Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Being Wednesday, today we shifted our focus to Cleveland on everything we're doing moving forward. Obviously with this team, it's one of the more historical organizations in the NFL. The great history knowing about Paul Brown and Jim Brown and the great players and coaches to come through that organization. We have a lot of respect for the history of the league and the history of teams, and this one is no different. We started out this morning in terms of talking about the history of Cleveland and the impact they've had on the league.
That being said, shifting our gear to what they're doing now. Obviously, it all starts right now with how they're putting this team together. They're very, very talented, they've very explosive. I think all three sides of the ball are firing and working with full gas. Kevin (Stefanski) does a tremendous job right now tying together all three phases and playing complementary football. Obviously, the offense goes through Kevin. You see a lot of his influence from previous stops in Minnesota and different coaches he's worked under. I think he's doing a really good job right now mixing it up, keeping defenses on their toes, establishing the running game, making big chunk plays down the field off the play action passes. Then obviously, he's really putting Baker (Mayfield) in a situation that he can go ahead and be an athlete and be explosive making plays down the field, either with his arm or his legs.
Defensively, Joe Woods has done a great job, not too different from a lot of guys we've played so far in recent weeks. Defensive back mentality, really secures up the coverage. Then the front is very talented, so it creates a lot of plays and opportunities for tight coverage on the backend. As a result of how they play upfront, tight on the backend with tight coverage, it's led to a lot of turnovers. This team is a strip and punch team. This team is an opportunistic team off of tips for interceptions. We have to do a good job of creating separation, coming back, protecting leverage at the top of the route. It'll be a tremendous challenge this week protecting and getting open. They're very good in both elements right there.
Then the kicking game, look, (Mike) Priefer is one of the best coaches in the league. This guy does a tremendous job. He's a game plan coach, he knows how to use multiples to go ahead and mismatch what you're doing. He has a history of gimmicks. We have to be very alert. They really show up on the road. If you look at his history, not only this year, in Baltimore with the opening punt of the year, but you tie it back to when he was in Minnesota. Whether it was in Pittsburgh, in Chicago, he's going to look to go ahead and have an opportunistic play to give them some momentum and make a big play. Again, it's going to take a lot of communication from our units across the board. It's going to take a lot of physical play upfront on both sides of the ball. We have to do a good job in the kicking game of covering, so whether it's (Donovan) Peoples-Jones back deep or (Jarvis) Landry in a got-to-have situation, they have aggressive, vertical returners who will make the most of their opportunities and make you pay. That being said, I'll open it up to any questions you guys may have.
Q: How helpful is having Freddie Kitchens this week, just given his familiarity with the Browns' roster?
A: I don't think it's anything unique. Really, any team you play in the National Football League, there's familiarity with players and coaches. We're always trying to use everything we have. Freddie's been a tremendous aid the entire season in the way he helps with game planning and scouting reports. Obviously, the knowledge he has of these players this week has helped a little bit. But then the tape really confirms what he says on the front end. Look, Freddie did a great job with these players, he knows them inside and out, knows them very well. He's been very direct and honest in terms of what their strengths are and what we really have to prepare for. The tape confirms what he said. But really, it's going to be not so much the knowledge from previous years but knowing what they're doing schematically this year and our players playing this Sunday for 60 minutes.
Q: Just wondering with Myles Garrett, will that impact your decision on playing Daniel (Jones), or have you already decided that Daniel is starting in this game?
A: I haven't decided either way with Daniel. I'll go ahead and answer that right now. He came out, there's really nothing worse for the wear with the previous injury. He did come out with some bumps and bruises. There's another lower leg issue we're dealing with right now. We're going to go ahead and move him around in practice today, see where he's at. I'm going to give him an opportunity this week to work through practice and see how he moves and how he reacts to things. Again, if he can defend himself properly in the pocket as I've said before on how I'll handle it, if he's not at risk beyond any normal game, then we'll go ahead and give him the opportunity to play. If we think that's an issue, that he can't go out there and defend himself, then we'll make the best decision for him long-term and the team as well. That being said, look, you can talk about Myles all you want, and this guy is a phenomenal talent. But you can't just look at one player on their team. Their entire front is very, very talented. Whether it's Myles on one side or OV (Olivier Vernon) or (Adrian) Clayborn, you can go ahead and pick one. You've got the d-tackles inside who do a great job with the pass rush and penetrate on the run game. To me, we have to protect against all of these guys up front. We have to handle the movement, we have to handle the blitzes that come off the edge, and these are very fast-flow linebackers. Again, they all tie together. There's a tremendous amount of talent on this team. Really no one person that is going to dictate or influence how we pick and choose any one of our players. It ties back into the individual health and the best decision we can make for the team.
