Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: From what I understand, you're going to have your outdoor practice today. Everything is a go?
A: Yes, everything is a go right now. We're all good.
Q: Now that you're back somewhat on schedule having a practice outdoors, will you determine today for Daniel (Jones) for Sunday?
A: I'd like to have a much better idea. In a perfect world, I'd like to have a decision today if possible. Tomorrow will be a walkthrough for the team in the morning. I can't say 100 percent that's going to be the case. But I'd say I'm leaning towards possibly making a decision today if that's possible.
Q: Obviously, you guys had another wrench thrown into your Sunday plans with James Bradberry being declared out because of the COVID. I'm curious how do you feel about that? What is your reaction to it? Obviously, he's been such an important part of the defense this year. You don't really have that many pure cornerbacks on the active roster right now.
A: Yeah, it's unfortunate. Obviously, we want all of our players at the game. We definitely don't want anybody sick or hurt or injured on our team or on any other team, to be honest with you. But look, it's our job to prepare the players. It's every player's job to be prepared to play when their number is called on. Look, we have guys on the team who have past history at cornerback. Versatility is definitely a cornerstone in how we build our team, especially our defense. That's no different. We work a lot of guys at different positions when we start the weeks of practice. Sometimes that doesn't always show up in games, but we're always thinking ahead and thinking of the 'what if' scenarios. The last thing we always talk about as a staff on Saturday in our staff meeting is everyone go to bed tonight and wake up and make sure we have a solid plan in place that if you wake up tomorrow and we get some bad COVID news that we have a progression of who's going to do what and how we're going to continue the game plan or adjust the game plan. This is something we've talked about on a regular basis. This is no different.
Q: You talk a lot about the toughness of the team and wanting to be tough. I would think that this week is a good test of that, both physically against a Browns team that seems like it's one of the more physical teams in the league, and also mentally with everything that's coming down on this team. Do you see it that way?
A: Well, definitely there have been some challenges thrown our way all year, but that's no different from any other team in the league. We've all dealt with the same thing, same obstacles. Some in different doses or different timing, but this is not unique to the league what we're dealing with this week. We just have to go ahead and plow through and move ahead. In terms of the Browns, this is definitely a physical team. This team runs the ball, this team is good on run defense, this team is good in the kicking game in terms of creating field position. They play with a good nasty edge. I think when you think about their defensive front, a lot of people want to highlight the pass rush they have, which is obviously no secret. But these guys do a tremendous job against the run. Their interior players are very quick and elusive. They play with good penetration and anticipation and get around your blocks. Their edge players are very good at setting the edge and compress it and make sure they bottle up your run game right there.
Q: If Colt McCoy were to play for you and start for you on Sunday, what did he do well in the Seattle game to help you guys win?
A: I think he did a lot of things well. First off, I love the way he just controlled the flow of the game, the tempo of the game. Colt was on the line of scrimmage, identifying what the defense was in, putting us in the right place, made some big plays for us down the stretch with some key completions to continue drives. He did a good job when he had to go ahead and check from a run to a pass or vice versa. I thought just his experience really showed up in that game. The biggest thing he's very good at is Colt's a very positive guy. He's a competitor and he's a very positive guy. He understands the flow of we're always getting ready for a 60-minute game. If things aren't going well initially, you're never going to hear him complain or tap out. He's very committed to the process. Any adjustments you have to make, Colt's a smart dude. He's always in tune to talking on the sideline about, 'hey, what do you guys think about maybe changing this up?' or 'do you want to stick with this?' He may come back and say, 'hey, I like this play, call it again.' Colt's very, very mentally into the game. That carries over and really gets the rest of the guys involved as well.
Q: James Bradberry, reportedly he was a high-risk contact to a chiropractor who's positive. How much time do you spend looking into whether that's a breach of your guys' protocols? Or does everybody have that kind of an arrangement with their different masseuses and chiropractors?
