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Quotes 12/14: Coach Joe Judge, C Nick Gates, DL Dalvin Tomlinson

Head Coach Joe Judge

Q: When you looked back at the film, how did Daniel (Jones) move around to you on the film? Did you think he was able to protect himself? Was he moving around well enough to be effective?

A: You cut out a little bit on me, but based on the part of the question I could hear right there, I'd say the way he moved in the game was what we expected. We put him through enough in practice last week to make sure he was put in a position where he could protect himself. We knew that there were things that were going to come up in the game and some limitations that he was going to have throughout the game. We were willing to live with those. But in terms of the question did we feel like he moved the same in practice as he did in the game, I would say the answer to that is yes. What we expected to see, we pretty much saw.

Q: It did seem like by the end of the game, he was maybe limping around a little more. I don't know if that was just wear and tear. How did he come out of the game from what you understand?

A: I had a conversation obviously after the game yesterday, and then I talked to him again this morning. Obviously, there are some bumps and bruises. He didn't do anything that aggravated that leg injury right there. He felt like he came out… obviously, there was probably a little bit of wear and tear as the game went on. He took some hits in the pocket yesterday. I think that's just kind of natural. Any quarterback getting up is going to have a little bit of wear and tear on them right there. I'll check back with him tomorrow. I know he visited with the doctors after I talked to him today, and I haven't talked to our medical staff other than very early this morning until they're getting ready to leave the building today. The biggest meeting we'll have will be tomorrow when guys are about 48 hours outside the game. That will kind of tell us in terms of going through the week who we can plan on practicing and managing and having for the game, things of that nature.

Q: Separate from that, what was your diagnosis on giving up eight sacks and five in particular to Hasson Reddick? When you went back and watched the film, was there any common theme there?

A: I think there was a multitude of things we have to do better, coaching and playing. There were some situations where it just came down to they were good in coverage. We blocked for a long time, and Daniel wasn't going to pull the ball and run in some of those circumstances yesterday. Some of those were, you can call them coverage sacks if you want to call them that. But it's all tied together. It's never one person, it's never one thing. It comes down to everybody on the field and the coach with the plan we put together and the plays we call in that circumstance. Look, obviously, he's a good player. They made plays, you have to give them credit. They really showed up yesterday and played their top game. We have to be better all across the board, starting with myself.

Q: Did Daniel have any x-rays after the game or other injuries?

A: I don't have the answer to that, not that I'm avoiding that. But when I check with the medical staff, I'll kind of get more information on that. I can tell you there's no broken bones or anything of that nature if that's what you're referring to right there, no. They would have told me that immediately.

Q: I was just seeking clarification, you said he visited with the doctors today. I didn't know if that was just a routine checkup on the hamstring or if that was some new injury that needed further examination.

A: No. So, the checkup with the doctors, that's routine. Every Monday, we have a full staff of guys in here. What they do is they meet with the players, they come in through the day, they check on everything. If there's anyone that has to go get an MRI or an x-ray or some kind of an opinion on something they're doing, they're handling that today. There are circumstances where we go ahead and we handle things after the game immediately if they need to be. What they do is kind of compile because the guys come in at different times throughout the day. With the buildings being closed right now to the players and coaches, we have to stagger the guys that come in for treatment, for checkups, and for workouts throughout the day to make sure we keep the numbers thin. Right now, it's a lot less, however you want to say it, it's a lot less of a fluid situation of getting information back on the players because they're truly staggered throughout the day, based on the situation with COVID, on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Q: If Daniel were to look the same way he looked going into this last game, would you play him against the Browns or are all options on the table for you in order to try and win Sunday, including possibly resting him?

A: Yeah, if Daniel is healthy to play and he looked the way he did in practice last week, I'd have no hesitation of playing Daniel at all. We made a calculation. We have a lot of confidence in Colt (McCoy). This has nothing to do with Colt. But there's also a commitment we've made to Daniel as our quarterback and how we're running this offense. We have confidence in all of our players. But if he's healthy enough to go out there and protect himself, and we don't feel he's putting himself in greater danger to be injured worse, and he's going to give the team a competitive advantage of going out there, then we're going to play him. We have no hesitation. Just because we're going to play Daniel doesn't mean at any time that we're not going to have a plan to put Colt in for a certain package or situation in the game, or we're not going to have a plan for any other player on the roster to at some point be used in a certain situation or circumstance to give us an advantage. Look, all options are always on the table in terms of what we're going to do by game plan. But to answer your question directly and simply, yeah, if Daniel is healthy enough to go out there, and we think he's not in greater danger to be damaged or hurt, then we'll play him.

