Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: We shifted our preparation over today, obviously, to Philadelphia. We're full speed on Philly. Today will actually be a walkthrough practice. We're going to take the time today to kind of get our guys moving on a lot of the install that apply to early downs and getting some third down stuff, give us a jump on that. Tomorrow we'll be on the field full speed and have a normal Friday. That's the plan for the week.
Obviously, dealing with Philadelphia, it's a division opponent, so there's a rivalry aspect to this. You can take the records out of it, it's really irrelevant at this point. All that matters is competing against Philadelphia and playing our best game on the field. I'd say in relation to our last game, to us, it's really irrelevant, the result of anything that happened last game. All that matters is we've learned from our experiences on the field and that we play a better game and a complete game as a team. But this is a different team, this is an improved team. They got a lot of their guys back off of injury. They're an explosive offense, one of the top defenses in the league, and obviously, Dave Fipp does a tremendous job on special teams. We have a lot of respect for this opponent. We need to have a good week of preparation, and we have to go ahead and make sure we execute on the field on Sunday for 60 minutes. That being said, I'll open it up to any questions you have.
Q: While the result of the last game might be irrelevant, what did you learn from that? Doug Pederson noted in his press conference today that you basically had them beat with five minutes left in the game. What do you think you need to do to get that to the finish line this time?
A: The part that he referenced, those last five minutes are the most important part in that game. We have to finish as a team and play a complete game. You can't fall asleep on Philly. They're an explosive team, they do a great job in situations. We already knew this team is a very good team on third down, in the red area, in two-minute drives. They do a great job in terms of scheming you up in the game plan element. Doug does a great job in terms of starting the game out fast, creating explosive plays and really finding things that you struggle with and looking to expose them. We've known this opponent for an amount of time. It really just confirms what you know about them already, about how dangerous they are and how they can score at any point in time. You really have to play a complete game to finish. You have to win upfront with your offensive line and your defensive line. This team can run the ball very well. They can get after your passer and stop your run game with negative plays as well. You have to play good upfront on both sides of the ball.
Q: With Evan (Engram), how much of an asset is it with him that you can play 12 personnel, but give it so many different looks as you can line him up in so many different spots?
A: Yeah, I think just because of his athletic ability, you can be in 12 personnel, but it's really kind of like 11. You can be in 11, it's kind of like 10 personnel. You can do a lot of different things with Evan. He's a guy that we've obviously used in some different roles throughout this season. Jason (Garrett) has done a good job of moving him around as a chess piece, playing him some in the backfield, flex him out wide like a receiver, and then playing him attached as a tight end. To have a guy like that on the field that you can do a lot of different things with really kind of presents some issues to the other team at times. The biggest thing is really identifying how they're going to play you within that game and your personnel sets. How are they treating Evan on a game by game basis? That may change based on down and distance. First and 10, if it's 12 personnel, you may see a lot of nickel defense right there treating him more as a receiver. Whereas if it's third and short, you may see more base defense at times if it's 12 personnel to stop some kind of run game. It all depends on who the opponent is and how they're matching up, but he's definitely a guy that has a lot of versatility.
Q: What is having Logan (Ryan) and Jabrill (Peppers) essentially playing the same position but not necessarily playing the same roles do for your defense and kind of add to that versatility that you guys like, especially on the backend?
A: I think both guys really have different skillsets but similar at the same time, if that makes any sense. Their ability to really play different spots gives Pat (Graham) a lot of flexibility and freedom in how he calls the defense but then also how he designs it and adjusts it within a game. I think that's probably one of the biggest strengths right now for us defensively is between Pep and Logan, we can make a lot of adjustments within the game because both guys are highly intelligent, both guys really see it conceptually and know the game. Within a game, if they're getting a tendency on us, we can flip them in terms of responsibility or we can adjust something based on what they're doing game plan wise that really helps us out. But both guys have been… Pep has really improved this season in terms of playing a deep part of the field. He's really been an asset back there. He's always been up playing the box. Logan's a guy that's had a lot of flexibility, whether it's playing that nickel position right there in the slot, whether it's playing the free safety role or that strong safety role down in the box. He's a good tackler, he's a savvy player, he has good vision inside. Both of those guys give us a lot of flexibility.
