Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: We've shifted all of our prep over to Philly today. The players are in the building. This morning we'll spend more as a Wednesday for our early down preparation. We'll come back after a lunch break and really shift this afternoon into a Thursday, a bit of a third down, hit our two minute and just a little bit of the red area this afternoon. As far as on the field work, our priority is really getting the players' bodies back, making sure they're healthy and full speed on Thursday. We'll operate mostly at a walkthrough pace today. There are a couple of players with the trainers. They have to move around and take a look at them to determine where they're going to be for Thursday night. We'll take an early look at some of those guys today. But for the most part, it'll be a walkthrough for the remainder of the team.
That being said, we're focused going into Philly. This is definitely an explosive team on all sides of the ball. Howie's (Roseman) done a good job building this team with a lot of depth and playmakers. Obviously, starting with Doug (Pederson), he does a great job of calling the offense and really isolating matchups. This is an explosive team in the run game and the pass game and can make plays at any turn. Anywhere the ball is on the field, they're looking to get the thing into the end zone. They do a great job on situational football, so on third down, red area and two-minute, we really need to elevate our level of play to be effective against these guys. They do a great job.
Defensively, (Jim) Schwartz is one of the top guys in the league. I think he does a great job with his rush, crush, chase mentality. His players play hard, they play disciplined. They don't do a ton, but what they do, they do very, very well. You watch that defensive front, they're very deep, they're loaded, they rotate their players equally so they stay fresh throughout the game. They do a great job of getting after the passer. But then more importantly than that, they're very disruptive in creating negative runs and really affecting early downs to put you in those third and long situations where they can really get after the passer.
Dave Fipp has always done a great job on special teams. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dave. He has explosive units. They've been phenomenal in the return game throughout his tenure there in Philly. They're one of the best block teams every year in the league, whether it's field goal block or punt block. It's an aggressive mindset on all sides of the ball. They make big plays in all phases. This is a team that no matter where you're at in the game scoreboard-wise, we all saw it last week and multiple weeks before, they can score at any time, they can close the lead. But this is a team you definitely don't want to fall behind on. They're very explosive. That being said, I'd like to open it up for any questions I can answer for you at this time.
Q: I just want to ask you about Carson Wentz. A lot of struggles it looked like early on. How have you seen his game these last couple of weeks? It looks like he's using his legs a little bit more. He had a 40-yard run against the Ravens. How do you see his game?
A: This guy is a playmaker. I think sometimes, some of the things that are getting lost right now are some of the things that they've hit bumps in the road on. But let's be clear, this is a really good football team. This is a really good football team. Let's not make any mistake about that. Really offensively, it all goes through No. 11 for them right there. He's a big armed quarterback, can make any throw he needs to on the field, so you have to defend the entire field. What that does is that opens up the deep balls with guys like (DeSean) Jackson coming back this week and Alshon (Jeffery). It also opens up the tight ends underneath and the running backs. They're great catch-and-run running backs. You can create a screen or a check down for these guys and it replicates the punt return, kick returns they kind of carved their way into the league with right now. I think Carson's doing a really good job. I think when he runs the ball, he's a big, physical, tough guy. He can extend plays. You can't just tackle this guy like any quarterback. You have to treat him like a running back in the open space. You have to wrap him up and get him on the ground. This guy runs physical. You watch that run against Baltimore last week, he's not looking to get out of bounds. He's looking to extend it vertically and gain as many yards as he can. This guy is a good quarterback. They make a lot of plays and they're an explosive team. The other thing about this Eagles team is, look, this is not something new where they've had to change personnel, they've had bumps and bruises throughout the year. They do a phenomenal job of managing personnel, keeping everybody ready, and they string together whoever can play in the game. They're very productive and they're very explosive. There's a reason they've been so successful.
Q: I wonder if you could talk about some of the lessons of Lansdale Catholic Coach Jim Algeo that you learned from him that impact what you do today?
A: Coach Algeo, first off, was very, very old school, the whole faith, family, football mantra that we had right there. He was definitely a guy you looked up to and you respected, and you had a healthy fear of him when you're a high school kid playing on his team. I think that kept a lot of us in line and really taught us a lot of valuable lessons. That being said, you play for him for about three years after freshman football was over, and you learn a lot about how to treat people. Of how you can be hard on someone and discipline someone, and really let them know that you'd be doing it because you care about them. Look, he was a guy that meant a lot to me and had a very large impact on me, both as a person, as a husband and a father, and in my own coaching style right now. We talk all the time at LC (Lansdale Catholic) about kind of being the rare breed and how we look at ourselves as we're a smaller school, we didn't have all the talent. But we knew on Friday nights that we could line up and play with anyone because we were going to play tough, we were going to play fundamentally sound.
