Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Apologize for the delay, I just wanted to check on a couple of players, this being just a situation which game it is, you want to take the time to go around and see all your players and look at them in the eye and tell them, 'Thank you.' Look, I was proud of the way the guys fought tonight. To me, it comes down to a couple of things. There's a lot of positives to build off of. Then obviously, there's a lot of things we have to clean up as a team. To me, it comes down to a lot of the older guys. Offensively, we moved the ball well, we were able to sustain some drives, we've got to finish drives. Ended the first half with a nice two-minute drive, that's something we wanted to get in this game, if it came up, we wanted to take advantage of that. Saw some good execution on that across the board from the offense, that's exactly how I want to operate in that situation. Defensively, made some nice plays, we were able to have a turnover, set some good field position. To me, it's we got to eliminate the penalties, get off the field, not extend drives through mistakes, right there. Thought the kicking game covered well, had some opportunities in the return game, some opportunities that didn't come up due to some of the hits that they had as well. I was pleased overall with a lot of those guys with what we saw on tape, but in all unites, there are things to build off of, things to correct for. We got two weeks to get a lot of things accomplished, so we've got to get moving fast. That being said, I'll open up any questions you have.
Q: Any updates on (Tight End) Evan Engram or (Wide Receiver) Darius Slayton?
A: Nothing different than which you guys have already heard already. We're going to have to obviously have those guys see doctors and kind of get looked at before anything further down the line goes. I'd say you talk to the players, they're all very optimistic, but we'll see kind of where they're at tomorrow and the next day.
Q: (Tackle) Andrew Thomas had a few rough series. How would you assess the starting offensive line?
A: Yeah, let me watch the tape before I go and make any final assessments. There's a lot of things sometimes you look at and it may look like one player and the entire scheme and concept of how things are being put together and it's not always on that one player's shoulders. I'm going to watch the tape and make sure I make the correct assessment before I go ahead and say something publicly.
Q: What is your concern level about the group, as a whole, after the results that you saw today?
A: We're going to work as a team, all units, we have to improve offense, defense and the kicking game. Nothing's perfect at this point, we're far from a finished product, we know that already. We're going to keep working hard day by day to make sure we improve.
Q: How did you think (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) played?
A: I thought he did some positive things, I thought he did a lot of positive things. I have some things that we want to go ahead and make sure we improve on. For his first time in game action, right now in preseason, it's important for him to get out there with a lot of guys and get some chemistry going. Saw a lot of improvement throughout the last couple of weeks, the competitive practices, it would've been nice to get him on the field last week. I made my decision for the reason I did, I think it was the right decision for what we had to do going forward. Today was a good opportunity for him to get out there, had a lot of situational work, did some good things to build on.
Q: The interception, you guys were deep in your territory, is that just a throwaway situation that he just didn't see or something?
A: Yeah, I'm not going to break down the entire play. Obviously, you want to come in with points down there and as a team, we've got to work to go ahead and work to eliminate turnovers and there's always a lot of people. There's 11 guys on the field, it's never one person in every situation. We don't want to have turnovers, don't want to have penalties, don't want to have mental errors. We've got to do a good job of correcting that moving forward, but I saw a lot of bright spots tonight from Daniel and the offense and obviously there's things we have to keep pushing and moving forward with.
Q: What kind of camp do you think Andrew Thomas has had?
A: I've seen a lot of work from Andrew. There's been some things early in camp with all those linemen being limited, so it kind of slowed down some of our progress early in camp. There was a lot of catching up they had to do and some gaps they've all missed, but I think overall, he's done a solid job for us. He's keep on improving. He's going to be a better player a month from now, two months from now and the end of the season, he's got to keep on improving as a young player in this league and making strides going forward. There's a lot of bright spots with those guys that I got to focus on. There's lot of things we've got to clean up as an entire team and we can help them in a lot of different aspects, it's not just sitting on one player's shoulders.
Q: (Tackle) Matt (Peart) has mostly been the first team right tackle, but (Tackle) Nate (Solder) started tonight. I'm curious what went into that decision?
A: No, we just wanted to make sure we gave Nate an opportunity to get out there and get playing. He's been practicing very well for us, competing very hard. Matt's done a solid job this camp as well, I wouldn't read too much into that at all. You guys know our history here, I'll play everyone at the game. We played three tackles last year, we played three guards last year. I have no problem mixing up and rotating on through. To me, it's important to get different guys involved with chemistry and see how they react with each other.
Q: (Running Back) Gary Brightwell got some reps with the first team and he got some practice. What has he shown you both today and at practice?
