustments. But that’s an opportunity to get the entire unit together to discuss some schematic things or maybe how we treat a person on the other side. On both sides of the ball, including the kicking game as well, we try to use halftime as effectively as we can.

Q: I don’t believe Will Hernandez had ever missed a snap in his career until he went on the COVID list. Now his playing time has really reduced. I’m just curious what’s gone into that? Why is he playing so much less now?

A: We’re continuing to roll our linemen throughout the game. There hasn’t been a designated snap count on any player going in. Look, I’ve let Guge (Dave DeGuglielmo) have some autonomy in terms of as the game gets going, the flow goes, to put in what we think is best for the schemes that we’re running. We check in and we talk continuously throughout the week. The plan is to play all of our guys at the game. It’s always been our plan and to use guys continuously. You saw Matt (Peart) play as well last night. We’ll continue to use Will, and we’ll rotate all three guards going forward.

Q: You say you don’t have starters, but Shane (Lemieux) is playing significantly more snaps. That can’t happen by accident. He plays usually the first two series, then Will comes in. Did Will lose his job by going on the COVID list? He wasn’t rotating, he was a starter and he played every snap.

A: Look, we base everything here on production, so in terms of who’s playing on what snaps, we may have different guys in different schemes. There are different times we want to use different guys throughout the game. We put priority on keeping all of our guys fresh, and we’re looking to really develop as many guys as we can. I’d say all three guards, Kevin (Zeitler), Shane and Will, have played well at times. There have been things we want to improve on with our entire unit going across the board. But we’re going to continue to rotate those guys going forward.

Q: Didn’t get a chance to ask you yesterday about Evan (Engram). He got banged up at the end of the game. Just curious what his status is, how he was feeling today? I know you probably won’t get a true sense until Wednesday, but to add some insight as to what went on there.

A: I’ll tell you what, he’s actually going to meet with the doctors a little bit later tonight. He’s already seen our training staff and met with the doctors after the game. That’s all kind of standard procedure. Look, we’re optimistic about where he’s going to be. That being said, this will definitely be a deal where we have to see how he moves around on Wednesday in practice. From the feedback we got from the doctors, for them, it’s a lot of wait and see and watch to see how he responds. But we are optimistic. I have not spoken directly to Evan today myself. I checked in with him yesterday after the game, obviously, and talked with him a little bit when we got back, but nothing extensively.

Q: Just one on Daniel (Jones). Did he come out physically well enough to the point where today you don’t feel like there’s anything new that you have to deal with this week?

A: No, I think this is the first week in a while as far as Daniel goes where we can just turn around and say, ‘hey, we’re going to let him go out there and let him play.’ Obviously, we had to see him move around a little bit throughout the week coming up to it. The one good thing about Daniel is our training staff and him have done a really good job of working together and prepping him for game action. We’ve seen continued improvement health wise with him. He hasn’t come out of any game he’s played in worse off than when he was beforehand. I’d say the ankle is getting better. I don’t think it’s anything he really talks about or you see hindering his performance out there, and the hamstring has continued to heal as well. Physically, he’s definitely moving in the right direction.

Q: This is a little bit looking back a bit. I know you don’t like to look forward too much or back too much, but this team suffered a significant injury with Saquon Barkley. How do you think, looking forward, of the way this offense has played, you have been able to make up for that with such a key player being gone?

A: I think with any person you have available, you have to use it to their strengths. We want to have all of our players out there, it’s no secret. I would have loved to have been able to coach Saquon for 16 or 16-plus games this year. Absolutely. He’s a fun guy to coach, he works really, really hard, he’s doing everything he can right now to get better and progress. I don’t think it’s really fair to turn around and say what our offense would or would not have looked like with him in there. I think some of our scheme would have probably evolved into what it’s doing right now anyway based on how the offensive line plays and what their strengths are as a unit. But there may have been some different wrinkles we could throw in. That being said, all of the backs we’ve used this year have done a good job adjusting their games as well. These are different schemes than they’ve run in the past. Wayne’s (Gallman) done a nice job, Alfred (Morris), Devonta (Freeman), Dion (Lewis), all these guys are running really hard for us right now. We try to use them all similar enough that every time they’re in, it’s not a red flag of what’s going to happen in the game. At the same time, they all have a little bit of difference to them. Look, Saquon is his own player as well. We definitely would have had some things dialed up for his skillset, like we do for Wayne, Alfred, Devonta and Dion as well. It’s not really fair to turn around and tell the entire offense what it may or may not have looked like. I don’t think that’s really fair to anybody. But obviously, he’s a weapon you want to have out there. I will say this, what you don’t see really behind the scenes is how he’s working right now. This guy is in here every day. He’s very active in the training room, in the weight room, getting better. You see this guy around the locker room as much as he can in terms of really encouraging his teammates, staying involved, staying engaged. Look, this guy was elected a captain by his teammates for a reason. The leadership off the field has definitely come through since he’s been hurt and been away from the team on the field.