A: Some of it cut out, but I think what you're asking is in terms of him dealing with a chiropractor outside of our system. Look, that's obviously something that we try to avoid. Ronnie (Barnes) and his staff do a great job of making multiple people available inside. If someone is external, we've talked to our players repeatedly and re-emphasized that as well, that if it's someone externally, I don't care if it's a chiropractor or a dentist, a barber, whoever you need contact with, get them in our system. We'll get them tested, we'll make sure you're safe, make sure we make all the right decisions. Look, I want to be clear. James wasn't defiantly doing anything. He didn't do anything malicious to hurt the team. It's unfortunate. Sometimes you make a mistake. I don't want to speak for James, but I can echo that his assumption of this guy was with another NFL team and he was under the assumption that he was tested every day. What we can't do as a team and coaches and players is make those assumptions. We have things in place to keep our team safe. We have to trust the process, trust the protocols. We have to rely on Ronnie and his staff a great deal to get us through this. They've done a tremendous job the entire year. We've been very fortunate with the limited number of cases and the limited number of postponements or adjustments to our schedule that we've had to make. Yesterday was really the first day we've had to go ahead and cancel a practice. We made adjustments in the day of how we're going to go ahead and make progress. But we've done a good job throughout the year of really staying on course. Look, obviously, people feel there's an end in sight in terms of the end of the regular season. We have to make sure that we tighten this thing up and not feel like we're in cruise control and that everything is going to take care of itself.
Q: Whether it's Colt or it's Daniel, can you expect to have success as a team when you get 100 yards passing, very few touchdown passes. I mean, the passing game has kind of, even when you were winning, has kind of just been there. Do you need more from that aspect of the game?
A: Whatever it takes for us to have success, we'll go ahead and adjust in the game to make sure that we're moving in that direction. We always expect to have success. We work for it the entire week throughout. Look, we're not afraid to make this a grinding game in any way, shape or form against any team. I think we've shown that throughout the year. Our defense is a key part of how we play. Our kicking game and field position, we have to continue to improve in all of those phases. Then offensively, look, we want to be able to run the ball and throw the ball effectively when we need to. Some games, it's more running. Some games, its more throwing. Whatever presents itself, whatever is working within the game, we'll always make the adjustments to keep that going.
Q: We talked to Freddie (Kitchens) earlier. Freddie said, 'what I want to do is get my players in the best position to make plays.' Does he have carte blanche to do what he feels is right? I assume he may call a pass in a situation and Jason may call a run.
A: Listen, the offensive staff has done a good job putting together the game plan. That's a very cooperative process. They all work together, they share ideas, they ping things off each other. Obviously, I've been involved talking with the coordinators the way I may see a game being played or adjustments I want made as well. But look, once you get into the game, the play caller has to call it how he sees the game. You can't script an entire game, you can't go by some template of how the game is supposed to go. You have to have a feel within the game of how you see it, how the quarterbacks are seeing it, what's working, what adjustments they have made and what we have to do to adjust on our own part. Yes, to answer your question, when he gets into the game, he has to be able to call plays as he sees fit to help this team. We'll discuss those situations and scenarios before we get to Sunday, like I do every week with all of the coordinators, and make sure that we're on the same page in terms of, 'ok, what are you thinking in these situations?' Then there's always the 'what if' scenarios that present. What if they match us with this? What's our answer? What if we can't get this going? What's our answer?
Q: The other question that was brought up earlier is can Jason get on at halftime and say, 'this is what I'm seeing'?
A: No, we can't have any external contact.
Q: With Daniel, what's the plan today? What do you want to see from him?
A: This is kind of like a broken record, to be honest with you. It's a lot like last week. I just want to see how this guy moves around and progresses. Now having the day off yesterday, we'll see how his body responds after doing some things on Wednesday and see how it looks on Friday today. Again, I just want to see how he moves around, see how the injuries have kind of progressed. He's been working hard with the trainers. I just really want to see his mobility overall. We're not going to have some kind of obstacle course we throw him through. It's going to be just seeing him through football movements, some individual drills, of some team settings, and how he looks out there.
Q: Is he going to get some first team snaps to try to prove that to you?
A: Yeah, he'll get his share today.
Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham
Q: With all the news about James Bradberry and how he is out on Sunday. Right now, you only have one active cornerback on the roster, obviously that will change before Sunday. How much of a challenge is it losing a guy like James who has been especially important to your defense this year?
A: The thing about this game and you get used to over the years. You lose guys, whether it's injuries or other things. It's definitely going to be tough, James will be missed. He's in meeting in terms of over Zoom. Staying active and staying involved. It's going to be tough, but we have to adjust. I know that Cleveland doesn't care. They can care less. We have to get ready to go. That's on us to figure it out. I know this, the players will rally behind the it. I know James will be pushing for us and cheering us on. It's a unique challenge, not unique, let me stop, it's not really unique. It's challenge and we're ready to go face it.