Q: I would imagine you would agree that the best quarterbacks can be cautious and aggressive really at the same time. Where is Daniel on that spectrum? Because you want him to be cautious and be careful with the ball, but he's not making enough plays really offensively aggressively. Where is he there?
A: I would disagree with that. I think he's doing a lot of things aggressively. I think the way this guy stands in the pocket when the rush is collapsing on him at certain times or makes plays with his feet extending outside the pocket, the way he's willing to pull the ball in some of the zone reads and run downfield and take a big hit. I see a lot of aggressiveness in Daniel, and I like the way he plays. The team rallies around him right there. When it comes time to take our shots, we'll take our shots offensively. Sometimes we have to be a little bit more calculated about how we want to systematically move the ball down the field. You have to have a good balance of both within a game plan. That being said, look, I think Daniel is a developing player. I think he's shown a lot of promise, he's making a lot of gains this year, he's done a lot of really, really good things for us, and that he gives us a chance to be competitive within games. I see him improving on a weekly basis, and I love having that guy in the huddle right now being our signal-caller. I know the team around him does as well.
Q: If you don't like the word aggressive, do you see any tentativeness in him at all when he is processing things in his mind?
A: No, not at all. I think he has really done a good job of sitting back and dissecting the defense at times this year and finding the right receiver. At the same time, when we go ahead and we put scheme-type plays out there to isolate a certain player, he's done a good job as far as getting the ball distributed to those guys and make sure he gives them a chance to make a play with the ball in their hands.
Q: Their personnel has changed a lot since the last time you played them. In terms of your team, do you feel like you're a different team than you were just a short couple weeks ago when you played these guys?
A: I feel we're getting closer and closer to what we want to be as a team. I think we're improving every week and I see that, the players see that when we turn on the tape. When we turn it on, we want our identity to be something that jumps off the tape at us when you watch it. There doesn't need to be volume on the tape for a reason. That's because all you have to know is what you see. We turn the tape on, our players see it. They understand what they're doing, what they're improving on. We're also very transparent and very blunt about what we have to correct and make sure we get better on a weekly basis. We slice it up every which way possible for our players to show them what we're doing well, what we have to improve on. Do I think we are a different team? I think we're an improving team. I see strides made with all the players on a weekly basis. I'm very pleased with the way they come to work, how they have already started off today. Getting on the field and we'll make strides today going forward.
Q: Is it fair to assume since they weren't designated to return that Oshane (Ximines) and (Xavier) McKinney are going to be on the other side of the bye?
A: We're kind of milking that a little bit right now for it being a walk thru today. We'll actually take a look at these guys with the trainers today and see how much strides they've made, if we think it's realistic to get them in the game this week. You get that 21-day window to return, and there is really no advantage to just pushing them back that day early to get them into a walk thru when essentially, they can get what they need in the meeting anyway.
Q: With Austin Mack, I've noticed he is not afraid to get into it with cornerbacks. They start to cover him, he doesn't back down. He's willing to get in there and block. Is that something that stood out to you during training camp?
A: Yeah, absolutely. He's definitely a scrappy dude. One thing about Austin, and I've kind of told him this directly, 'look man, you're the kind of guy that hangs around a lot. You make plays and you do things. You block for us, you make tough catches. You're going to help us in the kicking game at different times.' He just keeps showing up. He's a guy that at times he may not flash all the time but does something that just jumps out at you. He just keeps making play after play and he shows up on a regular basis. For a young player, this guy is a smart player, he's an instinctive player. He's a guy that Tyke (Tolbert) can take at any point in practice and if someone needs to come out for a rep, he just throws him in that position. It doesn't matter what it is. He knows everything on the field. He's very aware of what's going on around him. He understands what his strengths are, he understands what he needs to improve on as a rookie. I think Jason (Garrett) has done a really good job incorporating him into the game plan. This guy has earned everything he's gotten so far. He keeps coming to work every day and giving us reasons to put him on the field.
Q: You guys waived Corey Ballentine yesterday. What went into that decision? Why has it been kind of a struggle to get consistent cornerback play on the other side opposite (James) Bradberry?
