Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Guys, I appreciate you hanging on a couple of minutes. I want to talk to a few of my players. Listen, just to kind of sum up the game right now, as far as the feeling, obviously we played a good team today. We can't give a team like that extra opportunities. We can't give them short fields. Teams like that are going to make the most of it. They're well coached; they're very talented, they have explosive players, they have a good pass rush, and they have optimistic DBs that we allowed to make plays. That being said, I'm very proud of the way our team fought.
I'm very proud of the way they finished the game in the second half. Our defense going out there and not giving up any points, our offense going out there and moving the ball down the field and taking advantage of situations. I thought the two-minute drive at the end was very telling in the fight we had and at the end with the penalty, obviously that's something we gotta clean up and we can't shoot ourselves in the foot. So again you can church up that language right there in the quotes, Jordan. But at that point I'll open it up for questions.
Q. Joe, obviously the thing on everybody's mind is about Saquon going down and hurting his knee. Is there anything you could update us with that and how much of a blow is that, a guy like him who's obviously such an important part of your offense going down as early as he did like that?
A: I'd say first off I thought the offense made really good adjustments to the game plan as we went for a number of reasons one of which obviously being injuries. In terms of Saquon individually I don't have a diagnosis on his knee. He's going to see some doctors tomorrow. We'll wait and see what that is. Obviously we're all praying for the best. I would just say this, regardless of whatever the outcome is going to be and what the doctors say tomorrow. I wouldn't fall asleep on 26, it's going to be a hell of a story either way.
Q. How did you think Daniel managed the clock there at the end? I know he had no timeouts but it seemed you guys were taking a lot of the underneath stuff and not any shots down field?
A: I thought we had time to move the ball. Obviously had to use the timeouts in the four-minute aspect of it to make sure we had time when we got the ball back. That's a situation we practice regularly. I thought Daniel and the offense did a good job, put us in a position of the clock we had to stop it. We got the passes out. We did a good job overall as far as moving the ball systematically down the field, and look, you're standing on the 10 yard line with one play to go. That's really what you're working for in the two-minute drills, just give yourself an opportunity. I thought the way it was called was the right way. I thought the way our players executed we converted some third downs, a fourth down in there. We gave ourselves a chance. Obviously until we make the penalty on the last play but Daniel did a good job of extending the play moving out of the pocket give himself a chance to find the throw. Obviously not good enough because we didn't win the game. But it was something right there I thought we worked on. I think the zoom froze up in here, guys. You guys got me there? Okay. Kind of froze for a second on my end.
Q. Joe, two moments I'm wondering how you handled. One was when you had to carry Saquon over to the sideline, just what the emotions were during that time. And then how did you handle halftime, because it did seem like your team really responded coming out of the half?
A: Well, to be honest with you, halftime was a lot like the practice you guys wrote about us recently. We didn't come out here with the right kind of energy to start the game. We came out understanding there's 30 more minutes of football and we're going to give ourselves an opportunity to win. In terms of carrying Saquon off the field that was just simply he's a big dude and I wanted to make sure we get him over there with the least amount of stress on his leg as possible, and tried to just take the weight off.
Q. Do you have any update on Sterling Shepard?
A: Nothing officially, no. Looked like the defensive back landed on his foot at the end of the first half. He caught that big ball across the middle and that two-minute sequence we had at the end of the first half. He tried to play through it. Obviously it was something he couldn't really run full speed on. So we'll see what the doctor says.
Q. How tough was it to stick with sort of passive, you rushing a lot of guys weren't blitzing, but it wasn't working early, but it seemed to come around?
A: Yeah. This team presents you with a lot of things you have to deal with, whether you can rush four or five at times you had to put some extra guys in coverage the way they were playing. The extended plays got us early. The touchdown on the first drive really resulted in stand play by the quarterback and the same thing at the end of the half. We've gotta make sure we finish and that was part of the interest in keeping an interest guy in coverage to really watch the quarterback and try and eliminate those extended plays. But in terms of just going and rushing whether it's rushing with three, four or five at different times, I think we have the personnel that we're able to do some of that with in the scheme. These guys have to understand what the scheme calls for. It's not always a sack situation, just collapse in the pocket, put some pressure on guys. I thought they did a decent job overall. Obviously there's some plays we gotta clean up on right there. We gotta start a little better in the fourth quarter right there. That was something that kind of showed up early on. But the defense did a good job throughout the second half of kind of bend, don't break. That's not really a trademark we're looking for. The most important thing is points defensively and they stood up in the second half and they were good on all the drives.
