Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: First off, I've got to give credit to the Broncos. They're a good team. They came in tonight, they outplayed us. We didn't earn the right to walk out with a victory tonight. We've got to play better, we have to coach better and put our players in positions to make more plays. I'd like to go ahead and thank the fans for coming out and obviously this was an atmosphere that we've been waiting for for some time. They were great today. We have to earn their cheers, they were very supportive, they were great, it was great energy in the stadium. We got to do something more as a team to make them want to go ahead and stay into the game longer than they can and give us their support. Well, that's something we have to earn. So, very grateful for fans coming out, something we were waiting for a long time, it was great energy, great atmosphere. We got to play better for them, the people who buy tickets. In terms of our performance tonight, look, I'll be honest with you, there are a lot of positive things I did see that we have to build on and there's obviously a lot of things we have to correct moving forward. I think the big, noticeable things were obviously we got to go ahead and sustain drives. We can't have turnovers whether it's on down or actual turnovers turning the ball over or when we're approaching or getting into the red area. Defensively, we've got to get off the field more consistently. We can't let them extend drives on fourth-down conversions, obviously did a great job tonight. There were three for three on fourth down and that's something we have to be situationally better right there as a team. I thought we had some opportunities in the kicking game, we didn't really put them in a position that we had the opportunity to make the plays, but there are some things that showed up in the return game with the way (Wide Receiver) C.J. (Board) ran and we had to give some field position to get going, some momentum. But we've got to play better, complementary football to take advantage of the opportunities we have in all three phases. So, that being said, I'll open up to any questions you have.
Q: Back to the third and fourth down conversions. I know you have to go back and watch the film, but what do you see instantaneously where they were having more success?
A: Well, I think they were converting in terms of completing the passes, getting inside right there. There were some things we did schematically to adjust to help us down the stretch a little bit. I think they just did a good job in terms of executing in the situation. They found some matchups, they put themselves in position that it was with a one-on-one or a split in the scheme and they went ahead, and they converted. I'm going to watch the tape, as you said, to make sure I can see clearly exactly what happened. I saw enough from the field to understand the big picture with what we have to do better right there. But, in terms of the third down, we have to be better on both sides of the ball.
Q: How frustrating is it to see (Quarterback) Daniel Jones turning the ball over in the way that he did?
A: We've got to do a better job as a team eliminating the penalties and turnovers. That's a team focus right there, so this isn't about any one player. It's about a team improving and, look, good teams improve week to week. As I talked to the team, that's what our focus has to be, to be a better team in Week 2 and a better team in Week 3. It's a long season. We literally have an entire season ahead of us, okay. Any other year, it was 16 games, we have 16 games ahead of us that we have to improve week by week and keep climbing and make sure we're the best team we can be, all right. So, obviously the first week's an important game, every game is an important game. We got to make sure that we take the lessons we've learned from this game and move forward and make sure that we keep putting a better product out there.
Q: What do you make of that play? That was a big play tonight.
A: Yeah, there's a lot of big plays in it. Obviously, it was a play that stopped a drive right there. We got to do a better job as a team of having other plays that extend drives and staying on the field. We don't want to get down there that close and not come away with points. So, obviously finishing drives is a big focus for us as a team.
Q: What happened on the challenge?
A: Look, that's completely on me and (I own it). I know you can't challenge a scoring play. That was a little bit more of an emotional, I was looking for feedback from the officials. It looked to me on the jumbotron and some feedback I got from up top watching the replay, that he may have stepped in the white, I was screaming for the officials. They're supposed to get some feedback from what they're hearing in New York in terms of feedback on it. I had to do something to draw their attention. I couldn't get them to turn around, so I threw the flag. I knew it couldn't have been a challenge play. I fully take awareness of that and ownership of that. I told the team that was something that, obviously, I can't do again and waste a time out. But that was something in the moment guys, to be honest with you, I had to get somebody's attention at some point and see if we can make sure that they're looking at the same things we were looking at. I can't tell you whether it was good or not. Obviously, they ruled it was good. I'll go with and trust what their opinion was on that and they have good views of it as well. That was more something right there, I was just trying to get their attention and I was looking for feedback, which we're supposed to get the officials on the field, but that crew did a good job tonight. I'm not blaming that crew for anything right there, they did a good job. Those guys for the most part were great communicating. That was a point in the game I wanted to make sure I got some feedback, so we knew what we were doing right there going for it.
Q: You clearly knew the rule?
A: I did, 100 percent. I know the rules. Yeah, listen, I fully, trust me, I put a lot of work in that. So again, like I told the team, we had some bad penalties out there and that was a bad mistake by the head coach right there.