A: Yeah, he's shown a lot of improvement. Obviously as a young player, for him, any in-game experience he gets is very valuable. He's made a lot of strides for us in the kicking game. He's done some really nice things on offense. Obviously, the multiples build on as you keep progressing. Third downs, a lot faster and more complicated than early downs a lot of times. He's done a good job advancing in that pass protection and blitz pickup. He's done a nice job in running the ball for us, he catches the ball well out of the backfield. He's done a lot of things to build on right there, a lot of bright spots and there's a lot of things we saw with him, obviously that we drafted him for a reason. He had some things that held him back early in camp and maybe some in the spring, but he's done a good job as of late making strides going forward.
Q: What ultimately went into the thought process of playing or not playing (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney)? Also, are you concerned about him being able to have an impact early on considering he basically has done so little?
A: Yeah, I think the question about impact came up the other day and I have the same answer for all that. It really comes down to how you execute within that individual game. Obviously, these young players all need reps, they all need experience, some guys have been limited in what they could do and have had fewer reps than other guys have. We've got to make sure that when they're available, we obviously give them what they need in practice, get them ready for the game. As any rookie, you're not going to see anyone really go out there and shoulder the burden for the team. You don't really want to do that with rookies, you want to go ahead and build them up with their volume and the expectations early on and let them grow within their roles. I can tell you right now from coaching receivers in this league, you're going to see rookies play a lot better at the back end of the year anyway than the first end. That's a mixture of the defenses you're going to see, the speed of the game, just the chemistry on the field and the reactions with the quarterback. They just need time to really work that and get over and over. Now, in terms of not playing him, it always comes down to the player's health and individual status. A lot of those guys worked out on the field beforehand, got a lot of positive reports. But to be honest with you, we got to see where we're at this week and that'll tell us more going into next week. I wouldn't expect any decisions on a lot of these players to be made fully until the week of Denver.
Q: Calf injuries can be notoriously tricky and now Evan has one of those and Slayton with the foot/ankle. Are you at all concerned about the skill players you're going to have available early in the season at this point?
A: No, we'll coach whoever we have out there. It's our job to put them in position.
Q: But if Evan and Darius aren't out there and the guys who haven't been out there aren't out there…
A: It's our job to figure it out, that's just the reality of it. There's going to be times where certain guys aren't available, next man up, time to go.
Q: For Daniel, a point of emphasis for him this summer has been limiting the turnovers. What do you say to the idea that he only played a half here in the preseason and it kind of reared its head again, even in that one game?
A: Yeah, I saw a lot of bright spots from Daniel tonight. We're going to build on the things he did well and correct things that he's got to improve on and we keep on moving as an offense.
Q: Joe with the way the week is set up now with cuts, how are you going to handle the next couple of days?
A: So, we'll talk collectively as an organization. We've already had a lot of conversations leading up to this, we'll talk tomorrow extensively. Tuesday's obviously got to be a day we have to make some final decisions. Over the next two days, we'll obviously have to make the numbers to get us down within compliance to 53. As far as practice, we'll go Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, this week. Tuesday, we'll be on the field later in the day, that'll be more of a situations practice. We've done it last year, done it in years past as well, where it's really an emphasis on a lot of the kind of rare situations that come up in a season that you make sure you touch on those and you go in and build in there a kind of encyclopedia of knowledge for the things that are going to come up at end of a half, end of game and how to handle it correctly. You don't spend a ton of time on those, so you've got to make sure you get it installed early and then review them consistently throughout the season, making sure you keep them fresh in their mind. And then Wednesday and Thursday we'll go out there and the emphasis will be mostly on our fundamentals and execution, correct some things we did in preseason that we've got to get better at and then building on some things that are going to help us early in the season against opponents coming up.
Q: I noticed you and the players wearing the hats. Whose idea was that?
A: Look, obviously we lost 13 soldiers this past week in Afghanistan. I get pictures all the time of people wearing Giants hats, people wearing Giants T-shirts, letters from all over, soldiers overseas, letting us know, 'Hey, we're overseas, but we're rooting for you.' It's great that they're rooting for our team, I think it's more important we all acknowledge we're on the same team and that we're supporting them as well. So we appreciate everything they do, we want to see them all come home safely and obviously we don't want to see anyone lose their lives, you know, needlessly. So I'd say in terms of wearing the hats, I thought it was a good opportunity to just go ahead and draw some awareness that there were 11 Marines that lost their lives this week, one Naval, one Army as well. We had all three services represented at the coin toss with the captains going out there. Our team, we stay very in tune to the first responders, the military, the people that really make what we do, which is coach and play a game, possible. I think it's important to keep that in perspective that, look, the reality is, it's serious to us because it's serious business, right? That's what it is. It's a production business, we're paid very handsomely to go out there and do a job as a player or a coach, but at the end day it is a game, it's entertainment, right? That's what it is. Now, they're playing life or death. It's important that we keep in perspective what we do and that we stay very grateful and we acknowledge what they're doing on a daily basis so that we can go out there and do this professionally and be involved with the game.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: How would you assess how you played tonight?