Q. Coach, what happened in the first half with Barkley out, Shep goes down, the two turnovers by Jones, and then you find yourself in a position you come down to the last play of the game. What does that tell you about your team right now?
A: You know what, we asked those guys today, we said we're going to find out a lot about ourselves. We came out at halftime and said we're going to find out a lot out about the team we are. You're down 17 nothing, what kind of team we're going to have. It's never about what happens to you. It's about how you respond to it. I liked the way our guys responded. We've got the right guys. We've got the right kind of guys. We've gotta clean some things up. We've gotta improve by not putting ourselves behind in games by making mistakes that we can control. Starts with turnovers, penalties and mental errors. Really the mental errors we were good on today. We played a smart brand of football. But the turnovers, that's hard to overcome, the penalties. We didn't have a ton but whether you have them they're always costly. So we've gotta start the things we can control and we have to play a good brand of football. In terms of the guys in the locker room look it's a tough resilient group. It really is. It's a young team that's learning a lot but they're learning a lot in these first two weeks about what we have to do as a team to capitalize on our opportunities and we have to make sure we stop spotting opponents opportunities to take advantage of our mistakes.
Q. Joe, what did you think of Dion's performance? Probably more carries than he's had in quite a while. And obviously you didn't foresee any of this happening, but what went into sitting Wayne today?
A: We just made the best decision personnel wise is what the game plan called for. There's a lot of things that factor in. It's never just run game or pass game or offense. It's three sides of the ball so all the roles and factors as well what the defense does on the other side, they call play a role. Sometimes you may sit a guy on offense because defense may need something extra. So it's never directly related to just one guy. There's a lot of things that go into T. Now, in terms of Dion, I thought Dion was able to make some plays for us, caught the ball in space, able to extend a few plays, did a good job on the goal line punching that ball in on the fourth and goal right there. Look, Dion is a tough dude. I've been around him a long time. One thing you know about Dion is he's prepared and the guys really respond to him because he is a tough dude and he's got that look in his eye that he's going to do whatever it takes to work with the team and benefit the team so, I was proud for how he played out there today.
Q. You had Nate Ebner in there at safety early in the game. Just curious what went into that decision. Seems like he kind of got county out of position on that early Bears touchdown. What went into playing him there and your thoughts on what happened in that play?
A: Yeah. We're going to use our roster in every game plan in how we see the benefit of us. There were some situational calls where we thought that he was a good fit with what we were looking to do both with his communication awareness on the defense. He's a very experienced player. Nate's a very, very smart player, very smart player. You put him on the field, he's a guy that players can play faster when he's around because he kind of calms everything down. That being said we had some specific roles for him within the game plan. He happened to be in it early in the game. But we won't hesitate to play Nate in any situation.
Q. Where does the team go without Saquon Barkley if he's out long-term which seems likely?
A: We go back to work. That's where we go. We go back to work on Wednesday. We start plugging ahead. We got a tough opponent next week. They're going to be hanging on the East Coast waiting for us next Sunday. That's where we go. Our vision has to be forward. Whatever happened today win or loss, it's over. Today's game is over. What's important is our players learn from what happened; we clean up the mistakes and we push forward and we go to work with the right mentality, which I know our guys will.
Q. And also, like how do you make sense of Daniel? There's obviously a lot of good he's doing. The second half he was really good in that second half, but there's two more turnovers today. That's four in two games so far. There's been a lot of good but then you still have four turnovers in two games?
A: We just gotta keep this guy playing aggressive. He's a tough dude. He's standing in the pocket. We'll watch the tape, talk and address some things with him specifically internally, but I like the way he's playing aggressive, gives us opportunities in some tough situations. As a team we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q. Daniel, obviously without knowing the severity of Saquon's injury, how tough is it to see your teammate go down like that and have you had a chance to see him back in the locker room or anything like that yet?
A: Yeah. Definitely tough to see anyone go down, especially a guy that works as hard as Saquon does. And, you know, we don't know what it is yet, but certainly keeping our thoughts and prayers with him. He's a guy that comes to work every day. I know he'll attack any challenge, and we're all here to support him. So, yeah, always tough to see a teammate go down.
Q. Daniel, how frustrating was it to turn the ball over early and then conversely, how did you feel about how you guys responded as a team in the second half to your first half?
A: Yeah. You know, tough first half for us. I'd like to go back and look at the turnovers, and certainly gotta do a better job with that. You know, we came out in the second half and we responded as a team. I thought we were able to play some complementary football with the defense coming up for us and making big plays and the offense able to move the ball and score some points. So ultimately we ran out of time there at the end, but we responded, and we certainly gotta start off better.
