Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Today is Wednesday. We've turned the page on from last week's game. We're all focused right now on the Rams. We sat down with our players today and explained obviously the opponent we have to face. It's a great history of this organization. Obviously, the only team in NFL history to win three world championships in three different cities. Starting off with the Cleveland Rams originally when they were named after the Fordham Rams. There's a lot of history that goes on back to the time in St. Louis, and obviously, back home now in LA, which is really where everyone remembers them from. They have that blue and yellow, really stands out with the greats that came through that program. The Eric Dickerson's, the Jackie Slater's, another fine organization. I think Les (Snead) has done a tremendous job of building this team in the draft and also through free agency and trades. He's obviously built this team with a lot of star power and explosive players who can change the game by themselves at any time.
Sean (McVay) does a tremendous job, along with Kevin (O'Connell) and Aaron Kromer, in forming this offense and really creating matchups. It all starts in the run game with Sean and Aaron. They do a tremendous job of staying committed to their plan and what they do. They're a very balanced team. They're very effective in what they do. They find creative ways of creating the same looks, that they can operate on familiar and give you a couple of curveballs that you have to react to. In terms of motions and movements, the shifts, Sean is always looking for an edge to create a matchup. He does a tremendous job right there.
We're dealing with (Brandon) Staley on the defensive side. Obviously, he learned a lot from Vic Fangio. They do a great job of going out there and doing what they do. They disguise defenses very well. They start with disruption up front. They have good defensive backs who do a great job in space of tackling and eliminating explosive plays. These guys are really a team that make you click it down the field and turn the sticks over drive by drive. They don't give up a lot of big plays. Obviously, it all starts with 99, Aaron Donald. This guy will really ruin your birthday party in a hurry.
John Bonamego and the special teams, I've known John for some time now. He's been a very good personal friend to me. You have to know about John, he is aggressive. The saying 'free herd,' that's how he approaches it right there. His teams play aggressive, they play downhill, they're a physical bunch. They're aggressive in rushing kicks, punts and field goals. They do a very good job in the return game obviously with Cooper (Kupp) back there returning punts. They put an emphasis on getting their best players involved in the game and looking to make game-changing plays every time. To me, when you talk about the Rams special teams, no matter who's there, it all starts with Johnny Hekker. This guy is really a weapon. Throughout his years in the league, this guy really keeps you on the defensive as a punt return unit. He makes teams adjust their game plans. He's always a threat with the pass. As we explained to our team, you have to picture this guy really as a quarterback who can punt. He's not a punter who throws the ball. I've known Johnny for some time, a lot of respect for him and his game. Anyone who really studies the NFL, he's really changed the punting position in a lot of ways, and he's really been a weapon for this team to establish and maintain field position consistently.
That being said, I'll open it up to any questions right now that I can answer. We have a great deal of respect for this organization. It's obviously a very tough opponent. We're going to start today on the field getting ready for them full speed.
Q: The Titans' COVID outbreak is affecting the NFL schedule for the first time. Is it changing anything that your team is doing? How confident are you in how your team and the league in general has been dealing with this up to this point?
A: Yeah, we have a lot of confidence in the protocols the league came out with. We've been very diligent since the beginning of following it. Our team and our coaches have been very committed to following the rules. It's not changing anything we're doing. It's just reaffirming we have to stay diligent in the process of making sure we follow the steps in place.
Q: Kind of an odd one for you. With no crowd and no fans in most stands, and then also broadcast mics picking up so much natural audio from what's happening down on the field, have you guys taken any extra precaution in terms of the calls at the line of scrimmage? I know the Rams do a lot at the line of scrimmage. Have you guys studied anything differently or on your side taken a little more precaution?
A: I would say there's just a heightened consciousness this year in terms of what you're using verbiage wise on the line of scrimmage and how you're looking at your opponent. In the past, every team in the league has watched broadcast copies. You always try to pick up on anything you can, any kind of call or communication. That's all 32 teams doing the same thing trying to create an edge for their players. Obviously, this year with it being a little bit different in terms of how much the mics are picking up, you have to be very conscious of what you're saying, and also what the opponent is saying. I don't think anyone is doing anything differently. I just think it's a little bit clearer this year with the noise that you can hear from the quarterbacks.
Q: I'm just wondering as a young head coach yourself if there's anything you've picked up or learned from Sean McVay as far as the way he coaches and kind of runs the Rams, if that's influenced the way you've gone about coaching the Giants and just approaching your first year on the job? Obviously, you got a lot of great experience from working under Coach (Bill) Belichick, but is there anything you maybe learned or gleaned from Sean McVay?
