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Quotes 10/19: Coach Joe Judge, LB Blake Martinez, C Nick Gates

Head Coach Joe Judge

Q: You gave a detailed explanation of why (Andrew) Thomas didn't start yesterday and how that went with Matt Peart. In the second half, was it also your plan to rotate the two, or was Thomas coming out in the third quarter after a missed block a performance-based move?

A: No, there was just a plan to go ahead and move our players on through the entire game at multiple positions, so we just stuck to the plan right there. There was nothing performance-based on that at all in that right there, no. I stress again with Andrew, obviously, this is something the guy made a mistake on a team policy. Again, I'd like to stress this guy is a great dude in the building. We love Andrew. Nothing disrespectful or malicious. He just made a mistake and there are consequences.

Q: So, in the second half, the plan was to rotate them just the same as you did in the first half?

A: Yeah, Marc (Colombo) had them on a rotation. He kind of just stuck with the number of series that were going in and out at that point right there. 

Q: I know you guys didn't practice today, but how much closer is Sterling Shepard being ready? I know it's a quick turnaround to Thursday night, but how much closer are you to having him on the field?

A: Yeah, I think we're a little bit closer than we were last week. Obviously, he didn't make it to the game. He worked with the trainers today. I'm going a lot right now off the information they've given me from today's workout. We were in staff meetings when he was out there on the field doing some of his rehab stuff. Being a walkthrough week for us, we'll have to go really based on what the trainers tell us. We'll have to go ahead and look at him. We'll see. This could go up to a pregame workout. We're not sure. We'll see where he's at throughout the week. 

Q: They're pretty banged up on their side. Reports came out today no Miles Sanders, no Zach Ertz. How much does that change your preparation for a team knowing that they could be without, and probably are going to be without, two of their most dynamic weapons?

A: I think they have enough weapons on all fronts to really prepare for with these guys. Look, you don't want to see any players get hurt, to be honest with you. You want to play teams when they're at their best. That's what competition is all about. We're expecting (Alshon) Jeffery and (DeSean) Jackson to be back, and they're going to give you a lot of trouble, along with all the other receivers they have already. They know how to use their receivers, their backs and their tight ends all very well, so it doesn't matter who's in there. They're all very capable.

Q: When you prepare for Philadelphia, have you done any work prior to this week so it's not such a short week?

A: Yeah, absolutely. I think with all opponents, we actually go back in the spring and through the summer and really build a base on what they are historically. Now, obviously, that changes within the regular season based on who's on their roster and how certain things have shaken out for them. But I always try to work weeks ahead. Especially knowing it's a Thursday game, you want to work a couple weeks ahead to really build your base on them. For me personally, I'm always a week ahead on the opponent as it is anyway. That's something I've always done, that's something I've gotten accustomed to doing through what I've done at different places. You just rely on your notes, you watch the tape on Monday from the previous game the night before, you update where you think you are with everything, and then that helps you as far as your planning day on Tuesday and going into Wednesday and Thursday, putting together the game plan. If you wait until the game week to really start diving into the next opponent, I don't think there's enough time to really dedicate recapping your game from the day before, getting into a new opponent, really learning what they are. Then at the same time, formulating a plan for it. Some people can do that. For me personally, that's not the way I like to work.

Q: Just going back to the previous question about the left tackle. Now that Andrew has served his punishment, is he back as your starting left tackle on Thursday night?

A: Yeah, we'll go through practice this week and kind of see where everything shakes out right now. But I was pleased with the way both he and Matt played, along with Cam (Fleming). We have multiple guys who can play the positions. Matt's a guy that's worked on the right and the left. We've practiced Andrew both on the right and the left as it is anyway, and Cam gets reps on the left as well, just to make sure we're all in position if we have to get our numbers called. We'll go through practice these next couple of days and kind of see how everything shakes out. But again, we expect all of them to be at the game and we expect all of them to play.

Q: When you have a decision to make on a fourth down, what goes into that? Do you have someone in your ear telling you the win probability and how it's affected? Is it gut feeling? Just what goes into that for you?

A: There's a lot of that. There's a lot of, you talk through the situation as they come up. With Pat (Graham) and Jason (Garrett) calling the plays on offense and defense, as I go through a series, I'm really looking down the line of, okay, if this gives us a fourth and short here, what am I doing? Are we kicking or are we going? If this gets to a fourth and medium, what am I doing right here? What am I looking at if we punt the ball down here on a long field goal situation versus taking the attempt at a long field goal? What could be the it factor right there? To me, I'm kind of playing out the game and scenarios of what's going to come up, what's going to happen, and how we can best handle it. I'm always evaluating where we are with timeouts versus clock and score. Then, to be honest with you, a lot of it is just the flow of the game. You can look at the whole analytics pages of different things and they tell you when to go for two, when to go for it on fourth down. That's all great, but you have to understand the flow of the game. Sometimes, there is a lot of emotion that goes into it, not to just go out there and pound your chest but knowing what your team needs at the time and how they're playing.