Q: Can you talk about the penalties? You didn't have a lot, but the ones you did have were discouraging like roughing the passer, unsportsmanlike conduct. What was the message to your guys about those types of penalties?
A: Penalties come from two things. One, we've got to have better focus pre-snap to make sure we're in a good position, key on the ball and then we have to have better discipline with our techniques post-snap. Everything comes down to the techniques you're playing and making sure you make the right decisions at that moment of truth. We can't have those penalties. Point blank, we can't have them. Turnovers and penalties kill teams, obviously that's something we had tonight as a team, we need to do a better job coaching that and correcting that to make sure we don't put ourselves in position to eliminate opportunities for success.
Q: It seemed like for most of the game, (Broncos Quarterback) Teddy Bridgewater had plenty of time back there. What's the level of concern about your pass rush going into next week?
A: I think Teddy did a good job tonight facilitating, getting the ball out on time. We put some pressure on him at times. This guy made some good plays on loose plays, some of the scramble things, throwing back across his body. He's a good quarterback. He's in this league with a job for a reason. We have to do a better job, defensively playing our assignments and just making sure that we're not having any busts back there communication wise.
Q: What did you see from (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley)?
A: I saw him go out at there tonight and obviously compete. Saw a lot of energy in the game, thought he was moving well. There's some opportunities that we thought we could create for him. They did a good job matching up and eliminating some things we have to execute better as an entire team. But in terms of the step forward for him for the first time on the field since last year, I was pleased with what I saw there.
Q: Do you think the inability to sustain drives on offense led to some of the problems on defense?
A: The defense doesn't determine when they go on the field or what the circumstance is. Defenses go out there and they execute. So, we're not looking in terms of anything offensively of how the defense performed. I understand the question fully, but we're not going to start writing excuses for any phase of the ball with execution. Defense goes out there and they operate in whatever situation they're presented with. They don't decide when or where, they decide how.
Q: Was it disappointing to see fans leave the stadium with six and a half minutes to go. Was it a missed opportunity to give them some hope after a rough season?
A: We've got to earn the fans respect, point blank. These people come out here and spend their hard earned money. They sit in the seats, they cheer for us, they give us energy within the seats. We have to give them something to cheer about. It's not their job to show up and cheer just the cheer. That's not their job. Their job is to be entertained. They buy a ticket, that means they buy the right to cheer, boo, stay, leave, whatever they want to do. We got to give them something to stay for. We have to give them something to cheer for. That's on us as a team, we got to do a better job for that. I appreciate the fans, what they did, I look forward to seeing them in a few weeks. Look, our focus is to make sure the next time they come, they see a better product and they stay the full 60 minutes to watch it.
Q: On your first drive, you hit that deep pass to (Wide Receiver) Darius Slayton. The next call was to (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) in the backfield. I know it's early in the game, but was that the right situation for that kind of call when you are in field position?
A: I don't know if the question is more geared towards Kadarius specifically. I'd say just in terms of our execution on that right there, now look, we knew what the play call was going into the game. We talked through the opening script and the things we wanted to run early. Things aren't necessarily run in a direct order, A-B-C, but we know the plays we want to factor in early to kind of go ahead and get certain guys involved. He was obviously a guy that we wanted to get the ball in early, get him kind of moving and get him going through the flow. He hasn't played a lot in preseason in terms of preseason games. We've got him back with us practice wise. He's had a couple of good weeks of practice and preparation with us. Obviously, he was a guy that we had to see where he was physically going through the week. We thought he moved well enough and was healthy enough to get him on the field. Obviously, that's why he was out there tonight. Wanted to get the ball in his hands and give him a chance. In terms of the play call, look, if we didn't like it, it wouldn't have been the game plan. There's some things we have to do better as far as execution. If you execute correctly, every play has a chance. So, we got to make sure we clean that up and do a better job coaching on the front end to make sure that the players can go out there and execute it and they got to do a good job executing when it's called.
Q: The turnover on downs and the tempo at that point, would you like to see a little bit more urgency coming off that situation?
A: No, I thought we were okay at that point right there. We had some timeouts, we had the two-minute, we had opportunities we were going to do. There was going to be some urgency after that in terms of making sure we got off the field defensively or to do something in the kicking game to go and create an extra drive. That obviously would have been something we would have to look at based on how the flow of the game changed right there. In terms of that right there, we're looking to go ahead and just have good plays called, making sure we were in the right position. Look, there's times we can go up tempo. We can go up tempo early in the game, middle of the game, doesn't really matter. That was a point right there, we had a good flow going down there, we were making some plays, we're putting it together right there. We didn't feel a need that we actually had to out of necessity just go into jet mode, just flying on through right there. We wanted to make sure we were sound upfront protection wise, give ourselves a chance to get open and complete some passes.
