Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: Have you spoken to Daniel (Jones) about what happened on Friday night? What was your reaction? What, if any, discipline do you plan to hand down for that?
A: Yeah, I've spoken to all of the individuals involved as well as the entire team on what happened this past weekend. We're going to deal with things internally. The only thing I'm going to say on that is this group of guys has been very responsible from the very beginning. They've tried to do the right thing the entire time. Based on the conversations and the information I've gathered from our players, I believe they were trying to do the right thing as teammates with going out and having dinner together the other night. We have to make sure that we're just conscious as an organization in everything we do. But anything else on top of that, we're going to deal with internally.
Q: You've had a chance in every game this year except for maybe the 49ers game. Is part of the challenge with this team learning how to win and believing they can win?
A: Again, I don't see the obstacle with believing they can win. I see these guys have confidence in each other as a team by the way they work on a daily basis and attack each game. I've said it before but I'll say it again, the learning how to win to me is really more about learning how to execute for 60 minutes consistently throughout the game. Really, it's the sum of what you do throughout the game that that leads to the totals right there. We've had opportunities, we have to make sure we make more of them. We have to clean up some mistakes that have put us behind in the past. Look, we have to maximize every chance we get out on the field. These guys have competed, they've improved as a team every week. I'm proud of the way they fight, I'm proud of the way they prepare on a weekly basis. I love the way they play for the man next to them. I'm very proud of this group. But at the same time, we have to improve as a group by cleaning up some mistakes. We have to do a better job coaching, and we have to execute for 60 minutes on the field.
Q: I just want to clean up one thing from last weekend. Are there any injuries that came out of the game?
A: Some normal bumps and bruises. I don't think anything really significant. Today will be the first time for us to put guys on the field. We expect to have everybody out there in some capacity moving around. We had the benefit of having that long weekend after Thursday, and then the long week heading into Monday, so that should help with a couple of the bumps and bruises going forward.
Q: I have to ask you the question I get about five times a day on Twitter. Do you have any update on Xavier McKinney?
A: You know what, he's doing a really good job in his rehab. I know the trainers are pleased with the progress he's making. Obviously, everyone is on their own individual timetable, but I do know I see him in the weight room making progress. This guy's in good spirits. He does a tremendous job for us in meetings, staying engaged, staying up on scouting reports of other teams. We give him some projects internally to make sure he improves his own football IQ in terms of how to look at the other teams, that he's mentally preparing and mentally advancing while he can't physically be on the field for us. But him, along with all the other guys that are on that IR basis, they're doing a good job working, doing everything the trainers ask them to and they're making daily improvement. We'll see where he is in terms of the long-term, getting him back on the field. We're all very optimistic and eager to get him back on the grass.
Q: I just want to go back to that video for a second. Are you saying the optics of it were something that maybe were not good, but the actual reality of what they did was fine?
A: I'm not going to go into all of the different things of the optics and all. I'm just going to say these guys, look, we have to make the right decisions. I think what they try to do as a team on a night off, kind of assimilate a bye week if you would, go out to dinner and try to hang together as a team, that's something they were looking to do, kind of stay tight with each other. I've had a lot of in-depth conversations with the guys involved, as well as the rest of the team. They understand kind of the consequences of anything you do right now in this COVID environment, as well as the public eye, of how they're looked at and how we have to be careful. We have to make sure we make the right decisions.
Q: There was a little something in that video, I don't know if you saw it, with Saquon (Barkley) on a bicycle. What was your reaction to that? Obviously, he's going to have surgery soon.
A: I'm not going to comment on anything specific on that. Saquon is out in LA readying for surgery. Actually, riding a stationary bike has been part of his rehab prepping for surgery. In terms of Saquon and where he's at, I know he's getting ready for the surgery right now. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with him.
Q: Just one quick follow-up. With Saquon and Daniel, obviously, these are two faces of your franchise, very important guys. From what they did, there's nothing that you see from this that you look at and you say, 'this really did not paint us in a good light'?
A: We're just going to deal with everything internally right now in terms of that part of the situation.
Q: I'm sure you'll give us a complete overview of the Bucs a little later in the week, but just in terms of Tom (Brady), you worked with him for a long time, alongside him. What do you see from him right now? Is there anything you can sort of draw from your experiences with him to now maybe use against him?
A: This guy is clearly one of the best to ever play the game. He's playing at a very high level. You watch Tom, obviously, I had a little bit different of a chance this weekend being home for a little bit, working from the house, of peaking at the TV and seeing Tom out there playing. That, along with the coaching tape I've watched, this guy hasn't had much drop off. He's playing at a very high level. He has the guys around him playing at a high level as well. One thing about Tom is he's a very intelligent player. He thinks ahead of the play, he's always looking for answers, he's very proactive in how he sees the game, he understands the personnel on the other side extremely well. He's been in all of the situations, however you slice it up, as many times as you can possibly imagine, whether that's through practice or games. This guy is fluent in football. Look, he's a great player. I think the thing you have to always keep in mind with Tom is he's as tough and fierce a competitor as there has ever been in any organized sport. This guy really is truly one of the great ones. Look, it's going to be a little bit different being on an opposite sideline from him this time. But it's a great challenge and look forward to seeing him on the field.