A: Obviously, I've had some conversations with Sean early in this process. I have a ton of respect for Sean and what he's done. Look, every organization is different, every process is different in terms of taking over a team. There's nothing I'm trying to do in terms of modeling what anyone else has done. What we have here is very unique. We have our own way we have to go about doing things to build our program. But I have a tremendous amount of respect for Sean. Obviously, at a young age, he was very aggressive in how he went about his business. He has a vision, he knows what he wants to do, and he's been able to see that on the field.
Q: I think probably every coach that goes up against the Rams and talks about Aaron Donald says 'we need to have a plan for him.' What makes him so unique that you need to plan against him? Nick Gates this early in his career at center, how do you see that as any kind of a matchup that the Giants can win?
A: I'd say this first off, the thing they're doing differently this year with him is they're really moving him around and they use him on all three downs. That's a little bit different from how he's played in the past. They're going to find matchups and create ways, so there's no one player that we can say on our offensive line, 'he has a tough day ahead of him.' Everyone has to be alert. We have to make sure we know where 99 is on every snap. The thing that makes this guy so unique, I know this is going to sound very generic, but the effort he plays with is just truly relentless. This guy does things, you watch and think 'wow.' He really will show up and ruin your day. You watch the Buffalo game, the fourth quarter especially as they were climbing back in the game and playing competitive, this guy almost singlehandedly ended the game for Buffalo with the way he got after the quarterback and the way he played. He's explosive on runs, explosive in the pass game, he has great instincts. You watch this guy on the goal line. Buffalo tried to cut him. He just jumped up over the center trying to cut in front of the runner, and then just completely made a stand by himself. These are plays you don't see every guy in the league being able to do. He's a unique guy. You look at him when he came out of college, the knocks on him. Maybe he's not long enough, maybe he's not truly big enough to play on the inside. I think he's shown everybody who said that to be completely wrong. This guy is one of the most dominant players in the league. Everybody has to plan for him. This guy, it's nothing unique for him. He knows going in everybody has something in mind for him. But look, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
Q: With Nick Gates three games in at center, do you still look at it as an experiment? Where do you think he is after three games?
A: It's absolutely not an experiment. I think he's making improvement game by game. This guy has made a lot of progress for us on a daily basis in his communication and understanding of the position, his studying of opponents. It was a different move at first for Nick going outside to the inside. He's had to learn that both from a technique standpoint and also just a different way you look at it. When you're the tackle on the edge, you see everything truly inside out. When you're the center inside, you have to see both sides peripherally. You have to be tuned into more things, where the linebackers are located, what's the secondary doing? You're more involved with identifying who the Mike linebacker is. More involved with making all the calls inside that affect everybody's blocks and everybody's combinations. The mental aspect of playing center is very large and he's handled that very well for us. He's making improvement on a weekly basis and that's all we can ask of Nick right now.
Q: Another one of their stars, Jalen Ramsey. What makes him one of the best at his position, skill set wise? Separately from that, talks a lot of trash. Do you talk to your guys about not getting caught up in that whether it's him or somebody else who talks a lot of trash like that on the field?
A: We're looking to go ahead and focus on the next play and move play to play. I'd say this guy is definitely special in the league. He's long, he's very athletic, he's got great make-up speed. He's very instinctive, this guy has that savvy and awareness. He can lull you to sleep a little bit as a quarterback and then pounce on the ball and really get you when you think he's not paying attention. He does a great job of forcing turnovers, really attacks the ball on a play by play basis. You have to be alert for this guy because he's coming after the ball every play. You can say he's talking trash, but this guy definitely backs it up on the field, he's a special player.
Q: Did you guys make your call on whether to start the clock on David Mayo?
A: It's not official yet right now. He's with the trainers. We still have a couple days to get it. I don't anticipate seeing him practicing today.
Q: With the corner Harper from the Raiders, what did you like about him? How much of a struggle has it been with that number two corner spot? You have really been kind of searching for an answer?
A: I think the guys are all working hard. We see a level of improvement on a weekly basis. We have to make sure we keep playing good football and take some bad plays off our plate, but that's up to us as coaches. We have to keep putting guys in the right position and they have to execute on the field when they're asked to. In terms of the moves on the roster, I'll talk very lengthy once the process is completed. As of right now, it's still within the process.