Q: Does facing an opposing coach who you know is going to be aggressive like Ron (Rivera) was make you a little bit more conservative like you seemed to be yesterday?

A: Yeah, I wouldn't necessarily say conservative with different things. You need to play to the strength of your team and the flow of the game and what you have confidence in. While sometimes you may say it's conservative not to go for it on fourth down, a lot of times it's aggressive to say we're going to trust our defense to go out there and do the job. We're going to have faith in our team we prepare in all three phases. That being said, you always have to consider how the other coach calls the game. When Ron had the ball and they were driving with about five minutes left in the game, you start looking in terms of they're going to treat this like it's a two-minute situation. You start kind of putting it through your mind and talking to the offense like, 'ok guys, let's be ready. We have a couple of timeouts. Let's get ready to start working on two-minute, talking to our players, thinking about what calls we may want to make. If I have to burn a timeout here, guys, think about how that may change our calls with only one timeout.' We talk ahead on the situations on the series to make sure everyone is on the same page. But you have to understand how the other coach calls it, Ron being a good example because he's been very aggressive throughout his career. Is this going to be a guy who's going to go for it at midfield? Is it going to be a fake situation? That's how Tom (Quinn) and T-Mac (Thomas McGaughey) really do a good job getting the guys prepped and ready in the situation in the game, being aware of the gimmicks and the gadgets that may come up in the kicking game to try to extend drives. For us, we try to go ahead and apply all the principles of all the phases. But the opponent is always the biggest factor in the decisions you make. Whether you're going for it on fourth down, it's who are you playing, how are they playing and how are you playing against them?

Q: I also want to ask you, I know you love talking about yourself, but you're going back to Philly this week. What are your thoughts? What are your emotions there?

A: I'll probably buy a helmet too because my in-laws are already buying batteries. To be honest with you, it's not my first time going back to Philly as an opposing coach. It's a great city. It has great, passionate fans. It's an excellent team. It's obviously a great rivalry. I grew up watching these games. They were always tough games, blue collar type games, when the Eagles and the Giants were playing when I was growing up watching the games. Again, you're so focused on the opponent, the emotion doesn't really get tied into it. We just know we have a heck of a team we have to match up against.

Q: Specific to the fourth down decision. Why punt on fourth down and two from the 38 there where you take the delay of game? You intentionally take it to punt but why not go for that there?

A: At that point right there, I had a lot of confidence in our defense. Hey, look we put the offense out there, sometimes it looks like it's intentional, sometimes maybe, sometimes it might not be. We have a lot of situational calls and different things we work at all times. In that situation right there, it's easy to say, hey, it's fourth and two, go for it, it's in short range. The defense is playing good, you got a punter you trust. You got special teams that are put on the field to create field position. If you can put the punter on a long field, you trust the way your defense is playing, then you trust them to give it back to your offense in good position. 

Q: Kyler Fackrell has made big plays in two straight games now on defense. Another one of those guys who's playing through injuries. Why has he been able to come up with some big plays in big moments for you guys?

A: I think he just does a good job executing the plan. Pat (Graham) does a really good job putting the pieces together. Bret does an excellent job coaching the guys on the edge, working with them. Kyler has a good tool set with a lot of versatility to it. Whether it's dropping in coverage, rushing, setting the edge against the run, whatever it may be. He does a good job of really applying all his tools to it. He's got good instincts and savvy to be able to understand, especially as the game goes on when he makes a lot of plays, what his opponent has been showing him, what he can use to kind of set that guy up to go make a play. He's a good, smart football player. He's made a lot of players for us when his number has been called, we're happy to have him.

Q: I know obviously you talked about the preparation weeks in advance for opponents that you do and maybe the coaches do. I'm curious, defensively especially, you want to be week to week with the game plan. Is there hesitancy with the players to know that you don't want to change too much and go with a blank slate on a week where you play on Thursday night? As opposed to maybe a regular week, do you guys talk about that and shift what you would do philosophically based on the time you actually have?