Q: What was that relationship like, especially you being the wide receivers coach? Essentially, he has been around longer than you, he's older than you. What was that dynamic like and the relationship in general?
A: I thought we had a good relationship. I thought everyone in that building really kind of fed off each other and had good relationships. Everyone understood everyone had a job to do. Every player had a role, every coach had a role. We came to work every day and our focus was being successful in our role to help the people next to us do their job as well as possible. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tom. I learned a lot of ball being around him. How he sees it through a player's perspective. The things that come up in a game and how he handles it. Hearing the way he kind of picks receivers' brains throughout a practice or things he may see pre-snap. I got a lot of knowledge just listening to him talk to other guys on the team. To me, one of the most beneficial things was you could go in during training camp and you put on the one on one period, receivers versus DB's. A lot of times you run it as a coach, there would be other times where we would let the players go ahead and do it. You would let Tom go in there and talk to the receivers about what he's seeing and what he expects on a certain route. To me, that made you a much better coach by listening to how the quarterback sees it and what he expects on each route. To me, there's fine points in coaching but ultimately it matters how the players see it on the field. To be able to hear through the vision that Tom had, that was really an education in itself right there. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He was a ton of fun to be around. You really got to see one of the great competitors on a daily basis. Not only how he performed but more importantly how he prepared. I think that's some of the things that gets overlooked. It's not accidental this guy is playing this late in this timeline. Being 40 plus years old and still playing at this high level. The things that people don't see aren't the time on the field. The thing that people don't see are the hours and hours behind, where he's in the training room longer, he's stretching, he's getting nutrition, the way he takes care of his body meticulously. He set the tone for an entire organization. I'm very grateful for my time being around him.
Q: Obviously, we know the number one goal is winning and you're not happy with the record. I would assume the secondary goal here with so many second- and third-year guys is player development. Are you happy with the way all your second- and third-year guys are developing? Do you feel like you have the foundation in place with all these young players despite the record?
A: When I look at this team long term and I have a vision for this team, I know where this team is going to go. I believe we're fully on track and I'm proud of all the players and the way they work. The culture we're building, the foundation we're laying right now, I see improvement across the board from all the players on a daily basis. The way they come to work and the way they fight on a weekly basis is what we're looking for. To me, there is always a big picture perspective you've got to keep in mind. To me, when I look down the road and I have my vision for what this team needs to be, how we need to work to be there, how we have to play for each other collectively and the foundation we have to lay, there are a lot of things that are getting accomplished. That being said, we're still playing for wins. We're not asking the fans to go ahead and be happy with mediocre results. We want to go out there and we want to win for the fans, we want to win for this organization. Our players work hard every week to have tangible results. I see improvement, they see improvement. We also understand as an organization, we have to do better to give ourselves the opportunities to finish all the games we've been in. Our guys have shown they can fight for 60 minutes, that they can play through adversity, they can play in comeback situations. We can get a lead, we have to fight to maintain and capitalize on those leads. There's a lot of progress I see on a daily basis and on a weekly basis. I know we're a better team today than we were 10 days ago. I know we're a better team today than we were in Week 1. I know we're a better team today than we were in training camp. So is every other team, so we have to keep making progress and developing long term. When you look at the players we're building with, I see a lot of progress and I see us moving in the right direction.
Cornerback James Bradberry
Q: Just regarding kind of on the other side of the ball with Evan Engram, I just wonder what do you see in him as a talent? Obviously, he had that tough drop the other night. As a teammate, what do you guys do to kind of maybe say, 'hey, that wasn't all on you' or whatever. Obviously, the defense didn't finish the job down the stretch either.
A: As a player, you see a phenomenal talent. Physical, big body guy that can run. That's one thing that separates him from the rest of the tight ends in the league, that he can run. He's very fast. Just as a teammate, what you would tell him, I've been there before. I missed out on plays here and there in my career over the past four years. You just have to fight back. You have to keep your head in the game, keep that confidence within you. There were several plays throughout that Philadelphia game that we should have made on defense that we let go. The game should have never been in that position in the first place.
Q: Just curious, Coach Judge here has made a big point about following the rules, being accountable to each other in this strange year. I'm wondering if you had any issue with the video of some teammates out on Friday night? Have you gone out at all on your own away from the building?