Q: You guys have had Devonta Freeman in the building for a week now. I'm just curious what your impressions have been of him? Just behind the scenes and as a teammate in the locker room? I know it's still only been a week, but what's been your impression of him so far?
A: I think he is a ball guy, I said that last week and it definitely holds true. He really loves football. Coming from Liberty City where he grew up, those guys down there love ball. They're tough dudes (inaudible) in terms of love of the game, passion for the game. I see a guy in the locker room who is a good teammate, I see a guy in the huddle who is very serious. He's got a great business approach to how he goes about it, but he smiles and enjoys being out there on the field. I've seen a lot of progress from him obviously. We needed to get him caught up in our schemes last week. He did a great job working, staying ahead. He's more familiar this week, making more progress. Looking to get him involved in this game plan as much as we can. Give him a chance going forward.
Q: Is Jabrill Peppers going to practice today?
A: He will not.
Q: You have a Super Bowl ring from beating this team. Does that help at all? They have a lot of the same weapons that you faced about a year and a half ago, two years ago.
A: No, I think every team is very unique. This Rams team is not the same team they were last year or two years ago. This is a different team than I was a part of as well. Every team is unique year by year and club by club. Obviously, there's some information I gathered, but I'll tell you right now Sean's always evolving, he's always changing, he's always improving and getting better. What he may have game planned based on another club I was with will have nothing to do with what we do going foward here. He's looking to match up our players on our roster and we've got to be aware to see them find a way to do that.
Q: Daniel Jones obviously has led the team in rushing most of these games. He's the teams' leading rusher for the season. How sustainable is that and what are your feelings about that? Do you like that identity? Obviously, you would rather have a running back have more yards. Can he continue at this pace?
A: We'll look and see when it comes up as a part of the game plan. We'll take production from anywhere we can.
Q: Sean McVay said the other day that Jared Goff played his best game of the season against Buffalo. Curious from your perspective, watching him the last few years, what have you seen in terms of development from maybe when you first saw him to where he is now?
A: When I first saw him, he was really truly a rookie. It was a different coaching staff, a different step. He's obviously evolved a lot in his career. Since he has been with Sean, he's made a lot of huge strides I think as a player. He's always been a threat because he's very talented, but you see a confident player out there. He's completed I think 70 percent of his passes right now. These guys are top of the league on third down, one of the top rushing teams in the league. They are very successful on early downs and they're the highest scoring team in the league. That all comes from the quarterback. This guy does a great job back there finding the open receiver, delivering an accurate, catchable ball. He finds his guys, he understands the game plan. They communicates well as a unit. They do a great job of using tempo, getting to the line, getting to the perfect play. Obviously, he is the one that has to communicate that, he has great command on the field. This is definitely a guy they have invested a lot in, and you understand why they did.
Q: You got a taste of what Devonta can kind of do throughout last week in practice and in the game. Where do you see him fitting in moving forward?
A: I think like every one of our players on our roster, everyone has a role going into the game. I see him fitting in with this specific game plan in a couple different ways. I'm not going to go into specifics about how we're going to use him. I think he has a skillset that allows him to contribute in the running and the passing game, both as a protector and as a receiver. I think we have to do a good job of balancing out his roles and everybody's roles to make sure we get the most out of him.
Q: You still want to rotate all three of the running backs, though?
A: Yeah, we plan on playing every back that's at the game.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: Are you comfortable in this offense at this point? Are you playing as fast mentally as you'd like being it's a new offense that you're acclimating into? The second part of it is I was wondering if you would rather there be more play action involved, because it seems like you succeed when you guys are in play action?
A: I certainly feel comfortable. There are certainly things I need to improve on and work on and continue to learn and grow. We need to do that as an offense, and I certainly need to do that as well. I think that's something we'll continue to work on and continue to understand and work to improve on as a unit. This offense gives us the opportunity to do different things, give a lot of different looks. The run action game is certainly a big part of that. That's something we've worked on a lot and we'll continue to use and execute with.
Q: You worked so hard in the offseason trying to curve the turnover issue from your rookie year and it's kind of reared itself again this year. How discouraging has that been for you, and where are you at with that right now?
A: That's something I'm certainly continuing to work on. It's something that I'm mindful of every day in my preparation, and have to continue to work on. It makes it harder to win when we're turning the ball over and I can't afford to do that. I'm certainly disappointed, but I'm not sure what that does to help improve or work towards getting better. I think it's something that I have to continue to work towards.
Q: Just as a quick follow up. Are you a little bit surprised it's been happening these first few games because of all the effort you put into it in the offseason?
