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Quotes: Coach Joe Judge, OT Andrew Thomas, RB Devontae Booker


Head Coach Joe Judge

Q: Were yesterday's comments intended for the fans, the Giants administration, the media, anyone in particular?

A: I was asked a specific question about what the fans are asking and I responded to it. People ask me a direct question, I give direct answers. Whoever's listening is going to get a dose of the truth and I was honestly answering to the question to the fans – that's what the question was asked for – but, obviously, the response can apply to a number of different areas.

Q: Do you have any regrets about any of yesterday's comments?

A: No.

Q: Obviously, you would want a better result Sunday, but what do you think is the best thing you can hope for and the best way you can demonstrate that the foundation exists on Sunday in your finale?

A: My expectations for the team are the same every week. I tell the guys come here to work every day, work hard, be attentive, pay attention to the details of what's going on, put the team first, just always make sure you're doing your job to the best of your ability. That's what I expect to see throughout this week of practice. Our guys have responded and over two years every week the same way, come back to work. I expect to see these guys go out there and play for each other with a high motor and play with good energy, and we're going to do everything we can to put a plan together to give these guys a chance for success on Sunday. What I want to see is the team go out there and play with the right demeanor and play with the right intensity, and go out there and execute the game plan. That's what I'm looking for.

Q: When you guys were looking at backup quarterbacks this offseason, what was it about (Quarterback) Mike Glennon that appealed to you? Has he been what you thought when you signed him?

A: I'm really pleased with the way Mike has come to work every day this year. He's played through a number of things, he got thrown into a different role. I like the way Mike prepares, the way he's a team player. Obviously, there have been some times this year he's been up and down. We started (Quarterback) Jake (Fromm) a week ago over him. I thought he handled that the right way as a professional, put the team first and then he stayed ready and when his number was called and went back in. I'm pleased with what Mike's done for the team and how hard he works. It's a shame, Mike got hurt in the game yesterday. He's going to have surgery coming up soon and he won't be available for the game this week. That's really the one injury of note. There's a lot of other bumps and bruises in there. I know Mike wanted to go out there yesterday and compete and do everything he could for the team, and that's the way his season will end.

Q: Can you share what his injury was?

A: It was a wrist injury.

Q: I'm guessing Jake is going to start for you or do you have other options?

A: Right now, it would be Jake. We have (Quarterback) Brian Lewerke with us all year, including some of the preseason. He's been with us and familiar with our schemes. We'll work both those guys in practice this week. Right now, based on reps and games, Jake would have the nod. I would anticipate getting him prepared that way, but like any other week we'll get both guys ready and make sure they're both prepared and ready to play.

Q: How hard is it to prepare a game plan and just prepare a team mentally when you struggle to have an acceptable level of production from that position? You can hide other positions, but at quarterback you kind of need somebody to lead the team. How hard is that for the entire team?

A: Everyone's focus is to come in and do their job. Our defensive players come in every week, they get prepared to stop the opponent's offense, they know what the big targets are and the focuses are. The kicking game knows they have to produce field position through different ways. They come in and stay focused on the other team's strengths and what they have to go ahead and neutralize and how they can make a play to give us some field position. Offensively, everyone's got their individual jobs. The offensive line protects and opens holes for the run. The receivers block when they don't have the ball. They get open and work to get the ball their way, and their focus is to catch it when it comes their way. Whoever prepares to play quarterback, their job is to facilitate the offense and move it around. It's not everyone's job to worry about other positions. It's their job to come in and focus on what their assignment is, how they can execute and how they can help the team.

Q: Just to get back to Mike really quick, was it a fracture in his wrist or what happened?

A: I'm not going to go through the specific diagnosis, but it was an injury to his non-throwing hand. It's something that has to be handled probably sooner than later, but he'll be unavailable to play this week.

Q: Yesterday, obviously you were asked a question and answered it in great detail. You said things very honestly. If you look at the Giants or if you were scouting the Giants and watching all the tape, would you say that they're a well-coached team and why?

A: I would. There are obviously some things we have to do better and I'm not going to sit here and hide behind anything, I'm not going to sit here and say that we're perfect in anything. There are a lot of things that I – now am I going to go through a diagnosis or an analysis of our team and every unit and every situation? No, I'm not going to do that and I say that very openly in a lot of ways. I'm not going to go ahead and throw players under the bus or try to isolate coaches and look for a scapegoat. That's not my style, that's not what I'm going to do. But I've seen a lot of improvement from our players in a lot of different ways. Sometimes not all that is magnified, but I look at different things that show up with our team, I know the direction that we're going. I know other teams as well in this league of how they scout us and what we do when we share information-wise sometimes with common opponents and things that happen. I'm very confident in the way that we're pushing forward right now. There are things we have to improve on. Obviously, the most important thing in this league is winning, so we've got to do a better job putting ourselves in position to finalize and finish out some games with a win.  

