OCTOBER 18, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 38-11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams:
Q: Other than execution, going back to the drawing board, coaching it up better, is there anything you can do changes-wise? I know it’s not fantasy football, you can’t swap out your whole roster in the season. Is there anything you can do changes-wise, personnel-wise, depth chart, coaches to change things up significantly or do you just go back to the drawing board and have to do what you’re doing better?
A: I think the biggest thing is we have to do what we’re doing better – coaching better, executing better. In terms of changes, I believe you’re referring to more personnel changes it sounds like and I’d just make the point that we’re going to play the most productive players, the players that play the right way, the players that play the way we want to play effort-wise and competitive-wise for 60 minutes, the players that are the most productive. Those will be the guys you’ll see on the field.
Q: You said yesterday you wanted to watch the tape – you saw it in some guys’ eyes that they responded to your halftime challenge. We asked you if you saw any guys who didn’t. You said you wanted to watch the tape. After watching the tape, did you see any guys who didn’t? Particularly (Rams Wide Receiver) Cooper Kupp’s last touchdown, was the effort there from your guys trying to tackle him?
A: I’d say on the whole, I saw the reaction the right way. Obviously, there are some things execution- wise that we have to do different. I would say in terms of waiting right now for me to single out one player, I think you guys have known me long enough to know that I’m not going to do that. However, the things I didn’t like in the second half or the first half for that matter we’ll fully address to the team as a whole and independently. We’ll make sure to move on from that right there. But in terms of me sitting here right now and giving a list of names of things I don’t like, that’s not really what I do.
Q: Are you concerned at all that you felt like you had to make that speech to the team at halftime to challenge them to show some fight in the second half? It’s only Week 6 of the season, I’m just wondering if that’s a bad sign.
A: Maybe it was misinterpreted. I didn’t make any kind of halftime speech or anything, but in any game (I) challenge guys to see how they’ll respond to the situation we’re in. Obviously, we’re down at that point, you’ve got to claw your way back out and that’s going to come through another 30 minutes of fight and execution. So, no, just wanted to see how certain guys responded and saw a lot of positive responses.
Q: On the fake punt that they executed, it looked like you were warning the guys to watch for the fake punt. If not for the nullifying penalties there, that would have been a big gain for the Rams. Did they just catch you napping a little bit?
A: No, actually they snuck the guy on illegally, so that’s why the officials stopped it right there. We’re definitely always alerting our guys to watch for the junk that’s coming up in that field zone and knowing who you’re playing, what the situation is. The reason they were flagged was it was an illegal substitution the way they did it. We had a player out there who there was no one out there for him to cover, so he squeezed in on the adjustment, the guy came out late and that was the deal right there. The officials made the correct call on that.
Q: They called that offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on that, right?
A: They did. Yeah, they did.
Q: So, their illegal substitution was an unsportsmanlike conduct?
A: It was, yes.
Q: And somebody on your team did something to offset that?
A: We had a sideline violation actually, so it was kind of call-it-off deal. We’ll address that with the league in terms of the officials and try to get clarification on that, but we’re looking at it internally.
Q: You’ve talked before about how you feel the fans have a right to boo and you’ve got to give them something to cheer about. Some of your players have talked about this. Do you address with your players what to say and what not to say when these kinds of issues come up about fans because it’s always a hot button topic?
A: I don’t give my players a script to follow. My feelings have always been the same – I’m not going to be doing any hot button-type of things like what you’re saying – but in terms of the fans, I love the passion of our fans. I say it all the time, it’s New York. What did you expect? It’s supposed to be tough, you know? You have to work hard for their respect and when you earn it, it’s that much more valuable.
Q: Do you tell that to your team, ‘What did you expect? You signed up for this in New York,’ or is that something you’re just telling us?
A: The players know how I feel about everything.
Q: What’s your overall feeling today? Are you bitter? Are you angry? Are you disappointed? Are you just going back to work?
A: Our focus right now at this point is on making the corrections from yesterday and plowing forward to Carolina. That’s where our focus is right now. You look at the tape, you’ve got to make the corrections and you’ve got to move forward with it. Obviously, we spent a lot of time like we do on every Monday talking about the players, talking about the recap of the game, things we did as coaches that we can do better, things we did as players that we have to do better, and we’ve got to make those corrections and move forward. In terms of the emotion, the emotion is irrelevant. Going forward, it’s really about the action that you’re going to take to make sure you make the corrections and get going the right way.
Q: I asked you yesterday about (Tackle) Andrew Thomas. Is that a new injury or is that his foot or ankle sort of aggravating him?