Q: How connected were you on the way home last night with what was going on with the rest of the division and those games that ultimately kept you alive in this race for the division title?

A: Being on the train, actually, we had the game streaming in the background. I sat, we had kind of a little conference room in the front car that I was in. Me and Pat Graham sat in there. We went through the defensive tape together and watched like we do, we did the same thing coming back from Washington and talked some ball. We were kind of checking scores throughout the league with a lot of games going. That’s kind of normal custom right there. Everyone’s kind of checking scores around the league. Last night was no different. Obviously, there were some division games going on that we were conscious of. We checked those, we streamed those and watched the end of those games.

Q: What was the reaction of the team when the results of those games came in in your favor?

A: To be honest with you, I was actually separate from the rest of the players. They had us very spaced out in the cars. The front car was kind of more coaches than it was players. I saw the players on the backend when we got back to the facility. I called a quick meeting in the bubble just to address how we’re going to handle the week going forward and kind of clear up any questions that may have come up. To be honest with you, look, the questions about the playoffs, these are things the players obviously have as well. We’re going to keep our focus on Dallas. We’re not getting focused on the playoffs. I truly believe what I said earlier, this is a hypothetical game. The only thing we can control is what we do against Dallas. At the same time, there’s a human nature that they’re very conscious of what’s going on around the league. It would be naïve or ignorant to pretend that they’re not paying attention as well. When we got back, I grabbed the team and just kind of let them know what the situation is, but really, reaffirm the importance of staying focused on Dallas. That’s all we can control.

Q: Coming off this game, obviously, the Ravens blitz a ton and they’re a tough defense. But what are your coaching points to clean up how the offensive line handled or did not handle some of the pressures they threw at you guys? Kind of connected to that, how much patience do you have when your two most veteran offensive linemen false start back to back on the first drive and really set you guys back?

A: We’re not going to accept any penalties from any player at any time. We have to coach that better, we have to make sure that we drill every technique at practice and every situation the right way, and we have to execute when we get on the field. That’s just our responsibility as coaches and players. That being said, in terms of the offensive line, look, there were a lot of positives. Obviously, it wasn’t perfect. We have to clean up a lot of things, and there’s going to be a lot of things that we’ll tie over and apply to the Dallas game this week. We saw a lot of moving schemes yesterday. We’re going to see movement against Dallas. There were some blitz packages yesterday, we’re going to see probably some copycat and similar things against Dallas. The tape is relevant in terms of what Dallas might copycat and what we have to prepare for. I’d say the situation we have to keep ourselves out of is when you get behind and you’re in that pass-only mentality, well, now the defense can pin their ears back and really get you. If you kind of look at our past few games, when the issues have come up, it’s really been in those situations. That’s against Arizona, Cleveland and then again yesterday. When you get into that pass heavy zone where you’re behind, that’s when the defense can finally pin their ears back. But when you can stay balanced early on, whether it’s run or pass, is it a draw screen situation, what may come up, that keeps the defense a little bit more honest. That’s when our offensive line has really played its best. When you’re getting blitz zero three out of four plays, eventually, someone’s going to come free.

We have to make sure we avoid the hits on the quarterback. But there are times you’re protecting with just five and they’re bringing six or seven, and Daniel did a very good job yesterday of really controlling it and operating it and getting the ball out. You look at yesterday, there are a lot of situations where Daniel knew there were going to be free runners. You just know it by scheme. That’s part of how you design getting the ball out. We had some hot reads, some sight adjustments, and just some plays schemed for a quick gain. I really like the way Daniel handled it yesterday. You kind of talk about what level of improvement have we seen throughout the year, I think there are a lot of things that show up on the tape yesterday with number eight. You watch him from the start of the year to through yesterday and how he handled a lot of the situations with the pressure, the ball security and the decision-making. He did a lot of things that demonstrate a lot of growth. There are a lot of things you guys ask me all the time. What are you really looking at with this team as you go forward?