Q: You say I think we're a well-coached team. You talked yesterday at length about the culture and the foundation you think you're building. You don't call out players and things, but is it fair to say that you believe the roster needs an injection of different and better talent? Because if the culture is there and the coaching is there, then the only thing left is to get better players. Is that something you would agree with?

A: I'm not going to make any statements right now that's going to put any one of my players under the bus. I think you understand how I'm answering that question based on how it was phrased. I appreciate the job you have to do and the things you have to look for, but I'm going to tell you right now, if you're looking for someone to go ahead and find a scapegoat and point a finger at someone, I'm not the guy who's going to be the one to give you that answer you're looking for, but I appreciate the question.

Q: Yesterday you did indicate that a couple of players from last year who were no longer with your team are still reaching out to you. By just the process you go through, there are only a couple of guys that could be – (Ravens Guard) Kevin Zeitler was cut, (Vikings Defensive Tackle) Dalvin Tomlinson obviously did leave in free agency. I know you say you don't call out players, but do you feel like in any way by using such a specific example yesterday you perhaps left the two of them to hang out there in terms of speculation?

A: I wouldn't want to try to identify names and I think that would be pure speculation. It's a small league, I keep in touch with a lot of players I've coached elsewhere because, obviously, there are things that we're very careful with tampering and we never try to get anything in that mix. But, everyone supports each other. You have guys who have good games from across the way, you may shoot them a text and say, 'Hey man, I liked the way you played. A certain technique or a certain play, keep it going.' Guys will reach back out to you. There are a number of players who have been here through the years. I'm not going to go into individuals right now, I'm not going to try to open up that kind of chapter of guessing of what it may be, but I just know that we have a strong culture, as players from other teams that I know reach out to our players currently and have reached out to me as well through different avenues. Nothing that needs to be looked into or anything of that nature, but I know this is a place that players want to play. I know this is a place that players want to play. It's a place that a lot of players are going to want to play for a long time. I'm going to leave it at that. 

Q: On a positive note out of yesterday, (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) had his first 100-yard game in a while. What did you see from him in his running style that maybe he wasn't doing earlier in the year?

A: I don't want to say this in comparison to what he was or wasn't doing earlier in the year. That's not what this answer is in response to, so let's make that clear. I'd say in terms of what I saw from him, he really ran tough and aggressive yesterday. He ran with good ball security, he ran downhill. He was very productive for us in a game that a team knew that we were going to just run the ball and run the ball. We were able to run the ball when they knew we had to run the ball and a large part of that – obviously, it takes everybody – but a large part of that was his ability to find a seam, push vertical, run tough, create extra yards. Some of his best runs were only two-, three-yard runs where he was able to go ahead and make someone miss in the backfield and certainly make something productive out of it. When something was blocked up in front of him, he didn't miss on that. He got vertical with it and he did a good job getting downhill. Again, yesterday, the marks we really wanted to hit in this game were run the ball, stop the run, cover kicks. In terms of running the ball, I thought him and Book (running back Devontae Booker) both did a good job of getting the thing downhill aggressively. Our offensive line was able to generate enough lanes to get these guys going and get us an opportunity to be productive in that phase.

Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas

Q: What did you take away from (Head Coach) Joe Judge's postgame speech yesterday? Did you see it?

A: No, I didn't get a chance to see it. 

Q: What do you think of his message or his belief that you guys, even as a losing team, are showing more resolve than teams typically would in this kind of dire situation?

A: I think a lot of our players are buying in to what Coach Judge preaches. We come in every day regardless of what happens on Sunday. We come in and we work to get better and to put a product on the field that we're proud of. 

Q: Lastly, you're not used to losing. How difficult is it for you to continue playing your game when your offense is struggling so badly? Do you have to compartmentalize your role? How difficult is it not to focus on the failures of the offense and just try to do your job?

A: For me, the focus is just trying to be the best player I can be for my team. There are obviously things that I need to clean up as a player before I can look at somebody else and point the finger. I've got to be playing at the best possible way I can, so to do that, I'm focused on that.

Q: What was it like to see (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) have the best game he's had since you've been here?