Q: You guys obviously have a couple safeties like Logan and Julian who have experience at corner. Does that make it a little easier to stomach when you have guys that can play those multiple spots like that?
A: It helps to have flexibility and have versatility on the back end. That's definitely a bonus.
Q: It seems like this game is really going to be a buckle your chinstrap game against the Browns. You guys talk a lot about toughness and physicality. Is this going to be a good barometer for where you are in those terms?
A: Absolutely. You talk about their offense, again that's what I'm dealing with directly. Their offensive line, these guys are big, they're physical. I'm not trying to diminish the merits of the teams we've seen before, but arguably one of the best O-lines we've seen all year. It's going to be a challenge. The tight ends are willing to block. The thing that stands out to me with Chad O'Shea the wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator. These receivers are going to block too. That's always been a trademark of Chad. Talking about it being a people league. You can see Chad's toughness showing up in those receivers in terms of them blocking. I like to ID when there is a point of attack wide receiver, but they all block. 11,80, they're all blocking. That's one thing that stands out. From there, you get the quarterback getting them in the right checks. You can see him really maturing as a signal caller back there. He's getting them in the right checks. I think I said it before, I wondered if there was a stat for quarterbacks that get them in the right call for the run game. That's pretty unique. You saw Peyton Manning, Eli (Manning), those guys would get those young guys in the right checks to the run. Last but not least, are the backs. You're talking about guys that don't go down on first contact. Guys that play tough. (Nick) Chubb to me, I would love to meet this guy postgame or something. I love his demeanor, I love the way he carries himself. It's pretty impressive, him as a player. (Kareem) Hunt's a dynamic player in the run and pass game. They do a good job, it's definitely going to be a (inaudible) to see if we can handle the physicality. We're working towards that challenge today.
Q: What are your thoughts generally on pulling from a strength to cover up a weakness like moving a safety to cornerback? Is that something you would do or does that open up another hole if say hypothetically you were to move Logan from the spot he is playing really well at?
A: Think about whether it's positionally or think about what we're doing on each play. There is so much field to cover. Whatever coverage you call you are pulling from weakness to play for a strength. You're trying to guess right really, as you try to defend the field. It's really no different when you have injuries and you have to move around the pieces. That's up to us as coaches from the direction of our head coach, form the direction of the position coaches. What's going to be the best fit for whether it's a certain play, personnel situation. I don't really think of it like that. Playing defensive football, you're trying to hedge your bets on most plays anyway because there is so much field to defend. You can't defend it all technically. All 53 yards across. It's kind of the same thing if that makes sense.
Q: How much have you played Logan (Ryan) as a boundary corner or even (Xavier) McKinney so far? Just talking even in practice.
A: How often have we played them?
Q: Yeah, have you been willing to do it? Is it something they ar3 familiar with even?
A: Yeah. I think they all pride themselves, you have to ask them. Jerome (Henderson) does a great job, he is always thinking ahead on situations like what if this happened. We kind of talked about it before, we have to think ahead like that. Especially during this COVID-19 era. You don't know what's going to happen. All those guys have rotated through corner, safety, whatever it may be. I think Jerome does a good job of thinking ahead from the direction of our head coach. Sometimes I get caught as the coordinator in the x's and the o's. I forget and I'm like why is so and so out there at corner? Oh, that's what we talked about at the beginning of the year. We have to get thinking ahead so it's not a surprise when it comes up.
Q: How concerned were you when you heard Jason (Garrett) tested positive that it could extend to you and possibly more of the staff?
A: I have faith in our protocols and how we're keeping each other safe here. The funny thing is when you're in it right now, the football deal, thankfully, unlike a lot of people unfortunately for them. I'm kind of in a normal mode. Being safe, like they are asking us to, following the protocols. When we hear something, you think about it, you hope everybody is safe and you move on to the next thing, and that was thinking about red area. The thing you are thinking about is you hope everybody is safe and their families are safe and everything. From there, I feel safe about the protocols and what we're doing here with the Giants.
Q: Can you walk us through what it was like finding out that he was positive? What you had to go through there to confirm everything was okay? Even though you test negative yesterday, is anything linger in your mind that you could test positive tomorrow and miss the game and all that?