A: Yeah, I certainly didn't expect it going into the season. It's never something you expect, and it's something I've worked hard on to improve. I'll continue to do that.
Q: Jalen Ramsey, what makes him such a challenge for quarterbacks? It seems like he likes to talk a lot of trash to players on the field, including quarterbacks. How do you not let that get into your head?
A: He's a good football player. You can see on the tape, he has a lot of physical ability and a lot of things you look for in a corner and can do a lot of different things on the field. We'll be ready to go. There are certainly a lot of players in the NFL that talk trash, so that's something you have to be ready for. We won't let it affect our mindset in the game.
Q: You're the Giants' leading rusher by like 50 yards on the season. Is that sustainable? Do you find you're catching some teams off guard with your running ability? Do you think you can run for as many yards as you're running for per game?
A: I think this offense gives us versatility for different people to run it and run it at different looks. We'll continue to prepare and plan for each team and go into the game with a plan. I'm certainly willing to do that, and I think it's a valuable part of our offense.
Q: You obviously haven't won as much as you would have liked since you've taken over as the starter. How do you deal with that? How do you keep from being discouraged? How do you keep your confidence up?
A: Certainly disappointing to lose games. We're working as hard as we can to get things going back in the right direction. That's where our focus is. Focused on improving and understanding what we need to do. I think we all have confidence in our ability. We certainly have confidence in each other as teammates and what we can do as players and playing together. I think that's where the confidence is. It's amongst us as teammates and a belief in each other. I know we have that and I think that's what's going to push us through.
Q: A lot of the time we talk about guys off the edge who can wreck a game. How much does it change things when you have a guy like (Aaron) Donald, who's in the middle? How does that change things for an offense?
A: He's certainly a talented player and someone who's had a lot of success in the league. I think our guys will do a good job with him up front, and we certainly need to be aware of where he is. Ultimately, it comes down to us executing our plan and taking care of what we need to do.
Q: You guys haven't scored many points this year. You're under 13 points per game. What is it you think you guys need to do in order to put points on the board? What has the problem been?
A: We have to do a better job controlling the ball, and turnovers play a big part in that. It's tough to win when you're turning over the ball as much as we have. I need to do better with that. From there, it goes to execution. When we're getting in, whether it's the high red area or low red area, we're converting those opportunities and scoring touchdowns. That's certainly something that we're focused on.
Q: As a rule, I know the scheme involves attacking an opponent's weakness. I'm just wondering are there opportunities where maybe you can use the opponent's strengths to your advantage?
A: I guess I don't understand exactly the context, but yeah, I think that's always an opportunity for us. We take the mindset about us executing and taking care of our business first and understanding what we want to do as an offense going into each week and each plan and executing from that point of view. That's kind of our focus and our mindset going into the game.
Q: We asked you about your scoring issues. The Rams don't have that issue. Are you going up against that offense just as much as you're going up against that defense? Do you have to kind of be able to keep up with them?
A: Yeah, they have a good team. They've certainly scored points and had a lot of success on offense. But like I said, that's not really where our focus is. We're going into the game with the mindset to execute our stuff, our plan, our offense and play as well as we can as a unit. We certainly intend to go in, execute and convert those opportunities.
Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q: What's it like playing in a game where you can't get off the field?
A: It's not good, it's not the standard, it's unacceptable. You just have to do better. Football isn't easy but it's simple. You have to get off the field. The best defense you can play is on the bench honestly. We just have to get off the field and give our offense the ball, more opportunities and improve our third down for sure.
Q: When you look back at what happened, was it little mistakes, was it big mistakes?
A: It was mistakes. It doesn't matter if they were little or big, they can cost you in the National Football League when you're playing good teams. Nonetheless, regardless of the size of the mistake, it wasn't the players executing the game plan, it wasn't us. I hold myself accountable on that as a leader on the defense to tighten those up and get back to work. We were on the practice field today; the beauty of football is losses only count as one so not two losses when you lose really bad. It's only one loss in the record book and we're back to work on Wednesday. We have the best offense in football that we're going to go see at their place. It's going to make a big challenge for us, and we're excited for it.
Q: As a veteran especially on a young team, you were talking last week obviously you have been on teams where it didn't start great but then you turn it around. At what point does it get late enough in the year where you're playing not good enough football where you press the panic button, or you raise that urgency past just hey we still have time? When do you start running out of time?
