Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Today we started on Washington. We picked up as a team, we've cleaned up the previous game over the last couple days and put that to rest with the team, and now our thoughts and focus are fully on Washington from this point forward.
Obviously, this is an explosive team. You talk about them defensively, it really starts up front with the edge players and the interior. They have a number of first round draft picks on their line. They have a lot of very capable players. That, complemented by their corners and their playmaking safeties, really gives them fits for opposing offenses. They do a good job producing pressure up front and capitalizing on the opportunities produced from up front. This is a team that can get after you with just the front four. They can bring pressure, they do a really good job with their movement schemes, and they change up throughout the game. (Jack) Del Rio does a really good job with Ron (Rivera) as far as scheming for the opponent, changing up. The other thing they do is they really keep it simple for their players to play fast and play ahead.
Offensively, obviously, (Scott) Turner is doing a really good job of moving the pieces around. That's a great catch and run team. (Terry) McLaurin is one of the top guys in the league at catching short passes, turning them into basically a punt return, getting into space. This is an elite screen team. Whether it's running the ball between the tackles or getting us into space, they're going to get it to the running backs as much as they can and they're going to get them moving.
In the kicking game, it starts with big game specialists. Nate (Kaczor) does a great job of really letting those guys just go ahead and bang away and use their leg strength. They can flip the field every time they do it. You have to be in a position to make sure you play sound in the kicking game, otherwise they can give you trouble with field position. This is an explosive team with a tremendous amount of talent on it. They can make plays in any phase, and we have to make sure that we're prepared this week. That being said, I'd like to open it up for questions, whatever I can answer.
Q: Ron Rivera talks a lot about 5,000 reps for a young player is kind of his arbitrary figure for when a guy sort of starts to get things. Often, the context is quarterback, but other positions as well. Do you kind of have a similar philosophy? Have you developed one? Have you worked with guys who have had philosophies like that?
A: I think, overall, you can simplify it to just practicing well prepares you for game execution, and that's the biggest thing. Whether it's 5,000 reps, you've heard before 10,000 hours makes you an expert, whatever you may want to say. But to me, it's just repetition obviously makes you better. It gives you an opportunity to see multiple looks. It gives you an opportunity to adjust and learn from your own mistakes, and the mistakes of those next to you so when you get into live action, you can make the correct adjustment on the fly.
Q: So far over the course of the season, what have been the biggest takeaways for you about what it's like for defenses and the challenges they face without crowd noise, home or away? Specifically, have you noticed a big difference in the way quarterbacks are able to use the hard count?
A: Yeah, I think you've seen that across the league. The quarterbacks this year are doing a good job of using the hard counts. While that shouldn't be something that impacts defenses across the league, it is, and the quarterbacks have done a great job of that. I think you see a lot of teams changing up their communication on the line of scrimmage because of how much you can hear on TV copies and how much the microphones pick up. That being said, we've already noticed a lot of teams that are changing up their verbiage. We've made adjustments ourselves along the way to account for what other teams can pick up on us.
Q: Is there a different type of challenge getting a defense to the energy level that it needs when the stadiums are quiet?
A: No. No, you need to bring your own energy and be ready to play.
Q: I'm just wondering, you guys have had a little bit of a slow start here. I'm wondering in particular what parts of your game you think you need more attention to and how are you addressing them right now going into this next one?
A: Right now, regardless of the record, we're coming back to work and we're working on being an improved team day by day and week by week. Everyone has to coach better, everyone has to play better. There's not a single aspect of our performance that we don't want to improve on. No matter how good it may be compared to where it was in Week 1, it has to be much better by Week 16. We have to keep improving as a team.
Q: There's been a lot of talk this week about making progress and that sort of thing. With Daniel (Jones), what's the area or areas you really want to see him make the next step?
A: Look, there are a lot of things right now. But this guy is still a young guy. We're working on getting him really comfortable within the scheme, handling different situations. He's made a lot of progress for us. As an entire team, we want to see guys make strides in the running and passing game and defensively and the kicking game as well. But I've seen a lot of progress from Daniel. He's definitely come, he's a very resilient guy, he's a fighter. He stands there and plays very aggressive. I'm pleased with the way he's played for the most part to this point. There are obviously some things that all of us as coaches and players have to clean up and learn from and not repeat mistakes.
