Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: Are you going to bring in a fifth receiver for this game, and if so, will you name him?
A: We have a lot of discussions ahead after practice. There are a couple more things we have to look at today in terms of some third down review, red area install. We'll see where it goes today in practice. We'll finalize those discussions really tomorrow morning as a staff.
Q: This a little bit of a psychological question. You can either answer it or dismiss it I guess. Do you think that a team will win when it's ready to win? That everything has its time and place. That a team needs to learn how to win, and when it does that, it will?
A: I think a team will win when it executes on the field for 60 minutes the way it needs to. To kind of sum that up, you can summarize that and say 'when you're ready, you execute for 60 minutes.' But I'm pleased with the improvement I'm seeing from our team. We just need to string it together on the field and let these guys go ahead and get some tangible results for the work they're putting in.
Q: Kyle Shanahan announced its officially (Nick) Mullens. Your thoughts on him? He actually played against the Giants two years ago. Will you guys go back, pick some of your players' brains who are still around here about that game and look at that film? Or is that too old, you need more recent?
A: We use all the resources we have, whether that's a player who was on the field and may remember something about it, coaches in the building at the time, and all the game tape, obviously. Nick is a good quarterback. He's a competitive dude, he's a tough dude. I talked about it earlier, that Southern Miss mentality. These guys are really overachieving type guys. He's comfortable in the pocket, gets the ball out of his hands really quick, he's an accurate passer. I can't say over and over enough how competitive this guy is and how much we expect this guy to fight and give his team every advantage possible.
Q: I have a question that's kind of left over from the last game, but it'll come up again. I'm just curious on your thought process. It seems like there are two schools of thought on when to use timeouts, and you used yours maybe on the earlier side. Just curious what goes into that process for you?
A: I'd say it's always geared towards a specific situation of the game. Last Sunday, we thought that was the best opportunity to go ahead and stop the clock and save as much time as possible for our offense to get back on the field with enough time to move the ball. There are sometimes we want to save more timeouts for our offense. There are other times we're on defense, I feel it's best to save those 40 seconds at a click.
Q: I also wanted to ask you about Carter Coughlin. I've seen him at practice, he's been working with the inside linebackers. What made you move him in there and what have you seen from him?
A: He's a young player, so we're trying to look at him in a couple different positions. Obviously, he has roles for us in the kicking game. He played mostly outside linebacker through camp. There were some discussions early in training camp about looking at him inside. We've had the opportunity to do that the last few weeks. He's made some progress there. The more versatility he has playing inside and outside really adds to our depth at the games.
Q: Your schedule is obviously not going to get any easier. How badly does this team need a win in your estimation?
A: Look, we prepare every week to win. We do everything we can. Yeah, it's the NFL. That's what we're paid for on a weekly basis, that's what our guys work for. We're preparing every week to do the same thing.
Q: I just wanted to know what's impressed you most about Andrew Thomas? I know you guys obviously dug very deep about him, you saw him in the summer. But these first two weeks, to see a rookie go through what he's gone through, what has impressed you most about his approach and really how he's shown up on the field?
A: The athleticism always stands out with him, whether it was the tape coming out of Georgia or early in training camp we got to see him in person. The athleticism definitely stands out, but I'd say how mentally tough he is. This guy has had some really elite pass rushers over him the last couple weeks. It's only going to be the same thing throughout the remainder of our schedule. Everybody is very talented. But I think the way his career has started already with who he's facing off of, he understands there are no easy days in the National Football League. His approach on a daily basis to improve, to learn from previous mistakes and to go ahead and compete throughout it. He gets great work throughout our practices. We go one on ones or two vs. two against the defensive line, he gets to see really good pass rushers off the edge, whether it's Zo (Carter) or Leonard (Williams), whoever it may be, on a daily basis. He prepares for the games on Sunday, but this guy never really looks fazed in anything he does. He has a quiet demeanor, but it's a serious demeanor. Once he starts talking, he'll chatter a little bit to you. But he's very focused and locked in, and it translates over to how he plays in the game.
Q: I know you pay attention to details across the board, but I would imagine that it's fair to say from the beginning of the season, that is certainly near the top of your list wanting to see how your rookie left tackle is going to accept these challenges. Have you been kind of focused on that a little bit more?
A: Absolutely. It's generic to say I've been watching every single player. That's absolutely true. But obviously, you've been watching Andrew the entire time as well, the matchups he's had and how he's handled it. Not everything has been perfect. This guy is learning, but he's really competing and he's progressing. This guy has the ability to be a really good player in this league for some time.
Q: Kind of piggybacking off that, how would you assess the play of your entire offensive line throughout the first two weeks?
A: We're progressing on a weekly basis. The guys had a good week of practice this week. I'm looking forward to getting them on the field. I thought we improved from Week 1 to Week 2. We have to see more improvement in Week 3.
Defensive Back Julian Love
Q: I'm curious now that you've had a few games in this system, how much of what you're doing this year is different from the role you had last season?
A: It's a little different for the first two games for me. Last year, I was in the box a lot, filling in for Jabrill (Peppers) which is a slightly different role. This year, I'm back deep. Just trying to adjust and just trying to gain that cohesiveness with everybody.