A: I don't know, not yet. Not now, we're back to work. It's the fourth week of the season, nobody is in their final form yet. Obviously, you want to win every week, we didn't execute, we didn't win the game. We didn't play how we wanted, like I said it was unacceptable. There's no panic button right now. The Rams don't care what we looked like last week. It's about how we practice, how we execute, how we clean the things we did wrong and don't let them happen week to week. We have to fix the mistakes, the self-inflicting wounds and go out there and play a good game against the Rams. That's all that matters this Sunday.
Q: You guys started with a different defensive game plan as far as the personnel you were using. You were in the back, but then when Jabrill [Peppers] goes down you have to switch it up. Does game planning for one specific personnel set, especially when it's different and then having to switch it back. Does that have an effect in a game like that?
A: Yea it may. Jabrill's a good player and he's a starter. Any time you lose a starter, whoever you're bringing in normally isn't as good, that's why that guy is a starter. There's definitely an effect on that but the 49ers had a lot of guys go out the game as well. Jordan Reed went out the game and they came in and executed better. We might've had to change some things on our end, but I pride myself on my versatility. If I have to move from one position to the other, that's what the team brought me here to do. To bring position flexibility, bring leadership and to make plays regardless of the position. Whether that be strong safety, free safety, star, corner, perimeter, outside linebacker, I've played it all, I lined up at it all and I pride myself on being able to play it all. It's just another day at the office honestly. I wish we could have executed better, and we hope Jabrill gets back quickly because he is one of our better players for sure.
Q: You mentioned this is the best offense in the league. What makes this offense so potent?
A: It's their balance. They have a really good running game. Obviously, their offensive coordinator and head coach is really good and talented. Their able to mask everything to look the same. Their passes look like runs; their runs look like passes. Similar to last week, they exploit your weaknesses similar to [Kyle] Shanahan. They have a very good play caller and they have very good weapons. Their receivers are really good blocking receivers so when you have receivers who are willing to mix it up in the run game, that's more blockers you have to account for, for the runners. Their receivers are also able to run really good routes. I think they have really good receivers. I think they have a really good scheme and I think they have good balance where you can't say okay this is definitely a run; this is definitely a pass. They line up in the same looks and run different plays out of it. It makes everyone kind of focus on doing their job, you can't really tell too much what they're going to run before the snap.
Q: I'm sure you still have a lot of pals back in Nashville. Have you been in touch with them since they had their COVID situation? How much of an eye opener is that for other teams around the league like this one?
A: Yea, it's definitely an eye opener. I think it's an eye opener for our whole country. This thing is still around, it still needs to be accounted for. I haven't spoken to them too much, I have my own things right now that I'm busy with trying to accomplish here with the Giants. My family is moving up this week. We did find a house that is allowing our pit bulls, breed restriction is really lame. We're happy to find a rental that is allowing my family to come up. I'm excited to see them. That will bring some extra juice that I need. Wear a mask, wash your hands. It shows you anybody is susceptible. It doesn't matter your age, this sickness is definitely still around and can affect our season, it can affect our games. It's a reality check to everybody for sure. I wish them the best of luck and tell those guys to wash their hands a little more and don't come around me.
Q: You mentioned how well the Rams mask what they're doing offensively. I'm just curious, how much do you have to pay attention to the pre-snap motion and things of that nature. It seems like they want to get your eyes moving before the ball is even snapped to kind of confuse you a little bit. How much time do you guys have to put in to making sure that you're not getting rope-a-doped?
A: Organized chaos is what they do. They have a lot of things to make you look one way and run a play off and make you look one way and run the way they made you look and all that stuff. Any time you are playing an offense that's averaging 29 points a game, you have your work cut out for you. We have to watch the film, we have to get a good feel of what they do, and we have to execute our jobs, that's really it. At the end of the day football comes down to blocking and tackling. We have to get off blocks and make tackles. The team that does that better will probably win. You are going to hear it a lot here, you have to do your job, everyone has to do their one job. I can't come out there and try to be superman on every play. I have to do what they're asking Logan Ryan to do and count on my teammates to do their job. I have to beat the man in front of me, that's what they pay me to do. We need more people beating the man in front of them and that's how you play defense. They're a good team, they're going to make some plays. They have good players, they have a good coach, they have a system they have been running for a few years that's averaging 29 points a game. We have our work cut out for us. After a performance last week that I said was unacceptable, there's not better test and better challenge if you're a competitor than to go against the best offense. That's what I'm excited for and we had a really good practice today because we know the challenge that's ahead of us and we believe in the guys we have in this building.
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.