Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: First, want to give condolences to the family of Coach Fassel. Very sadly, he passed away (yesterday). Look it's a honor being inside this building where his impact was directly felt, carries over into the history of our organization; a coach around the league that worked together and had a lot of good relationships, have a lot of respect for his son (John), just all the respect in the world for what they are doing, and obviously our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the impact he made here for the Giants, something we talk about as a team and we'll make sure we reflect on today.
Q. Does this minicamp serve as a springboard for the season to build a foundation necessary for the year in some regards?
A: I think it's just another opportunity for us to really hit the field, and yeah, again the No. 1 focus is building our football movement, get the players in shape. Give them more exposure to our techniques and systems and schemes on the field. What I would really like this to do is just give these guys a jumpstart carrying into the five-week break until we head back to training camp, but they have got a feel for what they have to work on in that absence and also a feel for their conditioning and overall shape and strength they have to work on right now throughout the summer.
Q. Would you just share with us what an honor it is to coach this franchise following the passing of Coach Fassel that you talked about?
A: Yeah, this was something I addressed kind of early on in my tenure here, in terms of when I was fortunate enough to even get the phone call to even interview for this job. I knew right away this job was not like every other team in the league. And to me, that reflects directly on the history of the team, the impact it's had throughout the history of the league and the people that have come before us. That's something we stress on a daily basis with our players and our coaches, to understand the people who have been in the building and have made an impact on the field before we came here. It's our responsibility to not only know their history but also carry out with class the way that they operated in. It's important to represent the Mara and Tisch families accordingly and it's important to represent the former players and coaches accordingly. With the passing of Coach, it's something that makes us sit back and reflect and brings back a lot of great coaches who have been through here. It's definitely an honor to be in the same position as all of those coaches. I'm far away from achieving anything they have at this point. I have a lot of work to do myself, but I'm proud to be able to be in this position to have this opportunity to come to work every day and be a New York Giant and work in this great city and for this great organization.
Q. A decent amount of players chose not to come to the voluntary workouts. Kadarius Toney was the only rookie who did not participate. Can you shed any light on why he wasn't participating?
A: Kadarius was here through a portion of the period. Not all our players are on the field every day for one reason or another. I would say in terms of the voluntary portion of the spring, I'm not going to comment on any attendance, who was or was not here across the board. That's something I expressed to my team early in the process. We are going to work with every player we could virtually, in person, whoever was available to us. I think all of our guys have done a good job working getting to this point. I'm excited about working with everybody on the field today and excited to work with Kadarius on the field today, as well.
Q. In trying to build the offense to become a top offense in 2021, what do you want to accomplish this week on the offensive side of the ball to know what you have going into training camp and how can you set yourself up for the kind of season you want to have on offense?
A: Well, in terms of knowing what we have, we are really not going to know that until we get to training camp and pads are on and we are playing actual football. When we get into the preseason games, competitive practices, when we get to some of those in training camp, those will definitely be vehicles for us to really evaluate our team in competition. At this point right here, this is all about learning, this is about functionalities and this is about conditioning and football movement. Give our offense every opportunity to get together and work on timing and the passing and that's critical. Every opportunity our offensive line has to work together and gain chemistry and to the communication and being on the field next to each other, picking up blitz concepts, different rush concepts, executing run blocking assignments together. Those are always things we have to learn from. It's invaluable having meeting time and being in the same room as opposed to Zoom. It's invaluable being on the field together, and not only play and execute but also mistakes you make to know how that felt and how you have to correct those and then you develop chemistry with the players around you going forward. In terms of our offense, we are just in the infantile stages right now. Obviously we are working on knowing our roster as well as we can. We have some new guys that we have to evaluate. We have things we know about them from the practice field or college experience and then we have got to get them on our field and really just keep working with them until we learn them inside and out. That's as much as the mental part of it, as much as their understanding of the game, how we can best teach them and help them and then look, that shall carry into giving us a good jumpstart in training camp, but I don't see this as necessarily being a springboard or anything. It's hard to evaluate your team when they are not in football pads.