A: I'm sure Joe will talk about all this stuff, the specifics of it. I'm not trying to be dismissive of the question, I promise you that. For me, when stuff comes up in the season, I move on to the task at hand. I'm not saying there's not a human element to it. I just want everybody to be safe and their families to be safe, to be honest with you. I know I have a job to do. As long as I'm in the building doing my job, that's what I'm going to do. That's the extent of it right there. I'm sure Joe will answer logistic questions.
Q: How have your meeting structures and everything changed in the wake of the positive test? I know you worked virtually yesterday. I didn't know if it was kind of in the norm for what you guys have been doing lately. What changes with Jason testing positive?
A: I have to admit you guys are really good. I'm just telling you, these questions are above my paygrade. I will defer to Joe about anything logistical. I'm here doing my job and I'm coaching football. Good question though, but I'm sorry I'm going to defer to Joe on that one.
Q: They have a pretty powerful one, two punch, does that keep you up at night. Figuring out how you're going to slow those guys down?
A: You guys have gotten to know me a little bit, there is a bunch of stuff that keeps me up at night. That run game, when you put on that tape and you watch what happens between Baltimore and Cleveland on Monday night. Combined rushing touchdowns, that's what keeps me up. I don't know how good my Christmas is going to be. Honestly, yes. But it's not just that. It's also the quarterback, the receivers, (Jarvis) Landry. The O-line, they have a lot of good players. We didn't even talk about the tight ends and the receivers. Chubb is a good player, they have a bunch of good players. The coaching staff, I talk about Chad. The head coach / OC (Offensive Coordinator) they do a great job. You can see it really on the tape. Their toughness shows up. They're well coached in terms of how everything is packaged. They're really playing to their strengths. To me, when you think about offense, that's what makes it tough. The run game married with the play action . The play action and the boot married with the stretch run game. Third down, they are getting the ball to the guy they need to get the ball to. To me, their playing to their strengths, they are playing to the people they have. Obviously, they can hand the ball off and get whatever he is averaging, 5.2 a carry. That's a pretty good thing to have for them.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: Some of the struggles you guys have had in punt coverage lately. Is that partially due to Riley (Dixon) not being as consistent in his ball placement as he was earlier?
A: It's a little bit of everything. It's not just Riley, he ain't out there by himself. Obviously, it starts with our specialists, with our kick. Regardless of the kind of punt that we get, we have to be able to cover it. Obviously, when there is a hang to distance issue. We out kick the coverage and it's not where the ball is supposed to be, that causes some issues. Riley is going to get better at it. We'll continue to coach it better and find ways to work around those situations when they occur.
Q: With Jabrill (Peppers) on the returns, do you tell him to secure the ball wherever it is and we'll live with it. I ask that only because, I believe it was one of the Philly games that stuck out to me and another one more recently. There seems to be a little bit of room for him to run or conversely perhaps you could have gotten the touchback.
A: It's a decision thing for him. I know a couple of those Philly returns, if you watch his reaction after he catches the ball, he knows he left a little meat on the bone. Conversely, with those other situations, it's a just a judgment deal. Those things happen really quick. We always tell our guys not to chase plays. Let the play come to you. When you start to press and you start to chase things, you make mistakes. That's what we don't want to have. The one thing we know about punt return, everybody knows who's getting the ball back. That's the most important thing. We're getting the ball back to the offense. If we can get it back with a first down, that's great. The most important thing is getting the ball back.
Q: You have worked for a lot of different coaches. I'm sure some are more or less involved in what you do, the special teams aspect of it. Is that true and also where does Joe (Judge) fit on that radar because of his experience? In a situation like this, the last few weeks, do you see him getting more involved?
A: He's been involved from the beginning. This is the most I have ever had a head coach involved but that's to be expected. That's what he did his whole career and there is no issue there. We have a great working relationship. For me, it's really refreshing to be able to have conversations with a head coach that knows exactly what you're thinking. The situations, he's been there before, and he knows how to work to and through those situations. It's been a great situation. A great learning experience for me because I get to learn another system. It's been really good for me as a coach.
Q: Is it more so now in the past two or three weeks? Maybe him saying I need to look a little bit more.
A: No, it's been the same since Week 1. He's been heavily involved since Week 1. Rightfully so, he's the head coach, he should be involved. It's been good.
Q: Have there been times with the head coach where really that's your baby. I've seen head coaches BS'ing on the side when special teams is going on. Has that been the case with you some of the times in the past?