Q: For Kadarius Toney, I know early on it was probably one of the scripted plays you had, but because of his lack of practice time or involvement, is that why he was not involved in the second half at all?
A: Well, there was more of a focus with him. Look, again because of limited volume he'd had on the front end, we weren't going to put a cap or a pitch count on at any phase, but we did want to keep in mind that this was his first game back. We had a number of guys tonight that we wanted to make sure that as we watched them for the game, they wasn't necessarily a cap or a pitch count, but wanted to just make sure as we watched their bodies throughout the game, keeping in mind that this is the most action these guys have seen for some point in time. Look, we're obviously looking to get (Kadarius Toney) K.T. involved as we go forward. He's a key part of the offense. This guy's done a good job in preparation. He'll have more opportunities to make plays for us down the line. Pleased with the way he's worked this week, put himself in position to help us and as the plays unfold, we'll keep looking for him at times.
Q: Your pass blocking held up pretty well today. What was your initial read on your run blocking?
A: Obviously, we have to do a better job on that and I'm not going to point the finger at any position or player specifically. Obviously, we're going to look at the tape and make sure we're doing all the right things from a schematic standpoint coaching-wise and putting the players in the right position. Then, we'll coach the players and make sure that we clean that up. I'd say from the pass protection standpoint, I thought those guys did hold up for the most part today. Put a large emphasis obviously on a very talented defensive front, very talented defense, very well-coached defense. We knew it was going to be a great challenge. I thought those guys did a good job stepping up tonight giving us time. I thought Daniel did a good job getting the ball out on time, facilitating the receivers, putting some balls out there. I thought some receivers made some really tough catches tonight and (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard) Shep and some other guys made some good catch-and-runs down the stretch for us right there to produce some plays. Look, there was a lot of positive things. I told the team, 'There was a lot of things we can build on, guys.' We can't ride this emotional roller coaster of highs and lows week by week. We've got to look at what the truth is. What did we do well enough that we have to build on? What did we do that we have to correct and clean up? And what's going to make the difference in us being a better team? It doesn't matter if you win by 30 or lose by 30 in terms of how you have to improve. You've got to have a level of improvement every week. Our focus has to be we wake up tomorrow morning and we improve. We wake up tomorrow, it's already Thursday of the game week for us because we have a short week. So, our guys have to understand this is not a normal game week in terms of that longer transition. We've got to wake up, be mentally engaged, physically get our bodies right and then we've got a tight turnaround to get down there and play a tough opponent at their home stadium.
Q: Is (Guard) Shane Lemieux alright? He didn't play a ton of snaps today. Is he okay?
A: We always rotate our line a good bit. (Guard) Ben (Bredeson) got in there and got some work today. Thought Shane, when he was in there, played well. We just rotated our guys as we had kind of decided before the game. We're going to make sure we move all of our guys around. Again, I've talked a number of times in terms of this time of year, you've got a lot of new guys on your roster, making sure you move guys on through. This is an important time of the year of really making sure you kind of find who you are through September and that's part of playing all of our guys. Now, on top of that, you guys have seen the history with me through last year of if you're at the game, I expect you to play. Maybe one guy, the backup quarterback, is the only guy that kind of (doesn't) get in there, but in terms of everybody else, if you're being brought into a game – look, I intend on everybody at the game playing. Now, everyone's going to have some kind of role where that role is significant, so we've got to make sure we give them opportunities to be successful within it. But in terms of just counting reps, I wouldn't read too much into that. Thought Shane went out there and fought tonight, did a good job. Obviously, he's missed a lot of time through practices. He's done a good job when he's come back to practice. He's been involved in some competitive practices along the way, so pleased with how he's worked, pleased with how he's played. We've got to keep on moving with him, but then also bring along a lot of other guys on the offensive line with him.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: Obviously, the turnover was a big part of the game. Take us through that, would you do anything different if you had to do it again?
A: Yeah, you certainly try to protect the ball better. You try to get two hands on it but didn't secure it tight enough.
Q: Is that a situation where you if you had to do it again, maybe you slide instead of putting your head down and lowering your shoulder a little bit?
A: I'll have to look at it and look at the play. But it's certainly something I've got to improve on and I'll learn from and keep moving forward.