Q: You weren't here last year when these two teams met in Week 16, but I'm sure you've looked back at the film. I'm wondering two things. One, when you look back at that and you have 40ish guys from that team on your team, does the effort that they were playing with, despite it being a two-win team versus a two-win team, does that stand out to you? Then you were on the winning side of a lot of December games. Did you take note of, when you were playing teams with the Patriots, the losing teams who gave a good effort in December and the teams that mailed it in when their season was over?
A: Look, regardless of the record, it's our job to always expect everybody's best, and that's our job as coaches. Our players can't go into games overconfident because of anybody's record. We want to make sure we come and we play for 60 complete minutes every week. We play regardless of the situation or circumstance or the score in the game with the same energy that we started the game with. I understand the question you're saying. Obviously, I've watched all of the games from last year. I looked at it from different perspectives in terms of analyzing players individually into what we would have done with this year's roster. That was really an early part of the process. In terms of the energy that was played with last year, to be honest with you, not to dismiss that part of the question, but I'm really only concerned with what we do this year.
Q: You've defended Daniel quite a bit in these sessions with us, and Jerry (Schuplinski) has and Jason (Garrett) has as well. I'm curious, do you share those thoughts with him personally? Do you tell him that he's your guy?
A: Daniel? Yeah, absolutely. Look, we have all the confidence in the world in the guys on our roster, and we have a lot of confidence in Daniel as well. Listen, just my personality, the personality of this coaching staff, is we're very blunt, open and honest. I'm not really sitting here trying to sell you a car. We're not recruiting you to college. I'm going to tell you the truth every day. You have to be mentally tough to handle that, you have to understand the criticism that we're giving to you, and you have to be able to take the coaching and move forward with it. I'll tell you what, Number 8 does that very well for us. He's a tough-minded dude. He responds to a lot of criticism on the outside. But he blocks that out and he plays for his teammates internally. Those guys respect that about him. Have I had private conversations with every one of our players? Absolutely. Do I say things to them that I'm not going to reveal to the public? Absolutely. That's just part of my job. We're very honest with our players. We let them know where they're at, where we need them to go, and then we put them in positions where they can work on how we can get them there. But today, we're focused on Washington. I'm sure him, along with every other player on the team, is going to do everything they can to get ready for Washington.
Q: Just a quick one on Jabrill (Peppers). How did he come out of the game with his ankle? Do you expect him to be back to close to 100 percent of the snaps this week?
A: We definitely expect to see him have an increased role. We'll see as he goes through these next couple days of practice where he's at, but I was pleased with the effort he played with. Everyone comes out a little bit dinged and bruised up. That's just the nature of the NFL. But I thought he made some progress for us. We'll get him on the field and we'll have an idea of what load he can handle.
Q: I feel like I'm asking you about a talented pass rusher on the other side almost every week at this point, but Chase Young, I'm sure, is a guy that you scouted a bit coming out of Ohio State. I'm curious what makes him kind of unique in the way he's able to produce the way he does?
A: This guy, first off, he's really athletic. That kind of goes, yeah, I got you. But he's really athletic, which enables him to do a variety of things. His speed off the edge is very good, his reaction on the counter moves, the way he plays off contact. He has great instincts to find the ball, which is very important because this is a guy, you go to the Eagles game, they really chipped him a lot with the running back and the tackle and they try to get the double teams to slow him down. You watch him in that and his ability to spin off and get inside and really still isolate and make it a one on one matchup and get to the quarterback. He has a great knack for finding the ball in the pocket and really going and attacking the quarterbacks as they're trying to step up in the pocket. He has versatility to drop in the pass. He can really play in the zones. He has good breaking speed, he's a good tackler. This guy plays with a high motor. Look, whether it's him or (Montez) Sweat on the other side, these guys come off the edge, they're dangerous players.