A: Absolutely, I've definitely been around coaches that could care less about it. I've been around more coaches that have really always put it to the forefront as far as talking to the team about it. Trust me, I've been on both sides of the coin.
Q: Is Dante (Pettis) ever going to play or is his playing on special teams mean he has to be a receiver too?
A: That's above my paygrade. I don't make those decisions on who plays and doesn't play. Dante is here, he's working. We have a good receiver group. Again, when he gets his opportunity, I'm sure he'll take advantage of it.
Q: It looks like Dion (Lewis) has had some struggles the last couple of weeks or so. Are they kicking off differently, are they approaching the kickoffs differently? Doing something that maybe not fitting what Dion can do?
A: No, it's a combination of the whole unit, it's not just Dion. He's not out there by himself, there's 10 other guys that are out there trying to execute. That's the issue that we're having, just the execution part. We've been talking about to the guys for the last couple of weeks. We have to do a better job executing on the field and we have to do a better job as coaches making sure we put them in the right place to where they can make plays and they can execute. As a unit and as a group, we have to do a better job overall.
Q: It looks like you are going to have a new gunner this week I would think. How hard has that been? You lost Cody Core who is really an outstanding gunner for you. It seems like it's been a struggle to find a replacement to be as consistent as he has been. How's that been going for you?
A: Any time you lose a good player, you just hope that the next guy that comes in is ready to step up. Obviously, there is always levels to the guys' skill level. It's difficult, but that's football. That's my job as a special teams coach to make sure that we get the next guy ready and we have a line of guys. You're going to have guys that get injured, that's part of it. The next guy has to step up and the next guy has to do the job.
Q: This is the first time that we know of that COVID-19 hit the coaching staff. I'm wondering from a human point of view, what was your reaction Tuesday night? Did you isolate in your office when you found out about Jason's (Garett) positive test? Did you think to yourself, how much time was I around him? Did you worry that you might have it? What went through your mind when you found out COVID-19 hit the coaching staff?
A: We're all around each other all the time. That's the scary thing about this virus. We try to do our best at spacing out. We're always around each other. Me, Jason, Pat (Graham) and Joe are always in coordinator meetings together. It's scary, the whole thing is scary. You never know. I might touch a doorknob or push a button in a elevator or go into my car. Somebody could have touched the door handle to my car, I don't know. You go to the grocery store, you just don't know. That's the scary part of this whole situation. You try to control what you can control. Pray that everything works itself out.
Q: How can Joe Webb help you specifically on special teams. Joe (Judge) was telling us he is in three different meeting rooms but obviously can contribute on special teams. How exactly can he help you if he plays?
A: Like I told you guys a couple weeks ago, Joe is a swiss army knife. He can do a lot of different jobs very well. He can do a whole lot of things. He can do almost anything he wants to do on the football field. I just haven't seen him play O-line or D-line. Joe is a really good football player. He fills a lot of holes. His energy, his passion and his experience, when you have all those things and have those tickets punched. That's the thing that helps you. Especially in this time because you just don't know. It could be anything at any point in time, you could lose a guy and Joe is a guy that can hop right in and do a lots of jobs.
Tight Ends Coach Freddie Kitchens
Q: This is such a bizarre year. Do you sit back and kind of shake your head saying, 'I'm going to be calling plays for the first time this year, and of course, it's Cleveland'?
A: That's kind of ironic. But really, it's the next game. It truly is just the next game. It could have happened… We've kind of prepared for this throughout the year in training camp and things like that. It's just kind of the next game. It just so happens we had a guy go down this week.
Q: Are you still going to do the tight ends or is somebody taking that over?
A: Well, we have a plan as a staff of how we're organizing things and stuff like that. I've had Bobby Blick kind of as my assistant all year. He knows everything that's going on in the tight end room on a daily basis, so he'll do more of that during the game.
Q: You've watched Baker Mayfield a little bit this year, I'm sure. What's the biggest difference and improvement in his game that you've seen going into this week? Second, with Jason (Garrett) testing positive, what's your level of concern with how close you guys interact on a daily basis?
A: To answer your first question, obviously, the biggest thing that Baker is doing a great job of is protecting the football, and that's where it starts at that position. As far as Jason is concerned, we knew what we were getting into when we began this year. Of course, you're always concerned. But you try to do the things necessary and the things that are in your control of everything everybody else is trying to do. Wear a mask, stay six feet away for an extended period of time, wash your hands constantly, all those sorts of things. After you do all of those things, then it's up to the Good Lord after that. That's how I'd answer that question. Was I overly concerned? No, I wasn't, to answer your question just simply, just because I feel like we all try to do everything on a daily basis to limit that.
