Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: A little bit of a personal thing. You're two days away from coaching your first game at any level. I have to ask you, are you extra jacked up? Are you extra pumped up? When you go home at night, is your wife telling you to shut up at two in the morning because you're yelling out formations and plays and all that?
A: When I get home, she's already asleep, so I just try not to wake up the dogs. Right now, we're preparing for Pittsburgh. That's the biggest thing right now. In terms of anything individual or personal, I'll reflect back on that later. Obviously, there's adrenaline pumping. It's the first regular season game. The feeling in every building in the National Football League is a little bit different today.
Q: What sort of challenges does JuJu Smith-Schuster present for a secondary, especially since he can line up at a few different spots? He'll come in through the slot a lot of the time. What kind of challenges does a guy like that present for you?
A: Well, I think what you just said, his versatility of where they can use him obviously presents variety to their offense. He's an explosive player. He's very good with the ball in his hands after the catch. He has a lot of savvy. This guy understands playing with (Ben) Roethlisberger, you watch the tapes of these guys, there's obviously chemistry between them on the extended plays that Ben is able to create. JuJu's really a guy who's savvy, he finds space, he gets open, he stays alive on plays and makes contested catches. This guy is really just an outstanding player. I've seen him in person multiple times in the past. He's always a guy you notice when he's on the field.
Q: What's your message to Giants fans on the type of team that you'll be leading onto the field on Monday night?
A: We're working to build a tough, smart, fundamentally sound football team. That's where our emphasis is going to lie and that's where we're going to consistently work towards getting to. These guys have been working hard. There's a lot of energy, there's a lot of urgency in what we're preparing to do, and we're going to go out there and work to make the area proud.
Q: We kind of heard from your players, they mentioned something along the lines of you telling them the first four weeks is about who makes the least mistakes, foolish penalties and stuff like that. I'm wondering if you could sort of expand on that and tell us what exactly your philosophy is on that?
A: I think a big part of it is not having preseason this year, you're going to see a combination of regular season and preseason football early on. We have to make sure on our part that we play smart football, we don't make mistakes that cost us, and we avoid the things that set ourselves back. We have a tough enough opponent with Pittsburgh coming in here. We can't go ahead and set ourselves back to begin the game already. Really to me, it's about being fundamentally sound in how you approach it, being a smart decision-maker on the field, and that ties into penalties as well.
Q: What's your expectation for your offensive line? You're basically going to have three new starters there from what they had here last year. Do you have to be patient early in the season because of that?
A: There's not a lot of time for patience, but there's always an emphasis on development. I expect those guys to play hard, I expect them to play together, I expect them to communicate and to adjust on the sidelines accordingly, and I expect them to fight for 60 minutes. That's the expectation for every player on our team.
Q: The other day, you told us you'd probably have a decision on center by like Friday. I'm just wondering if you have that decision and if you're willing to share it? My guess is no, but I have to ask anyway.
A: We're going to start Nick Gates at center. He's done a good job for us through camp. Spencer's (Pulley) done a tremendous job competing. We're very happy with both of those guys on the roster. We're very fortunate to have both guys working at the center position. Nick brings a lot of flexibility to other positions, but that's the direction we're going to go for right now.
Q: Thank you for answering that. The other question I was curious about is, it is Week 1. It's a new team, there's a lot of excitement even though the fans won't be there. How do you talk to your team about balancing having enough energy but not being too overly excited to where now they're playing too tight and are putting themselves in position to make mistakes?
A: I think it's how we have to prepare to begin with, to be honest with you. There's going to be more adrenaline and excitement obviously, especially in the first regular season game. We have to prepare by putting these guys in stressful situations and keeping the pace of practice such that they have to think while they're tired. That's really the best to help them when they get on the field Monday night. Obviously, the excitement goes. They have to stay within the principles of the plays and concepts of what we're doing, and really just bring it back to square one. Focus on doing their job and trusting the other 10 on the field to do their job as well, and functioning as a unit.
Q: Giants fans have been spoiled here for 16 years with a quarterback who never missed a start. How important do you view backup quarterbacks? What is your confidence in Colt (McCoy)?
A: We have confidence in every player on our roster. That's why they're a member of our team. We prepare every player to play every play of the game. Everyone has a critical role in the game. I said earlier, there are no insignificant roles, there are no insignificant units or anything. I love having Colt on this team. He's a pleasure to be around. I've learned a lot from him already in a player-coach relationship. He definitely brings a lot of energy to the rooms he's in. He's a really good part to our team, and we're happy to have him.
Q: Do you know who you're bringing up from the practice squad? Can you share?
A: We haven't decided whether or not we're going to bring up anybody. This time of week, there's a lot of things to talk about in terms of actives, inactives, because of the rules this year with the practice squad. Obviously, we're entertaining all options throughout the week. We practice everyone accordingly for the game plan. But we haven't finalized those conversations yet.
Q: We won't talk to you after the injury report comes out. How are you feeling about (Golden) Tate and his status going into Monday?