Q: How crushing was that in regards to the context of the game. You needed to score there and it was such a big spot and you were moving and all of a sudden the turnover happens?
Q: Yeah, turnovers are always going to hurt you at any point in the game and they're big plays. We've got to do a good job of taking care of the ball and you've gotta do a good job. But we'll keep moving forward and keep improving.
Q: Scoring was an issue for you guys last year. Why do you think you can't get to that point where the offense is scoring 20 to 30 points?
A: I think it's about executing. It's about correcting certain things and making plays because it's plays we can make. The plays, we've got people on the team that can make them. We've got everything we need. It's just about doing it. We've done it in practice and we've done it at spots. We've just got to be more consistent with it. So, it's about studying it, learning from it and moving forward. I know we can do it and we've got to show that.
Q: What can you learn from the turnover in that spot? What can you take away from it to get better for next time?
A: Just protecting the ball better and keeping it tight.
Q: On the next run that you had in the next series, you actually slid. Was that a conscious adjustment from the first time to say, 'now, I should actually slide'?
A: It was a different situation, different scenario. So, I'll look at it on film and study it and continue working on it.
Q: Did you feel as though there was a late hit on you on that slide?
A: I don't know. It's a situation that he was trying to make a tackle and I was going down, so I don't think it was malicious, but I'm not a referee.
Q: After Shep's (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard) touchdown, I think it was 31 to four offensive snaps for Denver and you guys were only out there for three times and then your kneel down at the end before you touched the ball again in the second half. Did you feel like you guys were on the sideline for as long as it actually was in real time?
A: Yeah, we've got to do a better job of sustaining drives early in the game and staying on the field. I think that was big. Sometimes the games are going to go like that and that's kind of just the rhythm of it. So, it's about understanding that and being able to adapt and make plays when we get out there.
Q: First time in front of fans in MetLife since the end of 2019, how frustrating and disappointing was it to have that kind of performance today?
A: Yeah, certainly disappointing. The fans showed up and brought a lot of energy, brought a lot of excitement and we've got to do a better job performing and playing well. We appreciate that and we're determined to get it right.
Q: You had a little bit of practice time with (Wide Receiver Kenny) Golladay and (Tight End Kyle) Rudolph. What was it like going to them in the game today?
A: It was good. I thought both those guys made some plays. Kenny stepped up there at the end and made a number of big catches, so I've got to do a better job finding him and making sure we're getting him the ball. We'll continue to work, continue to study ourselves and I think those two guys will be big for us.
Q: After the long pass to (Wide Receiver) Darius (Slayton) early in the game, you guys were set up in the Broncos territory. How harmful were the two back-to-back negative plays to put you out of field goal range and in a tough spot?
A: Anytime you have negative yardage plays, particularly right there in field goal range, those are crucial plays. That's on all of us to make sure we're executing those big plays. We'll continue to look at those things as we look at the whole game and correct it and move forward.
Q: As an offense, do you have to fight being discouraged by not seeing the points on the board if you're moving the ball at times? Is it hard not to be discouraged when you end up with seven or 13 or whatever it is?
A: Yeah, we certainly expect to score more points and expect to convert those opportunities in the red zone. I think as a group we're not going to get emotional about it or get too discouraged or down but look at actually what happened and what we can correct in certain situations to score those touchdowns. There's a number of things that we didn't do well and we're not going to let ourselves get emotionally down or disappointed as a group and understand we've got to come back for the game Thursday night.
Q: What did you see from (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley)?
A: I thought he played well. He got in and he ran the ball hard and had a couple of catches, so we'll continue to get him the ball and he'll be a big player for us.
Q: As him and Kenny kind of get up to speed coming off injuries, is Sterling kind of like a security blanket for you? It seems like late in the game you connected with him and you found him for the one touchdown. Is Shep kind of emerging as one of your go-to-guys as those guys kind of get up to speed?
A: I mean, we've got a number of guys who can make plays and he's certainly one of them. He stepped up and played really well tonight. He got open and caught the ball, made plays after the catch. He stepped up for us. We'll continue to spread the ball and get the ball to everybody, but he certainly played well.
Q: Did those late connections with Kenny, can that be a silver lining? Like kind of developing a rhythm with him and doing it in a game and seeing what you can do?
A: Yeah, I think that was valuable time to get out there and make some plays. Like I said, he played well and made a number of big plays there at the end and we'll continue to try to get him the ball.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: How'd your first game back feel?
A: Obviously we lost, so that's upsetting. But in hindsight, it's a blessing to be able to go back out there and play the sport I love and to be able to get back out there on the football field.