Q: Obviously, a lot has happened since we last talked to you. I'm sure you didn't expect to have to talk to us again this week. But I'm just wondering what has the last 24-48 hours kind of been like for you? It's obviously a unique situation. What was your reaction to Jason getting it and finding out you'd be calling plays? What's the last day or two been like for you?
A: It truly has just been kind of what we normally do. Nothing will truly change until we get to Sunday. Jason is still in the Zoom meetings with us and things like that. Really, at the end of the day, on a weekly basis, our game planning for practice or the games, it's really a group effort, which it should be. That's continued. Nothing has really changed, except for Sunday.
Q: How would you describe Freddie Kitchens the play caller, the mentality of you when you call plays?
A: I don't get into self-descriptions of things I do and stuff like that. I kind of just try to do the best I can for the team, for our staff, for our players, and try to the best of my ability to try to put players in position to make plays.
Q: Do you just kind of want to move forward and continue on the path that Jason has been going? Or are you going to add a few little wrinkles knowing that you operate differently maybe a little bit in game?
A: Do you really think we would talk about that right now?
Q: I mean you're not giving specifics, are you?
A: No. Nothing is changing with our offense. Our offense is our offense, and we're just going to try to execute on a consistent basis truly. I couldn't be any more truthful than that.
Q: There's also the situation of which quarterback you're going to have. Do you have to draw up two different game plans for that, or do you, without telling us the secrets, kind of already know who you're going to be working with on Sunday?
A: I'll let Coach Judge handle all of that stuff. I don't even try to pretend that I'm an expert in that area.
Q: As a play caller, does anything change for you with whichever guy is the quarterback?
A: Again, you just try to put your players, whoever those players are, in a position to make plays and try to keep them in the best position possible to do that. Whoever's in there, that's what we'll try to do.
Q: Do you think that you have any particular insight into the Browns that will help on Sunday?
A: I think I referenced this the other day. There are no two teams the same. There are a lot of guys that were there when I was there, but there is also a significant number that weren't. Of course, the ones that are there, I know a little bit more about than I would if I wasn't there. I don't know that you gain a tremendous advantage with that.
Q: I guess what I'm asking is, obviously, the game plan that comes together, but when you're actually calling the plays, how aware are you of the pieces on the field and how they match up in those situations?
A: I would say you do that every week. You want to make sure you kind of have a plan for their good players, and you offensively can play to your strengths and maybe some of their weaknesses, which I don't know how many weaknesses they have. Not too many. You do that on a weekly basis no matter who you're playing. I don't think anything is changing this week just because it's Cleveland and just because I was there last year. You still do the same thing. You evaluate film as a staff, you try to come up with a plan that gives you the best chance to be successful.
Q: A week after Arizona had eight sacks against you, how much of a priority is it to clean some of that up with Myles Garrett and company coming to town?
A: Protecting the ball and protecting the quarterback is of the utmost of importance for us, as in any offense. That's where it all starts. A lot of times, those two things go hand in hand. Of course, it's always a priority for us. Cleveland is very good upfront. The better you are upfront, the more difficult that is. We have to do a good job of putting these guys in position to be successful.
Q: Just a process question. When halftime comes in the game on Sunday, is Jason allowed to Zoom in from his couch and talk to you guys about adjustments? I really don't know the answer.
A: I don't know that we've gotten that far down the road yet. This is such a strange time for everyone, some of the little intricacies of the rules and stuff like that. I wouldn't think that that would be allowed with the electronics protocol that the NFL emphasizes on a weekly basis. You can't wear an Apple watch on the field, so I don't know how they would feel about that.
Q: So, the second half will be all you? See, I trapped you there.
A: Well again, I can try to get that answer for you. But I don't know.
Quarterback Colt McCoy
Q: How much are you looking forward to playing against the team that drafted you and maybe making this a little bit of a revenge game here?
A: I haven't really thought about that. We'll see how it goes with DJ (Daniel Jones). I think for us, this is a really tough opponent. They have the capability to score a lot of points. We know how good their defense is, especially upfront. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. We have our hands full with them. Unfortunately, we didn't get to practice yesterday, but we had a good practice today. Hopefully we can get a little more work in tomorrow before the game.
