Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Obviously, we're getting started today on the Bears with our preparation. We'll go through today through Friday, we'll travel out there on Saturday afternoon. You talk about this team, you start offensively with (Bears Head Coach) Matt (Nagy) being an offensive-minded head coach. When you talk about his team, one thing is they're balanced. They do a very good job being run and pass balanced. They're very committed to the run. You see a lot of effectiveness in how they can go ahead and stay with it and set up other aspects of their game. They have three talented quarterbacks. All three have played this year. All three can make plays in different ways, whether it's the young guy (Bears Quarterback Justin) Fields, who's obviously a guy who's got a strong arm, very athletic, very talented, has the ability to make a lot of big plays outside the pocket, does a good job keeping his eyes down the field and taking shots. You talk about (Bears Quarterback Nick) Foles getting in the other day. He's obviously a very experienced guy, can push the ball down the field, very good arm. And obviously, (Bears Quarterback Andy) Dalton is a very accomplished player in this league, really knows how to take the profit, move the ball down the field consistently. That's something this team really does as a strength is they have a lot of extended drives. One of the top teams in the league in having drives over 10 plays long, so they can stay on the field, they can capitalize, they have good schemes, they have good systems, they have good coaching. They're a team offensively that likes to stay balanced and make plays.
When you talk about them defensively, there's obviously a lot of similarities from (Broncos Head Coach Vic) Fangio's defense, who was here before, and some similarities we'll see from the Chargers defense off that tree, as well. They're really doing a good job using their tools up front. Obviously, (Bears LB Robert) Quinn is one of the top sack leaders in the league, but there are multiple players up front that can really get after you. This front is really built to build a wall, set the edge where they can get after you in the pass rush, get up the field and really penetrate. I expect (Bears DL Akiem) Hicks coming on back this week to finish out the year. He's a guy that can make an impact in the middle, very similar to some of the other guys we've seen in recent weeks – talking about (Eagles Defensive Tackle) Fletcher Cox, a guy who's got big size and length, can play to his strength as well as his athleticism and slip on by you. These guys can make plays at all three levels right there.
Then in the kicking game, right now they're doing a really good job in the return game. Tabes (Bears Special Teams Coordinator Chris Tabor) has always had good special teams. It always really starts with the return aspect of the game. They're very aggressive, they'll return punts that are sometimes coming out of the end zone, so they're always looking for the homerun swing. They're going to be very aggressive at different times when the situation calls for it to get a return started – that's kick return or punt return. They have some talented specialists as well and look to go ahead and spin the dial using some multiples on their part to keep you guessing. In all three phases, we need a good week of preparation to go out there to Chicago and play together as a team. That being said, I'll open up to any questions you have.
Q: Where do you stand with guys on the COVID list? Anybody coming back today?
A: Pretty much out of the building right now. (Defensive Lineman) Dexter Lawrence (II) just popped COVID for us. (Defensive Lineman) Danny Shelton, (Tackle Nate) Solder and (Safety Julian) Love have all been on the COVID list. Now, all three of those guys would have the ability under the new protocols or guidelines to play in the game if their symptoms improve and they're able to play physically. Timetable-wise, all three would be able to play.
Q: What about (Defensive Back) Keion (Crossen), (Wide Receiver John) Ross (III) and (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson)?
A: Keion's back in the building with us now. He's already started ramping up with the trainers. Adoree's back and he started ramping up with the trainers, as well. Ross is also getting back in the building and he'll be with the trainers, as well. All three of those guys are kind of in the ramp up period. Today being a lighter day for us on the field on a Wednesday, they should all have the opportunity to build in and see if we can get them to the game.
Q: Where do you stand with your quarterback situation?
A: We'll prepare both guys, similar to last week. We'll prepare both guys, both guys will have their share of the load this week in practice as far as sharing some reps. I would expect to see both guys play.
Q: What do you mean by 'expect to see both guys play'? You'll be alright with switching quarterbacks mid-game?
A: If that's what's best for the team.
Q: Who do you think will start?
A: We'll see how they practice.
Q: Any consideration on bringing anybody else in at that position this week?
A: No. We've talked about it with the personnel department, but no.
Q: Do you have a plan to do half and half?
A: No, but as we go through the game plan, obviously we're going to bracket some different things together if we think one thing is better for one guy, one is better for the other guy. We'll see how they practice and how we'll go into the game.
Q: You guys are officially eliminated from the playoffs. Has anything changed these last two weeks in how you proceed or how you approach games, anything like that?
A: No. No, we prepare our best every week. I tell the players all the time, the expectations are clear, we expect every player to come in every day, do their job, to work hard, to be attentive to the details of the game plan, put the team first in what they do. I expect them to come out and prepare with good energy, good juice. Our team has always responded that way. I expect them to go out there and compete on the field for 60 minutes. The expectations and the competitiveness, that doesn't change. We're not negotiating or compromising our standards around here. Every game is important, it's the National Football League. We all lost John Madden last night. One thing John Madden was great about when you really sit back and you listen to some of the things that he said throughout his career, and he talked about the importance of every game and every opportunity in the National Football League, and the value of the opportunity that we have to coach or play in this league. None of that should be taken for granted. I hear people all the time say 'meaningless games.' What is a meaningless game? Everyone here has worked very hard to be in this position, to play or coach in this league. We're only guaranteed or promised so many games a year. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to go out here and compete. There's no such thing as a meaningless game. There's wasted effort, there's wasted preparation, but there are no meaningless games.