Q: You talked a little bit earlier about Carson Wentz. I was kind of wondering if you see any similarities between him and Daniel Jones, especially with the way they extend plays and can make things happen with their legs?
A: I think you could draw some parallels in terms of they're both guys with good size, they're both guys that have the ability to run with the ball in their hands and extend plays. Both of these guys make a lot of big throws down the field when they get outside the pocket, and they can really extend it and let the receivers get open. There are definitely parallels you could draw with them. But we have a ton of respect, obviously, for Daniel. We deal with him on a daily basis. But there is a ton of respect for Carson across the division, across the league. This guy is a tough competitor. Look, sometimes, you know how it is in Philly. It's a great town because people are very critical, are very hard on you. Sometimes, that highlights some of the things that aren't going as well. When you look from a different perspective and you see how you have to play the guy as an opponent, you understand all of the things that he really does well and what he really has as strengths. He's really a very good player.
Q: With the opportunity that you have right now in the NFC East with it being as wide open as it is, starting with a big game on Thursday, could you just share some thoughts with us on is that something that you're going to discuss with your team at all? Is it something that you're looking at?
A: I don't think anyone in the division needs any motivation to play anyone else in the division. This is a big Thursday night game. We're going down to Philly. It's going to be a great atmosphere, we're going to have fans at the game. Obviously, we haven't had a chance to play the Eagles yet this year. It'll be a big atmosphere for us right there. To me, we're just trying to go 1-0 this week. That's our goal each and every week. I've told the players from the very beginning of the season, it's a long year. If you get too focused on looking down at the end stretch at this point right here, you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have to keep grinding week by week, but the focus stays on going 1-0 each week. No matter what happened last Sunday, we need to come in with the same mindset to improve as a team, to improve individually, which will lead to our collective rise, and then to be able to match up our opponent and just play well for 60 minutes on Thursday night.
Q: What is the Judge family ticket count for this game?
A: I have to see, it's not fully decided. I talked to our in-house people about tickets. I have a large number of cousins who have requested as early back as in the summer when the schedule was out. My wife and kids, I'll see if they can make it. The kids have school on Friday, so we'll kind of see how they're going to manage that. They've gone to school plenty of times tired making games, it's something they don't like to miss. The opportunity that it's such a close game and the opportunity that it's the first game they are going to be available to go with fans. They definitely don't want to miss it. My only rule is anybody who shows up that I either grew up with or have blood ties with, they have to wear blue. I respect their love for the Eagles from being in the town, but hey, look man, you ain't showing up cheering against my kids' Christmas. You better come out in some blue cheering for us.
Q: Obviously, you weren't here for most of this, but you guys have lost seven straight to both the Cowboys and the Eagles, 14 straight to those teams. What do you think about the idea that you guys can't be taken seriously in the division until you're actually able to beat one of these teams or both of them?
A: I don't really think about that at all, actually. Our goal right now is to prepare for this year's Eagles team. This is a different team than it was in the past. We're a more improved team than we were in Week 1 and we're an improved team than we were seven days ago. Our only focus right now is getting ready for Philly. There's a lot of things that can be drawn out and compared to, we don't focus on that. We've got enough to think about just getting ready for this offense, defense, and kicking game unit.
Q: The Eagles present kind of a unique challenge with the Jalen Hurts factor. They ran a couple plays the other day where both Carson and Hurts were in the backfield together. What's unique about Hurts and how much more gap discipline do your defensive players have to have against that?