Q: How did you feel physically?
A: I felt pretty good. Got to knock some rust off, feel like I was able to do that some plays. I've got to go back, watch film and see what I could have done better.
Q: Do you feel that you got all the rust off? You had that drop in the second half there.
A: Yeah, that's just concentration. I took my eyes off trying make play. I've got to lock-in, make the catch and then do what I do.
Q: There was a screen pass and you kind of stumbled a little bit out of there. Do you look at that as a reminder that there's still a ways to go or how did you kind of look at that or do you think that's just something that happens?
A: I don't know. I've got to go back and watch the film. I know the exact play you're talking about with the screen. I made the first guy miss but I've got to find a way to stay on my feet. I don't think that's any indicator of my knee or anything like that. I guess that could be part of rust or probably overthinking it, so I don't want to do either. I don't want to overthink it. If it's part of rust, let it be. Let's go back, get ready to get going for Thursday night football.
Q: Did you take any hits or was there a play that made you feel good about how your knee felt first?
A: I mean, I took some shots to my knee, took some shots to my legs, got tackled. It's football. I wouldn't necessarily say when you get tackled, it feels good, but nothing alarmed me, I guess you could say. I guess that's a positive sign.
Q: Obviously, it's a short turnaround, what do you expect for Thursday night for you personally?
A: Once again, go back and talk to (Head) Coach (Joe) Judge, talk to the training staff, see how my knee responds and take it day by day.
Q: How do you feel physically coming out of the game?
A: I feel pretty good. It's not my normal workload. Usually, I'd probably have a lot more plays, but that's all I'm saying. Obviously, we didn't get the win. We've got go back, watch film, address it and get better for next week. But at the end of the day, it's a blessing that I was able to – it was a milestone for me, I guess that you could say. I put a lot of hard work to be able get to get back on the field and I was able to accomplish that. It just didn't go the way we would've liked. Great thing is there's 16 more of those things to come.
Q: Going into the game, was there any kind of like – they wanted to give you X number of touches or a cap on how many plays you played or just kind of go with the flow?
A: Kind of go with the flow. You never know how the game's going to end up, so yeah. I don't know if maybe they had a number in their head, but it could have been under, it could have been more, so we just went with the flow. I started getting a rhythm. I started feeling really good. Obviously, my competitive nature side came out and you want to be out there for every single play. There's some plays that I've got to make out there. I've got to be able to pick it up. I've got to get the run game going. I think that's something that we obviously lacked today, and we'll continue to take it one day at a time.
Q: How much do you feel like your body could have done more or do you think it was the right number for you?
A: I think my knee responded pretty well, so that's the only thing I could ask for. You never know. I've got to get some good rest tonight, go home, chill with the family, probably have a glass of wine, watch a movie, get some good sleep and see how my body reacts.
Q: What do you think is missing between your guys' belief that you guys can be a great offense and score a lot of points and the reality that even when you do sustain some drives, you're not seeing the results on the board?
A: I don't think that belief is a factor. I think we believe in each other. We believe in Coach (Offensive Coordinator Jason) Garrett. We believe in DJ (Quarterback Daniel Jones). We believe in myself. We believe in the offensive line, KG (Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay) and the list goes on and on. We just got to go out there and capitalize that's been the thing for the last, what I guess it's, wow, my fourth year? That's just what it's been. We have the talent. We have the players. (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan) kind of said it after the game, it was a lot of situations that the players, we didn't capitalize on it. Whatever the call is or whatever, we didn't capitalize. That's what we gotta do a better job (of). So when we get down in the red zone then we got down in the lower red zone and the red zone like three times or four times and came away with no points. So, we've got to change that.
Q: Beyond the health side, how do you actually feel you played today?
A: I've got to go back and watch the film before I can make a fair judgment on myself. Sometimes you think you might've missed something, and you go back and you're like, I listened to my body and my body told me the right thing to do. My body reacted right way. But I don't want the theme to be, 'oh, the run game's not going because Saquon's knee. He's still getting right back from his knee.' That's not the mindset I'm not going to have. I'm not going to use it as a crutch. The gig is up, I'm back on the field. Whenever I get my – obviously, hopefully week by week, my knee keeps responding properly and my rep count keeps going. But the amount of reps I do get and the amount of carries I do get, trying to get this run game going because once we get this run game going, I think we can be a very good offense.
Q: What do you remember from that very first hand-off, you got five yards. Did you have any butterflies or was it just excitement just knowing it's here, I got back here after all the surgery and blood sweat and tears?