Q. What was Judge like at halftime?
A: You know, he was -- you know, we were all motivated. I think we all know what we're capable of, and he certainly does. And we're capable of much more than what we put out there in the first half. So that was the message, and I think guys heard it and responded there going out in the second half.
Q. Daniel, I know that you don't know the full extent of Saquon's injury yet but it seems possible he'll be out for at least a little while. How do you rally the team without such an important player, and what did you learn from the brief time you didn't have him last year?
A: Yeah. You know, we'll look at it. I don't think anyone knows exactly what the injury is or what that sets us up for. So dealing in hypotheticals right now isn't the most productive thing. But whatever it is, we'll respond as a team and do the best we can going forward.
Q. Daniel, on that last drive, obviously it stalled with the penalty but a couple of plays before that, did you guys expect a flag to be thrown? It looked like Evan may have been held at the goal line, and it seemed to kind of throw things off.
A: Yeah. You know, I'll have to go back and take a look at it on that play. You know, but those are all tough calls, tough situations, and we gotta find a way to execute down the stretch.
Q. The range of emotions when you see the flag down there, did you think that you got a defensive penalty and that you were going to get one more shot from the goal line or was it pretty obvious from field level that it was going to go the other way?
A: No. I initially thought it was going to be defensive, we were going to get another shot there at the goal line. Like I said, go back and take a look at it, and we'll see. But it's up to us to execute it and find a way to get it in there.
Q. Daniel, what were your options there on that last play? I was calling it the fourth down play, but the last play there with four seconds left.
A: You know, everyone's getting in the end zone on that play, so they played -- they knew that and played zone in the end zone. So just trying to find a spot, and everyone certainly an option there. Like I said, I'd like to go back and look at the play and learn from it.
Q. Daniel, obviously you guys bounced back there in the second half, but in the second quarter Saquon got hurt on the first play. I'm wondering if that deflated you guys at all. You threw the interception right after. The TV camera showed some guys on the sideline hanging their heads a little after Saquon got hurt. I'm wondering what that did to you guys in the second quarter before you bounced back.
A: I'd say it's tough to watch a teammate go down, certainly, but that's a situation where we need to take control and respond as a team and I think ultimately we did that. We gotta play a better first half. We all know that, and come out from the opening kick and not hurt ourselves or put us in a hole.
Q. Daniel, this was supposed to be the game. You got all your guys back. The first time you have all your weapons and then Saquon gets injured, Shep gets injured. What do you make of that? It just hasn't worked with you guys getting all those guys on the field at the same time?
A: Yeah. Certainly a tough break there for us today, but I know those guys will battle and I think they'll attack the challenge and we're excited to support them, and we'll have guys step up. So whatever the situation is, we'll attack it and respond as a team.
Q. How do you move forward if Saquon is not available long-term?
A: Yeah. Like I said, I think no one really knows what the situation is right now. So we'll understand that as the week goes and respond to move forward as a team.
Running Back Dion Lewis
Q: Hey Dion, obviously you couldn't have planned for Saquon (Barkley) going down the way he did, but what was it like being thrust into the spotlight like that and having to get as many touches as you did?
A: Gotta stay ready. I prepare every week, all week, like I'm going to be in there every play because you never know what's going to happen. So, I always stay prepared and, unfortunately, I had to go out there a little more than I normally would have to, but I was ready.
Q: Did you get a chance to talk to Saquon (Barkley) after the game? What was his mood like, where was he?
A: Yeah, I spoke with him. I just told him to keep his head up, stay positive, believe in God. Nobody knows what's really going on right now, so just try to keep his head up. He's a great kid, and we've grown extremely close since I've been here, so you know, definitely feel for him.
Q: How do you guys carry the running back room now, if he's not going to be there for a while?
A: It's going to take all of us. We got Wayne (Gallman), myself, we all gotta step up. Obviously, you know, Saquon (Barkley) is one of the best running backs in this league, so nobody's going to be able to do what he does, what he's done. We gotta do what we can do, be ourselves, and do whatever the coaches ask us to do and work hard every day.
Q: How big a loss is it if he's out long term?
A: I mean, he's Saquon Barkley, so you lose a guy like that, it's a huge loss. But you know, as a team, everybody's gotta step up. Receivers gotta step up, O-line's gotta step up, running backs have gotta step up, quarterback's gotta step up, defense has gotta step up, everybody has gotta step up. It's not going to be one person who steps up to make up for what he's done, it's going to take all of us.
Q: Dion how does your role change, moving forward without Saquon (Barkley)?