A: I would say the first thing about Jalen is the amount of respect I have for this guy just based on what he's done throughout his career to this point. I know he's young in the NFL. I have a lot of friends who coached him in college. The way they talk about this guy as a teammate, as a leader, as a competitor. This guy won a lot of games in a very tough conference, won the ultimate prize at that level. He was replaced as a starter, this guy was a tremendous teammate. He had a captain type leadership to him. Transferred to another major school, was able to win a lot of games there. Look, I don't care what level this guy has been at, he's been successful. He definitely has the ability to run, that's something they are doing a good job highlighting and using. I wouldn't fall asleep at all on this guy throwing the ball. This guy has thrown for a lot of yards to a lot of really good players, against a lot of good players as well, and he's been very productive. I think the way they're using him is obviously very inventive, it's very productive for them right now. You have to be very aware of how they get him on the field. A lot of times they like to sneak him on there late and kind of try and see if you can make your defensive call. All of the sudden, okay we have a different quarterback or both their quarterbacks out there. You have to be aware of how they're doing things. That comes from our communication on the sideline and our awareness of the game and situation. Our players need to be tied in as well not just what personnel group is on the field, but specifically who's in that personnel group. Is it 11 personnel or is it 11 personnel with Hurts at quarterback? What kind of personnel grouping is it? They present a lot of different things. One thing they've always been really been good at in Philly is scheming up certain plays per game plan and finding a way to really expose something you've shown from a previous game. Work off almost a copycat play, if you will, but then put a curve ball at the end of it that you're not expecting.
Q: I know you talked about it a little bit yesterday. How special is it to come back to the "Linc" as a head coach?
A: I'm really just focused on the Eagles as an opponent right now, to be honest with you. I'm sure it will be a little bit different riding down the street like it always is when you kind of get back in that town. Ultimately, right now, I'm just focused on the football part of it. To me, that's the most important thing I can do. Any time your mind drifts a little bit down some other road, you've got to reset pretty fast because they're not caring about someone coming home for some kind of homecoming tour. They are getting ready to try and beat us. We have to have the same mindset to be able to do the same to them.
Q: With regard to Daniel, obviously, it's a different system this year that he's running. Last year, he had a number of games where he was slinging it around, had some big numbers but obviously made a lot of mistakes, a lot of rookie mistakes. I'm curious if you can speak to the line that you try to walk here to try to keep the mistakes down, but you still want him to sling it around and win the ball game.
A: I think Daniel has done a good job operating what the game plan is and the plays that have been called for him. We want him to be aggressive, we just want him to smart. There's times where our game plan may include throwing the thing down the field on deep passes. There's times where maybe nickel and diming a little bit, get the ball to some guys underneath, let them catch and run the ball. Whatever the defense presents us with and the opportunity arises, Daniel's job really is to facilitate the other players by getting them the ball when they're open. We're not really worried about stats here, that's not something fueling anything we're doing. We come out of the game really evaluating how he played within what was presented to him, within the play calls and situations. That's the evaluation for all our players and all our coaches as well. We're not a stats-driven organization, there's only one thing that matters. There's a couple key, critical factors that lead into having success in the NFL. The other stuff is a lot of just fluff.
Q: The election is in two weeks. I was just curious if you have spoken to the guys at all about the importance of voting and everything that comes with that?
A: To be honest with you, we did it back in the spring. We talked when we started all the social justice things and the Team of Teams stuff. We did, we spoke about voting. My take on it is I'm not a very political person to begin with. The one thing I voiced to the team and they voiced to each other and different teams have echoed, there's nothing more American than voting. I don't care who you vote for. You have an opinion, you have a right to exercise it, get out there and use it. You can sit there and talk and whine and complain about what is going on, but in our system, this democracy, you do have a voice. You have a right, you have an opportunity to use it, so don't complain about it.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: I wanted to ask you what it was like having Sterling (Shepard) out there with you for a little bit today and how he looked? I know it wasn't exactly a full practice, but how is he coming along?
A: He's doing good. He's been out there for a couple of weeks now. I know he's doing everything he can to get out there. But you have to be smart, and that's on him and the trainers to do that. Yeah, it's good to have him out there. He's been out there for a little bit now.
Q: What would having him back mean for Thursday night for this offense?
A: It would be great. He's obviously a special player and can do a lot of different things. It would be great to have him back. But we've had guys step up and play really well in that spot. Regardless of who's out there, it's up to us to execute.
Q: I know on the zone read, obviously, just by the nature of it you're reading an end there, but are there times you know 'I can probably pull it' because you've seen a few times that they haven't been kind of sticking with you on that back side, or is it always just a read?
A: I think you can kind of get a sense for how they're playing it, who's playing it and how they're playing it in different ways. But I think you also need to be careful to actually read them. When you pre-determine any of those decisions, you can get into trouble.
Q: Then when you get downfield, do you feel you need to maybe get a little better at sliding? Are you comfortable kind of taking some of those shots you've taken in the open field?
