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Quotes 12/4: Coach Joe Judge, FB Eli Penny, LB Jabaal Sheard

Head Coach Joe Judge

Opening Statement: Before we get started, I guess I'll just explain this ridiculous outfit I'm wearing. This is the consequence of losing a bet in a rivalry game with Evan (Engram). 

Engram: Hotty Toddy, baby.

Judge: He showed up just in time. Otherwise, he was walking around with a cowbell all week. It was one or the other. That being said, I'll open it up to any questions you guys have. 

Q: Nice outfit, it looks good on you actually. A guy we haven't asked you about on the Seahawks is Chris Carson. He made it back last week against the Eagles. What does he bring to that offense? Is he a guy that kind of flies under the radar?

A: I don't know how far under the radar he is. He's definitely a guy that everyone in the league knows about. I think this guy fits into really the identity of what the Seahawks have been as far as, I kind of look back and know them for the great running backs they've had there, starting with Marshawn Lynch and those guys. They've always been a downhill, aggressive, vertical run team. I think this guy fits into those schemes really well. He runs strong, he finishes his runs going forward, he's a tough guy, and he's kind of in that mold of wear you down over the course of the game. He gets stronger as the game goes on. Look, we're fully aware of who he is. Whoever thinks he's under the radar out there, to us, he's high on our radar. We know that he's a guy that we have to match up against. It's going to take everything we can to slow down that run game.  

Q: If I had asked you at the start of the year who your top four edge rushers were, it was probably (Lorenzo) Carter, Oshane (Ximines), Markus Golden and then Kyler Fackrell. You're going to be playing a couple weeks here without any of those guys. What do you see as your edge rush now? I don't want to say what's the confidence in those guys but what do you have to do to maybe make up for not having those top four guys anymore?

A: I think all the guys we have right here have given us a variety of weapons and ways that Pat (Graham) has really figured out how to use guys to their strengths and their skillsets. I'm happy with all the progress these guys have made. We've been able to make some in-season pickups with Jabaal (Sheard) and Trent (Harris) and these guys, and Cam (Brown) and Carter (Coughlin) are really coming around and really getting a feel for the position and the flow of the game and the speed of the game. We've found different ways of using other parts of our personnel to complement and be used on the edge in different packages. Again, I've been saying the entire year, it's truly what we believe. Whoever we have, we're going to play to their strengths, we're going to put them in a position to be successful. But the most important thing as a team and individually is improving week in and week out. I've seen every guy that we have on our roster show a level of improvement. Look, we don't want to see any of our players hurt. I wish we had every player out there all the time. The reality is we don't have them all available, but we have high confidence in who we do have available. I'm looking forward to getting them on the grass on Sunday.

Q: What are the keys to pass rushing against a guy like Russell Wilson or even some of the guys you have coming up, whether it's Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray?

A: First off, you have to play with great control and space and be able to tackle these guys. That's a lot easier said than done. They all have mobility, but they're all very different in how they move. These are all very different quarterbacks. They just bring the element of passing and running. I think the biggest thing with these guys is number one, you want to try to contain them and not let them out of the pocket. That being said, they find their way out of the pocket. When you get them in space, you have to make sure you play with leverage and all 11 on the field keep covering down the field or rushing the passer, whatever their responsibility is, because the biggest mistake you see with a lot of these guys is when Russell gets outside the pocket, people panic and they run forward trying to tackle him. All of a sudden, he has a free runner going down the field. He's not going to miss an open man. In terms of playing these guys, the biggest thing we talk to our guys is you can't blink. You can't think any play is a play off. That doesn't exist with these guys. Every play, whether it's a quick game pass or some kind of direct run or maybe the zone read runs that they run offensively, these quarterbacks are always at the point of attack. You have to always do a good job making sure you play with your leverage, your responsibility. If you're a rusher, you rush. If you're a cover guy, you cover.   

Q: I know you spent a lot of time watching Daniel (Jones) at the start of practice yesterday. What did you see from him?

A: I thought he threw the ball well. Obviously, we didn't want to go ahead and open him up too much yesterday, really being just a couple of days into kind of moving around. But he threw the ball well. I saw a lot of good velocity and very good accuracy. We talked in terms of how he felt on different things, different movements. But look, I think this guy is doing everything he can to get on the field. Again, we're checking with the trainers, seeing how much progress he made on their end today. We'll see him a little bit on the grass today in terms of how he's with the team, and we'll make decisions really a little bit after the (practice), and we'll also see how he feels going out there after a long flight to Seattle. 