A: I heard about the video. I haven't watched it myself. I really don't want to put my energy and time towards that because I know what type of guys they are. I know they go about their business everyday handling it like a pro. I'm going to let the coaches and whoever upstairs handle that situation.
Q: It was announced earlier today that Chris Godwin has a broken finger, probably won't play Monday night. But they have Scotty Miller, this kid Tyler Johnson. I'm just wondering if you had a chance to look at those guys on tape? If so, what do you see they bring to that passing game?
A: I've seen Scotty Miller quite a bit on tape. Athletic, fast guy. He can take the top off a defense, so you definitely have to be on the lookout for him. Very explosive. They also have Mike Evans, Tom Brady, they have a good running back duo in the backfield. They have other pieces to their offense that they can attack you with. You have to be on your Ps and Qs when any of those guys step on the field.
Q: Why is this defense struggling in the final two minutes of halves, particularly in the second half the last couple of games? What could be done to change that situation?
A: I think we're struggling with penalties. I know I had a penalty in one of the last two minute drives that was critical. I guess mental breakdowns. Any time you're out of place and you're not in the right spot that you're supposed to be in, you have to chalk it up to a mental breakdown within your mind. Just coming in today, watching the mistakes that we made against Philadelphia, and just try to correct them and try to make sure it doesn't happen again. Just keep practicing over and over until you get it down.
Q: I know you kind of relish the opportunity that's presented by the game plan every week, but you mentioned Evans before. You obviously have a history traveling with him and experiences. When you go into a situation like this, if that is the assignment that you end up having to take, how much of is it mental recall? How much do you dig into your previous relationship and matchups against a specific receiver, because I would imagine this is really the first time this has come up this year? Just curious from that perspective.
A: I'm still breaking down film and the coaches are still breaking down film, so I think the offensive scheme might be a little bit different. I have to prepare for that by watching film. But I feel like Mike Evans, he's the same guy that he was a year ago, two years ago. Big, physical guy, plays well through press coverage because he's a strong, physical guy. He's 6-5, 230 (pounds), I think, 220, long arms. I think his best attribute is he's able to go up there and attack the ball at the highest point. Just an elite receiver overall. A lot of it is just mental recall from the past experiences when I played him when it comes to pressing him, when he gives his release off the line, stuff like that.
Q: I know we've asked you previously in terms of going to the coaches and whether or not you're pitching 'hey give me this guy this week, that week.' But when this challenge comes across your desk every week, do you like that? Do you like kind of going, whether you're on the number one guy one week or however they're using you to this point, it seems like it's fitting your game pretty well this year?
A: As a corner and as a competitor, you definitely look and you relish those matchups where you're asked to go against a certain guy you know is an elite receiver. But any time you go into a game and you have the opportunity to play against a great quarterback like Tom Brady, you also relish that opportunity. Just try to make the most out of your opportunities. You try to get an interception, you try to get pass defenses, you try to get forced fumbles. Whatever you can do, just try to make a game-changing play throughout the game.
Q: Obviously, the team results have not been good so far. I just kind of wonder how you would assess how you've played this year, what your expectations were and kind of where you feel you're at right now?
A: I think I'm playing pretty good. I feel like I could play better. I left some plays out there against Philly, I'm sure I left some plays out there in the past games that we lost as well. I look at the plays that I missed out on more so than the plays that I made. Those are things that I look forward to trying to make up for later down the road against Tampa, or against Philly or Washington when we get to play those guys again. Just try to make up for the plays that I missed on earlier.
Q: If you can say, what are maybe a couple of the plays that stick in your craw a little bit?
A: I got that penalty against Philly. I know when we played San Fran, I gave up an over route. Against Washington, I probably could have made a game-changing play in that game as well. Every game I feel like there's an opportunity for each one of us on the field to make a game-changing play. It's just about us studying film, knowing when that play comes up, and when the opportunity comes, just make the most out of it.
Safety Nate Ebner
Q: You're going up against a familiar opponent with the quarterback this week. What have you seen from him so far in his new uniform?
A: It's Tom Brady at the end of the day. Obviously, I played with him a while. I know he's a great player, he continues to be great. He's going be a very tough opponent to prepare for as he's been all these years.
Q: Is there anything you can bring from your experiences with him in New England that might help this defense get ready for him?
A: I know Tom as a person and played with him quite a bit, but every year brings a new year. We're going to have to prepare for not just him but a plethora of other great players and a great team. We're going to have to take this year for what it is and prepare of the Buccaneers of 2020.
Q: With all the craziness that's gone on this season, is it disappointing when guys go out and they get photographed with their masks off and things like that?
