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Quotes 9/28: Coach Joe Judge, CB James Bradberry, C Nick Gates

Head Coach Joe Judge

Q: The offensive line struggled a bit again in run blocking. Are you contemplating any changes going forward?

A: Well look, every week based on a player's practice and performance, we're looking to put the best players on the field. We spent the day reviewing the tape as a staff. We'll go through the rest of this week in terms of how guys are implementing the plan we put ahead for the Rams, and we'll see who the best guys to put on the field are.

Q: If I may follow up, are you happy with this unit right now the way they're run blocking?

A: There is work we have to do and we have to improve as a team. Everyone has to play better, everyone has to coach better. I like the urgency they come to work with every day. There are things we have to improve on, and we have to get moving fast on that.

Q: If you guys are going to struggle to run the ball without Saquon (Barkley), are you worried, concerned here that teams are going to kind of tee off on Daniel (Jones) until you guys can prove that you can run the ball better, whether that's the offensive line or the running backs or both?

A: We have to work to be a balanced team. That's balanced whether it's running and passing, balanced offense and defense, balanced with the kicking game, playing complementary football. There are a lot of things right now that we have to make sure the Ying and the Yang factor out for each other. But we have to do a better job overall as a team, and we have to do a good job complementing each other on offense to help out the passing game and the running game.

Q: Any injury update? Anything from Jabrill (Peppers) or Andrew Thomas or anything maybe we didn't see coming out of the game?

A: Nothing significant. I'd say with Andrew, you guys asked about him yesterday, he did finish the game. There was nothing significant to really go over today with the trainers. Jabrill, I don't have a timetable on him for anything. We're going to evaluate him day to day. We'll see where he is. He had that lower leg. They're going through a couple more things with the doctor this afternoon, but it looks like it could go either way at this point right here.

Q: I just want to know how you think Daniel Jones played and what you made of his turnovers? Obviously, two turnovers in each of the first three games. Separately, curious about your feelings on the penalties? (Darnay) Holmes, (Darius) Slayton, (Lorenzo) Carter. I know you guys are coaching these things, but how can you ensure that those are eliminated and they don't happen?

A: Yeah, that starts with fundamentals and technique and making sure we execute at the right time. I think they were good calls. Look, you turn the tape on, it was a hold. Call it what it is. It was a hold. We need to make sure we don't do that. The illegal contact part, that's something we stress all the time. Darnay is a player we have a lot of confidence in. He's a talented guy, he's a young guy, he competes at a high level. One thing he really does, he learns from his mistakes. Obviously, he's a guy that I don't expect to see much of that from him going forward. But look, they made the calls. It's what the rules are. We have to play within the rules.

Q: I'm kind of a big picture guy. A lot of people would look at 0-3 and be discouraged. I kind of look at the NFC East and say you're a game out of first place. How do you approach it?

A: For us, it's game by game. Right now, I'm really just emphasizing to our team just weekly improvement, starting with fundamentals and execution. That's really it. We need to focus on what we're doing day by day to really take care of our own jobs and make sure that we're improving as a unit and as a team, and then all of the other things will start taking care of themselves.

Q: But doesn't it make it easier if the guys see that there's something reachable in front of them?

A: There are 13 games left. It's the NFL. There's a lot of ball left to be played. I'll tell you right now, I've been on a lot of teams that have started off 5-0, 6-0, 7-0, 10-0 and I'm telling you right now, it's the same feeling in every building across the league right now. All they're thinking about is things you have to improve on, things you have to work on. It's not sunshine and rainbows. To me, Mondays are always a day where it's a tough day on everybody because all you can think of as a coach is what you have to get better at. It doesn't matter what the result of the game is and how well or disappointing something may have been. You're just focused on what you have to correct and fix and get it going fast. To be honest with you in terms of how all that goes, does anything make it easier? In the NFL, not a lot of things get easier as the year goes. We have to improve to make sure that as the year goes, we can be competitive and put our team on the field with a chance to be successful.

Q: How do you view the mental state of your team right now?

A: I think we're fine. I think the emphasis has to be for our guys on moving forward and executing, and that's the biggest thing. We have to be better teachers and coaches, and we have to execute better on the field for 60 minutes. That's really it.

