Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports
MATT PEART TEARS ACL; JULIAN LOVE TO RESERVE/COVID LIST…
The New York Giants have announced that offensive tackle Matt Peart has torn the ACL in his left knee. His season is obviously over and his availability for the 2022 season is now in question. Peart did not have the year expected of him. Heading into training camp, it was anticipated that Peart would be the opening-day starter at right tackle. However, he was beat out by Nate Solder. Peart ended up playing in 15 games with five starts in 2021 (three at left tackle, two at right tackle) and was up-and-down in his play. The offensive line coach has publicly questioned his toughness.
Meanwhile, safety Julian Love is yet another Giant to test positive for COVID. He has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. CB Ka’dar Hollman, who is currently on the Practice Squad/Injured List, also tested positive for COVID.
The Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of center Evan Boehm.
DECEMBER 27, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 34-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles:
Q: I wanted to ask you about (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley), the way he’s been playing, and if you have any thoughts on maybe kind of shutting him down for the year and having him come back healthy next year.
A: In terms of shutting him down for the year deal, that’s more something that our medical team has not approached me about. At this moment, there wouldn’t be any medical reason, at least that they brought to me, about shutting him down. Anytime we have those conversations that’s for a player’s immediate and long-term health consideration. I know Saquon has been battling through a number of things this year. Came off a traumatic injury last year – that’s a tough recovery. He’s dealt with a number of other things, as well. The ankle in the Dallas game, that’s really been lingering throughout the year. I see this guy go through a lot of things preparation-wise in the week, treatment-wise, and extra recovery-wise trying to get his body back to it. I’ve seen a lot of flashes lately that this guy has really had some good games for us in previous weeks, and he’s out there battling and playing really hard and going through some tough circumstances. He’s out there, he’s playing. He’s dinged up in a lot of ways, as most of the players in the NFL are this time of year. No one’s really 100 percent, but he’s battling through a lot of things for us. In terms of the long-term question for the rest of the year, no one on our medical staff has talked to me about anything related to that at this point.
Q: I just wanted to ask you about a specific situation. On the punt coverage yesterday, the one that ended up as a touchback when it looked like (Cornerback Darqueze) Dennard kind of lost the ball or just let it go into the end zone. Your guys kind of reacted like they were confused as to what happened. After watching it on film, do you have any clarification as to what happened in there, what Dennard saw?
A: I could’ve told you exactly yesterday what happened. It was a plus-50 punt, so we’re looking to go ahead and down that ball on or inside the 10-yard line. We’re working for that range. In Darqueze’s defense a little bit, it’s been a handful of years since he’s played gunner. He’s done a good job. Did a good job for us yesterday. He got a little fogged up on the rules – you cannot be the first toucher if you go out of bounds. The second he ran out of bounds in that situation, I was actually walking down the sideline yelling in his ear ‘Don’t touch it, don’t touch it, don’t touch it,’ because that’s an illegal touch penalty and inside the five it becomes a touchback anyway right there. So, in that situation, the other players have to have an opportunity if the ball kicks back to go ahead and have a chance to make that play the way it bounced, went right into the end zone. (Linebacker) Cam (Brown) after he reacted to playing through the returner didn’t have an opportunity to really make that play. It’s something that we’ve got to make sure that we don’t make that mistake as a guy in our gunner and downing position, but anytime a guy gets knocked on the white, I always do a job or special teams coaches always do a job of just reminding him to make sure you don’t be the first toucher, especially in a plus-50 situation. You have a lot of communication in a game with guys on the perimeter, whether it’s your advice to your gunners because they’re close enough to you. You try to help them out and give them some coaching points with the ball in the air, ball location, whatever it may be. It’s amazing how much communication you can have in the middle of a play with somebody.
Q: So, in that situation, it wasn’t an effort thing, it was really more of execution that since he was out of bounds, he did what you wanted him to do, not touch it.
A: It was absolutely not effort. He got knocked out of bounds, he knew he couldn’t be the first toucher and he made sure that he didn’t get the first toucher penalty, especially inside the five-yard line where there would be no chance of having anything better than a touchback.
Q: You guys had (Offensive Lineman) Isaiah Wilson on the active roster the other day. What has he shown you over the course of the year behind the scenes? And do you view him as an option at right tackle or are you guys only choosing him at guard right now?
A: We’ll go through the week. I think he obviously is an option for us possibly at tackle along with some other players, but really he’s been plugging away in here and he’s made some progress. We’ve flexed him between guard and tackle through some drill and team work. As we go through this week, we’ll look at a number of guys on our practice squad in terms of flexing them up as who can be that next tackle up for the game.
Q: I was just wondering if you could evaluate how (Punter) Riley Dixon has played for you this year, including yesterday.