A: To follow up on that, this is actually not related. One is on the right, the other’s on the left, so both are being evaluated today and we’ll discuss that and move forward with him when we have further notice. There’s a couple of guys that get secondary opinions later in the day. After seeing the doctors initially, they go for whether it’s MRIs or X-rays, things of that nature. We’ve got a couple guys this time of day on Mondays that are still getting looked at.
Q: Do you have an update on (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney specifically? How optimistic are you that (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and/or (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) can make it back this week?
A: I don’t have a direct answer on either Kenny or Saquon. We’ll see how they go a little bit further into the week. In terms of Kadarius, he’s part of that crew that’s kind of getting that secondary look. He aggravated his ankle that he dealt with last week a little bit. There was an aggravation when he went out of bounds on that last play, he got stuck on the turf a little bit. We’ll see where he turns around and goes.
Q: To go back to the challenge that you gave the team at halftime, I know you’re not going to call out players, but for those of us who pay attention to things, are there going to be tangible changes to the lineup and the playing time in this upcoming game that we’ll be able to see?
A: I’ll say that this week of practice will determine a lot of that, to see how guys come out and perform in practice and execute and compete. How you practice is going to have a large impact on how much you do play.
Q: Can you tell us anything about (Linebacker Benardrick) McKinney? There was a report that he is being brought in through the practice squad.
A: He should be – I just got out of a meeting, so I don’t know if he’s here yet or he’s on his way. I couldn’t tell you much more than what you already know, but the plan is to have him join our practice squad, kind of see where he’s at physically, get him moved into our system.
Q: Is (Cornerback) Aaron Robinson close? He can come up off PUP this week.
A: Yeah, we’re actually going to start Aaron Robinson and (Linebacker) Elerson Smith’s clock this week, so bring them both off PUP and they have a few weeks to work out, see where they go physically until they’re ready to go ahead and get out there on the field.
Q: Will you be changing anything related to play-calling on either side of the ball?
A: At this moment, no.
Q: I know you had injuries up front on the offensive line, but the amount of immediate breakdowns in protection yesterday – obviously, you’re coaching them up already. How dramatically do you have to change either how that’s being coached or what the personnel looks like? I know you have limited options, but how are you approaching that coming out of this game?
A: We’ll just keep on coaching everyone who’s available to us. There’s a lot of things we’ve seen from a lot of guys out there that have been positive. I think as a unit, the offensive line has played well overall at this point of the year. Yesterday, there’s a lot of things on tape that opponents are going to look to take advantage of and copycat and expose, so we’ve got to get a lot of stuff corrected right away. I’m actually very pleased in how the offensive line staff and the offensive line group has worked together this year and made improvement throughout the year. In terms of how we’re going to coach it, obviously, we’ll get a little bit extra work this week on some different schemes that are going to come up, some things we’ve seen, some things that Carolina is going to do as well, some copycat schemes that are probably going to show up within the game. This is a different type of front we’re going to play. This is a penetrating defensive line. There’s a difference when it’s different kinds of defensive lines, it’s a different game and stunts come into factor. We always give a lot of time committed within a practice to the blitz pickups, the offensive line and defensive line games, things of that nature. We’ll continue doing that and we’re going to make sure we don’t leave any stone unturned with that. As a group, I’m pleased from the course of the year how that group has played. When you have different guys come in there, you’ve got to keep on progressing and making sure that everyone has that same chemistry. That’s why I talk a lot of times about rotating guys, making sure different units play together because at some point they’re all going to play together on Sunday.
Q: Watching Giants fans leave that game in droves yesterday far before the final whistle and then interacting with some on Twitter today, it’s pretty obvious that Giants fans want to know if this is going to get better, that you guys are ticked off and are going to do something about it. Can you assure them it’s going to get better anytime soon?
A: This is definitely going to get better, so there you go. I don’t know what kind of guarantee they want, but I can assure everyone out there that’s a Giants fan and they want to know when it’s going to turn. I can tell them right now we’re working tirelessly to make sure we get this thing turned around in the right direction, not just for short-term results, but for long-term success.
Q: Did you hear anything from (President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara? He generally reacts at least at some level – obviously not publicly – when fans are leaving the games as early as they did yesterday. Have you and John talked?
A: We communicate on a regular basis. I’m not going to disclose anything that we talk about, but we communicate on a regular basis.
GIANTS SIGN LINEBACKER TO PRACTICE SQUAD…
The Giants have signed linebacker Benardrick McKinney to the team’s Practice Squad. The 28-year old, 6’4”, 257-pound McKinney was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. McKinney was traded to the Miami Dolphins in March 2021, but cut in late August. In six seasons, McKinney has played in 80 regular-season games, with 77 starts, and accruing 500 tackles, 35 tackles for losses, 11.5 sacks, 14 pass defenses, one interception, and four forced fumbles. He missed most of 2020 with a shoulder injury.
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.