Sep 272021
 
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Blake Martinez, New York Giants (September 26, 2021)

Blake Martinez – © USA TODAY Sports

BLAKE MARTINEZ OUT FOR THE SEASON WITH TORN ACL…
A bad season keeps getting worse for the New York Giants. Linebacker Blake Martinez tore the ACL in his left knee in the game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. He is out for the season.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVE…
The Giants have re-signed cornerback Jarren Williams to the Practice Squad. The 5’10”, 187-pound Williams was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. The Giants signed signed Williams in early August 2020 after he was waived by the Cardinals. He spent most of 2020 on the Giants’ Practice Squad, but did play in two games exclusively on special teams. The Giants Jarren Williams on Injured Reserve with a quad injury in August 2021 and waived him with an injury settlement shortly thereafter.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 17-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons:

Q: Wondering if you have anything on (Wide Receiver) Sterling Shepard and (Wide Receiver) Darius Slayton and where you go from here at the receiver position.

A: We’re actually waiting on both guys. Both guys came off yesterday with leg injuries. We’ll see where they are in terms of their doctors and follow-ups today. Hopefully, we’ll get some news by the end of the day. I think both guys’ (injuries) are really different. I don’t think either one is the same deal. In terms of the receiver position, there’s a lot of things we can do with the guys we have right now. Saw a lot of guys make plays. I was pleased with the progress I saw from (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney and (Wide Receiver) Collin Johnson yesterday at the receiver position. Obviously, (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) was making a lot of plays for us. (Wide Receiver) C.J. Board made some nice plays for us. At some point, we’re hoping to get (Wide Receiver) John Ross (III) back off IR. We’ll see where he’s at health-wise in terms of if that’s sooner or later. But that, combined with the tight ends and skill players, it’s our job to make things work and function with who we have available. Obviously, we’re without Shep or Slayton. Those are two key parts of our offense that we don’t want to be without, two leaders on our team and hard workers, but we have confidence in guys in the locker room and guys on the roster to turn around and use these guys to keep going forward.

Q: A lot of people are asking me, do you expect any significant changes coming out of this game, specifically with the play-calling?

A: In terms of who’s calling it? In terms of how we’re calling it? What’s it specific to?

Q: How about both?

A: Obviously, game plan-wise, we’ll make some adjustments, we’ll do some things that we think we can improve more. We’ll obviously dive into a couple of focal points to make sure that we finish in the red zone – that’s been something we have to do obviously better as a team. In terms of who is going to be calling the plays – directly to answer your question – in terms of offense, defense, kicking game, the coordinators will still be making the play-calling this week.

Q: Is Kadarius Toney ready to take on a larger role in the passing game if he has to with these two guys out?

A: I’d say two things, he’s working very hard and making progress every week. I think obviously this guy has made some strides for us the more football he has played. If you’re asking specifically (if) he’s going to take over for Slayton and Shep, I think those are guys who (have) a lot more time in the league, so to say someone is going to just jump in and just replicate completely what we do with those guys, I don’t think that’s something we’re going to look to do. It’s going to be more about playing to his strengths, giving him the opportunity to get the ball in his hands and make some plays. I was pleased with how he played yesterday, pleased with the progress he’s making, but I think he’s definitely ready to keep progressing within our offense and find ways to get him the ball.

Q: Do you need to get him the ball more? Does the ratio of touches to snaps have to get closer?

A: It’s something we’re focused on right now. We’ve got to get him the ball and we definitely want to. I think we saw yesterday a couple of glimpses of just him with the ball in his hands. He’s got the ability to make some guys miss in space, he runs hard and he competes. He comes off the ball with a different level of speed than a lot of guys, so in terms of trying to get him the ball, that’s definitely a focus for us going forward. I’m not going to say we’re going to manufacture 50-60 snaps artificially with him, but in terms of how the Saints are playing going forward and if the opportunity presents itself, we’ll definitely try to get him the ball.

Q: You mentioned John Ross. With him and (Linebacker) Elerson (Smith), is there a chance that they’ll be activated this week or are they still a little ways away?

A: I’d say with both guys eligible to come off, there’s a chance for either guy or both guys to come off this week. I’d say today being Monday, Wednesday would be kind of the day we look to get them really rolling with the team, so we won’t make any decision immediately, but we’ll see where those guys are over the next 36 hours leading into Wednesday.

Q: Can you take me inside your fourth down process? Say it’s the play from yesterday, it’s fourth-and-four from their 39, are you thinking numbers there? Who is in your headset? How do you decide what you’re going to do in that moment?

A: Do we have people talking to me? Yeah, I’ve got people that I reference up top in terms of some situational awareness, but I make the decisions. In terms of that fourth-and-four that we punted the ball down there, it was simple. I wanted to make sure we maintained the field position at that point. Did I want to be aggressive and go for it on offense? Yeah, there’s an opportunity to go ahead and push it, but then in terms of knowing the flow of the game and how your defense at that point is playing – I had confidence to go ahead and put those guys down there inside their 10-yard line and we ended up putting them down there inside the five-yard line. Then, play to your defense. At that point in the game, not only was it field position, there was a strong wind blowing into that end zone, so even if you have to punt coming out of that end zone – and we had to in the first half – you’re not going to get much for the coverage game. You’re almost ensured of playing on a short field if you can go ahead and hold them on defense. My thought process on that fourth down was go ahead and make sure we maintain the field position and give ourselves an opportunity to get seven off that.

Q: What happened yesterday with (Tight End) Evan Engram was not common. Players get booed, but it was especially pointed towards him with booing and cheering when he walked off the field. Do you find the need or have you taken Evan aside and talked to him and counseled him on what happens next here?