A: I can probably do a better job of getting down in some of those situations. But that's part of the game. Football is a physical game. Yeah, I can probably be better there.
Q: You look at Evan Engram and you guys have kind of struggled to get him going, especially stretching the field with him deep. What's been kind of the issue there? On the flip side of that, you and Darius (Slayton) have had a great connection through the first six weeks or so. What's been going right in that regard?
A: Evan's a special player. He creates a lot of problems for defenses, and defenses are certainly aware of what he can do and what he brings to the table. As an offense, we have to continue to execute our stuff, and he's a big part of that. Finding those opportunities to get him the ball. He's dangerous with the ball in his hands, certainly good at getting open, and really good after the catch, too. We've got to do a good job getting him the ball. Darius has done a great job through these first few weeks getting open. He's an extremely talented player, a smart guy and you can trust him to get open and be in the right spot.
Q: One of Darius' biggest games was in Philly last year with the two touchdown catches. Have you guys gone back and watched that film at all and kind of picked up on things that worked really well last time around for this game?
A: They have some different guys in different spots and a little bit of a different defense, but the same scheme, obviously, the same coordinator. Yeah, we've looked at that. We'll use that in our game plan. But we need to do what we do and execute at a high level.
Q: You've been asked to run a lot more the last couple of weeks. Do you like having that responsibility or having that freedom to run more? How much do you think that helps your offense to put that element into the playbook?
A: Yeah, I think it helps the running game, opens things up for backs and helps the passing game, too. One of the strengths of this offense is the ability to do a lot of different things with different personnel. When my number is called to run it, I'm certainly excited for those opportunities. You're seeing what this offense can do, and we need to continue to improve, continue to execute.
Q: The Eagles have quite a few injuries on the defensive side of the ball. I'm just wondering when you prepare for them, do you put more of an emphasis on focusing on the scheme? Do you balance more on the replacement players because no two players, obviously, are the same? How do you approach that when you're facing a team that's so banged up on that side of the ball?
A: It's a balance between both. Having awareness for the personnel and what their strengths and weaknesses are as players, what their tendencies are. Then understanding how that fits into the scheme and what they want to do on defense, what coverages they play in, what fronts and pressures they play. I think that's a big part of it. But with all that, we take the approach to focus on ourselves first. Focus on preparing to play well as a team, as an offense and taking care of our business first.
Q: With that said, do you see much of a difference in what they've been able to do on defense given all of the injuries?
A: Yeah, I think you can see a little bit different game plan week to week depending on who's out there for them. For the most part, they want to do what they do and stick to that. We'll certainly factor that into the game plan. But like I said, it's about us. It's about us executing and going out there and playing well.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about last year, you had several occasions where you kind of put the offense on your back and carried it. A couple or three or so, four, five touchdown games. You haven't had those occasions yet this year. Is that a product of just trying to be a little more careful with the ball? Obviously, it's a different system. Do you still feel confident that you can throw those kinds of numbers up when needed?
A: We're doing what we can to execute as an offense and move the ball as a team. I think that's the important thing. That's where our focus is, is making sure every time we touch the ball, we're moving it and scoring points and finishing with touchdowns. We have a lot of good players, a lot of people who can do a lot and make a lot of plays for us. My job is to get them the ball. Yeah, I'm confident in where we are as an offense and excited going forward.
Q: Do you find sometimes that you are walking a line? You've made a lot of good plays already in your short career, but you've also obviously had the turnover issues and stuff. Are you walking a fine line trying to still be aggressive but not sacrifice that with turnovers, so to speak?
A: Yeah, I think that's kind of the job in a sense, that you need to be able to do both. You need to be able to protect the football and be aggressive and aggressively take what they give you as a quarterback. That's the challenge, that's my job, and I continue to improve with it.
Q: We all know the turnovers are an issue, but do you feel at times that maybe you're not being aggressive, maybe holding back and not taking a shot down the field, because maybe you don't want that turnover?
A: Like I said, I think that's the challenge as a quarterback, is understanding when to try to make those plays and when not to. I'm not sure… I think also it's important to learn from your mistakes, but not to let them affect your aggression or the opportunity to make some of those plays, and I don't think I have. I think I've taken them when they've been there. I'll continue to improve with that.
Q: What do you think it is that makes Sterling Shepard as reliable as he is when he is in the lineup?
