Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Guys, I appreciate your patience. Good to be back with everybody, pseudo-back together. Tomorrow we get in person, that's going to be a little bit more back to normal. Look, obviously we're back in a process today, first day back in training camp. There's a lot of logistics that go with reporting day. Right now, our players are still completing their physicals. We've had some team meetings in terms of some of the medical meetings and some of the logistics that go along with reporting day. Then, this afternoon, we'll transition back over to football and get ready for tomorrow's practice. That being said, I'll answer any questions I can at this point with the information we have.
Q: A few guys popped up on the PUP list, [Offensive Lineman] Matt Peart being one of them. I know you don't like talking about injuries, but can you talk about whether it's a long-term injury? Does it look like it's serious? Are you expecting him back soon?
A: I'd say, with all the guys that are on PUP, we just took the approach of anybody who's not 100 percent from day one that we're going to put them on the PUP list. This wasn't anything unique to one player, just an approach we're taking with every player. With the PUP list, we can pull them off at any point. We're optimistic with all the players that are on it currently, they're all working with our training staff and making a lot of progress. I'm not going over any one person's individual injury at this moment, but I've got a lot of confidence in the way that he's working and going day by day. Obviously, Matt's doing everything he can to get back on the field as soon as possible. Whenever that is, we'll make sure he's ready to go.
Q: I know you don't shy away from talking to your team about expectations. On Day 1, what kind of message do you give them about expectations and how forceful are you with those expectations?
A: In terms of forceful, I mean look, we have our standards in this organization that we're not going to compromise for anybody. Look, it's training camp. Our expectation is to get this team operating to develop good fundamentals, develop chemistry within the units and start getting some execution on all three phases of the ball going forward. This training camp is about getting our players in football shape, starting to have an identity as a team to build going forward and building this season and getting ourselves ready to go out and play.
Q: With [Wide Receiver] Kadarius Toney being in the COVID protocol, do you guys have a best-guess estimate on when he might get back on the field? If he does miss time early, how detrimental is that being a rookie and being hit or miss during the spring to him being ready for the year?
A: Well, he's with us today in the building, so he's back with us. We have a number of guys for different reasons that we're actually going to take them a little bit slower. Obviously, coming off of that protocol as we learned last year with the number of players on our team throughout the season, we're going to go and move them around the field and make sure that he's ready to go, then we'll start integrating with our team. We're not going to go ahead and rush anything to get in the process. He'll be in the meetings with all of our players. He'll be able to go out there and operate in some of the – some of the meetings we get a little bit more on our feet. But in terms of practice itself, we're not going to do anything with him on the field with the team until we know he's fully ready to go. His timetable will be different, I'm sure, than a lot of the guys last year that we learned from. One thing we really took away from last year was these things are all very specific to each person, what their symptoms were or what their exposure was, but that time away from training is what's critical.
Q: I know culture is very important to you. Do you start at sort of square one with this training camp or is there a building with what happened last year?
A: I think every year is its own year. When we started back in the spring in terms of our expectation, the standards of the organization, we started team building back in the spring even when we were just on Zoom before the players all got in here during that Phase 1 period. It's something that we build on and carry over all the time. Look, there's some things we've laid down as far as groundwork in Year One, but not all these players were here last year. So it's important that we go ahead and start at ground zero for these players to understand everything that we expect them to do.
Q: In terms of the vaccination rate of the team, can you give us some insight into what the numbers are on the staff and with the players?
A: Well, every staff and coach is fully vaccinated. That, I can tell you. In terms of the team itself and the number rate, I'm not going to get into rates. I would say that since the end of spring, we've had a number of players who have either started or finalized the vaccination process. We've had a number of meetings with our players that they understand that if they're not vaccinated, the protocols that are tied into that.
Q. A two-part question on [Cornerback] Sam Beal. From a football perspective, obviously he's only played six games in three years and he opted out, so he doesn't have the, I don't know, the resume to fall back on like a [Offensive Lineman] Nate Solder. Where is he with you football wise and then also, since we last talked to you, he plead guilty to a gun charge. How does keeping him around fit with the rules you have for this team?
A: I'm not going to comment at this point on any ongoing investigations or anything that's going on with the league at this point right now. In terms of him as a football player, everyone right now is building their fundamentals throughout training camp. We're going to start on the field today with our conditioning test and then tomorrow, we'll pick up the football and again, we'll build everyone from the ground up, alright. Whether they played every game last year or never played a game in the NFL yet.
Q. You said there were a couple guys in the situation that Toney is in. Who are you referring to there?
A: We had a couple guys who had some exposure to it and had to quarantine throughout this point. Some guys who had some issues this summer, I'm not going to go into specifics unless they're on the list right there. But, you know, there's a couple guys that have come off that we're going to go ahead and make sure that we're doing the right thing by them in terms of the adjustments to training they had to make the last few weeks.