Q: Do you view yourself as solely a safety now, or if they needed you to play outside, do you think you could go back out there to your old home?
A: If they needed me, yeah. I like to say I'm a football player. Wherever they ask me to play, that's where I'm ready to go.
Q: With you and Jabrill and Logan (Ryan) in that mix, I know there was always talk last year about how you guys were going to be flexible on the backend. But it seems like that versatility has kind of shown itself the last two weeks in the new system. Just curious how do you feel about that? Is it almost fun again to kind of go into games not really knowing what you're going to see in front of you, but also knowing you can maybe take advantage of some matchups because of the guys you have on the field?
A: Yeah, I think that last point is kind of what's key. We have a lot of different skillsets on the backend which is great, especially with the addition of Logan. We're trying to utilize that and we're trying to learn as we go to keep utilizing what we have in front of us. I think that's the main battle. We're all ready to kind of accept any role, and to go into each week ready to dominate whatever game plan we have going in. I think gaining that cohesiveness with time, sped up time, is allowing us to play in different roles.
Q: Just as a quick follow up along those lines, this coaching staff talked a lot about how you guys were going to be game plan specific and how you were going to be flexible week to week and who knows what roles you were going to have. Are you surprised that you've been able to back up kind of what they said through the first two weeks? How is that every Monday or Tuesday kind of adjusting to essentially a completely different game plan going into a new opponent?
A: Yeah, I think it can be daunting depending on how you view things. But I know each week, it's a clean slate ready to kind of take advantage of each game plan and each matchup. For me, you go in Wednesday or whenever we start game planning, with a clean slate, clear mind and just ready to absorb whatever is given to you. I think we're all embracing that. I think we're all excited to really get to know each other still in this process and really get some things clicking the right way and obviously, keep getting better. At the end of the day, that's our goal, just to really be dominant in what we do.
Q: What's been your scouting take on Nick Mullens? The 49ers announced it's him, not Garoppolo, against you guys. What have you seen from him on the limited film that's out there on him?
A: This is the National Football League. Backups aren't bad players. Mullens is a talented quarterback who has some really nice traits about him. We have to really dial in because this is a guy with limited tape this past season. You know he has it. You might not have been able to see it that much, but he's a guy who can really throw the ball. We're locked in just like we're playing number 10 out there. That's kind of our mindset with it. He's a quarterback in the National Football League, so he has talent. That's how we're prepping.
Q: Kittle is out, too, and this is a team that throws to their running backs and tight ends quite a bit. Do you expect them to change the game plan a little bit to go more to their wide receivers?
A: Yeah, I think with anything, they really define their matchups well with the quick release of the quarterback, especially Mullens, getting it to whoever they have. They have depth and they have some skill players, you saw that last week. They're going to game plan. They're going to game plan who they have and really take advantage of their talent that they have on offense.
Q: I've never seen a four-safety package that you guys had last week when Ebner was on the field, too, with you, Logan and Jabrill. What do you like about having him on the field? Is he a veteran or is he not back there because so much of it has been special teams in his career? Do you actually have to show him some things?
A: No, Nate (Ebner) is definitely a veteran in all aspects of football. He's a football player. Anytime I get a chance, I'm asking him questions, trying to build on my knowledge. That's what's great about having him and Logan back there, as well as Jabrill and James (Bradberry). We have some guys who have some game experience. When you see that package out there or whatever you see out there, just know we're feeding off those guys for those tidbits and those traits. Yeah, he's definitely ready to ball wherever he's put at. That's what it is.
Q: I know you're 0-2 and it's a long season, but how much pressure does it put on you to get that win and get it sooner rather than later before it spirals into something bigger?
A: In what we're doing, we have to focus on the traits and the opportunities how to win. That's what we're going to do each week. We can't dwell on anything. We have to keep building. That's our goal, for each day, each week, each game, just build. We're excited for this opportunity with San Francisco coming up, and we're going to try to take full advantage.
Q: Is there a danger though? You're talking about the process of winning. In the big picture of, last year you guys didn't win. I know you haven't been here longer, but some of the guys that have, the mentality of 'oh, we're in that mode again.'
A: Personally, I think it's a weak-minded thing to be able to spiral and to dwell on the unfortunate things that have happened in the past or whatever. I know everyone here is resilient. We're going to attack each week, and that's our goal. We're trying to win, we're trying to win for each other. We have some strong-willed people in this building, and so we're excited to take it out and take advantage in our game coming up.
Q: George Kittle was also declared out by the 49ers. What do they lose by not having Kittle in the offense?
A: I think everybody knows what a talent he is. Obviously, we want to see everybody's best shot, so it's unfortunate he's not playing. But he's a guy who's one of the best in the league at what he does. He's a guy that gives full effort, does well in each phase of the game for offense, and that's a guy who they count on. That's definitely a loss. I hope everything is well with him. But yeah, he's a star in this league for a reason.
Q: Just a follow up. When a team has that many injuries on the offensive side of the ball, how much more difficult is it to plan for that team? Or do you just kind of look at the scheme and work with that? Despite what coaches say, not everybody is the same. I know they say 'next man up,' but how difficult does that make it to prepare for them?