Q: Just wondering what your impressions are of Baker Mayfield on some of the tape you've looked at of him so far this year?
A: Obviously, I've watched this guy for several years. I think the thing that stands out about him above all is this guy is an elite competitor. He really is. He's a tough dude. You know his story. How he went through college, had to walk on twice, earn two starting jobs. Look, it's no coincidence this guy is having tremendous success in the National Football League. I love the attitude he plays with, I love the chippiness he plays with. This guy extends plays. One thing he does that's really fun to watch, and you want to eliminate that fun element when you're playing him, but when he's really condensed in the pocket, he finds those small seams. A lot of quarterbacks who you say are mobile quarterbacks rely on really just losing ground and gaining the edge and really using their speed. I think this guy does a great job of playing freeze tag in a phone booth and coming out the winner. He really squeaks his way out, extends the play, and he can either run the ball vertically or throw it down the field. Look, this guy is a tremendous competitor. He has a strong arm, that's not a question. He can make every throw. He really ties into the bootlegs and the play actions off the run game they have. Look, with (Nick) Chubb and (Kareem) Hunt, these are two of the elite backs in the league right there. You put those three together, Chubb, Hunt and then Baker, the three of them really complement each other across the board. They have a very good offensive line, and they have a great receiving corps. This is a very talented group.
Q: With Daniel (Jones), we saw him limping a little bit on his other leg. Is that the other lower leg issue you're talking about?
A: It is, it is. That was part of the other thing that we noticed at the end of the game last game. To be honest with you, that was part of the communication not through any negligence on our part, but again, I've told you about Daniel, he's a tough, tough competitor. He's not going to be very early to tell you that he just has a boo-boo. This guy, it takes something serious for him to kind of open up and give information about what's going on and you've got to really see it with your eyes. So, we obviously noticed it the other day, we got [QB] Colt [McCoy] in the game. We'll see how he moves in practice, we'll see how this progresses throughout the week. I can tell you that he's optimistic, but I'm going to tell you right now if his left arm was attached by a rubber band, he'd tell us he'd figure out a way to get it done, so we'll have to see him through practice this week.
Q: Are you going to have to monitor the snaps with him and Colt, kind of get Colt even more up to speed with snaps?
A: We do that anyway. I think today will tell us a big part of the story, so we're going to go today in practice, be half of that fundamental drill that we do where it's about 50 minutes of practice in pads hitting, full speed, moving around, competitive. Then, we'll drop the pads off and finish with really more of a walk-through install to make sure we get some extra plays and take a little bit off our guys' legs this time of the year right there, so we'll kind of get the best of both worlds. We should get a good glimpse of Daniel today in terms of how he's progressed and then tomorrow will be a big day for him as well.
Q: Every team's offense has clear top players you're trying to get the ball to. Think of like Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, everybody knows he's throwing to him, but they still make it happen. As a coach, what's the key to getting the ball to your best weapons on offense even when the other team knows that it's coming?
A: Well, it's a lot easier said than done. I think there are some different ways you can do it based on who those players are – it's obviously easier to get it to a running back where you can just turn and hand it, but when you're talking about receivers in space, it's going to have a lot to do with making the best decision. If they're double-covering somebody, normally that's not the best avenue to go to and that's why you have to have trust in your other players. Depending on the coverages that they're playing or how they're matching that game, you've got to go ahead and make sure you can adjust your game plan and get the ball spread out. One thing I think we've done a very good job of this year is Daniel has always spread the ball accordingly throughout the game. We've had a lot of guys with production, it hasn't been really top-heavy with one guy or another, and that's something that we really want to be as an offense. You talk about balance, balance to me is being able to run the ball and pass when you have to and when you want to. Then also, balance in the pass game to me is mixing around the receivers and not letting someone key in on one focal guy. Look, obviously everyone wants to get the ball to certain guys by certain play calls, but if they go out there and they do something to take them away, then you've got to go ahead and go to your next option and make sure they can make a play as well.