Q. How valuable is this period for the rookies and what are you looking for in this mandatory period to see how they stack up against the veterans?
A: Yeah, I'd say overall compared to the OTAs we've been in before, there's really not much of a difference. It's a little longer of a day. We have longer meetings, more review time on the back end, we'll be on the field a little longer. But in terms of the actual what they are going to be doing in practice, there's not a great deal of difference from what they have been doing the last two weeks in OTAs already. The focus for us will be on football movement, group teach periods, get some 11-on-11 work to control tempo to make sure we are at least getting the feel of all 22 on the field. The one thing we can work on this time of year that you don't need pads is communication. To me with the rookies, one of the most important things they can get right now is the communication with the vets, guys who understand our system a little better, have a little more experience with what we are doing and getting used to being on the field and talking with it. You have to remember when these guys got here a few weeks back, they are naturally just shy guys walking down the hallways trying to learn everyone's faces and names. For them it's not natural to sit down and have a conversation and say, hey, can we try to bridge that gap as much as we can. This is part of the process to make sure when they are on the field there's no hesitation in having the confidence to speak up and make the right check, put yourself and be in the right play call and be all on the same page. In terms of this time in the spring overall with the rookies, this is really valuable. The more time you get with them here just to help them catch up, really, the goal for the rookies this time of year is just give them an opportunity when they get to training camp to be able to compete with the vets in front of them. The reality is every vet in this league has an advantage over every rookie based on maturity level, experience, expertise, they know how to handle their body better and they have seen NFL football and know the speed of the game. The advantage rookies have is they are younger, they are generally healthier and they recover faster with their young bodies. That's generally their advantage right now. They have to mentally catch up and technically catch up on the field with the fundamentals to be able to compete with our vets when we get to training camp.
Q. You spoke a little about Kenny Golladay last week. His size and his length, do you think that was missing from the offense? What can that do to help a quarterback and an offense?
A: I think the second you stand next to him, you understand he's a long guy, and that showed up on his tape before we got him here. There's enough evidence in the experience of the league that we know that about him. In terms of how that can help a team, I think that only helps as well as you can use it to your advantage. There's a lot of tall guys in this league that can't create separation and can't make contested catches. There's a lot of players you would maybe say who are a little on the shorter side who are very elusive and great at the catch point great at securing the ball and getting vertical with the ball to gain yards. To me, it's all about your individual skill set and how you can use it. There's enough evidence with Kenny that we are going to work it to use his strengths and we plan on having impact but again that depends how he produces on a daily basis. We have high expectations for all our players and he's no different and giving him an opportunity to work within our systems and give him an opportunity to make plays.
Q. A lot of defensive backs were not at the voluntary OTAs but a lot of those guys got together down in Florida. How valuable is it for those guys to get together away from the facility?
A: Yeah, I think that's great, that was definitely a point in the year where we couldn't have them in our own facility and work with them. Between guys getting together in Florida, multiple places, a couple of our D-Linemen got together for some different events, football-related. Look, the more your team can be together and bond and build chemistry and work together, the better that is for your locker room. We need a strong locker room to have a successful team. And it's one thing we've emphasized in building here, we have great character on our team, and I love coming to work with these guys here and it shows up when they are away from the facility and their work ethic and they know what to expect when they come back.
Q. What is Saquon's status and expectations?
A: In terms of where he's at right now, he comes in every day, he attacks every day from a rehab standpoint. He's had a phenomenal attitude and great motivation, he's been tremendously positive. We are going to make sure that we take Saquon's rehab at the correct rate for his individual body and injury. It's not any mirror of anybody else's injury out there. We have to make sure that we let him get it at his pace and put him on the field, can play 100 percent aggressive and confident and he's going to play safe and he can play effective. Typically we do Saquon's rehab in the morning before practice so when the players get out there he's already been off the field and a lot of times he's not out there when you're out there. We are getting a lot of our rehab done during some of the meeting time. Couldn't be happier with how he is working, showing tremendous leadership this off-season. He's chomping at the bit to get back on the field. We are taking it day-by-day and he's getting better every day.