A: Obviously, that's a challenging position. I see a lot of improvement from the guys on our roster. We've gotten a lot of improved play throughout the season. We had some things early on in the season that we had to clean up and correct. I think that's improved as we've gone. That being said, you're going to keep seeing top players across the ball from you every week. It's the National Football League, there's always going to be good skill players who run routes and work to get open, good quarterbacks who are going to throw them open at times. We've got to keep improving at all positions in the defensive backfield. I see those strides every week. Specifically to Corey, we like Corey a lot. We have a list of roster moves we have to make throughout the season. We did what we thought was best for the team
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: Earlier in the year, the coaches spoke about because there was no real offseason, training camp was kind of weird. It was a getting-to-know-you type of process for everybody involved. Do you feel that at this point that getting to know you process is complete? Have you seen the offense take on the identity that it wants to have? If so, what's that identity?
A: We've certainly spent enough time with each other at this point. We feel comfortable with what we're doing and who we're doing it with. The focus is still to continue to improve week to week. I don't think that changes. I think there is a lot of opportunities for us to take big steps week to week, to learn and grow as an offense, as a team. That stays the same regardless of what point in the season, or how much time we had in the offseason. I think the identity for us is to be a physical football team that fights for 60 minutes. That's a challenge to us. It's very clear from Coach Judge and from all the coaches that that's the expectation. That's what we try to do week in and week out.
Q: Joe Judge said earlier today that he still looks at you as a developing player. Your resume says it's your second year, so I guess that's true. How do you juggle the patience of knowing you're a developing player and also your desire to have results now?
A: My focus is to improve every week. I'm not sure how I label myself or how productive that is for me to do. My focus is to improve and continue to grow. I certainly understand there's lots of areas in my game that I need to improve on. That's where I'm focused week to week.
Q: If you are developing, the other team doesn't care about that. They want to knock your block off and win the game. Can you be patient with the fact that you are still a young quarterback and your head coach thinks you're developing, but there is a need to win right now and play better right now.
A: The goal every time we go out on the field is to win the football game. There's no confusion about that. I certainly don't have any other goals or expectations when I walk out on the field. I know our team feels that, I feel that. We're doing everything we can to win and we're confident every time we go out on the field.
Q: Do you look at the standings? Do you realize what a win can do this weekend? Are you energized by that? Are you going to give me the day by day, game by game coach speak?
A: We're certainly aware of the situation in the division and where the division stands. I think there's opportunities for us. You can say it's coach speak, you can say whatever you want to say it is, but the truth is we have to take it game by game. That's the reality of how you have to approach these situations if you want to play your best week to week. That's where our focus is, and I think that's real and that's where we are.
Q: Are you excited this week by the opportunity that's in front of you?
A: Absolutely, we're all excited. All these division games are huge games. They mean a lot. Teams we know well, teams we've played. That's an exciting opportunity for us.
Q: Coach said today how much he sees improvement in you week to week reading defenses and all that. You practice against two savvy veterans in (James) Bradberry and Logan Ryan every day. How much do they help you? Do you communicate with them away from the field and do they help assist in how to read defenses?
A: I've learned a ton from both those guys. I'm always interested in hearing what they see in me, what they see in quarterbacks they are getting ready to play. The kind of things they are looking for, the opportunities they see to make plays. I think all that stuff is interesting and they are all opportunities for me to learn. With veteran players, especially guys in the secondary who have had the amount of success that those two guys have had, I think there's opportunity there. I've enjoyed learning from them.
Q: I'm wondering what you have seen from Jason Garrett? I'm thinking of along the lines of in regards to what you guys are calling and doing offensively. How much has it expanded from the first four games into the season until now?
A: I think we have certainly added some things here and there. We've taken some things out here and there. We've kind of found what works, found what doesn't work and I think that's the way it probably works with any team through the first half of the season. I think he's done an incredible job calling these games and putting us in position to move the ball effectively and score points. I've enjoyed it. I think it has probably changed from the beginning of the season like I expect most teams probably have at this point.
Q: What kind of effect does it have on you if you are going to be rotating six, seven, or eight offensive linemen throughout a game?
A: All those guys who have come in are guys who have proven they can play, who have earned the right to be out on the field for they've done in practice. They've all played well and bring something a little bit different to the table. I've enjoyed playing with them, playing behind them. They've all done a great job. I have a lot of trust and confidence in all those guys we've been putting in there.
Q: The phrase "game manager" sometimes gets tossed around with quarterbacks, and it has kind of a negative connotation. But when you think about it, isn't that really what a quarterback's job is, to manage the game, decide when to take risks, when to be safe, get his team in the right place and in position to win? Isn't game management really what the job is?