Q: You guys made the decision to cut Damion Ratley and you called up Austin Mack. I'm just curious what Austin has showed you over the course of the season on the practice squad that made you want to do that?
A: He's just a guy that's been very consistent for us in terms of how he comes to work every day and some of the production he's had in practice. He's been very dedicated to his craft and improving. He's shown some progress since training camp. But he's a guy that since we got him has demonstrated accountability and knowing his assignments, executing with the right technique and being productive when the ball came his way.
Q: A couple more on Daniel if you don't mind. Jerry (Schuplinski) said yesterday that Daniel takes these losses really hard. How does that manifest itself? What do you see in how he takes a loss hard? Can a quarterback, a young guy, take a loss too hard? Also, late in these games, you always hear about baseball players, sometimes they say the guy squeezes the bat too hard, gets a little tense in late inning situations. Do you see any of that from Daniel late in these games?
A: No, I don't at all. In fact, he made a lot of good plays for us down the stretch in the Dallas game. He made a lot of big completions on extended plays, of extending drives for us. I don't see any of that with him at all. In fact, I see him getting more comfortable and relaxed within the scheme, which has been a positive. The only thing I could say for Daniel, I don't want to speak for anybody else, but I would just say in terms of whatever his emotion is after the game, I see him funnel it into a solid week of work. I see him back in the building early on Monday, preparing his body and getting back to the tape to review it. I see him here late on Tuesday watching film, and I see him early on Wednesday before the rest of the team shows up, getting a jump start on the install. Whatever the emotion is, I can't speak for him on that, I just know that whatever it is, he funnels that into hard work throughout the entire week.
Q: You mentioned Montez Sweat and also of course Chase Young. I know it's going to sound like a dumb question, but I've asked them before. Does Daniel have to be overly cognizant about ball security against two really fast, young players who are going to swipe that ball if they can?
A: I think we all have to be. That's every player on the team. This team has done great job producing turnovers, they're on top of the National Football League in that. Whether that's the corners making the interception because they have great zone vision on those early downs, or if that's them stripping and swatting at the ball for fumbles. Every skill player who touches the ball has to be very conscious of the players around him because they do a great job of attacking that ball.
Q: With the guys on the edge with outside linebackers, obviously we know with Zo (Lorenzo Carter) and X (Oshane Ximines) being down and Markus (Golden) and Kyler (Fackrell) kind of stepping up, I just wanted to ask you about Cam Brown a little bit. When you're dealing with a young player like that, who has really seems to be coming into his own on special teams the last couple weeks, I know how specials are so important to you, do you walk a line between how much you want to give him on defense because he's becoming an asset for you on special teams? Is that something that you guys think about?
A: No. No, really we're going to do whatever is best for the team. If this guy can play every snap on defense and every snap in the kicking game, I have no problem with that. Look, I've been able to be around some players. I coached Patrick Chung in 2015. This guy played every snap of defense for us and never came off the field in the kicking game either. So, if you have that type of motor, that kind of tank and you can handle that load, we'll give it to you. Now at the same time, we have to do what's best for the team, so maybe not every situation is where you have to be. I would say for Cam, he's a guy who really is coming into his own in the kicking game. I think the one thing about special teams for young players is, it allows them to really learn and adjust to the speed of the game and the physicality. Just the reactionary instincts they have to develop within the game, that transfers over to offense or defense as well. He has some good exposure already through five weeks of really playing and seeing some fast-paced ball in front of him. That should apply and help him on defense eventually. We'll practice him this week. He's always been practicing in those roles anyway. We'll see where it leads us by the game plan.
Q: I know you guys had a workout with Trent Harris. I know you're probably going to add him to the practice squad, at least from what I understand. Did you cross his path much two years ago when he was up in New England? Why is he a fit with what you guys like to do defensively with Pat (Graham)?