Well, I’ll start with a key piece right there with Daniel. You always want to know about is Daniel our guy? Are we going forward with Daniel? The answer is absolutely. What gives us that confidence is even in games like yesterday where it didn’t come out perfectly, you can turn the tape on and you can say, ‘hey listen, in games one through whatever, that wasn’t the guy we were looking at.’ You watch the tape yesterday and you see that guy in there operating, executing, understanding the pressure and not just standing in there with courage like he’s done all along and taken a hit but understanding how to take the hit and deliver an accurate pass and move the sticks down the field. These are things that as he grows in this league and develops in his craft, he’s going to be able to do. As we get going and we build more into this scheme, he’ll be able to handle it different ways as well and take some hits off himself. You see a lot of growth in these guys. I thought Daniel yesterday played well. There are some plays I’m sure he’d like to have back, some plays we’d like to do differently. That’s natural in any game. We’re going to coach it to eliminate those plays on the front end. But at the same time, there was a lot of growth that I saw with Daniel that’s really showed up in terms of how he had to play the game yesterday and what he’s able to do.

Q: I know you really don’t want to talk about the playoffs and stuff, but what do you think about the opportunity that’s been presented to you guys? We know what it is at this point. In most seasons, you’re 5-10, you wouldn’t have this opportunity. But the reality is it’s sitting right there in front of you.

A: Look, I think the goal is always, somebody asked this question I think it was a few weeks ago, about playing relevant games in football. I think you want every game you ever play to be relevant. That being said, this same situation in front of us, the same opportunity that’s in front of us is the same opportunity that was in front of us in Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and so on. We have to make sure we take care of our business every week along the way and improve as a team. At the end of the year, it’s the collective record that matters. Right now, the emphasis has to be on the Cowboys. We have to play our best game. This is a good team. This is a much different football team than we played early in the season. We’re a different team, too. We have to re-learn the Cowboys and really study them and get ahead on it. Our players have to understand the opportunity that’s really sitting in front of us is the opportunity to play a division rival and play the last game of the season with our best football. That’s the opportunity that we have to take advantage of.

Q: Does the collective record really matter though if you win the division at 6-10?

A: To me, everything that’s collective matters. How you improve as a team collectively throughout the year, to me, that’s the ultimate measurement of what you’re trying to do. I’ve never talked about our record as far as being the goal of any situation that I’ve been in as an assistant or now as a head coach. You talk throughout training camp in terms of being the best team you can be. You go out there every day with the mentality of we’re going to do everything we can to improve today individually and then collectively as a team. To me, what I’m looking to see is growth as a team, improved level of football this week on the field, and top execution and coaching on Sunday. That’s really my goal for this week. We have to control that. If we control that, the other stuff will take care of itself.

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 team’s assistant coaches will address the media on Tuesday. The players return to practice on Wednesday.

Dec 272020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 27, 2020)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE RAVENS 27 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
The New York Giants were soundly defeated 27-13 by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the team’s third loss in a row, dropping their overall record to 5-10. But because both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team both lost, the Giants are still alive for the NFC East title.

The game was not even as close as the two touchdown differential would suggest. The Ravens out-rushed the Giants 249 yards to 54 yards. In total, Baltimore held a 432 to 269 yard advantage over New York and dominated time of possession 35:09 to 24:51.

Baltimore never punted in the first half, scoring on all four of their offensive possessions. Every one of these methodical drives was 10 plays or more and 60 yards or more:

  • 13 plays, 82 yards, 6-yard touchdown pass
  • 10 plays, 65 yards, 2-yard touchdown run touchdown
  • 13 plays, 60 yards, 20-yard field goal
  • 10 plays, 65 yards, 28-yard field goal

Meanwhile, the Giants only had three offensive possessions in the first half:

  • 3 plays, 3 yards, punt
  • 5 plays, 23 yards, punt
  • 11 plays, 64 yards, 31-yard field goal

At the half, Baltimore held a commanding 20-3 lead, but it felt even worse with the Ravens out-gaining the Giants 282 yards to 95 as the Ravens ran 44 offensive plays to the Giants 18. In fact, the Giants only ran three offensive plays in the entire 1st quarter, not including two false start penalties.

Both teams exchanged punts to start the 3rd quarter. The Giants then drove 66 yards in 13 plays to set up a 42-yard field goal and cut the score to 20-6. However, the Ravens put the game to rest on the ensuing possession with a 7-play, 59-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the 4th quarter. Baltimore now led 27-6.