A: It was great to see him out there. He was running the ball well. There were a few times we didn't have them blocked all the way. They had extra guys in the box, and he made some pretty athletic moves to make some defenders miss, so I was proud of the way he played.

Q: It sounds like (Quarterback) Jake's (Fromm) going to get another start. How eager do you think he is to erase the last time he was on the field?

A: I think he's eager. He comes in every day, and he works, doing his best to pick up the playbook. I'm excited to see him get another chance.

Q: Considering this is really much closing in on your second season, can you just look back a little bit and think about how you ended last season and how you're ending this one, and what you think you've shown this second season and moving forward, where you think you can rank among left tackles and things – kind of what you did this year as opposed to last year?

A: I think both seasons I've continued to get better as the season went on. A lot of things I still want to clean up and be better at. We've got another opportunity this week to play at a level that I'm proud of, so just trying to work on that every day.

Q: You've mentioned before about a high draft pick, and you said you want to make sure you run your own race. How do you think you're running it at this point?

A: I think I'm still on track. I'm still focused on myself being the best player I can be and the best teammate I can be, and I think that's doing well for me.

Q: Do you believe there are better days ahead for this franchise and if so, why?

A: I definitely believe that. I think we have a lot of talented guys in this locker room. I think we have the ability to play well. We've just got to get on the same page and stop beating ourselves. That's the biggest thing Coach Judge always says is you can't win until you keep from losing. Until we do that, we're not going to be as successful as we want to be.

Q: Have you guys maintained as a group here behind each other, in spite of what's going on?

A: Yeah, we have, and it's tough honestly with a lot of guys going down this year. We had a lot of leaders go down this year, which is hard for a team. But other guys stepped up and we just try to bond together and keep working hard for each other.

View photos from the Week 17 matchup between the Giants and Bears in Chicago.

Running Back Devontae Booker

Q: From a player standpoint, how did you interpret or how did you feel about (Head Coach) Joe Judge's postgame speech after your guys' lost yesterday?

A: To be honest, I didn't even really hear it. I know some of the players were talking about it today, but I didn't bother honing in on it and seeing what he had to say. 

Q: What do you think of Judge's seemingly overall message that the team is playing hard and fully behind him and the program, even though you aren't getting the results?

A: Really, we just try to stay positive and go out there every week and try to get a win for the team and the coaches. Lately, we just haven't been doing so. It's really frustrating on us and I'm sure the coaches, but we've just still got to stay the path, finish this thing out and get a win this weekend.

Q: You mentioned that the players were talking about it, in what context? Were they talking about the content of it? The length of it?

A: No, it was just more so, 'you heard what Coach Judge said?' or whatever. It was stuff like that. Like I said, I was in the building only for a little bit today and was in and out. Really didn't pay attention to any of it.

Q: Also, Judge just told us that (Quarterback) Mike Glennon is going to need surgery, he's out and (Quarterback) Jake's (Fromm) probably going to start on Sunday. What does that mean for the offense? Obviously, you guys were struggling with quarterback production with Mike and now you go to Jake. What does that mean for the offense?

A: We've just really got to stay the course. Just this past game, Coach Judge was already talking about us going into the game run-heavy. We're only out there and trying to execute what the coaches call for us. Even when I'm in there, when my opportunity is given, I try to seize the moment. That's all we can really ask for at this point and do, is just try to execute the plays that are called.

Q: How would you describe the morale of the team right now during this difficult stretch?

A: I don't know. This season hasn't been going at all anyway that we all wanted it to go. I mean yeah, some players could be tired and ready for this thing to be over, but I can say we all kept a good focus, just try to go out there and do our job week-in and week-out. The main thing is just showing up. Guys are showing up and wanting to play week-in and week-out, and that's the only thing we can ask for at least, my teammates and the coaches is come, just show up and fight day-in and day-out.

Q: Compared to any other team that had a losing season that you've been on before, is your guys' locker room and team showing any more resolve or less resolve? How does it compare to other teams you've been on, being on Judge's team now versus those other clubs?

A: It's definitely been different, but we all had the same results. I haven't been to the playoffs yet since my six years here in the NFL. It can be frustrating and stuff at times, but when you know the season is going like this, you only revert back to one way, and that's just trying to finish the thing out strong. You only can control what we can control at this point. That's really just been my whole mindset through the whole downfall of our season. It's just finishing everything, finishing out strong, finishing every run, and just going out there and playing hard and competing. That's the only way I know.


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