Q: Obviously you weren't with either of these teams a couple years ago, but what was your perspective on the big trade that sent [Browns Wide Receiver] Odell [Beckham Jr.] there and brought (Jabrill) Peppers here and Kevin (Zeitler), too, a couple of draft picks. What did you think of it at that time? Probably created quite a few waves throughout the league, I would think.
A: Look, it's tough to really make an assessment when you're not inside the building at the time of what's going on. I'd say this, I'm very happy that Peppers is here with us and Zeitler, as well. I mean look, I'm really glad those guys are part of our team, that that was able to happen, that we have them here. Look, I only know Odell through working him out coming out of college and playing against him within the league, that's all I can talk to you about. I know he's a fiercely talented guy, very competitive guy, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a player. I don't know all the inner workings that happened in the building. To be honest with you, since I've taken this job, that's something that's been in the past, I haven't dwelled a lot on that part of it. We've really looked forward with everything we've been doing. I know he's a tremendous player in this league, he's a great talent. You don't want to see anybody hurt, so I hope he does get healthy and goes out there and competes again.
Q: Where's Blake (Martinez) coming off of his injury last week?
A: I think like everyone, he's got little bumps and bruises. Coming out of the game, I think it's all positive. He should be out there with no restrictions today in practice.
Q: I just want to be clear with Daniel now, is the other injury the bigger concern this week? Is it the hamstring or the ankle, how are you evaluating that?
A: Yeah, actually we're evaluating both, so I want to make sure that the hamstring from last week, see how that came out. Again, we haven't really moved him around yet since that, want to see if there's a wear or tear or any kind of fatigue that's going to set him back. As well as the other one, like anybody else dealing with some things right now, we have to evaluate where he is with that as well. We're evaluating both equally, I wouldn't say one is more of a concern than the other right now, but we've got to look and see how he moves throughout the week.
Q: One thing you said a couple times since the game that you maybe would've played Colt situationally. I don't know if that's a game plan or something you can't share, but what do you mean by that? You don't usually play a quarterback situationally, so I wasn't sure what you meant by that.
A: Well, I mean I have no problem with doing that, to be honest with you. If there's a package that can help us with anybody on this team, I have no problem rolling guys through and doing whatever's best for the team. In terms of situationally with Colt, we always had a package for him and that goes into whether or not he has to go in by need or just by game plan to have a wrinkle and change it up. Again, I always take the attitude that if you're at the game, you're ready to play and if they're at the game, have something for them to do. So that, to me, is all positions, that includes the quarterbacks. Obviously, you only play one quarterback, but that being said, I'm not shy to go ahead and have a package for another quarterback at the game like Colt if there's something that we think he can bring a little bit differently that might help us with the game plan.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: With this ankle in addition to the hamstring, what are you more concerned about? How debilitating is the ankle now? How worried are you about playing on Sunday?
A: I'm just taking it day by day and doing my best to listen to the trainers, listen to the coaches and get healthy and prepare mentally and physically to play. That's my job right now, and that's just kind of where my focus is.
Q: Is the ankle, that obviously came about last week, how concerned are you with the ankle? A typical low ankle sprain, is that what it is?
A: Yeah, it's sore and part of playing the game. But like I said, just focused on healing up and doing everything I can to prepare to play on Sunday.
Q: How did you feel today at practice?
A: I felt good. Just continued to follow the plan and feel good throughout the week, and like I said, get ready to play.
Q: There seemed to be at times, you would make a throw and you would kind of bounce off your leg really quick or you guys were backpedaling… you seemed to be very careful with certain things. How much were you not able to do?
A: Just throughout the game and playing the game, you get bumps and bruises, you get things that kind of get sore as the game goes on. Luckily, I get time now to work on it, to heal up, to get healthy and that's where I'm focused now.
Q: I was kind of talking about at practice today, to be honest with you.
A: Yeah, felt good at practice today.
Q: When did you actually hurt your ankle?
A: I think it was some point about midway through the game.
Q: Like on a sack?
A: It was a hit in the pocket.
Q: Does your hamstring feel better this week or does it feel the same? Where is that at compared to last week?
A: The hamstring feels good. I'll continue to work on that and work to get that healthy as well. The hamstring feels good, and just continuing to stay on the recovery there.
Q: Did your playing with the hamstring on Sunday at all lead to you getting this ankle injury? Did your lack of mobility play into that?