A: I think Evan’s an extremely mentally tough player. To answer your question directly, have I talked to Evan? Yeah, I talked to him yesterday on the sideline, I talked to him in the locker room. I talk to these guys all the time. Two things on that – one, it’s our job to give the fans something to cheer about. We talk about it all the time, about you better embrace the pressure and the atmosphere in New York because it’s absolutely great. You’ve got to work for the respect of people here, but it’s that much more valuable when it’s a game. Secondly, in terms of the players, I’m always going to make sure our players stay focused in the middle of the game and throughout the game and understand that when things aren’t going right externally, we’ve got to make sure we show internal support for our teammates and our players and keep it moving forward.

Q: Having said that, that was his second touch in his first game of the season and the ball got stripped for a fumble. Obviously, you can’t accept those turnovers, so how do you juxtapose that with supporting him, but also saying, ‘Look, you just got on the field, you can’t lose the ball for us here’?

A: I don’t think having support for your players has anything to do with not correcting them and not making sure that the mistake doesn’t continue. I think you can do both equally effective and that’s what our focus is, to show support for him, but also at the same time correcting mistakes that players make and keep moving forward.

Q: How did you think (Linebacker) Tae Crowder handled the play-calling yesterday at middle linebacker? With (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) now out for the season, do you think you have someone on your roster to handle that day in and day out at the middle linebacker position? Does the green dot go back to (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan)? Are you guys still deciding that? Where are you with all that?

A: In terms of who will have the green dot directly this week, it will be a mix of either Tae Crowder as he wore it yesterday or working with either (Linebacker) Reggie Ragland, (Linebacker) Justin Hilliard or any other linebackers at the game. Overall, I thought Tae played a good game yesterday. There were some things we want to clean up here or there, but I thought in terms of him jumping into the position as a signal caller, it was something we work on during the week to make sure he’s ready if it comes up. I thought he did a good job of that. We had the one communication issue where the headset went down in the game and we had to call a timeout. Other than that, he was very good with making sure everyone had the call, got it directly, got his guys lined up. I thought he played well. I thought he showed some physicality, some real aggressiveness with how he played, so I was really pleased with what Tae did yesterday in the game. Obviously, losing Blake, you hate it for Blake because he’s a guy that brings a lot of leadership and passion to this team. He’s a guy that really loves being on the football field at the end of the day and really works hard and is a tremendous leader on this team. I think everyone on our team, when you see a guy like him and a guy like (Center) Nick Gates get hurt and lose the rest of their season, everybody hurts for them because they know what they put into it in terms of their own performance, but also to really help the team going forward. We’re going to keep both those guys, Blake and Nick, involved going forward as leaders and keep them involved with the team, but I was very pleased with the steps Tae took yesterday.

Q: To follow up on the question about play-calling from earlier, based on what you’ve seen from the offense these last two years, I know you know you’re towards the bottom of the league in scoring. I’m just curious, why do you think that (Offensive Coordinator) Jason Garrett is the right man to keep calling plays for this team?

A: We’re going to stay consistent with what we’re doing and keep improving as a team. There’s a lot of things we need to clean up coaching-wise, execution-wise, but we’re going to stay on the track with it and make sure we get those things right before making any radical changes.

Q: Why do you think it is that this defense, even last year when it was playing really well, struggles so much in the two-minute or the four-minute drill at the end of halves and games? It seems like that’s when teams are most effective against you. Secondly, (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive coordinator) Pat Graham had said that with so many guys back, he was able to do a lot more with the defense this season. He said that in training camp. I’m wondering is there any way the defense has gotten too complicated for the guys?

A: I’d say first off on the second part of that question, no, we’re always working to make sure that our guys can execute and trim down whatever we have to throughout the weekly plan. You always start out the week with a little bit more in your volume than what you’re going to carry into a game and a lot of that is just kind of trial and error with some schemes and things you want to see if it works in the game plan. Sometimes it doesn’t work personnel-wise, sometimes it doesn’t work just effectively, not putting too much on players’ plates. We always look to trim that down before going into the game on Sunday. In terms of the two-minute stuff, that’s something we have to be better on all sides of the ball. It’s something we had show up yesterday in terms of finishing drives, playing complementary football in the kicking game and getting off the field defensively, so we’ve got to keep on working with that right there. There were some times last year towards the end of the year where we improved greatly in the two-minute. We’ve got to make sure that we execute the techniques involved and then coaching-wise, put the players in the right position. Look, it’s a focus of ours obviously every week. It’s become a greater focus of ours the last couple of games and we’ll keep on that track to make sure we get it right. I was very pleased with the way the defense responded yesterday at the end of the first half to go out there and take a stand the way they did after the turnover, go three-and-out and then end third down with a turnover of our own. The aggressiveness that they played with right there, that was really the theme of what we want to go forward with. We’ve got to make sure we keep doing a better job coaching and executing on the field to make sure we get off the field.

Q: One quick one and one real question. With Blake, was that a non-contact injury? It looked like he really didn’t hit anybody?

A: It was a non-contact injury.

Q: And the second one I have is did you report any plays to the league? I know you don’t like to criticize officials, but there were a number of plays when I went back and looked (that) there seemed to be an inconsistency there.

A: There’s a number of plays that we’ll turn into the league and just ask for clarification. Again, any time we turn plays into the league, I think there’s that fine line in turning something in to complain and whine about it. Look, my thing is always, just tell me how you’re ruling this and how you’re officiating it so I can teach the team properly. That’s all I want. Just give me the clarification that I can put the players in the position and they can operate with the knowledge and play aggressively. So, when we turn plays in, I don’t want an apology, I just want a clarification. That’s all I want.

Q: Was there any one call that bothered you?

A: There were a couple pointed ones and I’m going to keep those kind of between us and the league right now and not go out and air any grievances in the media.

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.

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Eric Kennedy

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

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