Q. You talked earlier about making sure your guys get into football shape and we saw your program last year. You're a lot heavier, my estimation, on conditioning maybe than some other coaches, [Wide Receiver Sterling] Shepard said that recently. What's your theory behind that? What's your thinking behind concentrating on that?
A: Behind the conditioning?
Q. Yeah, the conditioning aspect of it.
A: Yeah, we're getting our players' bodies to stay healthy. One thing we do is a lot of research and self-scout. We went back after last year and we showed it to the players themselves and then came back in spring to explain why we practice the way we do. It was reflected in a decrease in injuries across the board within this organization as well as relative to the league. We were one of the healthiest teams last year in the league and the healthiest this team has been in a long time. Look, you can't put a player on the field and tell them to play 100 percent for 60 minutes if you haven't trained them that way. To me, there's a difference in practicing and training. We talk to our players all the time, we say, 'We're going out for practice,' but we're really going out to train. We're trying to get their bodies ready to go ahead and perform how they have to in a game and the most dangerous thing you can do for a player is skimp on how you practice. Whether that's conditioning to get their bodies in the right position and build up that callus within their muscles so that they don't have soft tissue injuries on the field. Whether that's practicing things like live hitting and live tackling and making sure that when they go out there and the pace of the game is actually faster, that they're not in a position to be prepared to do it safely and effectively. So, anything they're going to have to do in a game, we're going to make sure that we practice, correct, repeat, practice again.
Q: Do you get a lot of guys complaining about the fact that you do more conditioning or are they alright with it in your mind?
A: I think guys see on the field how they play and as they improve throughout the year. Plus, it's about keeping yourself on the field and healthy, and I think that's the best example you can give to a player of, were you able to go out there and play last year or were you limited through something that maybe you weren't in shape to do? You know, we have a very open relationship with our players around here, we tell them the 'why' in everything we do, we explain why we're doing what we're doing. In terms of conditioning itself -- look, I was a player. I've got a 15-year-old son, the first thing he wants to tell me about every day I pick him up at practice is what they did for conditioning. I have to explain to him, 'I really don't care. What did you do for football?' Conditioning is part of football. We're not going to go ahead and say, 'Hey, listen, don't worry about the quarterback's footwork through individual period. Just go out there and coach with your team and get all his footwork fundamentals.' No, it's a fundamental. We're going to work on that extra so that it carries over into team periods and it can help keep our players healthy and on the field.
Q: Having seen your training camp practices last year, there was a method to the madness, everything full speed, two fields. My question really is about how do you deploy your coaches if they overlap at a specific position? I'm really thinking of the offensive line. By my count, you have at least four guys who have some handle of what you're doing up front, plus you. So, on a day-to-day basis, do you kind of assign things to your assistant coaches at that position or is it an organic thing that these guys come to work together and realize, 'Okay, this is the priority today and this is how we're going to divvy it up?'
A: Unless something specific that I see that I want, a certain coach with a certain player or a certain group for that day, I let the coordinators handle how they're going to split the staff, and we just make sure that we have eyes on all positions, that we're covered fully. We're never going to want to have a drill where -- let's just say for example a group of tight ends don't have somebody out there who can correct their mistakes or give them the necessary information to go out there and practice within the period. So, I let the coordinators handle how they're going to divide the staff, but if I see something specific I may go ahead and say, 'Why don't you stay with so-and-so today and make sure he gets this.'
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: Hey Daniel, I know these days always have a first day back at school feel to them. I'm wondering if this feels like a square one day to you or does it feel like you're building off of how you finished last year?
A: Yeah, I think it has elements of both to it. Obviously, a lot of guys are back and there are certainly things that we're looking to improve, but at the same time we're making sure not to overlook anything or assume anything when we're starting day one here. It's a new year, so we're starting at step one and basic information and basic installs and going from there. That's a process and we're sticking to that.
Q: In terms of big picture, you come into this camp, what's your mindset? Has it changed at all? Are you viewing things differently now or does this feel like the previous two camps that you've had?
A: I think it's a similar mindset kind of like what we were saying earlier, start at step one, basic install, basic information and go from there. At this point, we don't want to overlook anything, don't want to assume anything and take every step one by one, and make sure we're building this thing the right way. So that's kind of my focus going in. I think it's definitely nice to come in knowing a lot of these guys and having built a lot of chemistry with these guys whether it's from last season, the season before, this spring or the summer, so certainly continue to build on that stuff. But in terms of today and this camp, we're starting from step one.