Q. Do you have any numbers on how many players are vaccinated? What percentage are you at right now and where do you want to be when training camp starts in terms of that?
A: Look, in terms of all that, we are going to work everything within league rules and do whatever we have to do. We have a great staff here; Ronnie Barnes and the doctors have done a tremendous job communicating and educating our players and making any medical treatment, vaccine available when they need it. Players have a decision to make individually. As a team we are going to work within the protocols within the league. Players that don't have the vaccine, that changes the protocols a little bit individually, but we are going to operate as a team within the rules. I don't have a specific number for you right now. I don't want to get in the business, to be honest, of putting out percentages and numbers. We are just going to operate within the rules and make sure we do our best for the team.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q. Just curious what your first impressions are of Kenny Golladay now that you've been on the field for a few practices and what the workouts were like when you got together away from the facility.
A: Yeah, it's been great working with Kenny so far, and you can tell he's a true pro. He understands offensive football. He's still obviously learning our system but you can tell he's got a good understanding of football and where to be, kind of timing and understanding concepts. He's been fun to work with. Obviously his talent and skill level, you can tell as soon as you can get on the field with him he's a good player, smart player and I'm excited to keep working with him.
Q. Staying with Kenny, can you see right away when you're making throws to him today or earlier that his size and his length and wing span are going to be something you can use? You haven't had that in your years here. Anything on the field that tells you right away this is a big dude that you can throw the ball up to?
A: Yeah, I mean, I think you could tell, yeah, that's pretty easy I think to tell just by his stature, his size and length, his athleticism. He's a big target and had a lot of success in this league going up and catching balls over guys and winning those contested catches. So yeah, that's something you could tell as soon as you get on the field.
Q. Not to beat a dead horse but another Kenny Golladay question. Have you had any conversations about what worked well for him while in Detroit or even like spots on the field so you guys can have some jump balls and replicate or duplicate that success that he had?
A: Yeah, I mean, I think that's -- we've had those conversations. I think right now we are on the field obviously in the spring, we're just now getting to work together and feel all those things out. Get a sense for how he sees it, how I see it, how he wants the ball and where I can put it. I think those conversations come naturally when you get to know each other and working through a lot of things like we are right now.
Q. I don't know how much interaction that you've had so far this offseason with Saquon, but have you had a chance to see him out on the field? Do you take a quick peek? Coach Judge says he works out before you take the field for practices.
A: Yeah, I know Saquon's working hard and doing everything he can to make progress every day. That's the type of person he is and the type of worker he is. Certainly we've got his back and supporting him and I know he's working his tail off, everything he can do and doing what the trainers are asking him to do. He's had that mindset since the season since he went down and it's been fun to watch him work.
Q. You talk a lot about the weapons that they brought in this off-season to help the offense. How important is it to help Saquon to get this offense going?
A: Yeah, I mean, I think we all -- I think right now, we're focused more on what we are doing here in the spring, kind of our day-to-day practice here and improving individually in our individual work with our coaches and as a team, as a group when we get into more team settings. That's more the focus now is kind of where we are right here and I know Saquon is working his tail off to improve every day.
Q. Do you have an early impression of Kadarius Toney and the kind of weapon he could be in this offense?
A: Yeah, I think he brings a lot to the table and what he can do, he's a real twitchy and explosive athlete, and we will continue to work and get to know one another and help him understand what we're doing on offense as he's learning and continue to work with him.
Q. I understand changing the number -- but have you once looked for 87 and Shep's 3 now?
A: Not really, to be honest with you. But yeah, I know he's excited about it and it looks pretty good on him.