Q: How much more work did you get this week than maybe last week when Daniel had the one injury instead of the two?
A: Like I mentioned earlier, we hadn't been out on the field that much. Wednesday was a walkthrough, we were off on Thursday because of all the situations that went on here, and then back on the field today. We'll see how DJ is feeling. I don't know. We've just been at home and studying and watching a lot of tape. One thing I know is that these guys are really good. They rush the passer. I can't hold onto the ball. We'll see where we are tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get another workout in tomorrow and go from there.
Q: How did DJ look to you?
A: He looked good. He looked good to me.
Q: When you played against Seattle, was the game plan not to throw as much? Because it seemed like you didn't push it downfield. Or was that what they were giving you?
A: The game plan kind of evolved in the Seattle game. I didn't really know where it was going to go. Then it ended up being a lot of big personnel, so that's just kind of how the game evolved. Obviously, we like to take shots, we like to push the ball down the field. But I think in that game, it just didn't present itself. We were doing a lot of things on the ball and with big people. That's what was kind of working.
Q: As a quarterback, is that the easiest way to play? When you're getting yardage with the run, just stick with it?
A: I'm a believer in whatever is working, let that work. I believe in our receivers, I believe in our running backs, I believe in our guys up front. Our call sheet is pretty heavy. One of the heavier ones that I've been around. There are a lot of options there. In the Seattle game, it worked out there in the second half where we were in big people most of the time, and that's what we stuck with.
Q: Obviously, a couple weeks ago in Seattle, after the game you talked about how appreciative you were for the journey and for getting to that point, getting the opportunity to start. I'm curious if you do get that opportunity Sunday night, will it feel any differently for you? Are you more comfortable because you've just done this a couple weeks ago and it's not as long of a time off? I know you're going to approach it the same way, but just physically being out there on the field knowing you were just there two weeks ago?
A: Yeah, I think maybe that might be a little more familiar to me after having played two weeks ago. I just think that our group, especially on offense, has to be really focused, really sharp on our details and on our efficiency and the things we're doing and kind of what's working in the game because it's been a crazy week around here. Getting back on the field today was nice, get the blood flowing a little bit. Get the communication, get the calls, let everybody kind of get used to what they do on defense. We'll see where it goes. This defense can create a lot of problems with their pass rush. They're good at stopping the run, so we have to be prepared and ready. Today was the first day with the quarterbacks working with Freddie and hearing his voice and the play call, so we're working through a lot.
Q: What were your memories of playing with the Browns early in your career? What sticks out about that time? Knowing how starved that fan base is for a winner and how hard it is to play quarterback there, what do you think of what Baker (Mayfield) has done and where the Browns are right now after 25 years?
A: I think Baker has done an outstanding job. He's playing at a really high level. I was appreciative of my time with the Browns. I wish we could have won more games. There are some great people within that organization. The fans and the people in Cleveland are awesome. My wife and I really enjoyed our time there. We just didn't win enough. That's about all I'll say about Cleveland. I think right now our focus and our team's focus is we still have stuff to play for. They're a good football team. They've won a lot of games. We have our hands full with their guys up front. We know what we need to do to win this game. We have to prepare and focus and be ready to go out there and execute.
Q: When do you expect to hear whether or not you're going to be playing? When do you want to hear that? What's your relationship like with Freddie?
A: Obviously, to know sooner than later, that would be great. But it's all about how DJ feels. I thought he looked good today, but we'll see where it goes. As far as Freddie, Freddie's been great. He's in the tight ends room, but he's been active, he's been involved. Jason's (Garrett) the play caller. We know Jason's voice. Jason sits in our meeting. That has obviously been really good. Freddie is going to step in and do a good job. I think for us as quarterbacks, we just have to get on the same page with him. He's going to call the game. We'll be fine. We'll work out the kinks tomorrow. We did a good job today. We'll be ready to go.
Q: For someone from Texas, I would imagine hearing the drawl is a lot more familiar than Jason's northeastern voice?
A: Yeah, Freddie has a nice little drawl. Yeah, he does.
Safety Jabrill Peppers
Q: With no James Bradberry, I don't think it's a secret that weakens your secondary. How do you guys cover that? What have you seen from Julian Love that suggests he might be able to pick up some of the cornerback slack in addition to playing safety?
