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

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

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

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.

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.

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:

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.

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).

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

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.”

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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:

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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 212020
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Joe Judge, New York Giants (December 20, 2020)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 20-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Q: What’s your overall message to your ball club now? With two games still to play and a lot still out there.

A: We have to have a good week of preparation this week. We are going to need our best performance on Sunday. The approach is still the same, come back to work on Wednesday. Make sure we go ahead and stay together as team. Make improvement. We want to be the best team we can be at the end of the season. The message has been the same all year. They have responded to it. We’ve seen a lot of improvement throughout the season. No reason to change on it right now.

Q: This late in the season, do you look at your team and say we want to improve things, but we are what we are right now? We’re a team that we have to try to get to 20 points. We really don’t often score more than that. Kind of build your team around that. Would you agree that finding more points is the one thing that has held your team back more than anything else?

A: I’ve done a lot of studying on this. One hundred percent of NFL games, the team that scores more points, wins, so we’re going to try to do that as much as we can. Not to be a complete wise guy to you, at this point in the season, we have to know what our strengths and weaknesses are. That being said, the focus has to remain on being the best football team we can be. We’ve got to make a lot of improvement in these next two weeks to give ourselves a chance at anything beyond. The goal at the beginning of this year was to be the best team we could possibly be at the end of the year. We still have a lot of work to do. We have two weeks of work to really get in. Our focus is on the Ravens this week. When we structure the game plan, we always structure it around what our strengths and weaknesses are as well as who the opponent is and what they’re capable of. That may affect how we call certain games. When we get into the game, that may affect how we form a game plan for certain teams. At the end of the day, we’re going to work to be the best team we can be and then call the game plan to our strengths.

Q: You think your team can produce more points here in these last two games? Obviously, you are going to say you think they can. The record shows that the points are going down. Do you think you can squeeze more points out of this group?

A: Yeah, absolutely. We have to do a good job as coaches putting them in the right position to do a good job of executing on the field, finishing plays and finishing drives. We’re absolutely capable of more points.

Q: I know you have been a big proponent of the O-line rotation. How come no snaps for Matt Peart yesterday?

A: We had a plan for Matt in place. He had an ailment that popped up last minute. It had nothing to do with his performance as of late. It had nothing to do with eliminating the rotation. He should be fine to go next week. We just wanted to make sure we kind of kept status quo with Cam (Fleming) and Andrew (Thomas) unless we absolutely needed him.

Q: Has being in the playoff race changed how you deploy personnel at all? Are you still on the same sort of big picture developmental view you’ve had all year?

A: I’m still looking to develop as many players as we can. That being said, you want to develop players by still putting ourselves in position to be successful on Sundays. We’re not out there having tryouts on Sunday, but we are working to make sure we get as many young guys as many reps as we can, to keep giving them experience on the field and improving as a team overall.

Q: I know there have been some weeks where you guys have focused on running the ball. You only have one passing touchdown over the last fives games and 10 over the whole season. Is the passing attack where you want it to be right now as you head into Week 16?

A: We always want to be balanced. That means being able to run or pass when we need to. It doesn’t mean 50/50 run or pass. We want to improve in all aspects, offense, defense and the kicking game at this point. We’ve had opportunities we have to capitalize on. In those situations, we have to make sure we put the players in the right position. We want to keep on improving in all aspects, the run game and the pass game. I know that sounds very generic, but that’s where our focus is. We don’t really care where the points or production come from. We don’t care what player gives it to us. We’re going to work every week to make sure we go ahead and get it out of them and put our team in a position to be successful.

Q: With a couple straight days of negative tests for the team and the staff, is the NFL telling you guys they are confident you are on the other end of this thing from last week? Is it kind of day to day here?

A: We’re taking every precaution we can. The one thing I’ve learned throughout the season watching other teams as well as dealing with it internally, this thing is kind of like weeds. You think you picked the last one and then one pops up. You can never let your guard down. We’re going to remain out of the building for the most part today and Tuesday as coaches. I’m in here for media obligations and some other things. For the most part, guys are working from home. Coaches that do come in the office work isolated in their offices with the doors closed making sure we don’t interact. On Wednesday, the plan is to bring in part of the team. We did the same thing last week a little bit. Some of the team will zoom in, some of the team will come in. We’ll make sure that we have everybody out at practice. We’ll keep spaced out and we’ll thin out the numbers in the locker room, training room and cafeteria to make sure there is not too much interaction within the actual building. What we have been told is that studies have shown that this has not been spread largely at practice or at games, in those settings. We have a lot of confidence in how we’re going about the protocols. We really need to make sure we remain tight inside in the building in the interactions. I’d say although we’ve had a couple straight days of negative tests, we have to have our guard up on this to make sure if something pops up, we can make the right decision at the right time. I thought last week, being able to go ahead and change on the fly, with taking Thursday and turning that into more of meeting day, I thought the players responded the right way. We came in and had a very productive day on Friday. We had a different kind of Saturday than in the past with the longer walkthrough and more of a kind of on the field practice than we’ve done in the past. I thought the guys were in tune, I thought they responded. They understood why we had to change up what we needed to.