Q. Last year didn't go as planned for you. The question I get asked the most about you: Is this a make-or-break year for Daniel Jones. Just wondering what you think about that question and how you look at that.
A: You know, I'm not sure I necessarily think of it that way. I think right now my focus is on what I can do to improve and I think making sure that I'm improving every day and getting myself in a position to go into training camp prepared and be prepared to start the season. So I think that's my focus now that there's -- we've all got to perform in the NFL and you're expected to perform at a certain level. So certainly understand that, but right now, the only way to get there is to focus on what we're doing here every day at practice.
Q. How much had you spoken to Kenny prior to last week? How many times and where were you able to see him and get the ball rolling on feeling out the timing?
A: Yeah, we got together a good bit, whether it was up here in Jersey, got together in Charlotte one time. We got some good time on the field together and that was valuable, kind of getting to know each other and starting off that process there. You know, it's been good and I thought that was a good start, but it's been good to get up here and get on the practice field and get with the coaches. I feel like we've made some good progress.
Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay
Q. How long do you think it's going to take you to acclimate? You only knew one team in the NFL. What is your sense of what this new team is all about, the new offense, where you fit in and what you can do? How long is it going to take you do you think to acclimate and what's your sense right now of what's going on around you?
A: I mean, as of right now, I just love the energy. There's a lot of young guys including myself. We are out there right now with a lot of energy and I feel like it just brings excitement to everyone. And as far as what I feel I can do to this team, as of right now, I'm just trying to get this playbook all the way down so that I can just play more comfortable and the coaches can have more trust in me, D.J. (QB Daniel Jones) can have more trust in me, just the guys that are around me. For me it's about expanding the trust from those guys.
Q. From what you've seen so far, what is it about this offense that makes you believe that your skills and what you bring to the table is going to be a good fit there?
A: I mean, today is the first day of minicamp. First time we are out there for the full two hours. We caught some pretty good sun today. It was hot. But as of right now, everyone is just getting better. This is a new team. It's not the same team as of last year. As of right now this is just day one of getting better.
Q. A lot of times when newcomers come along to the Giants, they speak about what has impressed them the most with the Lombardi Trophies and the organization. With your short time here, what has stood out to you and helped you feel more acclimated?
A: Just all the guys in the building. I pretty much have someone new that I haven't seen every day just coming up and greeting me and making sure that I'm comfortable. That's a great start for me, me just being a new guy like you said and everyone in the building including my teammates making sure I got a spot out here, telling me about restaurants and just making me feel at home.
Q. What are your first impressions of Daniel Jones and have you spent any time outside the facility together?
A: Me and Danny hooked up a few times outside of the facility. I didn't really come into it with any expectations to be honest but as of right now, that's my boy. I can't wait to just really work with him deeper in training camp and especially when the season starts.
Q. You've obviously been through the spring program several seasons now in this league. When you come into this one, what are you working on personally in your game? What do you need to do to ramp yourself up to be ready for training camp?
A: I pretty much say this every year, just still becoming a better all-around receiver and that's hand, routes and this year it's going to be playbook. And just getting all my alignments and assignments correct.
Q. When you guys are going at a controlled tempo, whether it's in seven-on-sevens or team, can you work on that stuff? Is it harder or more of a challenge to work on that stuff when you don't have the DB playing aggressively or are you used to being able to fine tune those things?
A: To be honest it kind of helps you a little bit more because it allow you to get your feet under you a little bit more and allows you to focus on those details that you're really doing individually with the receivers coach. I just take what I do with individuals and apply those under-control team periods.
Q.. What is it like for you, a veteran in the league that's accomplished a lot and you've worked with a veteran quarterback in Detroit and here you are now with the Giants. Do you feel like it's an opportunity to prove yourself all over again to a different football team and football audience, almost?
A: 100 percent. This is just a new chapter in my life right now. I definitely feel like I have to go out there and prove to other people including myself, it's different for me. I got drafted to Detroit. Played all four years there. This is a whole different environment right now. So I'm just ready to accept the challenge and just ready to go to work.