A: I'm not really here to speak to that. Today we had a really good practice. I'd love to talk about our preparation for the Buccaneers. I'm focusing on right now, which is what can we do to win this game. We've obviously had a rough go at it and left a lot of opportunities out on the game field on Sundays to come away with a win. We're trying to do what we can right now to come out with the outcome that we've worked so hard for. That's really where our focus is at, especially mine. Preparing for tomorrow so we can do better on Sundays.
Q: Coach was talking earlier about this team laying a foundation for the future. You mentioned you guys haven't won enough games. You've been part of some good teams. Do you see signs that there is a good foundation being laid here and that this team could be pointed in the right direction pretty soon?
A: Yeah, at the end of the day, it comes down to winning football games. We can say what we want about the work we put in, but ultimately, we're just trying to get the outcome that we strive for. Everything that's happened up to this point is out of our control and it's behind. All we can control is what we have going forward and that's what we try to continue to do every week. Obviously, it's been disheartening with some of the results, but I can tell you that the work is to the maximum every week and it continues to be so. Guys really want to get the outcomes that we work so hard for. I can speak to that, the guys in this locker room, there's no quit on this team. Guys are fighting hard for each other. Like I said, we're going to work each day to get better. Right now, our focus this week and really tomorrow is to get better. That's we can control.
Q: Last week the special teams had some rough patches there. As one of the leaders of that special teams unit, what kind of message do you give to your teammates about shaking that off, learning from it and moving ahead?
A: Like I have been saying, this whole team, really all we can focus on is what we have going forward. Everything that's happened up to this point, it's kind of out of our control, it's behind us. We have to put our best foot forward and work on the things we didn't do so well. Prepare for the opponent we have coming up to the best of our ability and work extremely hard at it. Go finish plays on Sundays, that's when it counts. Like I said, everything is behind us. At this point, we have to control what we can control and that's the Buccaneers this week.
Q: Speaking of the Buccaneers, when you look at them on tape, they seem like they are pretty complete. What do you see specifically from their special teams, which I think have been playing really well?
A: The entire team has been a great team. We have a lot to prepare for. Strong, big, physical team. They've been good across the board, like you said. We have quite a bit to prepare for. We're going to have to play 60 minutes of complementary football where really all three phases impact this game for us to get a win against a really good team.
Q: If anyone in the Giants building qualifies as a Joe Judge expert, it would be you. All these years with him, certainly on special teams, really knowing him better than anybody. Neither of you did a lot of losing and this year it's been a lot of losing. How is he handling it as Joe Judge the person you know and also as Joe Judge the head coach?
A: He's doing what he's always done, whether it's been the outcome that you hope for or the outcome you don't hope for. It gets back to work the next week and put your head to the grindstone and get after it. That's all we can do to impact our futures. Whether we have won every game to this point or lost every game to this point, that's all we can do going forward. Joe's done that and he's instilled that in the team. It's what we expect from our leader. He's been great with that. Like I have been saying this whole time, all we can control is what we have going forward. That's really where our focus is at and continues to be week in and week out.
Q: Have you seen anything different with him as a head coach handling this as you knew him as a coordinator?
A: Not particularly. At the end of the day, it comes back to just getting to work. Whether as a coordinator or a head coach or as a player like myself, or whatever your role is, it's to get to work each week. He's done that, he's done that for all the years I've been with him. He continues to do that really at a higher level even now. I just try to follow that example. Like I said, we're trying to get back to work and get this thing right.
Q: You've played a lot more snaps on defense this year than you have the last couple of years in New England. I know earlier in your career you played some safety but more so this year than the last couple of years combined. Was that expected of you? Has that caught you by surprise? How comfortable are you at safety after not playing a lot of it the last couple of years in games?
A: I've practiced every day to play safety. I'm in every meeting like everybody else. I've been in the league my whole career playing safety. I try to be as prepared for it as I can be, like anyone else. At the end of the day, whatever the team needs me to do, I'm going to try to step up and do it to the best of my ability. If that means jumping in a role defensively, whatever position it is defensively, I'm going to try to do that to the best of my ability because I'm trying to help us win games. That's all that I really care about. If they want me to go play wide receiver, I'm ready to go. Whatever the teams needs from me, I'm going to do to the best of my ability. That's really all I can do.
Q: Did you get a chance to talk any rugby with Jordan Mailata last week?
A: No, I didn't, but that's a big dude. He would be scary to see running the ball. Obviously, our focus was to win that game. I really didn't even think about it until after the fact. That's a big dude.
Q: We asked you about Tom, but how about with Rob Gronkowski? You must have covered him quite a bit in practices and things like that?
A: Yeah, quite a bit. Great player, obviously, you've seen what he's done. He's an amazing player. Physical, fast, great hands. He's going to be a handful.
Q: Are you surprised he unretired?
A: I really can't speak for him or anything. I don't really project other players' futures. I'm just happy for him that he is feeling healthy and he's out there playing ball, doing what he loves.
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.