Q: Just kind of piggybacking off that a little bit, based on the way Daniel kind of came through yesterday limited in terms of the running game, do you guys need to change your perspective or what you evaluate on him in practice to clear him? Do you need to have a different set of standards going into next week based on how last week played out?

A: In terms of what? In terms of him coming out healthy or in terms of what he wasn't doing in the game plan?

Q: In terms of just seeing him through the week at practice, do you need to see him able to do more to be able to be more effective in the game than he was this past week?

A: No. Our evaluation was to make sure he could operate in the pocket, that he could defend himself. He had to leave the pocket a couple of times, he did that, he could do that effectively and be able to get rid of the ball or get the ball down the field and protect himself. In terms of how we call or structure the game plan, that's on us as coaches to make sure we're inventive enough and creative enough to put ourselves in situations that if we're limited with any player in a certain something they can do physically, then we have to give them another option.

Q: Daniel took a lot of hits. You said he had bumps and bruises. When you watched the film, was any of that a result of him not being able to move like he normally can?

A: I think everything is always connected. I think, obviously, he took some hits in the pocket. Were there some times that maybe he could have left the pocket and extended plays? You could argue one way or another. Were there other times that had nothing to do with that? Yeah, there were definitely times like that as well. I think any player that comes out of a game… look, there's been every game this year that guys come out with some kind of bump or bruise, whether it looks like he didn't get touched at all or not. You play through a professional game, everyone is coming out the next day sore, tired, worn down, and everyone's getting checked on all the time.

Q: Was he at some greater risk? Maybe not for the hamstring, but bumps and bruises or other injuries? You think he could protect himself, but he could not move or escape some of the hits like he normally could.

A: I just go back to we saw he could protect himself in the pocket and move fluidly through the pocket. He could get rid of the ball if he needed. If he had to eat a sack at some point, that was something we were going to go into the game plan knowing it could happen. Obviously, there are some things that come up in the game. You get hit in the pocket at certain points. He is no different than the other 31 quarterbacks in the NFL. They all deal with the same risks every time they drop back in the pocket. To answer you directly, he was able to protect himself yesterday. No, there is no regrets, there's no second guessing. We took a lot of time discussing a lot of things, scenarios with doctors, coaches, making sure it was the best position for the team. That's the decision we went with and move forward. 

Q: In regard to one particular hit that Daniel took late in the game, he seemed to come up limping on his left leg noticeably. He stayed in the rest of the series. He came over and had a conversation with Colt and then Colt immediately started taking warmup throws. It seemed like something in addition to the hamstring had happened.

A: At that point in the game, I had just made the decision to go with Colt. It was late in the game at that point. I was going to get Colt in just to get a few reps at that point. That had nothing to do with something that happened on that drive. 

Q: Do you expect Daniel to be ready to practice Wednesday? Is it a little too early to know?

A: I honestly couldn't give you accurate information. I have to talk to Ronnie (Barnes) and his staff along with the doctors' feedback. Talking to Daniel this morning, the conversation was more about the hamstring. How his leg felt and how he was through the flow of the game. He assured us he came out with the hamstring really the same as what he went in. He felt good through the flow of the game. We had a long conversation. I'll let him speak for himself on a lot of things. There was really no talk about anything other than the hamstring going on.

Q: You fell to second place. How do you move forward and how do you talk to the team about the situation and the three games left?

A: I've already addressed the team today in a squad meeting. Real simply, the focus is still what the focus has been the entire year: to come to work, to improve as a team. Move forward and play our best ball next Sunday. That's the only thing that can help us, that's the only thing that really matters. Our focus this year was very clear-cut and simple, to become the best team we can be, to establish a culture and lay a foundation for this program going forward. That included becoming the best team we could be this year. That includes daily and weekly improvement. I've seen that from this team. Obviously, yesterday, we had to coach and play better. That wasn't the result we were looking for. We need to come back to work on Wednesday. Put our nose to the grindstone and keep moving forward. In terms of all the division standings, the same as when last week everyone wanted to talk about being in first place. That wasn't the focus of the week and being in second place, that's not the focus of the week either. The only thing that's going to help us right now is playing our best game against the Browns.

Q: Does it matter to you whether or not this team makes the playoffs?

A: The only thing I am concerned with right now is the Cleveland Browns. Anything beyond that, again, are hypothetical games. At this point right here, we need to go out there and play our best game this Sunday.

Q: What did you think about the ability of your receivers to get open and create separation? It looked like they were pretty tightly covered a lot of times, at least where the ball went.