Q. You did sign a big contract and you are basically the No. 1 guy here now. Does that add a little extra pressure on you for the season?
A: To be honest, it really doesn't. I'm confident in my game. I'm confident in my work ethic and I know Coach Judge is going to be on me. I hope JG (Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett) will be on me as well. I'm the type of person I never want to be content and I don't ever want to let myself get like that and I'm going to work and make sure that I leave everything out there.
Q. When you look at football, as a skill player, people are judged by statistics, numbers, catches, touchdowns. Do you judge yourself by your statistics or by the team winning and losing?
A: I mean, to be honest if I go out there and have a monster game, 300 receiving yards and we lost, it really doesn't mean anything. So it's definitely team first. It's a great stat for me but at the same time, we lost.
Q. You mentioned that you and Daniel Jones hooked up a couple times in the offseason. Can you share what you did and what kind of work you got in and how it's helped you coming into this minicamp?
A: I mean, really just getting a feel for him, him getting a feel for me and just going out there, it was actually all the receivers, chilling. You know, just bonding with the guys and going out there and working out.
Q. You talking about Arizona?
A: We went to a couple spots.
Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q. You had the cornerback outing, summit, whatever you want to call it. Why did you want to do that? What did you guys get out of it?
A: Yeah, just something I've seen for years. Daniel, great leaders, a lot of quarterbacks in the league get their guys and receivers together for timing and what Daniel did in Arizona, I was out there for that. I really just wanted to bring the guys down and just have some time to ourselves. It was tough last year, joining the team so late and not really having an opportunity to bond with the guys. So I just think those guys got to see how I work day-to-day, and we got to talk a lot about how we would play things and we actually had a boating trip and I think (James) Bradberry said he didn't catch any fish, okay, but we talked a lot about coverage and Bradberry talking about how he was covering a guy, and really it was cool sharing stories how we covered guys in the league, so it was a great opportunity.
Q. This is a sensitive subject for some, but as one of the team leaders, how are you encouraging or not teammates as far as vaccinations are concerned and really as it relates to trying to get back to normal in the building and as far as it being a competitive advantage, as well. I know you're somebody who takes a lead on a lot of things. Just wondering how you are treating that?
A: Yeah, it's pretty simple, man. It's not my position to tell guys to get vaccinated or not or share that. It's definitely -- that's everyone's individual decision, and last year we played during COVID with a lot of safety measures and we were able to pull that off. This year, I don't know what that's going to be or what the safety measures will be but we already have them in place to play if we have to. It's not my position or anybody's position on this team to tell someone whether to be vaccinated or not.
Q. It sounded like if you got to an 85 percent threshold as a team that building-wide and locker room wide you could relax the restrictions. Is that something that could help you guys get back to normal in general?
A: Yeah, like I said, it's not in our control or our decision. Last year we literally played games without like a coaching staff. We've got to make do with what we've got.
Q. We haven't talked to you since you guys signed Adoree' Jackson. Can you talk about your relationship with him? I know you played a role in recruiting him and you played with him in Tennessee?
A: Yeah, me and Adoree' go back a couple franchises. He's a great friend of mine and a great player. He's a great teammate. He loves to play ball. He's super talented and I'm just a believer in him because I see how hard he works day-to-day. When he came from USC as a junior, he was the youngest kid in the league, we were like babies and he was born in like '95. McKinney and Darney are born in '01. Makes me feel old. We are good friends and we like playing together and we have a good bond and it definitely makes it more productive to have a corner and safety who are really close and understand how each other thinks a little bit out there on the field.
Q. Knowing how much you know now compared to what you did last year with the schemes, what Pat Graham wants, looking at the offense, they know what Jason Garrett wants, how much do you feel this team is now ahead of where it was last year? I know some guys don't like to use the term "hit the ground running" but just the knowledge and familiarity compared to last year, is it just light years?