A: I think it's a mixture of things. You want to game plan for the people, but you also want to game plan for the scheme. Part of that people aspect is the coaching staff. They are in their positions for a reason. They're going to try to use each matchup and whoever they have available to the best of their abilities. For us, we just have to go in, be able to adapt and just really be cohesive in our game plan with what we're doing. At the end of the day, we try to focus on executing the best way we can do and doing our jobs. That's the main step into being successful.
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers.
Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: Can you just talk a little bit about some of the injuries on the other side. Not having to face Bosa and those guys. Does that change anything for you and just your thoughts about that?
A: Not necessarily, they are very talented on their defensive line. They put a lot of faith in their front seven, all those guys are talented. They brought in some guys recently that will be up there to play for Sunday. We just have to be prepared for a very talented defensive line across the board.
Q: Each week you have been making progress. Where in your mind do you feel you have made the biggest jump from week of training camp to where you are now?
A: The biggest thing I have been working on is just my hands in pass pro. Being more consistent with them with my strength and my punch, that's something that I'm still working on. I made improvements but I'm still trying to get better every day.
Q: Coach (Judge) has talked about your play a little bit. He's lauded how hard you've played and you've gotten better. What have you really learned at this point through two games about handling NFL pass rushers?
A: You have to be very specific in your technique every play. You can't get lulled to sleep. You can't revert to old habits. You have to make sure you have the same technique. The biggest thing for me is having different types of sets, different types of approaches to guys. If you do the same thing over and over, they will adjust to it. Being able to switch up your technique.
Q: I'm just curious, what has it been like to go against guys like Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt and Khalil Mack. Has any of them surprised you? Is this kind of what you expected?
A: I knew all those guys are very talented. That's the beauty of the NFL, it's every week, you're going against the best. Especially playing left tackle., some of the best pass rushers in the world, so I have to be prepared every week. It was a great start going against some guys like that. Some of those guys are the cream of the crop in the NFL so it's a good start for me.
Q: You've gone against some pretty good guys in the SEC obviously but has the power and the speed, any of that surprised you at all?
A: I wouldn't say necessarily the power and speed, but it's how refined they are in their moves. They understand what they're doing. They take advantage of things you might do. In college you might overset, they may not take it or you might be too long with your outside hand punch. In the NFL they take advantage of everything you do that might not be correct.
Q: I don't know if you felt this way but late in the third quarter when you had really been seeing a steady diet of Robert Quinn last week, all of the sudden Khalil Mack pops up on that side. They thought they were going to take advantage of you by not showing you him until late in the third. What was your reaction? Did you realize, okay Mack's on my side. How much of a challenge is it to kind of recover late in the game and think back to all you probably studied in the week that now all of the sudden you hadn't seen for two plus quarters?
A: In film study we knew that Khalil would move around. I didn't know when, but I knew at some point he would come to my side obviously. We studied him thoroughly. When he came over to my side, I did my best to do my technique and the things I was coached.
Q: How do you develop the skill within a game to know a guy hit me with this move in the first quarter on the first or second series. Then to have that recollection later in the game to know okay he's coming back with the same move, this is what I didn't do two quarters earlier.
A: The first thing is to make sure you're firm in your technique. If you come on the sideline you know you overset, or you know you did something wrong then you can understand what I need to do first. Then you can react to what type of move he's giving you based on what you did. Understanding what your technique, what your approach is and reacting to that.
Q: I know its pretty master of the obvious but when you correct that within a game and you know you made the play that you didn't make earlier. How rewarding is that to the work that you're putting in?
A: It's definitely working. You want to do that every play but the reality of it is it's the NFL. There are going to be times that you slip up. When you get it right, it's definitely a good feeling.
Q: From your experience as a lineman at all levels. Does the pass protection come before the running game? It seems against the Bears, the pass protection firmed up but the running game still lacking?
A: I wouldn't say we give more emphasis to either one. I think we want to be very dominant in both. Obviously, we have to get better in protecting the quarterback and definitely running the ball (and) opening up holes. We put emphasis on both.
Q: The first game you guys were unable to move the Steelers. Are you seeing you're moving people now?
A: In practice we're working on our technique, that's the biggest thing we have been working on. I think we have the mentality to be physical and move guys off the ball. We've been working on our technique making sure we're refining our technique to make sure we move guys off the ball, we get off to our linebackers, things of that nature.
Q: You've gone against Lorenzo Carter all of training camp and back to your Georgia days. Is he playing right now at the highest level you've seen him play and why?
A: I remember our first actually full padded practice up here going against Lorenzo and it just felt different from Georgia. Obviously, he's been in the NFL. He's adjusted to the speed and become a better pass rusher and makes me better every day.
Q: There's another left tackle in the state who's in his second game, playing in his third game. Have you and Mekhi Becton built any kind of relationship? Have you guys stayed in touch at all in terms of bouncing things off, similar experiences off each other as you go through this thing together 20 miles away from each other?
A: No, I haven't talked to him much. Hoping for the best, hope he continues to play well.
View photos of Thursday's practice as the Giants ramp up for Sunday's game against the 49ers.