A: Riley is a guy that works unbelievably tirelessly and he’s a great teammate, he’s a fun guy to coach. He really does a great job of going out and the biggest thing with Riley is knowing when you’ve got to pull the balls away from him because he’ll kick his leg off when he has a bad ball. He’s going to chase that until he feels it’s perfect and gets it fixed. Riley’s got a lot of ability and obviously, yesterday wasn’t his best day punting. It doesn’t mean that we’ve lost confidence in him as a player, it doesn’t mean that we’re going to do something as far as moving on from him as being our punter, but obviously, we expect a little bit more out of him as a player. The one thing that’s tough for Riley is he does everything he can do to prepare for it, and he has great results in practice and through warmups, and he’s just got to carry it over to the game. I could go through the technical things and the things you can coach him on film, whatever it may be. But you see the week before, Riley has had some phenomenal punts for us, done a lot of things to help our field position. He’s been a strength of our team; our coverage unit has been very good this year overall. But when you don’t have good execution from the specialists, the coverage also isn’t going to have good execution, as well. We’ve got to tie those two aspects together and make sure that we eliminate mistakes on the field.
Q: You put in a lot of hours coaching and everyone on your staff does, too. Does it ever reach a point though – I mean, you’re out of the playoff picture officially now – that you sit back and say, ‘I’m disgusted, I’m frustrated,’ something like that?
A: And infer that we would go home early and take more time off?
Q: No, I’m just saying get fed up and say, ‘It hasn’t gone the way I wanted. I’m sick.’
A: No, I think you come back every week and you go to work. That doesn’t mean there’s not frustrations within it, whether you’re winning or losing. There’s been a lot of times where I’ve come in from winning postseason games and you sit down and you feel disgusted with the way you played or your units may have played, and all you’re thinking about as a coach is what you did wrong. I don’t think there’s ever been a game that I sit back afterward and say, ‘Man, that was really, really good. We did this well.’ It could be a great win, it could be a terrible loss, but what you’re thinking about are the things you have to improve on. Coaching is teaching and that’s eliminating mistakes and making sure that you can give someone something that’s going to help them go out there and perform. The thing that we really enjoy as coaches is when you have the opportunity to work with someone, give them a tool to incorporate into the game, and see them have success with it. That’s really the addiction you have. That’s really the adrenaline kick you really have as a coach, that high you get from really working with the team and being able to share in their success. That’s really what you live for, as far as what a coach lives for. In terms of the flow of the season, no, you’ve got to show up and go to work all the time. That’s what we preach to our players, but you’ve got to really go ahead and walk that walk. You can’t just tell the players they have to show up and do that. I’ve coached in all different realms. I’m very, very fortunate to be at the level I am and the position I am in. I’ve coached at Division III Birmingham Southern where we played in front of close friends and family only, high school stadiums where I could look out of the press box and I knew when my wife walked up exactly with my son. You see them walk because there’s no one else in the stadium, but I enjoy that every bit as much as I enjoy this. You have to love the coaching, you have to love the process, you have to love the players, you have to love the team aspect of it. It’s not about the results of the season. You play to have team success. You perform to have team success, but the week-in and week-out work, you have to enjoy that process. You have to really thrive and enjoy those long hours. It truly has to be something you love. This can’t be just a job, it has to be more of a lifestyle in terms of you can’t just say I have to show up, work these hours, and then go on home. It’s got to be something that when you leave, you think about it driving home the entire time. When you wake up, you think about it driving in the entire time. You get excited in the middle of the night and you text your defensive coordinator a good idea you have for a scheme. You text your special teams coordinator an idea you have for a blocked punt, whatever it may be. It’s got to be something that’s always on your mind and you’re always thinking. At least the ones I’ve been around that have been pretty good, that’s the way that their minds always work. One thing that’s in common with guys that are good coaches is they’re always talking ball. You ask me all the time about what we do hobby-wise, what we do away from ball. The reality is, most of us don’t do much because our hobby is ball and that just happens to be what you get paid for.
Q: We talked to you last night about (Tackle) Matt Peart, but obviously the news was bad that he has the ACL. What have you seen from him this year? I would think you guys wanted him to challenge for the starting right tackle spot and play a lot more than he has. Now that he’s out for the year, how do you assess what he’s done, and does he have a place here moving forward?
A: Absolutely, but his number one priority right now is getting healthy. You talk about Matt’s year this year trying to build in that second year, I think one thing is he’s dealt with a number of setbacks from injury. He showed up to training camp, had to go on PUP, had an issue with his back that set him back a good bit. That was something that kind of snowballed and kind of rolled into early in the season as far as him being able to go out there and really play at a top-level. There’s been a number of other things that kind of crept up on him this year in terms of bumps and bruises, that have kind of carried over. To see his season end the way it is with the ACL and how he was really plugging forward – one thing about Matt is he’s a really, really good team player and the guys really like him and respect the way he works and goes out there every day and prepares and challenges and competes. You hate seeing any player get hurt, you hate seeing guys who truly love the game and love their team being injured. One thing that we’re certain of is we know he’s going to get great medical attention and he’s going to get great attention to the rehab process and get him back on the field. He’s still a young player, he’s got a bright future ahead of him. You hate seeing a guy struggle through a number of injuries that set him back throughout the year, but I saw a lot of things that (inaudible). Obviously, he’s still developing in his position, there are a lot of things he can build on and grow on and can improve on, but his number one priority right now is just to get healthy.