Q: Are you saying he's out for Sunday? You said after the game.

A: I'm absolutely not saying that. I'm sorry, I meant after practice. I meant after practice. We'll see how he does in practice today and after our flight. 

Q: Would you need to see him go through a full, hard practice to play him, or does he have enough in the reservoir that if he tells you on Sunday 'I feel good,' you can play him?

A: I think there's a mix of we need to do enough with him at practice to make sure that he can go back there and operate and have the mobility to protect himself and be able to move in the pocket, get the ball thrown away, pull it down to run if we need to. Then you have to trust how he says he feels. Now, to be honest with you, the dangerous thing with Daniel is he's going to always tell you he feels great. He doesn't want to not be out there with the team. We have to really trust our eyes more so than our ears when we're dealing with Daniel because he's definitely a competitor.

Q: Just thinking about their receiving core, of course, you talked earlier this week about DK Metcalf. But they have Tyler Lockett on the other side, their tight ends are pretty productive. How taxing is this receiving core in particular compared to some of the others around the league?

A: I think their skill group as a whole, from the receivers to the tight ends to the backs, every one of these guys is a threat in the passing game. I mean every one of them. The tight ends do a really good job of blocking, they do a great job of setting up play actions where they kind of come off, they slant or they slip out for open routes. But these guys are all very talented, very capable. They all have good hands and they have a great feel for playing with Wilson, the way he extends plays in terms of finding that second route they're going to run or staying with the initial route and getting open. They've done a tremendous job of that. The backs are really good as far as screens with getting out of the backfield fast on empty protections. You have to have a presence of mind on those guys at all times. The receiving core, look, they're all weapons. You have to just understand how they use guys differently and what they're looking to do within their game plan. But that being said, every play out there, they have a group of skill players that can all go ahead and hit home runs. There is no one guy to focus on. This is a true team and we have to make sure we protect and defend against everybody. 

Q: Jerome (Henderson) talked earlier this week about defending the deep ball versus Russell Wilson. Obviously that is a huge key. Did you look to do anything in practice this week to throw extra passes deep?

A: Anyone we play, you always want to go ahead and identify what are the key things you have to defend against those players. Make sure you can take care of those first. Everyone has a lot of different weapons, but you have to take care of the main things they do. You talk about Russell Wilson, you've got to be ready for him to scramble, ready to extend the plays. Make sure you cover throughout and consistently. Make sure you play with leverage and contain the whole pocket. In terms of specifically to the deep balls, that's definitely an area we focused on this week. We always do deep ball drills on a weekly basis. We definitely got a healthy share this week on a daily basis. We'll get in more today as well. We use different guys, (Clayton) Thorson is throwing the ball down the field. Riley Dixon is a guy with a really big arm who can chuck it down the field and let our guys play. The emphasis of it really is sometimes early in the week you do that full field, they have to carry the entire route. Work down there on a body and then locate the ball. Later in the week, you can start deeper down the field and just work on them on the back end part of the play of locating the ball and judging it in the air. That's a bigger part of it than you think. It's not just simply okay the ball is in the air, go get it. You've got it locate it, judge the ball, track it. Put yourself in position to defend against the receiver going up for it. Then also high point the ball and try to give yourself a chance to either break the pass up or come down with it yourself. That's definitely been an emphasis for us in terms of how we're practicing. That's through the individual periods. It's also been something we've extra. Whether it's the offense is having a period, and we grab a couple of the defensive backs who aren't working on the service team. Take them on a separate field and whether it's Thorson coming over and throwing a couple passes before he comes back to get his reps or whether is Riley Dixon really throwing that thing deep. Letting them get a feel for that ball in the air. 

Q: Just a few Covid related questions. Is Cam Brown a concern for Sunday? Or is it more of a guy who has symptoms but you have to keep him out for a day?

A: Yeah, I'd say he's been cleared on that list today. He'll be in the building, he's in the building right now with us. He'll be on the field today practicing. We had to take precautions. Anyone at this point that comes up with any kind of symptoms, we encourage our players and they've done a really good job. If they have symptoms they communicate with Ronnie (Barnes) talk it through. They've gotten the rapid test back and then also they have to stay overnight to make sure before we bring them in the building, they've gotten the PCR test cleared as well. And he has been tested multiple times before coming in today. We made sure he wasn't really a threat as far as the Covid related stuff. He'll be in the building and practicing with us today. 

Q: Matt Peart, Kaden Smith, Dante Pettis, do you see them physically recovered from their long quarantine? I know you're keeping some players separate from the team. Are you keeping any coaches separate from the team or is that different because you have to have them at practice?