A: I think it's a combination of a lot of things. I think his physical tools. He's an extremely explosive guy, he's good in and out of cuts. I think he's as good of a route runner as there is in the league with what he can do in getting open and then catching the ball. You can trust him to separate from guys. He's a tough guy to cover one on one.
Q: I know you guys are focused one game at a time, but when you think about the standings every week, it's rare for a team to be at 1-5 and still have a shot at the division, even this early in the season. Does that factor in for you guys at all? Is there any talk in the locker room in terms of the significance of this game and how things are kind of all there, all bunched up again in these standings?
A: All these divisional games are big, and I think guys understand that. Guys have an awareness as to where the division is and the standings. But like you said, we're focused on this week. We're focused on this game and it being a big divisional game. It's important for that reason. Guys are locked into that and excited to get out there.
Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q: We made a lot about this being Joe Judge's homecoming but you're a south Jersey guy. Did you have a bunch of Eagles fans that are in your circle that are looking forward to this game?
A: Yeah, I didn't grow up too far away. I definitely have some family members that grew up Eagles fans. I understand the rivalry in this division, I grew up in it. I grew up watching all these Giants games, Eagles games. [I] Bleed blue right now, this is where I wake up early every day and put it on for them. My teammates support me, and the coaches support me. I'm bleeding blue all day for this one. I'm excited to upset a lot of family and friends who may be watching. If they're not on my side, they're on the wrong side.
Q: You played in a lot of big games in this league with the Patriots and the Titans. Does this have a big game feel? Five days ago, you were winless and now the winner of this game gets a share of first place in this division? How strange is that and does this have a big game feel?
A: The things I learned from playing in a lot of games in my career fortunately, is don't make them too big. Any time you're playing at night, any time you're prime time, it's big enough. Everybody is going to be watching, you're going to get a text from your third-grade science teacher how they taught you how to do it or something like that. Everybody is watching. These games obviously in our division are very competitive. Big rivalries with the fanbases. A lot of history there so that's big enough. We're going to play these guys again; we're going to see Washington and Dallas. I wouldn't put all the chips on the line yet, but I wouldn't play it any differently. I'm going all out and give it my all and lead from the front like I said regardless of what the stakes are.
Q: Few guys in this locker room know Joe Judge better than you or at least have spent as much time with him as you have. Obviously, Ryan mentioned this being a homecoming for him. What about his personality leads you to believe that there will be no emotions for him on Thursday night? Do you buy the fact that he's not going to take any of this in?
A: He might take it in personally. That's a question for him and what it means to him (inaudible). I'm sure it's significant in some form or fashion. Every time I play in Philly, every time I used to come back to Jersey and play at MetLife it was a big deal for me. I knew I had family coming to the game and fortunately I won't be having any family come to the game. Honestly, eight years in, I'm happy about that because the tickets get carried away and all that stuff. I'm happy about it. I don't know what it means to Joe. I know that, like I said, this division, there's a lot of rivalries, it's very close to home for all of us here, me and Joe especially. We're just focused on beating the Eagles. They're a talented, explosive offense regardless of who they have playing. Carson Wentz throws the ball down field pretty well. We just have to worry about the challenge at hand, the task at hand. I think you bring in the nostalgia of it afterwards. Playing in my first Superbowl compared to my second Superbowl, that's something I learned. I'm in the Superbowl but at the same time I have to just play the game and worry about what it means afterwards.
Q: Fair to say no difference in Joe's approach this week versus any other game?
A: Other than the tickets, I don't think there is any different approach in how we're preparing or anything like that. I think it's a personal question for Joe. We're planning to beat Philly and he's preparing us to beat Philly. He's doing his job to the best of his ability.
Q: What does Jalen Hurts add to that offense?
A: He's a talented player. I think of like a Taysom Hill-type. Some variety to their packages, we know he can throw the ball well. We know he can run it, he's a strong runner. He's just another little thing that we have to prepare for. We don't know how they can use him. His packages seem to advance from week to week. We just have to be fundamentally sound when he comes into the game. He's a dangerous skill player.
Q: The Eagles have a lot of injuries on the offensive side of the ball. I know coach is saying next man up, but no two players are the same. With that said, when you prepare for a team that's so banged up, do you put more of a reliance on the scheme? Do you study more the players and their specific talents? How do you approach it?