A: We did. We worked him out. We signed him to the practice squad. I was with him in New England, and he was with Pat in Miami as well. Look, this is a guy that plays on the edge. I think he has a good skillset in terms of setting the edge, some pass rush ability. We'll see where he's at through the week of practice. We're going to work all the guys on our roster and practice squad every week within the game plan and see what pieces fit best for us. But he's a lunch pail type of guy. He comes to work every day, doesn't say much, just works, good team-first personality. He' a good match for what we're looking for right now. We'll look to see what opportunities present itself to him.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: I'm wondering if you can take me back to the last time you guys played Washington. It was actually the last game you guys won. It was the best game of your career, and what that feeling was like walking off the field that day when a lot of people thought 'oh, they might be better off losing, getting a higher draft pick.' What was it like walking off after that win and what has it been like since then?
A: Yeah, that was a big win for us. An overtime win in a game where we battled and found a way to win. That was a thrilling moment. I think that's what we're pushing for as a team, to finish games and have wins like that. Certainly a good memory looking back at it.
Q: Your quarterbacks coach said yesterday you take these losses very hard, maybe harder than anybody. How does that manifest itself with you? How do you process it and let it get out of your system? You go home at night, go back to your apartment, does it eat at you? Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you have trouble eating? How personally hard do you actually take all of this?
A: We put a lot of work into it throughout the week. To not get the results is disappointing at times. It's frustrating. I think like anyone, I certainly am when we don't get the results. I take it hard. But the thing about this game, the thing about any game, any sport or anything you're doing is you have to be able to refocus and not let it discourage you, not let it distract from the next one, from the preparation or looking forward, I guess. Taking the next step and using what you learned to help you. It's definitely tough, it's definitely frustrating. But I think you have to be able to learn from it and re-energize yourself and focus towards the next week. I try to do that. I think as a team, we were frustrated but it's time to refocus our efforts and use that energy to focus towards next week and not let it distract from our preparation. I thought we had a good practice today and guys were focused and ready to go.
Q: The early third quarter shot you took to Darius (Slayton) that went wide out of bounds, how critical are those shots when you take those downfield when you have the opportunity when it is kind of an unforced or… how critical is it in a game that you hit those? Because you're really not going to get a ton of opportunities like that.
A: Yeah, those are big plays. Like you said, we have to hit them. When we have chances to do that, we have to hit them, like you said.
Q: In a game like this, as the losses mount, do you feel any kind of pressure to put the team on your back, so to speak? To try to do more? How do you think of it going into a game when your team is 0-5?
A: It takes all of us, and that's the only way we're going to be successful. It takes all 11 guys on both sides of the ball executing, all three phases of the game executing, and doing it at a high level every play. It's not any one guy doing more than his job. It's just doing your job and executing at a high level, play in and play out. You don't know which play is going to ultimately decide the game.
Q: I'm curious what did you think when you heard that Dwayne Haskins was going to be removed as the starter? What's that relationship like? Obviously, when you were in the draft, there was a lot of debate about who the top quarterback was. Obviously, he's part of that draft class. Just the decision for you to be here and him to be there.
A: Yeah, that's not something I've been focused on really. We're focused on what we're doing here and trying to prepare week in and week out. I got to know Dwayne through the draft, like you said, and certainly wish him the best. But it's not really something we're focusing on.
Q: When you look at this game, this is the first time all year you guys are going into a game favored. Are you guys looking around the locker room saying, 'guys, this is a game we should win'? Is there a different sense?
A: I think we have that confidence every week. We haven't gotten the results that we would have hoped for to this point, but I think every week we go in expecting to win. We go in expecting to execute at a high level and play our game. We're confident. Washington is a good team, they're a good defense and they do a lot of good things. We'll have to prepare and be ready to play. But we try to go into every game ready to go and ready to execute.
Q: After the last couple of weeks, do you feel you're a little closer?
A: Yeah, like I said, we haven't gotten the results, but I feel like we are improving as a team. We've taken steps. As an offense, some of our best football has been in these last two games. The challenge is to keep building. We have to find a way to make a few more plays and convert some more opportunities. That's the challenge, and I think we are taking a step in the right direction. We just need to finish games.