Aided by a roughing-the-kicker penalty on 4th-and-23 and three defensive penalties, the Giants drove 76 yards in 15 plays to cut the score to 27-13 on quarterback Daniel Jones’ 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Unbelievably, this was Jones’ first touchdown pass since Week 9 against Washington. However, the drive took over six minutes to complete with the 4th quarter about half over.

The New York defense finally forced a three-and-out, but the Giants could not convert on 4th-and-19, turning the ball over on downs at their own 35-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Ravens reached the New York 1-yard line but fumbled the ball away at the 2-minute warning. The Giants finished the game by turning the football over one downs again on an incomplete 4th-and-7 pass at their own 44-yard line.

Daniel Jones completed 24-of-41 passes for 252 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. He was sacked six times and officially hit 11 times. He did not fumble the ball. His leading targets were Shepard (9 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown) and tight end Evan Engram (7 catches for 65 yards). The Giants were held to a measly 54 yards on 12 carries, with running back Wayne Gallman carrying the ball six times for 27 yards. The Giants were 1-of-10 on 3rd down conversions.

The defense recovered one fumble, but that turnover was not created by a forced fumble. The Giants did not sack the quarterback and only hit him three times. The Giants also did not defend a single pass or make a tackle for a loss during the entire game. The Ravens averaged 6.2 yards per rush on 40 carries. There were a lot of missed tackles. The Ravens were also 8-of-11 (73 percent) on 3rd down conversions.

The special teams allowed an 17-yard and 19-yard punt returns and a 23-yard kickoff return to the 41-yard line.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were WR Golden Tate (calf), FB Eli Penny (illness), OT Jackson Barton, OL Kyle Murphy, and DE R.J. McIntosh.

The Giants reported no injuries but TE Evan Engram looked dinged up at the end of the game.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants have lost 10 or more games for the fourth consecutive season.

The Giants lost their third consecutive game and each defeat was by at least 14 points.

The Giants trailed at halftime, 20-3, the fourth consecutive game they scored three or fewer points in the first 30 minutes.

The Giants have scored only two touchdowns in the three-game losing streak and they have not scored more than 20 points in five consecutive games.

The Giants ran just three offensive plays in the first quarter. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is their lowest total in an opening quarter in at least the last 40 years.

Place kicker Graham Gano has succeeded on 29 consecutive attempts, a streak that is both a career best and ties the Giants’ record with Josh Brown, who succeeded on 29 straight attempts in 2014-2015.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Dec 242020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (August 6, 2020)

Daniel Jones – Courtesy of New York Giants

DECEMBER 24, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Golden Tate (calf) did not practice on Thursday.

QB Daniel Jones (hamstring/ankle) and CB Darnay Holmes (knee) were limited.

“I thought (Jones) had a good day yesterday,” said Head Coach Joe Judge before Thursday’s practice. “He went out there, we put him through everything. Today will be a more intensive day. Today will be a higher volume day for him. It will be interesting to see how he responds. We’ll see him out there moving around throughout all the team periods. He’ll jump right into his normal role and go forward with it. The intention is if he’s able to play, we intend to play him.

“I was encouraged with how he moved yesterday. I was really encouraged. I think some of the moves we made last week with him, although it was kind of hard for him to kind of sit out on it with the double injuries, but I think that helped resolved some of those issues. All the feedback we’ve gotten medically is that he’s continued to improve and he’s at lesser risk of being injured, and that’s really the things we’re looking for right there as far as positive news. But he moved around nice yesterday. We’ll put him through more today. I can’t give you a percentage or any kind of a gauge on that. But I would say we came through yesterday’s practice feeling like we’re on the right track.”

TE Evan Engram (calf) and OT Matt Peart (ankle) fully practiced.

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

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…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Friday and Saturday. The team plays the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon.

Dec 232020
 
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Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (December 20, 2020)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 23, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
QB Daniel Jones (hamstring/ankle), WR Golden Tate (calf), TE Evan Engram (calf), OT Matt Peart (ankle), and CB Darnay Holmes (knee) were limited in practice on Wednesday.

The Giants designated outside LB Kyler Fackrell for return to practice from Injured Reserve. Fackrell hurt his calf against the Cincinnati Bengals and has missed the last three games. Fackrell is now eligible to play Sunday in Baltimore. Before he was hurt, Fackrell had played in all 11 games, starting eight, and accruing 30 tackles, three sacks, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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 New York Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:00-1:45PM). Head Coach Joe Judge, the team’s coordinators, and select players will also address the media.