A: This year, we have a lot of injuries as well. That's this year, it's been next man up in the secondary, it's been next man up with Saquon Barkley. We're dealing with injuries; every team is around the league. I think it's probably at a all-time high at this point of the season. We have to see who they have coming in and see if what their skill set is. Players do what they do well, and coaches want to utilize players to the best of their ability. We have to figure out what a guy does well. DeSean Jackson runs really fast. We know Hakeem Butler may play some tight end, he's a former receiver drafted from the Cardinals. I remember watching him in college. I know their other tight ends they have on the practice squad; I know they were former receivers. I have never seen them play in a game before, but I already know of them. That's my job to do, to prepare and whoever is out there, tell our guys what that guy does best so we neutralize that. However, the Eagles decide to use him, they to decide to use him. We just have to run our play and execute our play versus their play. May the best play win and may the best fundamentals win.
Q: Regarding Daniel Jones, I know you weren't around him last year. He had a number of games last year where he was really slinging it around, had some big numbers, four and five touchdown passes. We haven't really seen that this year yet. I know it's a different system. I'm curious what your impression of him is from what you heard and known of him before. Does he at all look like a quarterback that's trying to avoid the big mistake? That's obviously been is one bugaboo in his short career.
A: He looks like a leader of the team. He is one of the first ones in the building every day. He practices hard. He's doing everything the coaches ask of him. I don't play offense so I'm not in all their meetings. I can't tell you what's wrong, that's not my job to do that. I think he's the quarterback for the Giants and he's competing his butt off, doing the best he can. He's looking to improve from week to week like all of us. We haven't played well enough where we want to be at our standard the first six games of the year. I think last game was an improvement for all of us as a team. Obviously, we got a win and we want to keep on that track. I believe in Daniel to stay on the track of keep improving. We don't have all the answers, not in year two. I don't have all the answers. I like his humble approach of keep wanting to get better.
Q: What about physical skill wise? What jumps out at you when you seem him on the other side of the ball even during games or in practice?
A: He's an extremely accurate passer. He's big, he's more athletic than you think. He was running pretty fast, some DB's couldn't catch him out there so he's obviously athletic. He's smart and he has really good touch and presence with the ball. He definitely has all the tools there. It's just a matter of getting repetitions in the game and putting it together. Quarterbacks get judged on winning and losing, no matter how you get it done, you get judged on your wins and losses. We want to keep trending in that direction.
Q: You said you know the division well. I'm sure you do, you lived between these two, Philly and the Giants. This Giants organization has lost 14 straight to the Cowboys and the Eagles combined. What do you think when you hear that?
A: That was my first time hearing it. I know we lost 11 of the last 12 or whatever it may be. That has no significance to this one. Streaks all come to an end. I remember when I got to Tennessee there was not one good streak ever. We lost this many to Indy and never beat Andrew Luck and never beat this (Team), and then we're in the AFC Championship. I really don't care. It's going to come down to me and Carson Wentz and the Giants and the Eagles and everyone else out there who's playing in the game. Salute to Brian Dawkins, [Michael] Strahan and all these guys but they're not going to help us out there today or out there on Thursday night. We have to go out there and execute and do what Joe Judge has asked us to do. They are going to do what Doug Pederson has asked them to do and may the best man win, the toughest man win. I think that we're pretty tough and I think we're going to go out there and try to (inaudible) its Thursday night. Nobody feels great. My body is not going to feel great, but I'm going to go out there and will it and we'll see what happens.
Q: Much like when you beat Indy and Andrew Luck though. How important is it for this this organization to finally do that and beat one these teams to prove not only to yourself? We can compete in this division, we're for real, we're not for lack of better words, the doormat.
A: I think it's better click bait than what it is. We're just trying to win the game. The division games matter and we're tying to win it. Like I said, the history of the years prior, this is my first year playing in the NFC period. I have been in the AFC for seven years. It is what it is, our division is winnable. We have to go out here and win some games in our division to put us in a position at the end of the year to strike. That's what we're doing week in and week out. You prepare hard to put yourself in position to win the game. At the end of the game, I think three or four games this year have come down to the final drive. Our record can swing either way. We found a way to win last week. We need to find a way to win this week. It's probably going to be a close game. I'm looking forward to the opportunity of that.
Safety Jabrill Peppers
Q: Can you tell me what Jalen Hurts potentially brings to the Eagles offense? What kind of dimension he brings that you would have to prepare for?