A: We always think about that. Really, the way we teach in the beginning is what sets us up for situations like this on a short week. Whether it's a Thursday night game or a halftime adjustment, which we had to make plenty of them yesterday with some personnel changes in the game due to injury. The guys have to understand the concepts of what you're trying to do. When you start teaching on the front end in training camp and back in the spring, you want to make sure all the players understand the concepts of what you're trying to do. In a certain type of coverage, okay, what are the elements of the coverage? It's a certain type of man coverage, what's the leverage you have to win? It's a certain kind of rush, what are the details of the rush we have to execute? Then you just plug people in different spots and they understand when they're in that spot what concept applies to, they know how to play it. We make sure we drill our players and we teach them. Everyone is learning how to play deep field technique, everyone is learning how to play a hard flat technique. Everyone is learning how to play curl-flat or seam-curl, or middle run through. Everyone is learning how to set an edge in the run game. Everyone is learning how to blitz the A and the B gap. Everyone is learning how to work a stunt game and a twist coming off the edge. We make sure we put all of our guys through exercises of it so when it comes up for them, it's not new. It may seem more new to the opponent, but for us it's something we have been teaching from day one.

Q: A follow up on the tackle situation. Do you see any advantage for switching guys mid-game, series to series against a defense and what maybe the defense is prepared for? You have Thomas versus a Peart at left tackle.

A: I think the biggest emphasis is just it's important for us to play as many of our guys as possible, especially these young guys who need to gain the experience. They can only really improve by being on the field and working. Matt's a guy that's shown a lot of improvement in the way he works in practice. We've seen it from the team periods, the individual one on one pass rush periods. He's shown progress in the games and the action he's seen. Andrew has been doing a good job for us as well. To me, it's just important to get guys involved and let them play and learn.

Q: How much did Matt Peart earn the opportunity to play more from what he did yesterday?

A: I think he did a good enough job. I have confidence to put him on the field. I have confidence in Andrew, I have confidence in Cam. I have confidence in all of our offensive linemen. Has he earned the right to be on the field and contribute? Absolutely. That's why he's going to be at the games for us. Everybody on our roster and practice squad has earned the right to be here. We have confidence we'll play any of them any time.

Q: You grew up in Philadelphia, very provincial city, we know that. I'm just curious, what do you think your friends and even your mom would've said to you (if you said) I'm going to be the coach of the New York Giants?

A: I don't know. Go get 'em? My brother walked around in a LT jersey his entire life, I think, mostly to make us mad because we were all rooting for the Eagles. Eventually you get used to seeing it and you understand why he was wearing it. 

Q: You guys had Ryan Lewis following Terry McLaurin around for a little bit. I was just curious the thought process there and how you think he held up? I don't think he gave up a catch yesterday

A: I thought Ryan has been playing well for us. He's definitely a guy that's made a lot of progress for us. We've been familiar with Ryan for some time. I've had experience with him in the past. He's definitely a guy who has really improved over the course of his career. I have a lot of confidence in Ryan on the field. He's a tough dude. He definitely rose to the competition. McLaurin is a heck of a receiver. This guy is as explosive as can be. You talk to guys like Colt (McCoy),who had him on the team as a teammate with him. Early in the week, Colt is saying some accolades about this guy about how he's one of the best receivers he's ever thrown to in terms of what this guy can do to get open and then what he does with the ball in his hand. It paints a picture that this guy is an excellent player. You see it on tape. I remember when the guy came out of college, he was painted a little bit more as a special teams guy than an offensive guy. I think this guy has definitely shown he's got versatility and he' definitely a weapon for their offense. He'd be a player for any team in this league. Ryan did a good job for us right there. That's just part of the matchups we established for the game plan right there. Later in the game, it was changed up for different reason, but I thought Ryan did a good job for us yesterday.

Linebacker Blake Martinez

Q: The way coach Judge and coach Graham run their defense as far as guys coming in and out. You're a guy that never leaves the field, there is a handful of guys that never leave the field. There are a bunch of guys who go in and out, Tae Crowder, guys at cornerback. Is that disconcerting to the defense or you think it helps keep people on their toes? Knowing they can come in at any time, go out at any time.

A: I think it kind of just goes to how coach Graham runs his defense. He's able to get guys in positions to best suit what they're best at. I think also for each guy to be on the sideline, they have to make sure they are ready to go at any time. Numerous situations where tempo could happen. They have to run on the field out of nowhere, get the call. It's one of those things that makes it difficult but also it helps them stay engaged in the game that much more. I think overall it helps them when they do end up going into the game. 

Q: It's more of a collective, isn't it? Instead of 10 or 12 guys, it's maybe 15 to 18 guys all have to be ready almost at a moment's notice.

A: Oh yeah, I think that's the best part about this team. Every single guy that has come in so far is a guy that you can trust. A guy that you know has put in the work each and every day throughout the week and leading up throughout training camp to help us out when he does get into the game. 