A: I think I played alright. I thought we did a good job moving the ball and making some plays. I think, obviously, you've got to finish drives and finish with touchdowns. So overall, I thought we did alright moving the ball, but I gotta sure some things up.
Q: Can you take us through the interception? Does that spoil the day for you or how do you sort of view that?
A: I look at that play independently, like I look at all of them. Obviously, a bad decision there. I gotta be smarter and throw the ball away in that situation, third-and-goal at the one. So, I look at each play independently and learn something from each of them.
Q: Is he supposed to sit in the middle of that coverage there?
A: No. He did a good job there and I've got to make a better decision.
Q: Are you concerned about the availability of a lot of your skill guys? (Tight End) Evan (Engram) got hurt, (Wide Receiver) Darius (Slayton), on top of all the other things?
A: I don't know a whole lot about those situations, and I know guys are working hard to get back and we've got a couple of weeks here to do that. So, we'll be ready to go.
Q: Early in the game, on the first series especially and in the second also, how do you feel the pocket was in front of you? It seemed like sometimes you were under a lot of duress.
A: I think they were certainly ready to go early and I thought we did a good job for the most part. I gotta do a better job getting the ball out of my hands and moving the pocket and finding the guy.
Q: Even if you get most of those skill guys back, you haven't really had a lot of time with them the majority of the summer. You said you're confident you're going to be ready, why are you so confident getting ready with them in such a short period of time?
A: Well, we have had some time with them through the spring, through the summer and then early on in camp and our job is to be ready. So, we've been working. If they haven't been on the field, we've been working off the field, communicating and getting on the same page. I'm confident those guys will be ready to go.
Q: Between training camp and this game, how do you feel like it went for you during the summer?
A: I felt like it went pretty well. I think I've improved and made progress. Certainly, things I'll look to work on and continue to improve here going into Week One.
Q: Throughout training camp and the preseason, you guys have had limited snaps behind the starting offensive line. What is the concern of not getting the time behind those guys and not developing chemistry? Where's your confidence in those guys heading into Week 1?
A: Yeah, I think we have had some good time with them, and I feel like our chemistry is in a good spot. I think those guys are playing well together and have done a good job throughout camp communicating and getting on the same page. Across the board, I think there's things we've got to look to improve and sure up at every position, so I think those guys up front have done a good job.
Q: When you're in those early pregame warmups like today, and you're working with all your guys, also (Running Back) Saquon's (Barkley) jumping in there and running routes. What are you trying to gain out of that specifically with him? That's really the only time he's getting on the field today?
A: Just repping things and getting out there and getting used each other and building chemistry, like we would in any case. I feel good about where we are, and I think he's looked good.
Q: Do you think he looked good? Have you seen a progression from him over the last couple of weeks, too?
A: I think he's worked extremely hard. I think it's not really my place to evaluate him and I just know how hard he works. I know he's done a good job.
Left Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: Andrew, how would you evaluate how you played tonight? Especially on those first couple of drives?
A: I started off a little slow. There are some things I've got to improve on; my hand placement, staying wide on my set and keeping the depth with the pocket.
Q: What is your confidence level at this point that this year will start off better than last year's start?
A: Confident; that is the thing Coach (Joe) Judge has been harping on this year is starting fast. Even in camp and in some of the practices, we started a little slow. It's been an effort to start fast and play fast.
Q: Just for you personally, obviously, you struggled to begin your rookie year. Do you feel like you're in a better place where you can get off personally to a better start than you did last year? And if so, what?
A: I think I made improvements, but there are a lot of things that I still need to work on. I'm trying to fix those things in camp, just hand placement and just being very consistent in my set. Sometimes I do it the right way, sometimes it might not be to my liking. I'm just trying to be as consistent as possible.
Q: Did hurt your ankle tonight?
A: No, I spatted it just for extra help, but I didn't roll it.
Q: When you look at the sacks that that occurred, what do you do to look at it and say, I needed to do better on these plays? Do you need to set deeper?