Q: I know you said you've been on teams that were 5-0, 6-0, 10-0. These guys, a lot of them have been on teams that were 0-2, 1-6, the other end of that. How much does that concern you that you don't go down that rabbit hole with these guys?

A: Look, I'll tell you right now, those years we started off with a lot of wins, we didn't always finish those years as successful as the years we started off pretty rough. Sometimes early on, you really get a vision of what you are and your identity by how you have to correct your mistakes and what you have to learn from. We had a lot of years we were the most successful team in the world where it started off really, really rough. There are a lot of times you look around the meeting rooms and the locker room halfway through the year, regardless of your record, and it's just doom and gloom. You have to make sure you kind of bring it back into perspective and understand it's a day by day process as a team, and you're all you got. You need to stand together as a team and you have to go ahead and make sure your guys move forward on a weekly basis to make improvements. It's the NFL. It's the most competitive league in all of sports in the world. It's at the highest absolute level. It's not supposed to be easy. What we're trying to do here isn't easy either. But we're going to try to keep it simple for our players that we can improve on a weekly basis and keep moving forward.

Q: How does that work for you? It's been a long time since you lost three in a row. How are you handling this?

A: I look at the film the same way every week regardless. Win, lose, whatever in between, I turn the tape on and I'm focused on what we have to correct going forward. Yesterday is gone. It's done. There's nothing we can do to bring back yesterday. There's nothing we want to do to bring back yesterday. Our only focus right now is on the Rams. We're moving forward with that. We have a lot of things that we know (Sean) McVay is on the other side and he's watching. We have to make sure that we correct what's on the tape because they're watching the same tape right now.

Q: When you have a game-wrecker on the outside, there are things you can do with chipping and double teams and things like that. With the Rams, their game-wrecker is right in the middle. How do you kind of scheme to give Nick (Gates) as much help as you can give him against Aaron Donald?

A: I'll tell you what, Aaron Donald is one of the best players in the NFL, and he's definitely a force. You're right. A lot of times, you see those guys that are game-wreckers on the edge, and they have their share of them out there as well. But with Aaron in the middle, it makes you be a little more creative in terms of how you protect and how you use some different tools in your toolbox to make sure your guys don't always get isolated up on him. He's definitely a guy that lives for that one on one matchup. He's very competitive. He's a high motor guy, he's as explosive as can be, and he can really ruin the game inside out if you don't give some help to whoever's on him.

Q: I don't think we've asked you about David Mayo since he went on IR, but obviously now with three games down, there's an opportunity to possibly bring him back. I'm just curious if you could provide an update as to where he is. Do you expect to bring him to practice this week with a chance to be activated?

A: Actually, we're going to make that decision probably sometime tomorrow. We'll kind of look and see where that goes. He's with the trainers. I know he's been working hard. I see him around the building. I don't get a lot of time with him on the grass, but they say he's working his butt off every day and improving on a daily basis. We have to look and see where he's at. For us, it's in his best interest to make sure that when we start that 21-day clock, that he's in a position that he's not going to have any setbacks that would take him past that 21-day clock. I want to make sure we do the right thing by him by not rushing him back before he's fully ready, and that would keep him possibly off the field for the entire year. I want to make sure we go ahead and do right by him.

Q: Has he been able to be in meetings, position meetings, team meetings, or is he just strictly with the trainers?

A: No, he's with us in all the meetings. That's been great. In terms of him staying up to date on the game plans, the terminology, getting mentally into the scouting reports, that's all been really good. But David, him (Xavier McKinney), a bunch of other guys, they've all been very present in the meetings and involved with the team. Just once we hit the grass, they're on their own separate program.

Q: You keep talking about areas you need to improve in. One of the areas you guys have really struggled in defensively is getting off the field on third down. What are you seeing on third down? You seem to be doing okay on first and second down, but you're just not making those plays on third down.

A: It's never one thing. We're going through that right now as a staff, making sure we find the common thread and identify that. There has been a lot of times we've been a step away here, a step away there, but that to me is really a symptom of what are we doing on the front end of the play, and make sure we start in the right position and we can finish in the right position. But we definitely have to make more plays on third down to get off the field to shorten the drives for the opponents right there and give our offense the chance to get on the field and get some points.