A: The coaches element, we're not keeping any coaches separate from practice. What we are doing in the building is we're actually doing a lot of meetings through Zoom when we're in the building and keeping guys kind of in their individual offices. When we have staff meetings, I'll try to do a skeleton crew and make sure we kind of hit the necessary points. The coordinators and a couple of their assistants communicate with their sides of the ball so we're keeping less people in rooms. In terms of at practice, we have all the coaches coaching at all times. If something were to happen with any coach, we've got a progression. We have a plan in place for each coach to be, not replaced, but for someone to take over their role. In terms of the players, we have kept several guys away from the team. (Inaudible). Today will actually be a day where we bring all the players in for practice. We're bringing everybody on the grass, move them around. The players that have been kept away on, call it the emergency list, make sure they get one day on the field moving around with our guys. That being said, we have our masks on at practice. We've got those clear shields on the helmets as well. We're keeping our guys spaced out at practice to make sure there's not that much crossover. There's guys like (Carson) Tinker and (Ryan) Santoso from the specialists, they are going to come and they are going to get their work in kickoff periods and punt periods. They're not going to have too much contact with the rest of the team. They will be on their own field doing most of the stuff until they have to come over and work with the team. After that point, we will let them kind of go off. We'll get the rest of their work independently, get a lift in and get out of here. There's kind of a fine line you walk right there. You want to have everybody here because you really want to develop every player, that's really the priority. I've got to kind of balance that line of not keeping players out of here enough where it stunts their growth as a player. At the same time, we have to thin out these numbers enough that the meeting rooms are not as populated. We limit the contact we have overall. Limit time in the locker room. That will balance in the weight room to make sure we don't have a lot of guys that are packed in. We're doing everything we can. While it's frustrating for coaches and players not to have everybody here for every meeting, every practice. We're working through Zoom, we're having individual period practice after the majority of the team leaves for the guys who are on that quarantine list if you would. We're doing everything we can to keep progressing and developing every player on the team.

Q: How has Colt (McCoy) looked in practice this week? What's the plan with Alex (Tanney)? How close is he to coming through the protocol?

A: As far as Alex, he won't be officially cleared until Saturday. We'll take him to Seattle with us and keep him in the fold. In terms of if we needed him if something happened in the last minute, activate him. Colt's had a good week of practice. He's working hard. Colt's got a lot of experience. He doesn't really miss a beat. He gets in there, it's like riding a bike for this guy. He gets in there and he competes. Everything is very, very competitive with Colt. He goes in there, especially offense versus defensive period, we're making it competitive. He gets a lot of the juice flowing there throughout the team. He's not afraid to mix it up and talk a little smack with the guys. It's fun seeing him operate.

Fullback Eli Penny

Q: Why are you as an offense so effective in short yardage situations, particularly when you're on the field? What's clicking for you and the offense in those goal or fourth and one, third and one situations?

A: I think those situations in a ballgame are all about mentality, all about want to, and all about just beating your man one on one. When we're out there, I think the coaches install, they do a good job of just harping on that area of the game. Being physical, beating your man one on one, and just having that want to and the grit to convert the situation. 

Q: As a fullback and a guy who likes contact, initiates contact, do you like the way this offense has evolved into a way to try to punish opposing defenses and be a ball-control offense?

A: Yeah, definitely. Like you said, just being a fullback and a dude who likes contact, who wants to initiate the hit, definitely. Especially like you said earlier, in those situations in the game, third down, fourth down, nut-cutting time, being physical and converting, everybody on the offense is like that, including the offensive line and tight ends. Yeah, I love my role in this offense. 

Q: When you're at practice and you're going through your drills and the team drills and the indy drills, and your starting quarterback is over on the side with the trainers in the building, do you sneak peaks over there and see, 'let me just see how he looks. Let me just see how he's doing'?

A: Yeah, I think that's just kind of natural. I think everybody does, just to see how he's doing and how he's progressing with his rehab and stuff, especially with a player like Daniel (Jones). He puts us in situations to win ball games every week. Yeah definitely. It's just always kind of like, when you're at practice or whatever, just look to see how he's doing. 

Q: How's Colt (McCoy) been this week? Could you tell he's a veteran? Has he gotten on guys when guys messed up? Any stories you can tell us from practice about kind of Colt taking the reins this week?

A: You can definitely tell he's a veteran, he's been around, he's been in this offense, you know what I'm saying? The way he uses his terms and how he communicates with his players and stuff like that, it definitely shows his veteran leadership. Yeah, he started at practice. Then once he got in, it was like we kind of never missed Daniel because he's always been right there, right behind Daniel, in the meeting room, answering questions fast. I feel like we all have trust in Colt. 