Q: Hey Daniel, this is your first time in a few years that you've had the same offensive coordinator and the same system in back-to-back years. How valuable do you think that is for you and how much more comfortable do you feel in [Offensive Coordinator] Jason Garrett's offense as you head into this season?
A: I think it's valuable. I think it's valuable for all of us. I think it's the second year in the system under Coach Garrett and [Head] Coach [Joe] Judge. A lot of us are back and, like I said, have developed chemistry and know how to communicate with one another, but kind of the same theme, to start over and take it day by day, to start with step one and make sure we're going about it the right way. We've got several new guys and had some time to get to know them during the spring and in the summer and we'll continue to go from there, but definitely helps to be back with Coach Garrett, Coach Judge and a lot of the same guys.
Q: I'm just curious if you feel pressure. Do you feel pressure as your third training camp begins? Do you put any of that on yourself? And some people think that's a little bit healthy to challenge yourself like that. I'm just wondering where you come down on that.
A: Yeah, I think at this level and in this job, we're all expected to perform and play at a high level every day, and that starts today. I certainly feel that. I think everyone on the team does and I think that's healthy, I think that's the way it should be and I know we're excited for the opportunity.
Q: Can I ask you about [Running Back] Saquon [Barkley]? I know you're a good friend of his. My suspicion is you have an awful lot of confidence in Saquon. What do you expect for him as he goes through these next couple weeks and perhaps a little bit more of trying to get back with all of you on the practice field?
A: Yeah, just from the type of guy he is, he's worked his tail off and doing everything he can. He's listening to the trainers and the doctors and following their guidance for whatever they have him doing. He's a tremendous worker, he's focused and excited. Everyday he comes in here to take the next step, so he's been doing great and it's been fun to watch his progress.
Q: What did you learn last year in your first training camp with Joe Judge as far as his emphasis on conditioning? You guys did some hitting, some tackling, things like that. Was there any moment where you said, 'Wow, this is a lot more running and conditioning and things than I'm used to in a training camp?'
A: Yeah, we're definitely gonna run. I think that's a big piece of what Coach Judge believes in and I think throughout the season we felt the advantages of that brought to us as a team and being in shape. What we do through this month, through these next few weeks, has a lot to do with the rest of the season. He preaches about the importance of that as it affects injuries and protecting us from injuries, just overall conditioning and health throughout the season. I know we all believe in that and that is certainly a big piece of this camp is to get in shape and get ready to play football.
Q: Not always the most fun though, right?
A: It's not the most fun. Anyone who has had to condition has had, but we understand the benefits of it.
Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Q: I know you have mentioned before about the conditioning with [Head Coach] Joe [Judge] and that's a big part of what he brings to the table and probably more to the degree than you had in the past. How much do guys kind of whine and complain about it for lack of a better term or is it just something that you kind of accept even though it's kind of rare at this level?
A: I mean, I think that's on the older guys on the team to get everybody to embrace it and kind of buy into it. It's something that I know not many teams do around the league, but it's something that a lot of the guys here have bought into and we see the benefits from it. We would get in the fourth quarter and see the other team gasping for air and we were doing fine. Whenever you see the outcome like that, it's reassuring that everything is working. Just buying into it is the main thing.
Q: We know that two years ago you made a pretty big sacrifice moving outside to let Golden Tate go into the slot. When I look at this receiving corps, it seems like the slot is yours again. What is it you like best about the slot? Why do you fit there? And is that kind of your expectation to be back there where you had your best years?
A: I think I'll be bouncing around a lot of different positions, kind of like I did at the end of the season last year. I love the slot. It's where I'm super comfortable. I just like the space you have to be able to go all the way across the field, come back out, do the short intermediate routes to try and run in. But also, I can go outside as well. There's some things that I love to do outside, as well. I'm looking forward to just bouncing around and being wherever the coaches see me fitting best.
Q: How should [Wide Receiver] Kenny Golladay and [Tight End] Kyle Rudolph help guys like you and [Wide Receiver] Darius Slayton maybe get different types of coverages?
A: Just drawing more attention. The more guys that we have helping make plays and making big things happen, the defense is going to have to pay attention to them. It frees guys up and hopefully we can do the same for them, draw some attention and free those guys up. Playmakers are what we need and that's what I think we've addressed over the offseason.
Q: Last year was a completely new start, new coach, new players on the team, new system, a new culture, new vibes and everything. Does this year feel like on Day One that it's new or does it feel like a carryover from that year?
A: It's new in the aspect that you have new guys on the team and kind of unfamiliar faces, but we were able for OTAs to kind of build a relationship with those new guys. But as far as the system, yeah, it's pretty much the same thing. Just some new stuff implemented. But it always feels good going into the second year of a system just because you have a baseline and kind of know what to expect out of the system.