A: It's the next man up. Whoever's out there is going to be prepared. We have the utmost faith in Julian. He's been getting reps at corner for quite a while this year for just in case. That's what he did in college. He was a Jim Thorpe finalist for a reason. He's a sure tackler out there, and we know he's going to compete. It sucks losing James, but next man up.
Q: Last year, Baker Mayfield said in an interview that he couldn't believe the Giants drafted Daniel Jones, kind of mocked the pick. Do you believe in making guys eat their words, especially when it's criticism of one of your teammates?
A: We don't really care about all of that. They still need to come down here, put the pads on and play. I don't really talk too much, I don't really get into all of the politics and all that. Just put the ball down and let's play.
Q: How about for you personally playing against your old team this week?
A: It's a big game. It's not a big game because it's my old team. It's a big game because of what's at stake, and it's the next game. I'm not going to do anything abnormal or anything that I haven't been doing during the season. I'm just going to come in, prepare like I've been preparing all year and try to do my job to the best of my ability.
Q: Do you feel like you're a different player than the one that the Browns traded to the Giants?
A: Absolutely. I'm being played to my strengths here. I thank the Giants for believing in me and seeing my potential. I'm just doing my due diligence to make them look good.
Q: What has this week been like? Obviously, there's a lot going on with the COVID and the quarterback injury. What's this week been like for the Giants?
A: We just adjust. We don't really care how it has to go. We know what we signed up for before the season. None of the guys in here opted out. However, we have to get it, that's how we have to get it. There are no excuses. We're not the only team who had difficult or abnormal weeks and still had to go out there and play. We're taking the challenge head on. We're going to prepare the best way we can, and we're going to put a good product out there Sunday night.
Q: As we sit here with three games left, do you think that these will be the last three games? Or do you expect there to be a 17th game for this team?
A: We take it one week at a time. We take care of one week at a time. Hopefully the chips fall where they may. But it doesn't do us any good, looking past what we need to look past. We have a tough Browns team coming up. It's a lot at stake for them, so we know we're going to get their best shot. It's a primetime game, AFC North opponent. That's where our mind is, getting ready for that. Anything else after that, I can't really speak on.
Q: Do you remember where you were or who told you about the trade? Did the Browns front office tell you? Did you hear it through the media? Do you remember where you were?
A: I was at home; I was on Twitter and I saw it. I was actually excited about the trade. I'm thinking 'We just got Odell.' Then I keep looking and I'm like 'Oh s—t, I'm not here anymore.' Then (John) Dorsey called me like 15 minutes after that. I had already saw the news. I actually spoke to (Dave) Gettleman before I spoke to Dorsey. It is what it is. That's the nature of this league. You can't take it personally. But I'm happy. I'm happy with the outcome. It's working out for me. I'm back home, I'm comfortable, and I get to play for a historic organization. I'm not tripping off it one bit.
Q: One of my fellow workers covers the Jets, and he asked me to ask this question. He said he has to write a story about their season. When you were 13 weeks through the Browns without a win, are you sitting there going 'this is hopeless, we're never going to win a game'?
A: Hell no. You have to try to get one. You can't start thinking like that because it's the National Football League. It's great parody. Anybody can be beaten any given Sunday. It's just all about execution. When things aren't going well, you don't want those negative thoughts. You have to try to at least get one. That was our whole thing. The ball didn't roll the way we wanted it to that year, but we were definitely trying to get one.
Q: Was it ever depressing though?
A: I wouldn't say depressing, but it sucks. A lot of the guys in the league, we're used to winning. It is what it is. When you don't have a win, it definitely makes you self-reflect. But I wouldn't say depressed. I've known people who have dealt with depression and things like that, so I wouldn't put it that deep. But it definitely makes you self-reflect.
Q: Just wondering if you're wearing a mask even right now because of what's happened this week? I know you're wearing a mask throughout the building, but even for this interview, just like with the positives and stuff that's happened, are you being extra cautious right now or what?
A: Yeah, definitely. We're taking every step. It's unfortunate, but this virus is unpredictable. We have to do our job and our share to try to limit it as much as possible. Wearing masks while we're practicing, throughout the building keeping our spatial awareness, and just trying to limit this thing. We don't know how it's going to go. But hopefully, if we keep doing our part, it'll be out of here soon.
View rare photos of the storied history between the Giants and Browns ahead of their Week 15 matchup.