A: When I watch film, the first thing I look at is just my set because, in my mind, I'm setting to a spot, not necessarily looking at the rusher. I look at that and see if I'm square at the spot and then after that, I look at my hand placement and then I think on the first one today, I was just trying to stay squared as long as possible and not opening up on my third kick is the biggest thing.
Q: I think a lot of Giants fans will look at the first half of this offensive line and in your performance and say "Here we go again; it's going to be a rough, rough start season for the line and for you.", what would you say to kind of alleviate some of those concerns?
A: That we're working every day to get better. We know what we have to do. We are going to go in, watch the film together and do the things we have to do to get better for the first week.
Q: Andrew, you have played Left Tackle throughout your career, is it a lot of pressure knowing that you're the blind side protector and then if you don't do your job, everything breaks down?
A: Yeah, there's definitely pressure, but I put pressure on myself. I know I've been given this role and I have worked hard to be here. I have to step up and go do what I have to do to play well.
Q: Andrew, is two weeks enough time to make the sort of corrections and make the sort of improvements you just talked about in time for the Opener (Week 1 against the Denver Broncos)?
A: Definitely. There's a lot of time to practice, a lot of time to watch film and to get my corrections from the coaches. I think there's enough time.
Linebacker Blake Martinez
Q: Will you make a petition to play cornerback now?
A: So (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome (Henderson) at halftime was like, 'hey, we can't let the linebackers beat us.' But, I was like, 'whoa, I'm part of your guys' group now.' So, I'll try to help them out (laughs).
Q: How did the ball end up in your hands?
A: I saw he was like the classic receiver with wide open eyes, and I was like, 'oh, he actually threw it.' So, once he had it in his hands and came down, I went to go punch it out, but my hand got the ball and I just ripped it out of his hands.
Q: When you celebrated, though, you ran to the other endzone.
A: So yeah, at that point, I didn't know what was going on (laughs). I'm definitely have to work on that, but it was fun.
Q: When got here, you heard all the noise. A lot of people were talking about your skills in coverage. I think you played pretty well in coverage last year, but how much did that motivate you? How many strides do you think you made?
A: One hundred percent. It's one of those things each year I want to keep improving on something, making my weaknesses into strengths. Especially this offseason, I wanted to make sure coverage-wise every single day, one-on-ones, doing multiple reps, man coverage, just doing everything I can to work on those fundamentals, and just have a plan when I go out there. I think I've improved a lot.
Q: This was sort of your last chance as a defense to see where you're at before the season. So, where are you guys in your mind?
A: I think we're still growing. We're still improving each and every day. I think when we went out there, we worked as a unit. There's certain things we want to clean up, but we've got two weeks to show that improvement and get it done when we go against Denver.
Q: They've given reps to (Linebacker) Tae (Crowder), (Linebacker) Carter (Coughlin), and (Linebacker) Reggie (Ragland) next to you throughout camp. It seems like those three guys all have different skillsets. What's it like playing next to those three, and is that something you have to be mindful of, knowing what those guys' strengths and weaknesses are when you're out there?
A: I think every single one of them has, like you said, different skillsets, but my favorite thing about them is they listen and communicate. They understand what they need to do on every single play. It makes it easy to play with as partners, no matter who comes in. I know if Carter is in, if Reggie is in, if Tae is in, it's basically the same kind of personality. We can all work well together.
Q: Do you think you guys have a dramatically better team, or do you not have a read on that until you play regular season games?
A: I think every year you have a new team. You have new guys, obviously free agency, the draft, and all those types of things. You can't compare the two, but for us, it's just improving each and every day. Whether a good practice, a bad practice, we're trying to make sure we're sound across the board, and like I said, playing as 11. If we do that, I think we could be one of the best.
Fullback Eli Penny
Q: So, you're a ball carrier now? That's what it looks like it at least. What's that been like this summer?
A: It definitely feels good just coming back to getting the ball in my hand again, showing what I can do, showing my versatility along with doing fullback stuff and special teams. It just feels good to put the ball in my hands and just really show what I can do. I love showing what I can do.
Q: There's not many teams that have two fullbacks on their roster. What's it like having a partner in the fullback meetings?
A: Yeah, you're right. But like I said before, (Head Coach Joe) Judge, he looks at us as like a football player. So as far as like having a true position, he kind of doesn't look at football like that. He kind of puts people in different situations, different positions and stuff like that. So, me and (Fullback) Cullen (Gillaspia), we talk about it all the time that we don't even like calling ourselves fullbacks because when you think of a fullback, you think of like a meathead type of guy. We like, nah. We like carrying the ball and catching the ball and stuff like that. You know, having him around is good and like I said, we kind of just look at ourselves as football players first.