A: I was more nervous early in the week when the conversations started happening, but when I woke up today, I had no nerves. At the end of the day, it's football. If anything, it was more excitement, just happy to be back out there. I know I put a lot of hard work, like you said, blood, sweat, and tears just to get to this moment, come out healthy also too out of the game. But it happened, I hit that milestone. I'm happy I was able to play in Week 1. That was a goal of mine to get out there and play Week 1 and try to help my team win. Now, it's actually getting out there and helping the team win.
Q: What were you nervous about? Was it whether your knee could hold up or taking that first hit? Or just playing football in general?
A: Playing football in general. That was kind of what it was like in the beginning of the week, and it was random. Like when we had the conversation, I was just like, woah. I came out to practice, like it just felt a little weird. I had a great practice though. I responded really well from it, but I don't know. It wasn't like a nerve, like a scared nerve. I guess you could say more anxious just to get out there, but as the week went on, I just realized that it's football. I've been doing this for a very long time, and at the end of the day I just look at it as we get paid a lot of money to go out there and play a sport I've been playing since I was a little kid. When the game came, when gameday came today and I got on the field – as I got closer to the stadium, I'm not going to lie, you see the fans, you see everything and you hear the crowd and everything, you get a little anxious. But when I got on there and we called the first play, I was locked in and I was ready, ready to go.
Q: I know it's only one game, but like you coming back, you guys made some big additions to the offense and you only put up 13 points, but is that just disappointing to have come out like that?
A: It's disappointing to lose at any time. I don't think it's any different if we put up 13 points, put up three points or we put up 38 points and lost, losing the game sucks. I think Coach Judge said it, great thing we have 16 games. Outside the fans, obviously, people are going to overlook it and the Week 1, and we know that just comes with the territory of playing in the NFL and playing in New York. We've got to learn from it. We've got to build off of it and we can use this as motivation to help us get better as an offense and get out there and put some more points up.
Q: The fact that you're going to Washington, a place where you guys have had some success, I know it's a psychological and a physical challenge this week on a short week, but can that help lift this team knowing that you're playing a division rival? You know it's a good team. You've had success against them and the reality in that going in there?
A: No, I think the fact that it's divisional rival definitely helps. Especially, if you see how the way the season ended last year for us and you know it's critical to win the divisional games critical. It's critical to win every single game. You've got to treat every game the same, but obviously, the division ones are a little more important. But I think it's just the matter of fact that we lost. We came out here, we left a lot of plays out there. We didn't capitalize on a lot of situations, offense, defense and special teams. I think it's going to be beneficial that we get another chance in four days. Usually, you've got to wait a whole 'nother week. Now, we get another chance in four days to go out there and put all that bad football we had Week 1 and learn from it and get better.
Q: Four days is really awkward coming back from a major injury, any doubt that you'd play in Washington?
A: Right now, just like I said, going to go home, see how my knee responds and take it day by day. God willing, the knee responds really well, and then when I come in and have the conversation again and see what the game plan is for the week.
Linebacker Blake Martinez
Q: Blake, obviously you make 150 tackles a season. What happened on that one there that allowed the touchdown?
A: Basically, it was kind of a scramble play, the guy came loose, and I was like, 'I'm going to go get him" and then I went for his legs and obviously he made a play and stayed up and made it in [into the end zone].
Q: Overall as a defense, they [the Broncos offense) were 10 of 18 against you guys on third and fourth downs. I mean, how backbreaking is it not being able to get off the field?
A: No, extremely backbreaking. I think we had a lot of chances. It came down to us just executing the play call, and we didn't do that. Obviously, they made us pay for it.
Q: At one point, I think they ran 31 or 34 snaps. It's kind of the same question, but just the inability to get them off the field on third downs and fourth downs, what were they doing that was allowing them to do that?
A: I mean, I'm going to have to look at the tape to see what actually happened, but I think overall it's going to come down to just execution on our part. Obviously, they made plays to keep it extended (the offensive drives). We just have to be better on those downs and get off of the field.
Q: Not that the offense gave you guys as much help. The time of possession was obviously very much in their favor, but as a defense, you guys expect to be much better than that, no excuses, right?
A: No, a hundred percent. I mean, it's three phases. We have to do our part when we go out there, we have to make the plays that we need to make and get off the field.
Q: Especially the excitement of it being the Home Opener and the opening of the season and everything, what does it feel like to see all of the [Giants] fans leaving the stadium midway through the fourth quarter?