Q: You have some NFC West in your veins from earlier in your career. What's it going to be like playing Seattle in an empty stadium?

A: That's going to be crazy just because how loud it usually gets in the stadium. I guess we can use it to our advantage without the fans being there, because Seattle is the type of team that they feed off the 12th man being there. Yeah, without their fans being there, we're going to try our best to take advantage of that situation and just go in there and get out of there with a W.

Q: What do you think of the team's, a lot of times on fourth down and short and stuff, you'll try to draw a team offsides and then use a timeout and things like that. As a fullback, as a guy who wants to get the ball there, and you talked about that a little earlier, what do you think of those situations?

A: Obviously, I always want the ball in those situations because I feel like I'm just going to convert it. I make it simple for myself. It's just get one yard. That's it. That's not that hard to do. In those situations, I feel like I'm the perfect guy and I always want the ball in those situations. Like I said, it's just a mindset type of thing. Beating your guy one on one, the want to, the will, nut-cutting time, just do your job and convert the first down. 

Q: They talk about for running backs, for guys carrying the ball all the time, they talk about guys getting into a rhythm. Is it the same for a fullback? Is it hard for you when you're playing five snaps, seven snaps, is it hard for you to come in and hit your keys and do the things that you need to do?

A: Yeah, it's kind of like the same thing with the runner. You have to find your rhythm a little bit, especially for a guy like myself. I like reading the plays like I'm the runner, and it happens just a tick faster because at fullback, you're usually five yards away from the line of scrimmage as opposed to being seven yards away. It definitely hits faster. But yeah, you have to have that rhythm, you have to have the steps. But I usually like talking to the running backs so they kind of already know what I'm going to do before I even do it. So, we're on the same page all the time really. 

Q: When Saquon (Barkley) goes down in Week 2, I think everyone thinks the run game is kind of doomed. Why do you think you guys have been able to find so much success?

A: I think just as of late, our coaches, Coach (Burton) Burns and Steve (Brown), they're on us every day about hitting our landmarks, having our timing right, being in the right spot, things like that. We didn't have an offseason, no OTAs, no preseason, so obviously, we're going to come out of that a tick slower. But I like the way that we've progressed as the weeks went on. We just continue to get better because we're coached on the things we need to be coached on, like being in the right spots and being in the right landmarks and perfect timing and stuff like that. 

*Q: I heard your brother is close but he's not playing this week. How much of a bummer is it that you're not going to get to face off against him? *

A: I wish he was ready to go. But he'll be alright. He practiced this week but he's not ready to go. But I wish he was. 

Q: I know you only overlapped with (Damon) 'Snacks' Harrison for about a month here, right?

A: Yeah, about a month, yeah.

Q: Just curious any practice battles that went on where you had to come up into the hole and see him? Between he and Bobby Wagner, I would imagine you're going to see a lot of Wagner on Sunday if you get in there. What's that going to be like?

A: I don't think it's going to be any different than any other… Football to me, like I said earlier, is simple. It's a simple game. Everybody puts on the same pads, puts on the same helmet, so it doesn't matter about the last name or what you did in your career. Me personally, I'm going to go in there and give it 110 percent. I'm rarely rattled by my opponents, so I'm not too worried about that. 

Q: You've been a core special teamer basically since you got here. I'm just wondering what has that done for you in terms of helping you improve as a fullback and as a runner?

A: That's a good question. It definitely added value to myself. But I kind of use the same mindset I have on special teams, and I bring it to my mentality of playing fullback because when you're going down on special teams, you can't run slow, you can't be timid, you can't be afraid to initiate contact. With that mindset I have on special teams, I just bring it to the offensive side of the ball and try to be as productive as I can with it. 

Q: Does that also help with angles and stuff like that?

A: Yeah. Football, like I said, it's the same thing, same schemes. On kickoff, you might have a kickoff block. On offense, you might have the same kind of kickoff block. I just bring the same type of mentality that I have on special teams, and then just bring it to offense and like I said, just be productive with it. You all have a lot of questions for the fullback. I appreciate you all. This is really good, I appreciate you all. It's important. 

Q: You must be big time. They put a fullback on the podium, this is like a first maybe ever. How much has the offense changed and shifted? We see your playing time increase, right? Do you view it as the offense becoming more run heavy? Have you seen that development over like, I don't know what are we in Week 13, like somewhere maybe in the middle of the season?