Q: Just a general question here. You mention that the team has to play better, you have to coach better. I'm just wondering, though, at what point do you say to yourself 'this just isn't happening. We have to consider a change'? Is there a cutoff point for you? What tells you that you have to go to plan B, so to speak?

A: I'm not exactly sure what you're clarifying as plan B. I would say this, I'd say we consider change on a daily basis. But that's change within what we're doing schematically, change in what we're doing conceptually within the game plan, change in how we're approaching something as a coaching staff, or changing how we're using somebody on our roster personnel wise. We're always looking for change and to evolve. We're not looking to go ahead and be hardheaded and keep forcing the same thing in the same position. We're looking on a daily basis at what we can do different to always improve.

Q: I'm really curious, when you look at the amount of turnovers that Daniel Jones has had, when does this become kind of a five-alarm fire for you guys? What went wrong on that pitch play there with him?

A: We just have to have better execution on that play. We thought it was a good thing to have in the game plan. Obviously, we didn't carry through the way we needed to. These aren't things we're going to go ahead and completely abort going forward. We'll look and see and make sure we execute it going better. But it's never one person. It's multiple guys that have to execute better, so we have to get that corrected.

Q: Do you have to talk to him? With the interception, it seemed like he was kind of locked in on Evan (Engram) the whole time before he threw it. Is that something you need to go back on the tape and kind of drill into him that he can't telegraph throws? It just seems like this is an on-going issue with him.

A: Look, we work with him on a daily basis, obviously, every day. We're not going to leave anything to chance with that position especially. But look, he's a guy that works extremely hard. It's very important to him. Everyone here has to coach better, everyone has to play better. We need to raise our level of execution, and we're committed to doing that as a team.

Cornerback James Bradberry

Q: It seems like you've really elevated your game the last couple of weeks. What's gone into that and are you surprised quarterbacks keep throwing your way?

A: What goes into it, I would say the start of the week. The coaches come in with a game plan. They might add or subtract throughout the week. They put together a good game plan for us going into Sunday. I watch film, prepare throughput the week, practice hard. Just try to execute when I get out there on the field. Am I surprised by quarterbacks attacking? Not really, when you follow guys, you primarily try to follow the top receiver. What comes with that is usually a lot of throws your way to get the receiver their touches. I'm not surprised.

Q: Did you travel a lot with Carolina. Is this something that's new in New York?

A: I traveled a little bit when I was in Carolina. It's not really new to me.

Q: When you guys have a second half as a defense like you did in this game, it's tempting to say sometimes, hey we're close, it's just going to take a few things here and there. Isn't it healthier sometimes to say, 'wow this is not us, we are far away' and sound the alarm so you can get back to your level?

A: The coaches and the players do a good job of holding everyone accountable with their jobs and what they are asked to do. It's just about us taking it day by day trying to get better day in day out. Like you said, put those little pieces in place so the bigger picture is successful once we get to Sunday and we're able to do our job and complete it. Holding each other accountable, that's the start of it.

Q: What's the mood of the team today after yesterday's defeat?

A: Of course, initially you're sad that you come in from a loss. We're just moving on to the next week, moving on to the Rams. That's our main focus, try to get a win when we face them.

Q: You faced this offense all training camp. Are you surprised your team's offense is struggling? Or did you know from a defensive standpoint when you take away a great player like Saquon, this happens?

A: I try not get involved in too much or even try to peak down there and try to give my judgement on what the offense is doing. I know we have elite talent and we're able to make plays. I know they're going to fix whatever they need to fix on their side of the ball. We have things on our side of the ball that we need to fix as well. That's our goal and that's all I'm worried about, fixing what we have to do on defense.

Q: Do you ever take a look at the standings and say you're 0-3 but only a game out of first place?

A: No, my mindset is whoever we're facing that week. Try to play to the best of my ability and get a win, help the team get a win that Sunday. I don't really look at the standings too much, I just take it week by week, like I said. We're facing the Rams this week and that's what my focus is on.