A: You have to give them credit. They had a good game plan. They definitely did a lot of the stuff in terms of double teaming and bracketing a lot of our receivers down the field. There was definitely some tight coverage in man situations. I saw a lot of opportunities where our guys made catches in tight situations. I saw a lot of guys separate from man coverage and get open at times. There were times where we have to do a better job of winning our matchups. That ties into a lot of things. That's not just each individual receiver. That's the timing of the routes. The timing of the throws. That's calling it at the right time. That's making sure we recognize the coverage and get ourselves in the right situation. There's a lot of things that tie in together right there. Obviously, we want to win more matchups. We want to make more plays down the field. We have confidence in our receivers, and these are the guys we're going to play with going forward.

Q: The last couple of weeks, you're not playing as well on special teams as you did for most of the season. Have you noticed teams are trying to take advantage of you schematically? Are there execution issues that are taking place that you are not happy with? What's happening on some of these breakdowns?

A: We all have to do our job better, number one. This hasn't been one thing. It's not a schematic disadvantage. We're not getting isolated into something and we can't make an adjustment, make a correction. There haven't been repeat mistakes, but over six phases, if you have an issue in one phase per week, it's going to be glaring and go ahead and be magnified over time. That's fair, that's the way the National Football League is. That's what we signed up for. We've got to coach it better. We have to play it better. It starts with me. Yesterday, obviously with the returns, they did a good job on us. We have to do a better job covering in space. That comes down to playing with good field leverage, good space tackling. That comes into specialists doing their job, the coverage units doing their jobs and make sure we tie it all together. This has been a strength for us for most of the season. There's been a one-off here or there. Those one-offs on special teams, everything is a one-play situation, one-play scenario. There is not second down on special teams. You go out there and you have one chance to operate and execute. We have to make sure we make the most of our opportunities.

Center Nick Gates

Q: Coming off such a great performance in Seattle, especially running the ball for you guys, what was different in either a commitment or lack thereof to the run in this game against the Cardinals, or your guys' execution of it?

A: We just have to get better at moving double teams and displacing the d-linemen and getting them moved off the line of scrimmage. From the film we watched, we didn't do that very much yesterday. We have to continue practicing and getting better at that.

Q: Wayne Gallman said a couple times last night after the game that Arizona did something different things that you guys weren't expecting on defense. What did they do maybe to jam things up for you?

A: They were doing like a 4-4 heavy package, where they brought four linebackers and four d-linemen in. We weren't expecting that. We had some game time adjustments. We just have to do better. We have to execute better in getting everything going.

Q: Did you guys feel like you got a little bit away from the identity that had been working so well for you in the last four games?

A: We just couldn't really get anything going. You saw, there was what, three, four, five three-and-outs. We just couldn't keep moving the ball and couldn't keep executing. When you're not going long drives, you usually don't run the ball well, and that's just something we didn't do well yesterday.

Q: What was the biggest difference in blocking for Daniel (Jones) yesterday? Obviously, he wasn't up to his full mobility. Was that a bigger challenge for the offensive line?

A: We were just focused on doing our job. It didn't matter if Daniel was healthy or hurt. We were going to try to keep him as clean as possible and try to keep everybody off of him. We were focused on just doing our jobs.

Q: With Daniel, he's such a running threat for you guys. Bails you out sometimes, sometimes designed runs, all that stuff, you guys work together. How difficult is it when he cannot run? What does it take away from the offense?

A: Like I said, we just have to do our job and try to keep him clean no matter what, whether we're doing good with him or not. It's on us just to try to keep everybody off of him, and we just didn't do our job yesterday as you saw. We gave up eight sacks. We just have to do better in protection.

Q: How are you holding up? You play every snap. This is a grind for you coming down the stretch here. You have not done this in your NFL career. You did it in college. How are you holding up physically?

A: I'm doing good. There are bumps and bruises here, that's just typical from playing 13 games so far. But I feel good. I feel ready, trying to get prepared for the Browns and trying to do that.

Q: Did you feel like from what you saw from the Cardinals or maybe from some of the things that are said among players on the field that they knew Daniel couldn't take off and run, and that's kind of why they pinned their ears back against you guys? Did you get that sense on the field?

A: They ran a lot of T/E's and stunt games and twist games inside. We just didn't do a good enough job up front as a line passing those off and giving Daniel the ample amount of time to throw the ball. That's just on the offensive line. It doesn't matter if Daniel is healthy or not healthy. That's up to him to answer those questions, and Coach Judge, but we have to do our job better.

Q: Going against Markus Golden who was obviously in your building and knows your practices and knows your tendencies, did you think that was a factor? Did you think maybe the Cardinals had some inside information?

A: Definitely. Anytime that happens when a player from your team goes to another, they're going to give him everything they've got that they know. We just didn't play well. We just have to play better. It doesn't matter who they have on the other side of the ball or what they know or anything along those lines. We just have to play better.