A: I mean, at the end of the day, we're a team. It's us going out there. Obviously, the fans are part of it. We have to play better and keep it a game going through, but for us, it's us inside the locker room. We're going to go out there and do what we need to do, no matter who's there. Obviously, we played last year with no fans. It's just one of the things and you just have to keep fighting through.
Q: One of the repeat things that kept happening last year, even as you guys were a really good defense was scores right before the half. Was that kind of like deja vu?
A: No, a hundred percent. I mean, for us, we talked about it. We needed to make those plays. We have to be able to stand up, especially in the two-minute because that's a big momentum boost either way. Obviously, they came through and had the momentum boost going into halftime.
Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Q: Can you talk about what you saw in the offense today—the inability to keep drives alive?
A: Yeah, I mean, I thought we moved the ball great towards the end. We kind of got off to a shaky start. We've got to be able to convert on third downs. I mean, that's something that's bit us in the past and we've got to figure out what we got to do to be able to stay on the field. I mean that's huge for our defense, that's huge for our team.
Q: We know that this offense didn't score a lot of points last year. You had seven points until the final drive there. How do you not look at this as an extension of kind of what was going on last year in regards to scoring points?
A: It's a new team. We got to figure out a way to be able to put the ball in the end zone and that's the end of the story. Like you said, that's something that's been a problem in the past, but we got to move on from it. We've got a short week this week. We've got to be able to put that in the past and learn from it and we've got to figure it out. We've got a big divisional opponent coming up on Thursday.
Q: With (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) looking like he was, I don't want to say limited, but you could tell he was coming back from an injury and (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) coming back from an injury, with all your chemistry that you have with (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones), do you feel added pressure personally to kind of carry the offense?
A: No, I thought those guys did great. Kenny came up with some big catches and Saquon, on his first game back, I thought he did well, so those guys will gradually come along even more and, no, I don't feel any extra pressure. I'm going to go out there and do what I have to do every time and I know my guys are going to follow as well.
Q: (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) just said that when you wake up tomorrow it's already Thursday in this game week. How do you make sure that you guys put this on the side, focus and get ready?
A: I mean we just had to talk about it in the locker room; told everybody has to keep their heads up. We have a short week this week, so you've got to in this league, you have to be able to throw things away really quick and move on. If you let it dwell and you keep thinking about it and then you're not able to move on, move past it. So, guys have got to be able to throw it away and we got to move on and I'm sure everybody will do that.
Q: Is that easier said than done? Getting rid of a loss like this so quick?
A: It is and it isn't. You want to watch film and sometimes you go back and be like, I wish I would have done this better, but you just have to learn from it. And that's what I've gotten from my years playing is you just learn from some of the things that you did not well one week and correct them. You've got to correct things fast in this league.
Q: You guys were obviously excited to play for fans for the first time in a long time. They seemed to be supportive for as long as they could, but they were frustrated. Do you sense that and was there a frustration that you didn't give them everything that they wanted?
A: Yeah, I mean, it's tough. Like Coach Judge said, these people pay their hard earned money to come see winning football. I mean that's what this franchise is all about, is winning. That's what the history has been all about. So it's been frustrating the past few years and I understand the frustration. I mean, we're not happy about it as well. So, we got to dig our cleats in the ground and we've got to give the fans what they want. And yeah, it's frustrating. I hate seeing them have to leave the game early. That's something that I honestly really noticed. I'm locked into the game, but you can't help but see people lined up in the tunnels and it's no fun seeing that.
Q: You said Saquon looks great. What is it that you saw, and I'm know some people are going to differ with that. What did you see that said to you that you can see that he's his old self?
A: Coming off an injury like that, a lot of the stuff is mental and I didn't sense that he had any mental stuff going on. I felt like he hit the hole hard. He took some hits and that's what I wanted to see and he was able to bounce back up and keep on pushing. So, like I said, he'll gradually keep getting better and better. It's his first time out there in a long time, so I was just proud to see him out there and I'm really happy to be out there playing with him again.
Q: Do you guys as an offense need a game where you put up 30 (points) to know you can do it? How do you believe you can if you don't see the results?
A: We've just got to do it. I feel like we have it in us and we're capable of it. We've just got to practice every week and we've got to push and keep getting better. I know we're capable of it, everybody knows we're capable of it. We've just got to put it together and do it.
Q: Practice is important, but they always say, with full-speed out there, there's an adjustment between practice and games…
A: You practice how you play.
Q: Do you buy into that? And do you feel as though that limited preseason games may have caused this team to start off a little slower in spots?