A: No, I don't think it did. I think the play where I got hit, it had nothing to do with my hamstring and I don't think it had any effect on that at all.
Q: Have you had any conversations with Joe (Judge) about being more communicative about injuries? He talked a little bit today, he said he has to trust his eyes more and you're not one that's going to volunteer when these things come up. Have you had any conversations with him about that?
A: Yeah, me and Coach talk a lot. I let him know when I'm not feeling great. My job is to play, my job is to prepare to play and to play when I can play. That's what I'm in control of, that's where my mind is. Right now, I have to do everything I can to prepare mentally and physically to play. That's where I'm focused.
Q: I know that you want to play obviously, and I know that in the end, it's the doctors and your coach I would assume who make the call. Would it ever enter your mind that with a sore hamstring, with a sore ankle, that going out there would hurt the team? Is that you would consider?
A: That's not a decision that's up to me. I don't make those decisions. My job is to prepare to play and do everything I can to be prepared. I'm working as hard as I can to get healthy and working with the trainers.
Q: I admire you for wanting to go out there and play, for wanting to take your job as seriously as you do. But with that said, do you find yourself struggling sometimes with balancing that desire to go out there and be competitive versus being smart about it and listening to your body? Do you just find yourself saying 'I'm going to go out there no matter what'?
A: I don't think so. My job is to play and to prepare to play, and I certainly feel like I can. That's my job to do that, to get healthy and work with the trainers to be prepared to play.
Q: Obviously, when part of your body is not 100 percent, sometimes you tend to compensate. Sometimes that might change your gate or your motion or whatnot. Have you noticed that watching yourself on film, or do you feel that when you go through practice?
A: No, I don't really feel that. I feel good. I need to stay on top of the rehab, the treatment and do what I can to get back out there.
Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q: When you watch the Browns, they seem balanced. How do you defend them?
A: Gotta stop the run. They're the number three rushing attack in football, they have two great running backs, they're committed to the run, a lot of their offense is built off the run game. And I think that their receivers, starting with [Browns Wide Receiver] Jarvis Landry, they block really well, they're extremely tough and him himself is like a running back with the ball. So, I think to defend them you have to tackle well, but it starts with stopping the run in the National Football League and I think the Browns take pride in running the football, so that'll be a great challenge and exciting contest on Sunday night, our run defense versus their run offense.
Q: To follow up, one of the things I was thinking was when the game came out originally it was [Browns Wide Receiver] Odell's [Beckham Jr.] return. Is there any disappointment he's not going to be there?
A: I don't know. I think that what I learned in football throughout my life playing this game 20-plus years is that it never goes as planned, there's always adversity, there's challenges, it doesn't always come out how you might think on the schedule, especially this year with the challenge of Covid. It just is what it is and I just think they're doing a really good job over there. Although we have a lot of respect for Odell, he's a great competitor, he won't be out there and we've just got to take advantage and prepare for the guys who will be.
Q: What's it like as a teammate to see your quarterback clearly not 100 percent trying to play? What does that do for the rest of the team?
A: When you go out there on the field, you go out there to do the job to the best of your ability. Our quarterback is tough as nails. I'm not going to speak on what his percentage is, I don't think anybody is really 100 percent at this point in the year, but you've got to go out there and do the best you can in your job. For us, like I told you guys weeks ago, whether it's [QB] Colt [McCoy], [QB] Daniel [Jones], [Head Coach] Joe Judge in his quarterback days, it don't matter who we've got out there, we've got to go out there and play good defense, we've got to go out there and defend the grass, we've got to go out there and get turnovers. That's all I can control, that's what I will control and do a better job for the New York Giants of having some dominant defense and getting our offense more opportunities with the ball.
Q: Hey Logan, I know you're obviously focused on the Browns game, but I was wondering what does it mean to you to be first place in Pro Bowl voting like you have been?
A: Yeah, I think I'm definitely focused on the Browns first and foremost. I think being first place by just being a team-first player, I'm not really chasing stats, I'm trying to do whatever job the team asks me to do that week. I'm definitely trying to lead and inspire no matter what adversity I face this year on and off the field, no matter what our record states I'm trying to give my best. Look, I played my butt off at Tennessee for years and felt like I deserved it and didn't get it, so to have the recognition of the fan base, this great fan base and the amount of eyes on me, and playing here is something I embrace and something I love of the pressure cooker that New York City is with the lights always on you. So I love the fans for them to vote me as many times as they did, making the Pro Bowl would be a huge accomplishment, I haven't made it yet in my career and it'll be a huge goal checked off my list. But a lot of those accolades come with putting the team first and I feel like that's my first goal, always putting the team first and whatever comes my way comes my way, but try to be the same guy each and every day. I salute all the fans who voted for me, I couldn't thank you enough, it definitely will be a huge honor to be a Pro Bowl safety for the New York Giants.