A: He's been working hard. He'll be with the trainers a little bit as far as getting treatment. We expect everybody to practice today. We'll take a look at how they are coming out of practice today and make the decisions for the game.
Q: Andrew Thomas, how confident are you in his ability to handle one of the best pass rushes in the league?
A: Again, we're confident in all of our players. We're going to put them in a position, we coach them hard, we're very demanding. Those guys go through a tough regimen on a weekly basis with Marc (Colombo) and Ben (Wilkerson) and being a part of that offensive line. We have a lot of confidence in all of our players. That being said, this is a great challenge for our entire team. The offensive line has a great challenge ahead of them with Pittsburgh's front. They're very talented, they're capable of having very disruptive plays, which gives opportunities to the backend for turnovers as well. All of our guys have to really come in and have 60 minutes of good football. We have to play disciplined and we have to always go ahead and be committed to the process of playing, and making adjustments throughout the game.
Cornerback James Bradberry
Q: Obviously, you've added a few new faces in the secondary just in the last couple of days. I'm curious what Logan Ryan has brought to the field, (Isaac) Yiadom, all these new faces. What have you seen from those guys?
A: Logan, he's just a well-seasoned vet. He brought a lot of wisdom to this defense. He's played in this defense before, so he's talked to us about how they're going to try to attack us and whatnot. He's played Ben (Roethlisberger) and them before, quite a few times, so he's brought a lot of knowledge to the defense.
Q: And then Ike?
A: He came over from the Broncos. You could tell just off his size, he brings a lot of size. He can run as well. He's bringing overall athleticism to this defense.
Q: Are you a guy who likes to travel with the other team's best receiver? Do you take a lot of pride in that? Do you prefer to do just whatever your assignment is? I know the last Giants top corner, Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins), wanted the number one receiver. He took a lot of pride in that. Is that how you feel or you'll do whatever is asked?
A: I take a lot of pride in just getting the job done, whatever the coaches want me to do. Whatever assignment they give me at the beginning of the week, I just take pride in getting that job done Sunday, Monday, Thursday, whichever night we play on.
Q: If that means going into the slot, what's your comfort level there?
A: I'm a football player. You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable, so wherever they want me to line up, I'm going to play ball.
Q: I'm wondering what's the mindset when you're playing a quarterback who's coming back from a serious arm injury? Do you just automatically assume he's going to be back to what he was beforehand? Do you say 'ok, let's see what he does early in the game'? How do you approach that?
A: We just need to approach him based off his history, his track record. Big Ben has a strong arm. He's been in the game for 17 years, and I'm sure he's had a few injuries that people don't know about. He's able to take care of his body. He's going to make the checks at the line, he's smart, he's been around for a long time. Of course, he has that strong arm.
Q: You'll be matched up a lot against JuJu (Smith-Schuster) Monday night. Talk about the challenges this guy presents to you?
A: JuJu's a strong receiver. He has some size to him, has strong hands. He's able to play through contested catches and whatnot. He makes strong catches at the point of attack. He has size so he's able to go up and grab the ball on jump ball situations as well.
Q: Is there anybody that you can compare him to that you have played in the NFC South?
A: Not really. I don't really like to make comparisons as far as receivers or any defensive player or offensive player at that fact. Everyone is different, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Q: On the whole, how deceptive is the Steelers passing game in terms of the routes they ask the receivers to run and the options that come off of those routes?
A: I wouldn't necessarily say they're deceptive. What you see is what you get. They're an explosive offense that likes to take shots down the field based off the film that we've seen. Of course, they have same great receivers. You have JuJu, James Washington, they drafted Chase Claypool, he can run, he's a big receiver. They also Diontae Johnson, a speedy guy that can get vertical down the field as well.
Q: The outside perception of you changed quite a bit with your contract this offseason. One of the higher paid cornerbacks in the league. Does that change anything for you in terms of pressure, expectations, how you work? Obviously, people are viewing you different than they were viewing you maybe last year.
A: I try not to pay attention to outside noise. Even when I was in Carolina, they put a lot of, I wouldn't say pressure but they asked me to go out there and guard the number one receivers. I have been doing that for a while now. I just try to go about my own business and go out there every Sunday, Monday, or Thursday, whichever night we play. Try to play to the best of my ability, wherever it is. That's all I can do, play to the best of my ability.
Q: From your experience, as a corner, you guys have brought in some new guys really late here. Isaac Yiadom, Ryan Lewis on the practice squad. How difficult is it to acclimate and contribute to a new defense like that? Is it a position where if you play enough man to man you can jump in and it doesn't take too much as far as learning the system? Is it complicated and going to take some time?
A: I guess it just depends on what scheme and system you go into. I know Ryan for the most part and even Logan they played in the system before. They kind of know what's going on once they get here. As a corner, especially playing outside, you're going to play pretty much the same thing. The hardest thing to learn is the terminology. Quarters is quarters, cover two, cover three, man is going to be man. Cover three is going to be cover three for a corner outside. It's not really hard to pick up, the hardest thing to pick up is the terminology. Once they pick up the terminology, I wouldn't say it's easy, but it's easier to learn it after that.
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.