Q: Do you expect to have Jason (Garrett) back for this game in Baltimore?

A: We’re waiting on final details. From what I understand, he’ll be available for the game. There’s still some gray area in terms of the travel with the team or without the team, what it could entail. We’re hoping that everything goes well. Obviously, we’re hoping that Jason remains in good health. We have been checking in with him. He’s been very active in our meetings. One unique thing about this year, I would say, even being out of the building, we’ve become so accustomed to using Zoom and working virtually. There hasn’t been a main difference other than when you’re actually on the practice field and obviously at the game last night.

Q: You have downplayed the whole playoff thing and division all along. How important is it you to, at least in determining the success of this season, that you win this division?

A: I don’t think our progress as a team is going to be measured necessarily on making the playoffs. I’m focused right now on Baltimore this week. This is obviously a team that we knew when the schedule came out early on, this would a great challenge for us. One thing that I am very interested in as a coach is seeing how our team responds to challenges, how they are able to adapt to different game plans and different styles of play from opponents, see how they work going forward. There’s a lot of things we have to improve on, big picture wise. There’s a lot of progress we still have to make. I’m pleased with the way the players have been working. This will be a great challenge. I’m not downplaying playoffs. It’s the National Football League. We’re all here to compete. We’re all here for the highest prize in all of sports. We all know what that is. At the same time, I’m a firm believer in just keeping our sights on what the immediate goal is and the long-term goal will take care of itself.

Q: Is that because of the situation you came in and you’re trying to build it up? Is this the way you have operated in all your past stops? Why are you taking this approach? What is the thinking behind it?

A: There may be a time that we talk about it in the future, possibly, based on what the situation is. That being said, it’s always been my belief to keep focused on what you’re doing right now. We can’t do anything about Dallas right now, that’s a week away. We can only control Baltimore. Anything that may or may not come after that doesn’t even exist yet. Wasting mental energy and focus on something that doesn’t exist, to me, is just wasted time. We need to focus on Baltimore. They are very real. They are getting ready. They’re a very good team, they are very well coached. They are very talented, they are very physical. They’re good in all three phases and they have some dynamic players. We start looking past Baltimore, then anything that may come after them is not going to matter anyway.

Q: Now that you guys are further out from Daniel Jones getting injured, does the standard to get him back into games change? How much more difficult is it with only maybe having one or two practices to evaluate him this week?

A: Hopefully we have three practices to be able to evaluate him. We’re going to decide tomorrow as a staff what we think the best course of action is going forward this week in terms of getting these guys on the field. Obviously, with Christmas, that kind of throws a little bit of how to manage the week. We’ve got a couple plans in place. I’ll talk to the captains tomorrow and iron out what the best plan is going forward. We have a pretty good idea of what we’re going to do anyway. In terms of Daniel himself, the standard remains the same. My concern with him has been his health, making sure he can go on the field and protect himself. Because of any change of number of games remaining in the season, that doesn’t dictate what we would put him at, in terms of risk on the field. I still want to make sure we can put him out there and allow him to move around and protect himself. There’s things that come in the game naturally that I thought Colt (McCoy) did a really good job last night. Protection was good in the passing game. Colt helped that a lot by stepping up and moving within the pocket and protecting the ball. You want to make sure that you can put a quarterback out there in position. Not necessarily that he can just pull the ball down and run all the time. Just moving in the pocket fluidly and protecting himself. If you can’t do that, you’re just putting yourself at a greater risk. I’ve got to see Daniel move around. I want to make sure I make the right decision for him short term and long term.

Q: With James (Bradberry) and Darnay (Holmes), do they have any chance of coming back this week?

A: Yeah, they are. There’s chances on both those guys coming back. James, in terms of his exposure outside the building, we’re going to have to wait for clarity from the league in terms of timetable and tests and all that good stuff. With Darnay, we just have to get him on the grass and move him around. He’s a player that we did not IR when he got hurt out of hope that we could get him back in a few weeks. The signs looked promising enough that we didn’t have to put him on IR. We’ll have to see him move around on the grass. The test is always, can he hurt it worse or is he dealing with pain tolerance? We’re going to make sure that we’re putting him in position out there, that he is going to be okay.

Q: You mentioned Christmas. Is the plan to bring them in early and then try to get their families together?

A: If we do bring them in on Christmas, which is the plan right now, the plan would be to bring them in early in the afternoon, noon or one o’clock. I think you kind of consider more guys with kids and guys with families opening presents in the morning. To me, that Christmas morning is something you don’t want to lose. We’re going to double check with the guys tomorrow and make sure they’re good. We touched base last week in our captains meeting, they were good with the plan overall. Obviously, we don’t want to miss a day of preparation. I’ve done it both ways. I’ve worked on Christmas. I’ve traveled on Christmas and I’ve had Christmas off. All three can be effective. You just want to make sure that you’re doing the right thing. If we do bring them in on Christmas, it will be a shorter day. It will be a little less intense day on the field. We’re going to have to stay ahead in how we work on Wednesday and Thursday as a team.

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

There is no media availability to the team on Tuesday. The players return to practice on Wednesday.