Q: When we talk to your coaches about you, they express a lot of confidence in you. Yesterday, Jerry Schuplinski said you have 'it.' Joe Judge has been on record saying you're his quarterback, period, end of discussion. Do you need to hear those things? Is it nice to hear those things said about you publicly, and I'm sure privately, when they express those to you?
A: Yeah, I certainly appreciate their support. I'm certainly working as hard as I can to improve and take coaching and help this offense move forward. We're all working together and we all have the same goal. Like I said, I think we've made improvement. We've taken steps. We need to find a way to finish in these games.
Q: Do you like the style of this coaching staff when it comes to things like that? Joe said it, he called it blunt and honest. But it's also tinged, I'm sure, with expressing confidence.
A: Coach Judge, since the day he's come in, has been a very clear communicator. That's part of the blunt and honest approach that he takes to it and communicating with players. I think guys respect that and respond to it well. You know where you stand and what he expects of you. From him, and then all the coaches on the staff, that's kind of the approach and I think guys appreciate it and respond well to it.
Linebacker Kyler Fackrell
Q: The other day when we were talking to coach Bielema, he called you an analyzer. What does that mean to you in terms of your preparation and how you work at your craft?
A: I like to have a clear picture of what I need to do within the defense. I feel like that is what allows me to feel confident and to feel free. Once I know what I need to do or what my responsibility is, then there are different ways that I can fulfill that responsibility. Definitely, I would agree a lot to where I want to know and need to know the details and the reasons for how the defense is supposed to be played to be able to feel confident and kind of step out when I need to and still be able to do my responsibility.
Q: Does that translate into studying more or asking more questions than a lot of guys might?
A: I don't know. I think we all do a good job of watching film. Obviously, we spend a lot of time in meetings and stuff getting everything straight. Definitely, film is something that's big, something that I try to look at a ton, look at whoever I'm going against. Whether it's pass rush wise or look at opponent formations and tips that I can get as far as what kind of play might be coming.
Q: How big of a loss is Lorenzo Carter for you guys? How much does that affect you, does your role change at all?
A: It's huge, I feel for Zo. We've had him in our thoughts and prayers. It's rough, we're a little thin at outside backer right now. Maybe just a little bit, I think I ended up playing every snap on Sunday. I think that will be the plan moving forward, at least that's what I'm preparing for. I don't mind it. I would prefer to be on the field. We're definitely light, we'll miss Zo and we're missing X (Oshane Ximines). Hopefully he can get back quick.
Q: You have a couple young guys there who presumably will move up the pecking order a little bit. What have you seen from Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin?
A: They've done a great job, even through training camp and everything. I feel for the rookies this year with how everything has been with Covid and not getting any offseason. I feel like they have come in at a big disadvantage. They've both done a great job. I think both of them have started to blossom here, just getting comfortable with the speed of the game and everything. I think definitely we can rely on them to step in when we need them to on defense.
Q: I wanted to ask you about a guy who's not in your room necessarily, but you are on the field with a lot, (Tae) Crowder. What have you seen from him in terms of his jump from sort of being a rookie with a couple plays here and there to all of the sudden being a full-time starter last week?
A: Coming back from, I'm not even sure what he had, but definitely he's stepped into that role really well. He's a really talented guy, I think he has a great nose for the ball. His confidence has been building. It started with special teams, but they've kind of chosen to give him that bigger role. I think he has stepped into it really well.
Q: That's a pretty common path, I would think. You prove yourself on special teams and then you get more snaps on defense or offense?
A: Yeah, some guys can just step right in on defense from Day One. I think that's the majority of guys. I think he's done a great job of working to prepare in that opportunity.
Q: I assume, coming from Green Bay, you have never lost five in a row. What's it like around the team? Are you guys sitting there going this has got to stop? Is it hard not to bring it home?
A: Definitely, guys are frustrated. I think coach Judge has done a great job of keeping us focused. I think we all have kind of bought in. We're doing the right things. We're working every day, working the right way. I think we just have to keep working and keep moving forward with the belief that it's going to turn. There are definitely things that we need to clean up as well. I think defensively, especially, I will just speak for the defense, there's definitely obvious things we need to clear up and be able to execute a lot better.