EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Joe Judge will not transfer blame for the Giants' latest defeat to the player whose turnover finalized their fate yesterday.
The Giants were driving for what they hoped would be a touchdown and tying two-point conversion when Daniel Jones' pass to Damion Ratley was intercepted by Los Angeles cornerback Darious Williams at the five-yard line with 52 seconds remaining. The pivotal play sealed the Giants' 17-9 loss to the Rams in SoFi Stadium.
The pick was their only turnover of the game but Jones' seventh in the team's 0-4 start.
Jones said after the game he "may have had the opportunity to run." On a conference call today, coach Joe Judge was asked about the second-year pro's options on the play.
"You have to see it through the perspective of the quarterback," Judge said. "It's easier for us on the sideline or watching on tape to kind of say, 'You should have done this' or, 'You should have done that.' Obviously, the execution is the most important thing. Every play he has different options, whether it was throwing to Damion there, did he have the option to tuck that thing and run with the time that we had left, timeouts and stuff like that?
"But look, he made the decision he made. We can't sit here and handcuff our quarterback by looking over his shoulder all of the time and second-guessing everything he does. To us, it's about the execution he has within the techniques and making the throw at the right time."
Asked a broader question about a quarterback's development later in his conference call, Judge responded with a strong defense of Jones.
"Look, if you're asking if Daniel is our quarterback, Daniel is our quarterback," Judge said. "That's who we're playing with. We support him, we have a lot of confidence in him, we have faith in him. Again, he's a young guy who's developing. We've seen a lot of progress from him day to day. Are there things he needs to correct and clean up, and can we do a better job as coaches and staff to put him in the right situations? Absolutely. But in terms of that blanket statement, I don't know if there's ever a pinpoint in terms of what's the threshold for saying some guy is your guy for whatever. But Daniel is our quarterback."
View photos from the Week 4 matchup between the Giants and Rams at SoFi Stadium.
*The interception concluded another frustrating afternoon for the offense, which did not reach the end zone for the second consecutive game. The Giants have scored just three touchdowns in four games.
"We got to score more points," Jones said. "I think we all realize that. It's about scoring touchdowns when we get down there."
In their loss last week to San Francisco, the Giants never snapped the ball in the red zone (their deepest penetration was the 49ers' 24-yard line). In 10 possessions yesterday, they traveled inside the 20 four times, which resulted in three field goals and Williams' interception.
"We have to do a better job all across the board at all positions and all coaches, making sure we finish all the drives," Judge said. "I was pleased with the execution of the offense within that two-minute drive, along with the two-minute at the end of the half (when they moved 56 yards in 13 plays before a Graham Gano field goal) in terms of how we managed the clock, how we systematically moved it down the field. We gave a chance for our team to have plays and have production in those situations. We have to finish better. We have to finish better as a team. That starts with the coaches and that follows through with the players."
*The Giants return to the road Sunday, when they face the Cowboys in Dallas. Their next three and five of the next six games are against NFC East opponents. After hosting Philadelphia on Nov. 15, the Giants will not play another division foe until they face the Cowboys in the season finale on Jan. 3.
"Every game is important in the NFL," Judge said. "But I think it's no secret when it comes to the NFL, it's about your division to start with. We have to do a good job. Obviously, we have five in the next six weeks division games, so we have to do a good job of coming out here and being ready to roll. It's going to be tough games. It's not going to be any easy opponents right here. But definitely, coming in on Wednesday and making sure we start fresh and we start fast. We have the Cowboys. It's going to be a very tough opponent."
Something has to give. While the Giants have scored an NFL-low 47 points, Dallas has allowed a league-high 146, a franchise record for the first four games of a season.
*In the game yesterday, Devante Downs started at inside linebacker but played just four defensive snaps. Rookie Tae Crowder stepped in and played 33 snaps.
A similar situation unfolded at cornerback, where Isaac Yiadom started but participated in only 15 defensive plays, while substitute Ryan Lewis was on the field for 42.
Judge cautioned not to attach too much significance to those numbers.
"I can't emphasize enough over and over, in terms of the starters, a lot of things just branch into what package we're playing with certain guys," Judge said. "Based on what the offense puts out there, we may play a specific package which may highlight a different guy. You look at the linebacker packages, whether it's Tae or Devante out there based on different sets and how we're trying to match the offense. Or defensively, whether it's Ike out there or Ryan, or whether it's going to be (Madre) Harper going forward. There are different things we're going to look to do.
"But we're going to look to get all of our guys involved. If you're at the game, you're expected to play. To me, the whole label on starter isn't really the most critical thing. It's more about who's finishing the game for us, and a lot of that ties into how we have to play that game due to the flow of it or how we have to adjust. But I'm pleased with Ryan with how he played yesterday. He showed a lot of positive things in terms of how he played on outside routes. He did some good things on special teams for us as well. We have to keep putting him in positions where he can really use his speed and some of his instincts to make plays for us. Look, there are other situations where Ike is going to have a predominant role based on how we're trying to match certain things up and really get him worked in."
*Judge made his first extensive public comments on the postgame skirmish between Giants wide receiver Golden Tate and Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who have a much-publicized mutual dislike.
"First off, I don't want John Mara, Steve Tisch or anybody involved with this team to have to deal with something like this after the game," Judge said. "This isn't why we play the game. We have 60 minutes to beat the hell out of each other legally between the whistles. We don't need anything extra after. I talked to a number of our players, then obviously, we saw some video on it of guys who were involved. I had enough of a kind of eye witness standpoint myself after me and (Rams coach) Sean (McVay) had an exchange at midfield. I turned around and it was kind of happening right there in front of me, so I got a quick glimpse of it right there.
"All I can say is the account I got from a number of our players was that, there's a history, obviously, between them. There was a punch thrown. Golden was defending himself. I was told he wasn't the one who threw the punch. Everybody involved was trying to break it up. I can say both our players and the Rams' staff and players, from what I saw with my own eyes, were all in there just trying to break it up. I didn't see everything going on in the pile, but from the accounts I was told and the information I was given and from what I saw with my own eyes, that's what I saw, that guys were trying to break it up."
Will he discipline any of his players for their participation in the postgame hostilities?
"There are a number of things we still have to look through as a team right here," Judge said. "Based on the information I was given and what I saw with my own eyes and what our players gave me, it didn't sound like there's an immediate need for that. But we'll look into it. Obviously, we'll always take care of our players."
*The Giants today made four roster moves involving their practice squad.
Wide receiver Austin Mack, who was added to the active roster on Saturday and was inactive for the game, returned to the practice squad.
Two players were added to the squad: wide receiver Alex Bachman and defensive tackle David Moa.
Bachman, who was with the Giants throughout the offseason and training camp, was released from the practice squad on Sept. 15. He was also on the practice squad from Nov. 12, 2019 through the end of the season.
Moa, 6-3 and 296 pounds, was a member of the Atlanta Falcons' practice squad from Sept. 16-22. His first NFL team was the Minnesota Vikings, who signed him as a rookie free agent from Boise State on April 27. Moa was waived on Sept. 5.
The Giants also terminated the practice squad contract of wide receiver Johnny Holton, who joined the team on Sept. 2, was released on Sept. 5 and signed to the practice squad the following day. He was added to the active roster on Sept. 26 and played 13 special teams snaps vs. San Francisco.