Q: You're personally a very emotional player. I'm just kind of curious what your emotions were after the game, whether this team collectively was ticked off at just not being in that game for most of it, and what that will mean going forward for these last three games?

A: Yeah, of course. It's always not a good thing to go back into the locker room with a loss, especially with the performance the offensive line gave. It was not good, and we have to do better. I can tell you for me personally, we weren't happy with the way we played. We can always do things better. We have to keep executing and keep going back to work in practice this week, and we have to get ready for the Browns.

Defensive Lineman Dalvin Tomlinson

Q: You guys had a tough time getting after Kyler (Murray), tough time stopping the run. It wasn't the typical defensive line performance. Why do you think that was?

A: It just was one of those (games) where you had to pay attention to all the key details and small things. We didn't execute to our ability. We have to make sure we execute at the level we want to.

Q: When you saw that every team in the NFC East won but you guys, what's the reaction to falling out of (1st place)? There's a way to go but you were controlling your own destiny if you believe in that saying and now, you're not.

A: We just want to take it one week at a time. Like you said, we didn't finish last game like we wanted to. We have to just come in and go back to trusting the process and go back to work. Improve and take it one week at a time and focus next week. 

Q: Honestly, if I asked you about the NFC East and ask you for the order and records of the four teams, can you give them to me?

A: Not at all.

Q: Not even close? Not even withing a game or two?

A: I don't look at the records. I just focus on us week in and week out. Who our opponent is and pretty much the game plan. I don't focus on other teams and if they won or lost. For the most part, I just want to come in week in and week out and grind.

Q: The fact that you guys are in a playoff race and dropped from first to second. I know that's not your main focus. It has to be some kind of a focus because the playoffs are always a carat that a player wants to get. What do the playoffs mean at this point?

A: The playoffs are everything. As a team, you want to go to the playoffs and go to the Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl. That's the biggest thing across the teams in the NFL. We have to take it one week at a time and take it step by step. If we look too far ahead, you miss out on the moment now. 

Q: I know every opponent is different. In general, what do you think your team blueprint is for winning a game?

A: Physicality, on the defensive side it's all physicality. We have players and coaches and we're all built on physicality up front, especially up front. We have to be physical. We have to set edges, we have to break up passes, we have to deflect passes. Hit the quarterback and you just have to be physical across the board.

Q: You think physicality was missing in that game yesterday? Is it a different kind of opponent than you're used to that gave you other problems? Did you guys have failings yourself?

A: I just feel like we didn't execute the game plan. I feel like across the board, we didn't execute the small things I would say.

Q: It hasn't been that long ago that you guys made a huge trade with the team you're playing. You guys traded obviously Odell (Beckham Jr.) to Cleveland. What do you remember at the time when that went down? Several years later, part of that pay off was that Dex (Dexter Lawrence II) is part of what you got back in return and him being a part of your line now.

A: What's the question?

Q: What do you remember thinking when he was traded? Part of the payoff is Dex is on your team.

A: I would just say whatever players are in the building are the ones I'm going to go to war wait. I love all the players I've had an opportunity to play with. I love Dex to death. Whoever is in the building is who I'm going to go to war with each and every day and go work with. Whoever is in the building is who I'm going to work with.

Q: How big a part of your line has he been?

A: Dex is huge part of our defensive line. He's a big contributor to our defensive line, he makes plays. He's just a big person you could say, he takes up a lot of space.

Q: Will you watch tonight's game with a little more interest since you play the Browns? Do you have any general impressions of how they've played this year and how you might need to attack them?

A: Yeah, I'll watch the game a little. I'll probably watch half of it. I can't watch the whole thing. I'll get too involved in trying to break down stuff. They will play every team differently. I want to break down the film and things like that tomorrow and Wednesday. To see how they're going to attack us. 

Q: You have any general impressions from the outside of how they've been and what kind of challenge they will present to your defense?

A: They have good running backs and they have some stars on offense we have to shut down on defense. We have to stop the run is the key thing. If you don't stop the run, you won't have the opportunity to affect the pass. That's probably the biggest thing.

Q: Do you think there is a sense among the players now that you really lost the opportunity yesterday? Not only with the loss but just how it went. That was very atypical of not playing a close game at all.

A: I think we all have a bad taste in our mouth. Like you said, I wouldn't say it's a lost opportunity. I just feel like we didn't play the football we wanted to play. We have to come out this week and play how we want to play and show some Giants football.

Q: With only three games left, I know it's not a lot. Do you think this team will not play a game like you did yesterday in terms of how it got away?

A: Yeah, that's the mentality and one of the focuses. We just don't want to make the same mistakes we made this past week. We want to build off of that game and learn from the mistakes we made and just not repeat them.

View photos from the Week 14 matchup between the Giants and Cardinals at MetLife Stadium.

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