A: He obviously brings that extra dynamic. Obviously, with his athleticism, running and throwing, he's a smart guy back there that can make the throws to beat you. We definitely need to be on high alert.
Q: Did you do any more backflips last night after the Cowboys lost and the division kind of bunched up together again?
A: No, we still need to take care of business.
Q: You're aware of the standings, obviously, right?
A: Obviously, yessir.
Q: Does that give you hope, optimism? What do you feel when you look at those things?
A: We don't really do the hope thing, you know, hope you win. You put the time in, you put the work in and the results will speak for itself. We do know that we're in the position, despite our record, and that we're in the thick of the season right now with all of our conference games coming up. We know what's at stake and we're looking forward to it.
Q: You were part of a team a couple years ago that had that unfortunate distinction of going winless. I was wondering before you guys won, did that ever creep into your mind, like this team could go winless? Now, how crazy is it four days later to be talking about playing for a first-place game?
A: No, that thought never crossed my mind. I know the type of guys we have here. I knew it was just a matter of time. We were just a play here, a misread here, too many missed assignments. I felt like we were shooting ourselves in the foot more than we were losing ball games. But being in the thick of things, that's just the way the league is. Everybody can be beat on any given Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, however we're doing it now this year. You just need to take care of your business, don't leave your fate in anybody else's hands and take care of what you need to take care of.
Q: I'm sure you have some friends or some family outside of the locker room who are Giants fans. Do you get the sense of how starved they are for a big game? There haven't been a lot of big games with a lot of meaning on the line here for years before even you got here. Do you get that sense from the Giants fans?
A: I've been really tucked in my cave. I know what this game means to me. I've never played Philly yet while playing for the Giants, so I'm definitely excited about that. Thursday Night Football, a lot on the line. I would hope everybody is excited about that.
Q: I'd like to talk about the two-point attempt by Washington Sunday. One, were you surprised they went for the two points there?
A: I wasn't really surprised. Coach (Ron) Rivera is a real aggressive coach. Going for it on fourth down, two point conversions, things like that. We knew that was in their makeup.
Q: Just to follow up a little bit, when they lined up in that formation, describe how you got that stop? Was it something you recognized or felt?
A: West coast offenses, they all share similarities. I think we were in the right play call for what they wanted to do. The guys played great man to man coverage on the backend, the helpers dropped back, took away his immediate throws and forced him into a tough situation.
Q: With regard to Daniel Jones, I was just kind of wondering what you've seen from him, you're on the other side of the ball obviously, from last year to this year? Do you see some growth? Obviously, it's a different system. But what are you seeing so far?
A: Oh yeah, obviously, you see the growth. Not just his play but with his physique. Just standing in there, he's stronger, he's faster. He already can make all the throws, but now, I think he's putting that a little bit more on display. I'm just excited to keep watching him grow. We're going to keep playing hard for him.
Q: You guys spent five weeks coming in on Monday saying 'the past is the past, let's put these losses behind us and move ahead.' How different of a challenge is it for the leaders of this team to do the same thing when you win a game on Sunday? Do you put even more emphasis on trying to move ahead? I would imagine the short time period before Thursday helps in that regard, but is there more of an emphasis from leadership to kind of turn the page now, let's move on to Philly?
A: Win or lose, in this league, it's best to move on to the next week. There's no time to feel good about yourself or feel sorry for yourself. You can have a great game one week, then come out there and lay an egg the next week. You need to stay ready, stay hungry, stay motivated and keep putting the work in. It's not really hard. The guys understand what's kind of going on. We're all here to win. We're all here to be better today than we were yesterday. It's not really as challenging as you think. But it's definitely time to start getting the ball rolling.
Q: Just a quick follow up on a different topic. You know what it's like to come home and play. We talked last year about how important it was for you to come back to New Jersey. Do the guys in the locker room have any sense of what this might mean to Coach Judge to play a game in Philly, his hometown?
A: I think they have a sense, but as we get closer to the game, I think a lot more guys start to realize.
Q: What do you think? What do you think his emotions will be?
A: We'll see, we'll see.
Q: We were told that Andrew Thomas did not start on Sunday because he was late to a team meeting. As a player, when a coach enforces those kinds of rules, no matter whether a guy is the 53rd man or a top five pick, is that an important reinforcement? Do players appreciate the consistency of that?
A: Obviously. I think it's definitely good for the culture. No matter who it is, the rules are the rules.
View rare photos of the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.