Q: You talk about things you guys need to fix on defense, one of those is getting off the field on third down. Just curious what you're seeing on third downs, why you guys are struggling to get off the field in that situation?

A: I would say when it boils down to it, just executing whatever call is made by the coach. We're not doing a good job of executing. Players have to play, and we have to be the ones that make the plays on the field. We haven't been doing that on third down, me, myself included. We have to come in Wednesday, well, you start Tuesday really watching film, and try to get a head start on the Rams. Come in Wednesday and practice hard and go from there.

Center Nick Gates

Q: How would you assess the run blocking over the first 3 games? Obviously, you guys haven't had a lot of success with it. What seems to be the problem with it?

A: We just have to sustain our blocks and finish our blocks downfield and finish on our man. A lot of the time you see mostly guys are on their blocks and it's just one guy that makes a play or one guy falls off a block and ends up making a play, things like that. We just have to sustain.

Q: Were you personally surprised at how badly yesterday's game went? How do you guys as a team, as players, avoid a 'here we go again' reaction to a game like that when it did feel like you made strides over week 2 and week 1? This just seemed to be a different trajectory.

A: We definitely didn't play the way we wanted to play. We didn't come out and play. We didn't run the ball well, we didn't protect really well, we didn't pass pro really well. We didn't do anything really well that game. You can easily point fingers here and there, but we are just going to be on to the next game. You have to focus on the Rams and try to leave that one behind. Try to look back on the mistakes you made and try not to make them again.

Q: There have been times the last three years when all else fails, Saquon just kind of bails everybody out with a huge run or something like that. Without him, are you worried about what happens to this offense? Defenses kind of go all out to stop the pass, without fearing the run game, the way you guys are running the ball right now.

A: We have really good backs after Saquon. We just have to make holes, even when Saquon was in there, holes weren't there. There's still guys falling off blocks and still guys making plays. Even if Saquon was in there, who knows what would happen. As an offensive line, we have to sustain and finish.

Q: What's the right way to describe the offensive line meeting room? Are you guys disappointed, are you encouraged, are you pissed off? You, Hernandez, there's some fiery guys in there. Are you guys pissed off? If I was in that room, what's the temperature of it?

A: We're pissed off, we want to be better. We don't want to go out there and lose. We don't want to go out there and not run the ball. We're not trying to go out there and play bad. We practice every week, we go to work every week. We put a lot of effort and a lot of work into going out there and learning the defense. It is frustrating when you go out there and you can't run the ball and you can't protect well. It's frustrating.

Q: What would you have thought if I said a few weeks ago you're only going to average 12.7 points per game the first few weeks? You've got some big name offensive players. Obviously, you guys have high expectations for yourself. What's that been like?

A: It's frustrating not getting the ball in the endzone and settling for three points instead of six. When we get down there in the red zone, we have to score. I forget where we were, but we're not good enough in the red zone. I don't even think we got to the red zone last game. We just have to be better. I wouldn't have believed you if you said we're only going to score 12 points a game.

Q: You have Aaron Donald this week. What's the thought process for you, as a guy who is a fairly new center, to the prospects of having to face that guy?

A: He's a really good player. The Rams are a really good organization. They have a good coach, they have a good defense. I haven't started watching film on him yet, but I was going to sit down after this zoom call and start. Make my notes and try to make a game plan in my head. Talk to the other offensive linemen (about) what our plan is going forward with him and things like that. He's a really good player, it's going to take a lot of execution and a lot of being fundamentally sound to win this ball game come Sunday.

Q: I was going to ask about Aaron Donald, too. He's a such a power there in the middle. Do any of the skills you had as a tackle going up against edge rushers, does any of that translate against him at center?

A: I talked to (offensive line coach Marc) Colombo. He says the length, not a lot of centers have been able to play tackle. Having length and being able to use your length and know how use your length helps you. Aaron Donald, he's the best player I have ever gone up against. Just try to take it snap by snap, get a good game plan for him and see how it goes.

Q: Is that daunting, exciting? How do you feel about going up against the best player you've ever gone up against?

A: I'm excited. I like going up against good players, it makes you better. It teaches you what you need to work on and what you're good at, things like that. I'm excited, I think we're all excited.


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