Q: Do you have to let the new guys know what's expected of you that you learned from last year in terms of Joe Judge's expectations and the culture and things like that?
A: Yeah, that's one of the big things that we talked about over OTAs was just getting those guys acclimated and showing them what our team was all about and kind of some of the standards that we work on.
Q: Real quick, if I could, what did you think of your Marvel comics likeness?
A: Oh, it was dope. They actually sent me a photo of it about a couple weeks back and it was pretty cool.
Q: In regards to COVID and the vaccinations, when you look around, you've been around today, how inhibiting is it for guys if they're unvaccinated? Do you think by seeing that and seeing what they have to kind of go through compared to the people who are vaccinated, do you envision that making those guys that are unvaccinated going and getting it?
A: I mean everybody is able to make the decision for themselves. I think if guys are stuck on not getting it, then they're not going to get it and go through all the protocols. Me personally, that's all I can speak for is myself, I got vaccinated just for my reasons – for my family and other reasons. That's all I can go off is why I got vaccinated and I want to be here for my teammates, not to say that they're not. I have my reasons and they may have their reasons for not being vaccinated, so that's all I can do is speak for myself on that.
Q: Is it strange though that some guys basically have to wear masks around the building and other guys don't have to and you kind of notice right away, it's like a sign saying, 'I'm unvaccinated'?
A: I mean, the weird part for me is I see people with masks and I'm like, 'oh, I forgot my mask.' I'm going back to last year and I'm like, 'oh, I'm vaccinated I don't have to wear it.' So, that's the only weird part for me. It's not too weird. We've had a year of everybody wearing masks, it's kind of become normal in some way.
Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q: You weren't here last summer. Do you know what to expect from [Head Coach] Joe Judge in these next six weeks?
A: Yeah, I think so. I played for a couple teams Joe Judge coached at before. They weren't his camp – I'm sure they may be similar, they may not – but Joe Judge is tough on the fundamentals. A lot of conditioning. That's how I made a career for myself, being fundamentally sound and being in shape for nine, ten years now.
Q: You are the player rep for the Giants, correct?
A: Yeah, as of now. Until we vote again, yeah, I am the player rep.
Q: Big picture COVID question – the memo that came out on Thursday from the League that articulated the differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated and that teams can forfeit and guys lose their salaries. How do you think that was handled from a players association standpoint? Do you think that players fully understand the consequences if they're not vaccinated? And do you think a full player membership had a voice in creating those protocols?
A: Well, the rule where if a game is cancelled and players won't get paid on either team was in effect last year. So, that was the same case as last year, if a game were to be cancelled completely and not played at all on the schedule – that took a lot of people aback last year as well, and obviously we were able to make them all fit. The thing is this year with fans being back in stadiums, it'll be a lot harder to just move a game from Monday to Tuesday than when the Steelers play on Wednesday morning or something. It's a lot less flexibility. I think it's been made clear to all the players regardless of how you feel about vaccination – I believe everyone has their right – but the NFL is making it really difficult with the protocols to be unvaccinated. You see some other franchisees where assistant coaches have been terminated because of it and it's very, very hard day-to-day to be unvaccinated. I know I am vaccinated. I personally am because I've talked to enough doctors, I believe in [Head Athletic Trainer] Ronnie Barnes, our team doctors, and my wife last year went through a couple medical procedures. She was in the hospital last year during the whole COVID outbreak, so that was pretty scary for us. I couldn't see her as much as I wanted to, so that was important for me and my family to get vaccinated. I encourage players to, but I'm not going to demand anybody to do it if they don't want to because that's what they believe. It's just going to be really difficult day-to-day and also costly with the amount of fines that they can hit you with. 24/7 monitoring, have your mask under your nose or you get fined like 15 thousand overnight, so I think the League is making it pretty clear where they want people to be when it comes to vaccination.
Q: Joe Judge was talking about last season, he says last season is last season, how can you come into this season and not be optimistic?
A: I mean, I'm always optimistic, honestly. I'm an optimist myself. Last season was last season. It has no bearing to this season. We have a lot of new players on our roster, players who haven't played here before. Look, I think you need talent. I think you need a talented team to win, for sure, but you need that team to stay healthy and I think you've got to get the reps in the system. I think you really need to run your system and really put the work in together and that's what we're doing now. That comes in training camp. That's just part of the team-building, team-bonding process of getting yourself in football shape and really putting those reps in and those details as players because great players help you win games, but great players got to play great together in great units and that's what we're trying to create is great units and obviously a great team. That just comes through training and that's what training camp is for.
View photos of the team reporting for the start of training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.