Q: How difficult was it getting through yesterday's game. You seemed to be really hurting, coming out of the game several times. You only end up missing six snaps. How much were you dealing with?

A: I think it was one of those games where you just get little things here and there. They took me out, obviously precautionary, for a concussion situation. Quickly did the test, passed it, was able to come back in. Now today, dealing with typical end game soreness type things. 

Q: What was your reaction to finally getting that result, getting that win? How much does it matter or not matter depending on what happens on Thursday?

A: I think every single game is important, especially to win them. It was a great feeling for us, obviously, putting in all the work we put in through the ramp up period, through training camp, the last five weeks leading into this last game. To be able to go out there and do what we knew we were capable of doing, obviously it wasn't pretty at all. We got the job done. On top of that, it was a division win. We have another one this week and it's something you can kind of have that momentum going into the Thursday night game.

Q: You obviously don't come off the field very often. Does it bother you at all, does the snap streak mean anything to you?

A: Not too much. Obviously, you want to be a guy that never misses any downs, any opportunities out there on the field. I remember I think last year we were up a lot in I think the Raiders game and they took us out. It was one of those moments where kind of at that point it was like, we're good. I don't have to worry about some crazy long snap streak that certain guys have to deal with. 

Q: You've been teammates with Kyler for a while now. What have you thought about his play the last two weeks? He's accounted for probably more touchdowns than anybody on the team the last two games.

A: I knew what type of player he was. When he gets those opportunities to shine, he's done it throughout the now five years I've played with him. He's been making plays left and right. There's been moments where he gets super close to certain plays since I've known him. Just these last two weeks he's finished those plays and made huge plays for us throughout the last two weeks.

Q: Is this the highest level you have seen him play at? Has he gone higher and can he go higher?

A: The sky is the limit with that guy. I call him 'Gumby'. It might not look pretty, it might not look finesse, it might not look whatever you kind of think of as a outside linebacker playing football nowadays, but he gets to the right spot. He's able to make the plays and he somehow worms his way in there and does what he does.

Q: That's a nickname that probably will stick now.

A: That's been my nickname for him the whole time.

Q: Tae Crowder has been playing a lot the last three weeks. He's a guy that came in here with that Mr. Irrelevant tag. A lot of times those guys don't make it in the league. I'm curious, what's it been like behind the scenes watching him work and get to the point where he is now? How cool is it seeing him get that touchdown yesterday?

A: It was an awesome moment. It's kind of one of those things where it's like a proud dad moment. Throughout training camp and all that, he was one of those rookies where he doesn't say much. Just goes to work every single day and once he's gotten that opportunity, it's been amazing to see him flourish out there. He just feels so comfortable being able to make calls, make everything simpler even for me out there. It's cool to see him obviously get that touchdown this last game. I was proud of him.

Q: When you play a Thursday night game after a Sunday game, how much of playing is a simple matter of mind over body? I assume you can't feel great.

A: I think it's one of those things where you try to do as much as you possibly can to ramp up your recovery period throughout the three days we have. For the most part, like you said, it's a mind over matter type thing. You're going in knowing that you're going to have some soreness here and there. You know the other team is going through the same thing. It's just going out there and playing the game at that point.

Q: I'm not sure how much you've gotten to watch the Eagles and Carson Wentz yet, but I know you've played against them in the past. Carson has been sacked like 25 times this year. I think he leads the league in turnovers. What's different this year, what hasn't been going well for them that might have been clicking in years past?

A: I think the one thing you see everywhere is they have been going through a lot of injuries. A lot of kind of moving parts throughout the offense. Overall, I think for him, he's done an amazing job out there. You watch him on film, he's still doing the Carson Wentz things that you see non-stop. Obviously, last week almost led the comeback against the Ravens. Little things here and there that I think they're trying to iron out with the new guys in the game. You can start seeing that they're getting their groove going. For us, it's going to be a task that we don't allow this Thursday to be that game for them.

Center Nick Gates

Q: You now have six games of playing center under your belt. How much better are you now than you were those first couple of games, in your mind?

A: I feel like I've done a lot better than I did the first couple of games. I'm a lot more comfortable in there making the calls and just being able to snap the ball not having to think about it anymore. I think I've excelled pretty decently.

Q: In retrospect, for someone who's in your position, how big of a disadvantage was it to not have a preseason this year? Did it really feel like those first couple of games were almost like preseason to you?

A: To a point. I think the first game was definitely something I needed to learn from. Everybody knew I didn't have the greatest game against them. It was definitely different being out there at center. Yeah, it takes a couple of games to get used to a different spot. 