Q: Logan, before a football question, how is the wife feeling? And a football question, [Browns Quarterback] Baker Mayfield, it seems like the light is finally going on with this guy, really playing well the last five, six games. What do you see as the difference in him this year?
A: Yeah, the wife is doing well, she's back on her feet – appreciate you asking – she's getting Christmas shopping done. If she's watching, I've still got to find some time to get her a gift, maybe I'll go out in this blizzard and get her something, I don't know. I'm behind on Christmas shopping this year. Baker, yeah he's playing well. I think they're doing a good job of allowing him to run the offense based on the run game, like we talked about. Obviously, it's a little different system that he's been in with the boots and the overs and the play-action passing. He's doing a good job taking care of the ball, only 14 turnovers all year as a team. That's pretty good in the NFL and when they don't turn the ball over they tend to win, so we've got find a way to turn the ball over on them, put the pressure on them. And you know it's Sunday under the lights, so we'll see who shows up and who don't. I know we're prepared, I know we're doing everything we can to make it tough on him, but he's definitely doing a good job leading that offense. He's a competitor, he wants to win bad, he's fiery, he's a trash talker and I think it's a tough, physical team and he's a fiery leader on that team, so we've got to make it tough on him. But it definitely starts with him and he's doing a good job, they're putting up a lot of points lately and we have a lot of respect for them.
Q: Hey Logan, obviously every week in the NFL is a physical game, but these two teams you have coming up these next two weeks are known for their physicality, they're going to try and run the ball down your throat and win that way. What's the approach, what's the thought in your mind or for the defense in general when you have these kinds of games?
A: Yeah, make it no doubt, no question about it. We want to dictate the game on our terms and the New York Giants with Joe Judge as the coach and the players that we have here this year is a physical team. I don't think we're a finesse team, I don't think that we try to spread it around and whip the ball around and run a whole bunch of trickery. I think we're built on toughness, I think we're built on being a physical team, I think we're built and we play well when we run the ball, when we stop the run and when we cover kicks. I know Joe Judge stands by that, we're bought into that. This will be the most physical game of the year, it has to be, it's Sunday night, it's a big game, don't get that confused, we understand that. Everything we want is in front of us and it starts with a physical opponent, and we've got to go out there and bring it. We have a really good defensive line, we play a prideful, tough defense and we're preparing for the challenge and we'll be ready for the challenge. This is definitely a physical opponent and I think we're a physical defense, and that's strength on strength.
Q: When this team gets together this morning really for the first time since Sunday when you left the stadium – you're a guy who has a pretty good read on the pulse of this team since September – did anything change this morning from where you've been the last couple of weeks? Did you feel the need to say anything more, send a message to the group in what needs to lie ahead for this team?
A: There's no need for me to speak. Wednesday is a day that we've got to learn the game plan and dive into it, embrace practicing in the cold, embrace the opportunity we have. Look, we're playing meaningful December football on Sunday night. That hasn't happened here in some time and that's a great opportunity. There's no speech needed to say, 'Yeah, you get to play meaningful December football.' That's not every opportunity you have in the league, not every player has that right now. There's some guys in this league that don't have that opportunity to play a meaningful game at this time of the year, so we get that opportunity, we're extremely excited. We didn't perform how we wanted to last week, but we won four of our last five games. Last week is last week, it's as big of a deal as we want to make it. To me, I think we know how to win and we have a formula to win, and when we do it and do it well we win and we can beat anybody in the league, and when we don't we don't look too good. I think we've got to go back and keep our confidence, and be prepared and be excited for the opportunity we have to play a great opponent that's coming off a great, entertaining game and we get play them on Sunday night with the whole world watching and get to see what we can do and have all our goals in front of us. So I just think that's a great opportunity, you've got to be excited. If you love football, Sunday night's the place to be.
View rare photos of the storied history between the Giants and Browns ahead of their preseason matchup.