Q: I don’t know if this falls under your job questions policy – last year, you had (Former Outside Linebackers Coach) Bret Bielema leave for a college job towards the end of the season. Any chance (Offensive Line Coach) Rob Sale doesn’t finish out this season? There’s a report out there that Florida is targeting him for their offensive line job and obviously it’s recruiting season in college.
A: This absolutely ties into my job policy and I’m absolutely not going to answer it. It’s a hypothetical.
Q: (Quarterback) Mike Glennon, obviously a veteran. Are you surprised that he has struggled as much as he has given his experience? Did you expect a little more from him if put in this spot when you signed him?
A: I like the way Mike puts the team first and comes out and works. There are some things collectively that we have to do better as an offense all around. I like the way that Mike comes in with a positive attitude every week and stays ready. I know he’s going to do that this week and he’ll go into Chicago. It’s going to be a tough challenge for all of us and I know Mike and (Quarterback) Jake (Fromm) will both be getting ready for the opportunity.
Q: Last year, your team came on pretty strong in the second half winning five of your last eight games. Outside of the obvious loss of your starting quarterback this year, is there something you have identified on tape watching your team play that is consistently not done late in the year that it did do last year?
A: I think there are a number of things that we’re looking to focus on that we have to improve collectively going into next season and there’s a lot of things that we have to improve on. I’m not one that’s going to sit here and make excuses, so I’m not going to go ahead and list a bunch of things that people are going to turn around and misinterpret, but obviously, as a coaching staff, we’ve got to make sure that we go ahead and we build on things that have shown we’ve done well. I’ve seen a lot of things and aspects of this team really improve throughout the second half of the year. We’ve seen a lot of things that have been better in the second half than the first half of the year and collectively in all three phases. That being said, it hasn’t been good enough overall, and we’ve got to do a better job in all three phases to keep having success and have to eliminate mistakes.
Q: Anybody coming off the COVID list in the next couple of days before you hit the field on Wednesday? I know you don’t like to talk about individuals and symptoms and stuff, but Nate Solder’s situation is pretty well-documented. How is he doing? How is he holding up, and his family?
A: I’ve got to reach out to Nate myself today and see how he is doing today. I haven’t gotten a report from our medical staff today in terms of Nate being in any severe or negative situation, but I don’t want to speak for Nate on that. I can’t tell you exactly how he’s feeling, but you’re right, Nate having more of a documented situation, there’s definitely a heightened awareness with his situation with his family and himself. Other than that, we’ve got a number of guys that have returned in the building and then really nobody before Wednesday unless they go ahead, and they get the two negative tests to get back in the building. The earliest we’d see anybody would be (Defensive Back) Keion Crossen back on Thursday, but we’re just going by timetables.
Q: I’m curious if you have any thoughts on Saquon. He’s a team captain and he’s obviously one of the key players on your team, and he hasn’t made himself available after the game yesterday and he’s not going to be available today. Does that bother you that he doesn’t take that responsibility to talk publicly and other guys like (Running Back) Devontae Booker was up there yesterday speaking for the offense and young guys like Jake Fromm? Is that something you look at as a coach?
A: I’m going to be completely transparent and honest with you right now, I don’t pay a lot of attention to who gets asked to speak after games or appear through weeks. I know that I see him at the podium a lot of times when I’m walking off the field from practice. I know I see him a good deal dealing with the media. I don’t know his individual schedule. I can tell you – because (Senior Vice President of Communications) Pat Hanlon and I talked about this kind of walking in the hallway earlier – but I guess there are some reports about him not being available. I can tell you for a fact after the game was over that he was getting his normal treatment and was with the trainers for a good amount of time. Between that, shower, getting dressed, we were obviously driving back on buses, there was a kind of hurried emphasis of getting everybody out of the locker room yesterday. But I saw Saquon in the training room myself, so I can tell you right now –
Q: To be fair, every player is supposed to be available to talk after the game. There’s a lot of time where he can be available to talk. (Former Quarterback) Eli Manning was a guy who used to talk on Monday so his other teammates after a loss didn’t have to sit up there and answer questions. This is supposed to be one of your leaders and team captains.
A: I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t really pay a whole lot of attention to who the players are talking to media-wise, but I’ll make sure Pat addresses that and we’ll see if there’s anything that needs to be adjusted based on league policy.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.