A: I feel like we've always been a run heavy type of offense. I just think that we're doing it with a different personnel group. It's just different type of personnel on the field. We were always trying to establish our run game. Like I said, it's going to take a little time being the fact that we didn't have OTAs or preseason. But I think we always tried to be a run heavy-type team. Now, we're just doing it out of a different personnel and things like that. 

Q: Now you're just a power running team I guess?

A: There you go, power running team.

Linebacker Jabaal Sheard

Q: It seems like it's Jabaal and the kids in the outside linebackers' room now.

A: (Laughing) Don't make me feel so old. It's a great group of guys. I don't feel old at all. I just feel like I'm spreading knowledge. 

Q: What's the season been like for you? It seems like with the injuries, you are going to be counted on even more.

A: I'm still getting a feel for it. Obviously, missing the first half of the season. Embracing it, feeling at home. Enjoying the football environment again. Being around a great group of guys. I love the energy here. Everyone is hungry here. Guys want to play football. Looking for answers, asking questions. It's been fun. 

Q: Has there ever been a time in your career where you have seen something like this? The top four guys when the season opened for the Giants are not going to be in uniform for the next three weeks. Markus Golden was traded, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane (Ximines) and (Kyler) Fackrell are on IR. Guys who weren't even on the roster in Week 1 are the starters now. Have you seen something like this?

A: In my ten years, I can't quite say I have. We all know in football it's always about the next man up and always being ready for your opportunity. It's tough with football and obvious not having the offseason this year. A lot of guys, a lot of injuries, things happen. In football, we always have to be prepared and ready to go whenever your number is called. In the outside linebacker room, we have a great group of guys that all want to eat. Young guys, young talented guys. At any given time, they are able to make a play.  

Q: What were you doing Week 1 before you signed with the Jaguars? Did you watch Week 1 on your couch at home?

A: Yeah, I did. I was in south Florida just being a dad. Living the norm life, I guess. Which hasn't been so normal for me. I've been in football in August/September since I can remember. It was different being in South Florida, I was back home and, on the couch, watching football. In my head, knowing I kind of missed it, I missed football. I knew I would have the opportunity to help a team. I'm just happy I'm here and able to help guys out. 

Q: What's chasing Russell Wilson like? I don't know if you've done it somewhere in the past in your career. A guy like him, what principals are important?

A: Just staying after him. He's a guy that's going to make plays. He's going to run around. It's just staying after him, staying a ball hawk. We know this guy is dangerous. He's going to run around and create plays downfield for his guys. Being here and seeing the secondary, they do so well covering. If we can just keep him in the pocket as much as possible and keep him from running around as much as possible. I think it will give us a great chance.  

Q: You've got more than 50 sacks (52.5) in your career. You ever have one like you did at the end of the game last week, that was really a game ender?

A: I have. Those are very rare. Special moments when your number is called, and you actually get the opportunity to make the play. It was a great feeling. It's one that always brings you back. I think there is no better feeling as a defensive guy.  

Q: You've been in the league a long time. How hard was it for you to have to take a practice squad job to stay in the league this year?

A: It was humbling, I'll be honest. It was very humbling. You go through the workout, and I have never done a workout either in free agency. It was very humbling. Practice squad, I just knew I had to get on the field and prove myself. That was my mindset. Obviously, being on the couch, you kind of didn't really want to just jump right back into it. I kind of wanted a few reps. I think every football player goes through it. I don't know what the reps are going to be, I want to get a feel for it. Can I still do it? After a few practice reps, I think I was ready. I'm glad I'm here. 

Q: Have you heard from Justin Tuck at all about wearing his number?

A: When I got here, that was the biggest pressure. You're giving me this number, it's one of the greats that was here with the Giants. I had the same pressure in Indy with 93 (Dwight Freeney). That was another monster. I haven't, but I'm honored to wear the number. I'm just going to make the best out of it. Rock out as a G-man.

Q: What does it mean to this defense that two of the biggest plays were made by you who came on late to this team. Niko (Lalos), who had the interception obviously, off the practice squad. What does that say about this defense and the way it's constructed?

A: Be ready when your number is called. We all practice hard. We all go out there and give our all in practice. You just never know when your number is going to be called. Niko is a guy that we didn't know was going to get reps. We didn't know how the week was going to go. I think Niko actually went in because Fack was down. Maybe it was his second play and he just laid out and made a play. It's crazy how your number is called, and you are able to answer. Heck a job by him.

View photos from Giants practice as they gear up for Week 13 vs. Seattle.

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