Q: I know it's a different position, but when a young player like (Tackle) Andrew Thomas, when he struggles on the offense, do you interact with a guy like that? Do you try and pick him up? How's that process go, picking a guy up on your unit?
A: Well yeah, definitely. Especially, when you've got somebody like Andrew, a guy with a lot of potential and he's hard on himself. So, it's kind of like, you really don't even have much to really say to him when he gets to the sideline or when we watch film or something. He already knows what he's got to work on and all that stuff. But just us, the guys being there for him and encouraging him is always good for him, too.
Q: How exciting is it seeing (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley)? It seems like he's getting closer. We saw him running routes out there before the game. Like how excited are you to get him back on the field?
A: Well, anytime you got a player like that that's missing with big play capability on any time he touches the ball, then that's a plus just having them out there. Again, for me, just playing with him for four years now, like I know his energy. I know when to motivate him and I know when to get him going. Just watching him and being back with us on the sideline and him bringing that energy and his competitive spirit to the meeting rooms and stuff like that, it's huge. It's very huge.
Q: The two-minute drive where you guys got on the board, is that important? Especially, for like the first team offense and just for the offense in general to get in?
A: Yeah, definitely because those are the situations we practice throughout practice and we put a big emphasis on that this week. So, just executing that and getting that done, that was big time.
Q: You said Judge sees you as a football player and not necessarily as a fullback. Do you think maybe you're overlooked as a contributor on special teams and what you can do for all these special teams units?
A: I think that's part of the reason why he just says like you guys are football players because as well as I do fullback, I can do running back, and then when I go out on teams, I can cover kicks and protection and all that stuff. I think when he mentions that I think that's what he means by like being a good football player. I think he means like all three phases, especially being able to catch, run, block, play special teams, all that good old stuff.
Q: You got a chance to look at the offense on the field in a game and the season's now two weeks away. What gives you optimism that this offense is going to be significantly better this year?
A: I feel that we focused in with just this training camp, offseason – we had more time together, and then we really watched film a lot on last year. We really kind of just focused on the little things and the details and just simple stuff with just staying ahead of the chains with our offense, so we can call the plays that we want to call. I think that just seeing what we've done throughout the preseason and training camp, I think that we'll be a better offense just because we focused on like the little things and the details and stuff like that.
Q: What did you see from (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) tonight? Just how good was it to get on the field with him?
A: I've seen a lot of poise. Just comfortable, relaxed, hitting his checkdowns, going through his reads, looking real good, looking mature. He's looked like that all throughout camp. So yeah, I'm excited for DJ.
Q: How do you think he reacted to the interception and coming back out there after that?
A: I think he reacted like he always does. Once he makes a good play or he makes a bad play, he's always kind of just like onto the next play. His mental toughness is great. I don't think any moment is too big for him. When he has a good play or a bad play, he just keeps it going.
Tight End Kaden Smith
Q: Take us through that touchdown catch you had. Looked like it was a nice throw, right?
A: Yeah, no, that was perfect placement – over the safety – and I'm just happy I got to make a play on it.
Q: Did you trash talk (Patriots Safety) Adrian (Colbert) after that or no?
A: No, no, no (laughs). I miss my guy. I talked to him a little bit this week at practice, but, no, I didn't get the chance.
Q: You guys are pretty banged up at tight end right now. So what's going through your head when you see (Tight End) Evan (Engram) go down? And you're like the last man standing for guys that were here last year at this point?
A: The big thing is just show up every day. Do what you need to do to get healthy and do what you can for the team and really do your best in contributing in whatever way they need.
Q: I assume you had an opportunity to talk to Evan afterwards. How's he doing?
A: Evan's doing great. I don't really have a diagnosis or anything, but he has high spirits.
Q: What was your sense of the first two series on offense? I know you guys haven't been out there much in preseason but there was some pressure upfront. What was your sense of what happened the first two series?
A: Yeah, I'm happy everyone got the chance to get out there and really get those first game nerves out of the way. But obviously, a lot of things to fix and we'll watch the film and get to fixing them.
Q: What gives you confidence when you look at this offense? That this unit could be significantly better than last year?
A: Really the way we improve week by week and honestly every practice. We get out there and get in the film, watch that, break it down and really work on what we need to work on and show that we do improve every single day.
Check out the best photos from the Giants' preseason finale against the New England Patriots.