A: I mean, I wasn't here last year, right. I wasn't here at this time last year and I wasn't playing safety at this time last year. I am light years ahead personally. I don't think you hit the ground running. You hit it learning. It's definitely that time of the year. Yeah, I think we are able to play and obviously do the fundamentals, and that's what this time of year is about. But the complexities and the 202s and the 303s of this defense, of football, definitely easier the more years you're into it. You're a little more fluent and I always believe with preparation, you're only going to play as good as your preparation, so with more reparation and a year's worth of reps under your belt, you should be able to perform faster and more detailed and the game should slow down for you. I'm excited we have a lot of new pieces on offense, defense and special teams like everybody around the league. We have to work the best we can and this is what practice is for.
Q. How do you think you and Jabrill (Peppers) will fit together in this defense?
A: I think that's the beauty of Pat Graham. I think we have good players and I think Pat Graham has to -- or does a great job of making the defense fit the players. I don't know, but I think we have a versatility to do multiple positions. I'm a big proponent of playing 11 DBs on every snap so maybe all of us will be out there in different packages. We are far away from game planning but me, Jabrill and Zay (Xavier McKinney), I think we are each other's biggest fans. I think we like playing together. I think there's no selfishness there, and I try to give them every trick that I know and have learned through the years, I try to put that down to them and allow them to be better players than me at that age. I love coming to work with those guys. They are great guys and we are finding a way to all enjoy each other. Honestly, me personally, I'm looking at just what the best safety rooms in the league look like and hold ourselves to that standard in terms of practicing and working every single day and pushing each other.
Q. You guys came one game shy of making the playoffs last year and you've obviously been on the other side many times. What's the message to the rest of the team to get the job done this year and what do you need to do differently to take that step?
A: The message is it's a new year. I care about coming out and executing and running our defense better and running our offense better. We definitely got some more horses in the stable this year as you know, but it's a team sport. I mean, you have to come together and execute. To me it's about execution and details and want-to and winning games is all that matters. I don't play this game to have losing records and try to get one game better than 6-10. We have to take it one step at a time and the message is to build a foundation and embrace it. It was 93 degrees out there; humid. You guys were out there and almost passed out and you weren't even running around. The conditioning is great for us, and this is the time of the year to get that.
Q. Wanted to follow up on the gathering in Florida. Is this something you found rewarding and is it a barometer that you and the secondary are using so you can be one of the best secondaries or safety rooms in the league?
A: Yeah, I think just how many guys wanted to be there, how many guys want to learn. You know, I think I'm kind of the middle child, as J. Cole will say where I'm not that, that old but I don't relate with the 21-year-olds in the league nowadays. The guys we have, they really want to learn and be coached and they really ask the questions, especially Z, he wants to pick our brain and pick my brain on how to do things. It's very different from what you hear about the modern day athlete and how they want to learn. They want to learn and see the process of what it takes to put together a nine- or ten-year career. I was really inspired by just the bonding that took place. It's going to be special and it's going to pay off. The barometer for what I do, I always look at last year's just statistics, like broad, who was the top secondary, is it the Rams, what are some of the numbers that they put up, what are some of the franchise numbers, the best Giants secondaries, who are those players and I reached out personally this year, I reached out to Antrel Rolle, I reached out to Jason Sehorn and I reached out to Corey Webster and I reached out to those guys and I said, "Hey, I want to pick your brain and be great like you. I respect what you have done in the past, can you give me anything." And all those guys were so honored and willing and eager to be a part of our secondary and they were willing and eager to help out. They were thankful that I reached out to try to build the bridge between the current secondary and former greats. I want to be like them and lead those units and I asked them personally how to be a better leader and a player. I'm an empty cup. They are filling it up, and I just try to relate that and try to teach the history of the franchise to the young guys so we know that our standard is to be one of those secondaries to make the organization and the fan base proud.
Q. Thumbs up or thumbs down on the new J. Cole album?
A: Thumbs up. It's the offseason.