A: Yeah, I'd agree with that. I think a big part of it is understanding when the opportunity is there, the ability to recognize that quickly, anticipate it and take it. A lot of times, that's down the field or sometimes that's just a quick decision where you're letting the guy catch and run and giving him space with an accurate ball. Yeah, I think understanding when those opportunities are there, when it's not there, when we call a play and we don't get the look, and the ability to make a decision quickly and avoid a negative play, a sack or holding the ball, I think all of those situations maybe go into the game management category but are important skills as a quarterback. I think those are important to understand at the position, and I'm certainly working to improve week in and week out.
Q: When the end of this season comes and the Giants are assessing whether you're their franchise quarterback, if that's a decision they're making, what do you think you need to show them by that point to prove that they have no decision to make once next year's draft rolls around?
A: For me right now, I'm focused on improving and taking the steps I need to take as a player week to week, and make sure I'm learning from coaching and doing everything I can to put the team in a position to win football games here down the stretch. That's where my focus is. I'm not sure I can afford to focus on that as much as just prepare as well as I can to win a football game.
Q: Is winning games the answer? Is not turning the ball over the answer? Is taking over games? Is there anything particular you think would elevate you from back and forth play to being the clear-cut guy in everyone's mind?
A: Yeah, I think it's just improving week to week and putting the team in position to win games. That's where my focus is. I'm doing the best I can to improve and put myself in a position to play well and put the team in a position to win games.
Defensive Lineman Dalvin Tomlinson
Q: I'm wondering if you could talk about the guy that plays alongside of you, Leonard Williams, and the year he's having. If you look at Leonard on film, he does so much of the dirty work, besides yourself, don't get me wrong. Talk about what he does for you and your game.
A: Leonard's a great guy. I love playing beside him. I feel like we feed off each other. He does a lot of the dirty work, takes up a lot of blocks and stuff like that for us to make other plays across the D-line. I feel like we all do it for each other, like you said. We all do the dirty work upfront, it's part of the job description.
Q: Just to follow up Obviously, this is your contract year and you're having a very good year at that. Is this the place you want to play?
A: I feel like the Giants organization… I'm loyal. This is family here. But I'm not focused on any of that stuff. I'm just focused on one week at a time.
Q: I know you played these guys only a couple of weeks ago, but when you go back and look at the film there, can you see the improvements that your team has made since then?
A: Most definitely. I feel like we make improvements across the board week in and week out. I just feel like we continue to grow as a team.
Q: Are you a more confident team now than maybe you were back then?
A: I feel like the confidence has never left. We've always been confident across the board.
Q: Just to kind of piggyback off that question a little bit, I'm just wondering earlier in the year, Coach Judge and the players and the coaches all spoke about a getting-to-know-you type of process for everybody, where you were learning about one another. Do you feel that the team is kind of past that stage now to where you're settling in and you're starting to develop the identity that you're looking to develop?
A: Most definitely. A lot of new guys across the board and things. Everybody, I feel like, got to know each other early on. Like you said, we just make sure our identity across the board is physicality. That's what we want to be built off of.
Q: At the line of scrimmage, I think it's five passes you have batted down now. Is it something in your game, is it something in this scheme that has allowed you to be as active as you've been? Did you grow a couple inches in the offseason? What do you attribute it to?
A: I wish I grew a couple inches in the offseason. A big thing for a defensive lineman, you want to affect the quarterback in all phases. I just make sure I put a key emphasis on batting down passes or getting my hands up because that's just as effective as a sack or a TFL and things like that, because it gets in their head a little bit. We put extra emphasis on it this year.
Q: I think at some levels, people look at it as luck. I would imagine that you would tell me it's not luck and there's a skill involved. Have you developed that skill?
A: Yeah, I feel like I was pretty good at 'Bama, so it just carried over into drills you do in the offseason and things like that and throughout training camp and stuff.
Q: You talked about loyalty, I'm wondering if you've seen it reciprocated and if you kind of expect something there to get done in regards to being here long-term?
A: Like I said before, I'm not going to really focus on the contract stuff right now. I'm just coming in every day trying to help the team as best as I possibly can, care for my teammates, and helping everybody across the board improve. I'll just let that take care of itself in the long run.