A: We didn't have a preseason last year and teams did well around the league. I don't think that has anything to do with it. I think practice is a very important piece. You hear the saying, you practice how you play and I wholeheartedly believe in that and maybe that's what we need to look at. So, we'll get it corrected.
Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q: [What happened on] the third-downs and fourth-downs, Logan?
A: Yes, it happened at the start of the game, but we'll be all right. We didn't play well on third and fourth down and unfortunately, that extends drives and as you play more defense, bad things happen. We didn't make their defense play enough defense tonight. All the time of possession alone didn't win the game, but credit to them. They made some good catches and made some good plays. [Broncos QB] Teddy Bridgewater, I said it since the Rutgers [University] days, man, it was deja vu. He extends some plays, it's magical stuff at times, but we expect to be better and we will be. We have to keep playing together. It's Week 1 of the season, right? You want to win it, we wanted to win it really bad for the fans. Obviously, the score got out of hand at the end, but really, it's a couple of third and fourth down stops that determines points. You know, we want to stop them going into halftime. We didn't and then we didn't again coming out of halftime. That's really a big momentum swing and football that we want to get better at and that we will be better. I'm confident that if it comes down to the defense and if it comes down to the players on the defense, we'll get it fixed.
Q: Take me through the fumble and also take me through the replay on the field?
A: I'm always punching at the ball. I'm paid to create turnovers. I've been doing it my whole career, riding the waves of interceptions and forced fumbles and I was able to get it out and try to secure it in. It was a tough replay and I thought I got the one out with with Jeudy [Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy] as well. I didn't know where his knee was, hopefully he's okay with his leg and I wish him the best there. That was a tough collision, but you know, you win some and you lose some there. One of them did [go in the Broncos favor] so I'm going to continue to punch the ball out. I'm known for that in the League and I'll continue to try and create turnovers for the team.
Q: Logan, this defense was so good in those situations in terms of getting teams off of the field [last season], are you surprised?
A: It wasn't our standard. I mean, look, we were terrible early last year in a similar way on third and fourth downs. We have to be better, we have be better. Their first game was our first game. I believe their defense probably would have been bad too if they would have played longer, but they didn't. We just have to get off on those fourth downs. They went for it on fourth down a lot; they didn't punt, they didn't kick, they went for it and they made us pay for going for it. Extended plays, the pass-rush needs to be better and in the secondary, I mean, we have to be much better at what we do and I'm confident we can have that fixed and it's a different game if we get that, but credit to them.
Q: Why do you say that about their defense? Just because of early season defensive struggles?
A: Yes; early season football. You have to make guys pay. I don't think they were covering Shepard [Giants WR Sterling Shepard] too well. We just have to get our offense more touches on the ball more. I think our offense was moving the ball pretty well today and I just felt bad that we didn't get them a chance to play a lot. I think we got some explosive playmakers on the offense. I think they did a good job today. I just think this falls on the defense of not giving our offense enough touches. Like I said, put it on my back, put it on our back on the defensive side. That's how I prefer it. I'm confident that we can get it fixed, but it's a journey and it's a process. We need to make a jump to Week 2. I think the biggest jumps you make as a team is from Week 1 to Week 2. We have to watch the film and see how quickly we can improve in a short week.
Q: The fans hadn't seen a game here in almost two years, but disappointing to see them leaving early?
A: I mean, if the game's out of control, beat the traffic. Hopefully, it's not like that. That's not what we want. We want to play great defense, and we will. It just didn't happen today because of certain situations and certain plays. Those plays bounce a different way, it's different game, so I loved the energy today. The fans were amazing. They had it rocking. That was a lot of fun. They had me playing as the Energizer bunny today. We just have to be a little more detailed in our work. I think we will be.
Q: Was it just the cramps that sent you off there for a little bit?
A: Yes, some cramping. I was able to get back on, but I had some cramping there for sure.
Q: [What is] the challenge of the short week? Not just the short week, but it's a short week early on here in the season?
A: We get to play some football again. It's honestly a positive after a loss. You have to play quicker and we're excited for it. We have to monitor the [Washington Football Team] QB situation. Obviously, I heard about Ryan Fitzpatrick. I wish him the best, but we have work to do. We have work to do, but listen, man, this team is together, you don't have to worry about that. Unfortunately, we've been here before, but it's just one week in a season. It really doesn't define you. What we do this next game is going to be more of a defining factor in how we respond. I encourage everyone to tune in, be excited and put work in. I won't see my wife and kids as much as I want to this week. We have put it in [the work] on a short week, but she'll understand.
Check out the best photos from the Giants' season opener against the Denver Broncos.