A: I'm not sure. I'm going to keep working like I always work, take the same approach in practice like I always do, prepare like I'm going to be in there every play, and just stay ready. That's how I've gone throughout my whole career, just always stay ready, prepare like I'm going to be the guy in there every play even (though) most of the time I'm not. So, I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing, and whatever the coaches want me to do, I'm going to do it.
Q: Is there a situation in your past that prepares you for this, being thrust back into a starting role?
A: Probably, I would say, what, 2017 or '18, my last year with the Patriots, I didn't get the ball much at the beginning of the year but things changed and I just started getting it. So, you know, just keep the same approach I always keep, like I said before, work hard every day. Study and prepare for the game like I'm going to be in there every play, whether it happens or not, and it's gotten me this far, so far.
Q: Dion, the one-yard touchdown run, it seemed like the defensive line got a good push, was there a hole there, did you just have to fight through there because you knew it was 4th down, what did you see from your eyes on that touchdown run?
A: It was 4th and goal on the 1-yard line, gotta do whatever you gotta do, mindset is just get in, whatever I gotta do to get in. Kind of got low, hid behind some of the big guys, and just kept my legs moving. They did a great job getting a lot of push, I think I fell like 3 or 4 yards inside the endzone. So, the O-line did a great job, that was a key play for us in the game.
Q: Dion, you guys moved the ball better in the second half. What adjustments did (Jason) Garrett and you guys make in that second half?
A: We just started being ourselves. First half, we weren't being ourselves, we weren't making the plays we needed to make and everybody just stayed together in the second half, kept pushing, kept fighting, and just… all the work we've put in in camp, in practice, you know, we tried to make sure it paid off. All the conditioning, all the running we've been doing, we kind of used that to our advantage in the second half and you could see the difference between our conditioning and their condition. I think we just gotta look forward to what's to come, build off that second half, and learn from our first half mistakes. So, I think we've got a great week of preparation going in and trying to clean some things up.
Cornerback James Bradberry
Q: Hey James, can you describe to us how you made that interception? And what did you think of the defense's overall day, plus and minus?
A: Well, I was in man-to-man on that side of the field. He gave me an outside release, I tried to get hands on him at the line, then I felt the ball in the air – of course, I didn't see it because I had my eyes on him – and I was going to make a play through his arms and I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. I was able to get one hand on it and pull it through as I came to the ground. Overall as a defense and as our performance went, I feel like we played really well in the second half. We've just got to start off faster in the first half, that's all that is.
Q: James, you're obviously the most established corner in the secondary. Any surprise that teams keep kind of keep going at you this early in the season?
A: No, not really. I mean, I was matched on their best receiver, their go-to guy, so you know in critical moments they're going to go to their go-to guy. Especially when you have a young quarterback, he wants to go to his playmaker.
Q: How much do you relish that if you know they are going to go after you?
A: It's whatever to me, I know I'm going to have my opportunities. I just know I have to make the most of my opportunities and my goal is to make sure he doesn't have a catch at the end of the day.
Q: Was that your first interception where you probably didn't even see the ball in the air?
A: Yes sir, I think so. Yeah.
Q: What was it like when [Running Back] Saquon [Barkley] had to be helped off the field after he hurt his knee?
A: Of course, your heart stops for a minute, but we really don't know the verdict of [RB] Saquon's [Barkley] injury right now, so prayers up to him and we're hoping for the best.
Q: It seemed like the defense really turned it around in the second half. What triggered that and what was the mood like in the locker room at halftime?
A: We just knew we had to make a play on defense. We had to come out there, we had to stand up and make sure the offense knew that we had their back. We were going to get the ball back to them. Pretty much just a fighting mentality.
Q: Did [Head Coach] Joe [Judge] or [Defensive Coordinator] Pat [Graham] or somebody step up at halftime and deliver some sort of message because it seemed like just the entire vibe of the team was different coming out of halftime?
A: No, I mean it's not really a message or anything. It's moreso the players coming together. We're all we got when we go on the field, so we just had to talk with each other and we knew we had to make a play. And that's everybody's mentality when we step on the field, we've got to make a play, we've got to come back and win this game.
Q: James, there are no moral victories and you guys lost Saquon today and you're 0-2, but going forward as a team, can you take anything out of the second half at least as far as how you came together, how you played as a team in the second half?
A: Well, I can only speak for the defense and I know that as a defender being on our defense, we feel like a dominant defense. I feel like we showed that in the second half and that's going to be our mindset from this point on every time we go on the field, just be dominant and do what we did today in the second half.