Q: What are the challenges for an offensive lineman with a running quarterback? We always talk about the challenges for a defense. Are there challenges for an offensive lineman? You never know when Daniel's going to hand it off or pull it and run himself.

A: We know when Daniel's… that's what the plays are designed for. You know when he's either going to give it or pull it. You don't really know exactly when he's going to do it and when he's not, but you know what play you're running and if he's going to usually give it or pull it. I wouldn't say it's too difficult. It's kind of nice having an athletic QB who can break the pocket and get away from a sack or a hit or something like that and take off. I think it helps.

Q: When you guys looked at the play where you got to the goal line, I think it was a third down run, you got to about the one or the two there. Is there anything that could have happened there that could have gotten him into the end zone when you broke that one down?

A: I think I could have probably attacked and gotten on my guy a little faster. I just didn't see both guys aside of me. I didn't want to go and lunge out at him, I miss and DJ has to pick a side and try that. He couldn't really pick a side with both guys coming from both his left and his right. Looking back on it, I wish I would have gotten on him, just ran right up on him. But hindsight is 20-20.

Q: Joe Judge said last night it was great the players could see tangible results to what he was teaching and getting a win. Is that something that as a player is really like a sigh of relief or a breath of fresh air that you do have that tangible result and that all the corrections you make are leading to something?

A: Definitely. It's always awesome to get a win, especially when we've been 0-5 the last five weeks. It's not fun going to work every day and being 0-5. It's frustrating. But I'm glad we could get our first win and try to keep it rolling and try to stack a couple on top of each other.

Q: Some of these fourth downs, whether it's fourth and short and you're kicking a field goal near the goal line or fourth and two at the 38 and you guys punt, don't you want to go for those? As an o-lineman, do you kind of give Joe Judge or Jason Garrett a wink and say 'come on, put it on us. Let's go'?

A: Coach Judge knows what he's doing. He has a plan. We just need to respect it and just follow the plan he has because he knows what he's doing.

Q: We asked Coach Judge this and I'm just kind of curious how it applies to an offensive lineman. When you have a short turnaround like this, do you start studying your opponent before the actual week? How does that kind of work, especially for an offensive line which depends on that cohesiveness against the defensive line?

A: No, I don't study them the week before a game is done. Today is a big day for getting in there and watching film, especially at home. We all, I think we only had to go and lift. The o-line met I think for an hour by ourselves and just watched film and tried to get a little bit ahead before tomorrow. But it's more of we have to stay on top of it ourselves this week. Just watch film at home and be able to see the schemes. The coaches aren't going to be able to give you every single look this week just being a short week and being walkthrough practices instead of contact, live practices. I think it's more on the players this week.

Q: As a follow up, is there an introduction done in the offseason? I'm sure the coaches, they start studying the teams, but do they just say 'hey, we're playing the Eagles in Week 7 and this is their anticipated battery'? Do they kind of give you an overview?

A: They're in the division, so we play them twice a year, so we kind of know who they are and what kind of defense they run and their scheme already. It's just seeing what new things they put in this year versus last year, what different personnel they have and players they got. That's probably the main thing. But the Eagles are pretty much, they run the same defense as last year to this year, so that helps us.

Q: Last week, Marc Colombo had mentioned that when Matt Peart goes out there, he has like the biggest smile on his face because he just loves playing football. I'm just curious what was it like seeing him get the start? How did he handle that? Was he smiling? How cool was that moment for you just seeing your teammate get to play as much as he did?

A: It's awesome. I remember my first start going in there. I had the biggest smile on my face. It's great to see guys go in there and get experience firsthand. It's a dream for everybody in the league to go out there and play on Sunday. He got to experience that dream. He'll be playing for a long time, I feel like. He's definitely a pro and he handles himself really well. It seems like he's not a rookie sometimes.

Q: I just have two questions, one is really short. What goes through your mind when the defensive tackle is so offsides he says 'I'm just going to knock him on his a'?**

A: It happens. You can't really think... He just came off and the next thing I knew, I was rolling backwards.

Q: You don't say anything like 'thanks' or anything?

A: Thanks for the five free yards, appreciate it.

Q: The other thing I was going to ask, more serious, is have you noticed in the last couple of weeks that the inordinate number of plays where you guys lost yards on a handoff has been decreasing and you're starting to have less tackles for losses?

A: I think that's a big thing of non-negative plays. At least if you can't gain yards, at least try to get back to the line of scrimmage and help yourself out, and play in front of the chains instead of from behind. You get penalties or MA's or tackles for losses, those hurt you. A lot of the time, you can't score touchdowns or score points on a lot of those drives where you have either penalties or tackles for losses.

View photos from the Week 6 matchup between the Giants and Washington at MetLife Stadium.


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