Q: I saw you throw your hands on your head like you couldn't believe that the offensive lineman caught that fourth down pass. How did you guys bounce back there because if you give up another first down there the game's over?
A: Yeah, I was surprised that the lineman caught the ball. They got lucky right there, but like I said, you've got to make a play in critical moments. We knew we had to line up and we had to fight for another four downs, and that's our mentality. No matter what the situation is, we're going to fight every play.
Q: You guys are 0-2. How do you bounce back from that just because – I'm sure you've seen over the years – there's some pretty devastating stats about 0-2 starts and teams going to the playoffs? How do you put that out of your mind?
A: I try to create my own history. I know we're 0-2, but we still have 14 games left. We're just going to move onto the next game and try to win the first one.
Linebacker Blake Martinez
Q: In the second half, it looked like you guys were having a little better luck against (Mitch) Trubisky and on the short-drop pass. I'm just wondering, did you guys make a change. What did you do differently? What changed there?
A: The first half, we were just hurting ourselves with missed assignments and things like that. Second half, we were refocusing and doing one of 11 and just doing our job on that given play and things started going in our favor.
Q: On the one play on their final drive, I know they ended up missing the field goal anyway, but it seemed like you guys have that play defended perfectly and got the deflection. When you see (Bobby) Massie, that offensive lineman, catch that ball, what's the range of emotions in that situation?
A: I'm not going to lie to you, it was a tough situation. Obviously, knowing that that play was coming, I knew there was going to be a late leap by the tight ends, so I was expecting that and to break it up and it goes straight to an offensive lineman, it's something you don't expect. Obviously, you're hoping it goes the other way to one of our defensive linemen. At that point, you have to be professional and get ready for the next set of downs and stop them and get to that position to miss that field goal.
Q: I know you ultimately made the stop on that drive, but what was going on early there when they were able to pick up some yards on the ground and run some clock?
A: It was just one of those things -- little missed assignments here and there, just not doing our one-11 that I was talking about. I think that was the one lapse we had in the second half where it was just little plays here and there when they were able to just hit the ball straight down hill where they shouldn't be able to do.
Q: What did you think of the way you guys responded in the second half? Obviously, it got off to a bit of a tough start.
A: I think we did the things necessary that we talked about at halftime, made the certain adjustments. That's something that we talked about wanting to do for 60 minutes, not just 30 minutes.
Q: What did you guys do to be able to keep it together? It seemed like at the end of the first half, everything was sort of spiraling out of control. You guys did right the ship. What was your approach as a team leader going into that and going into halftime?
A: I think we had some things said, but the main aspect was just doing our job on every single play. If you go back through the first half, that's what kind of bit us in the foot. That was the main coaching point from the coaches and once we went out there, we kind of prided ourselves on making sure that each and every one of us worked together, each and every one of us trusted one another to do what we needed to do on each play and started making plays, whether it was interceptions or tips for interceptions and things like that.
Q: We've seen these guys coach and they said they were going to coach hard. Was that the approach at halftime or was it you guys saying this is what needs to change real quick?
A: I mean for us, it was just the normal kind of routine for halftime adjustments. At the end of the day, it comes down to all of us buying into it and actually getting it done. It's one thing for a coach to tell you, 'Hey, this needs to be done to win the game,' but it's another thing go out there to execute.
Q: When you guys are only rushing three and dropping everybody else into coverage, which I think was most of the game and certainly the two touchdowns, what challenges does that put on the back seven there to hold the coverage longer?
A: It's all about working together hand-in-hand to make sure we have certain aspects of the play to make sure the guys in the back end aren't covering for so long and the guys in the front end aren't rushing so long. But, at the end of the day, it's something that we all have to execute at that position no matter where it's at. We need to be able to execute whatever the rush is or whatever the coverage is on the back end.
Q: Did you get a chance to catch up with Saquon (Barkley) there in the locker room after the game? What was it like on the sideline watching him being hoisted off the field by the coaches?
A: It's definitely a tough moment. I don't know exactly what's going on completely, but I saw him and said, 'Hey, I'm praying for a quick recovery for whatever it ends up being.' I hope to see him back as soon as possible.
Q: How hard was that? Defense was on the sideline at the time. You see him go down and have to be carried off. That must have been a little bit of a downer.
A: Any time a player goes down on the team - it's one of the guys you worked with through training camp and you work through the first game and all those moments grinding together - so it's definitely a tough moment. He's one of the hardest workers I've seen. So to have that moment happen, it was definitely tough.
View photos from the Week 2 matchup between the Giants and Bears at Soldier Field.