Q: You mentioned John Madden. Did you feel an impact when you heard that news last night? You have younger sons who I'm sure have played the game and what impact has that –
A: It's funny because I have two young sons, they play the Madden football game all the time, as do a lot of our players, and you have to educate them sometimes. They don't really realize who the guy was, how accomplished a coach he was, how he really changed a lot of the broadcasting. But then even more important as I talked to the players this morning, the impact he had on the game by really the compassion and care he had for the players. Really it was looking after his own players when they were done playing and the impact he's had throughout pushing around the league for different rules being changed and things to take into consideration with the healthcare of players and taking care of the older players with benefits and the things that he's done for the players that sat in the seats looking at us today that – really his greatest impact was for the players on the field when he was already off the field himself.
Q: Did you ever meet him or have any interactions with him?
A: No, I did not. I did not, but obviously like a lot of people you grow up (with), you heard him announcing a lot of games. My first exposure to him growing up was as an announcer. It was him and Pat Summerall talking every Sunday afternoon. You heard him talk all the time. You loved the energy and the different sayings that he had and all that stuff. Obviously, as you get older, you get more into the history of the game, you learn about him as a coach. You learn about him off the field and the things he was involved in. Obviously, he has a legacy in this league which is very substantial. I think it's an important day for everyone in the league to understand what he's done for the game.
Q: Just to clarify the timeline with five days, is Dexter out for Sunday?
A: No, it looks like he's out for Sunday. It looks like with the timeline and that five-day deal, it looks like he's out for Sunday. I'll have to finalize it and clarify it with the trainers, but the conversation I had this morning with them, that's what it indicates.
Q: Is (Cornerback) Darnay Holmes done for the year or could he come back?
A: He's not going to play this week for us. There's a small outside shot for next week. We'll see how he goes ahead and progresses. He's still rehabbing. He's actually in the weight room right now working with Fitz (Director of Strength and Performance Craig Fitzgerald) and his staff doing some things. Definitely not playing this week.
Q: What's the perspective you guys take for the Bears quarterback situation at this point?
A: They have three good quarterbacks. They have three good quarterbacks and that's a pretty good luxury right there. I think they've done a good job managing the offense with a lot of changing parts this year with guys going in and out. But when you look at having a young quarterback, two older quarterbacks, balance in that room, obviously that takes some managing right there and they've done a pretty good job of it.
Q: Do you have to prepare for (Bears Quarterback Nick) Foles though? Is that the way you go about it?
A: Yeah, you've got to talk to your team about any which guy that's going to play. Foles, (Bears Quarterback Justin) Fields and those guys, you've got to show them the differences in how they play. They're different players altogether. Foles is very aggressive and pushes the ball down the field. He'll extend plays and look to force balls into tight windows a lot of times. Fields is a young player. He's still learning in this league and he's going to be a very good player in this league, but he's got as talented an arm as there is in the league. He's got great athleticism to really extend plays outside the pocket. He can pull the ball and make plays with his legs, but he can also, as we saw with (Eagles Quarterback Jalen) Hurts, get outside the pocket, keep his eyes down the field and he's got that arm talent to throw it wherever he needs to on the grass.
Q: You've been a coach for a while. Is there anything that goes through a player's head when he goes back to a field where he suffered a major injury?
A: I can't speak for the individual player. That's probably a better question for the player. I can't say that individually that doesn't come up. I don't think that that answer there reflects someone in our locker room directly. But I understand the question, it's a good question. To me, it's more you've got to kind of check your guys' psyche every week, and that's all of your players and understanding where they're standing at. I've dealt with different guys and different types of injuries. I haven't dealt necessarily with something that's affected someone going back to the scene of it.
Q: You obviously own their first-round pick in the trade. Do you find yourself keeping extra close tabs on their results as the season goes along?
Q: A couple teams, including the Patriots, have won games recently by not throwing the ball – I think (Patriots Quarterback) Mac Jones threw it three times in that one game against the Bills. Would you be willing to do something like that if you feel like it gives your team the best chance to win a game?
A: I would do whatever it takes to win a game. Whatever gives our team the best chance as we go through and game plan – look, we're not into statistics. We're not trying to throw for a certain amount or run for a certain amount. We're just trying to win the game. So, whatever it's going to take week by week, we'll game plan differently every week however we have to to matchup against that opponent and give ourselves the best chance.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: Now that you guys were officially eliminated from the playoffs, as like a leader and a captain, how do you view what your role needs to be over these last two weeks in terms of keeping things on track?
A: We've just got to continue to fight for each other. Obviously, we know the season didn't go the way that we would like it, but we only have two more opportunities left as a team. (Head) Coach (Joe Judge) kind of said it in our squad meeting today, you never know when your last opportunity is going to be, so you've got to try to take advantage of it. Speaking personally, it's something I had to deal with last year missing the whole season, knowing the game can be taken away from you at any moment. With these last two games, starting with Chicago we've got to come out here and fight. That's the kind of got to be the whole theme of the team and for each player.
Q: Why did you decide not to talk after the game on Sunday to us?
A: I'm pretty sure you guys got in contact with our media team. Just the timing of after the game with treatment and everything. Wouldn't have aligned, kind of a similar situation to what happened earlier in the year with Washington as you all know. The next day, the timing wasn't going to happen again. I kind of know that you guys would be able to talk to me Wednesday, so here I am guys.
Q: Any thought in your mind of just being better for you physically and for the team next season if you just take these last two games off?
Q: This is the first time you're back in Chicago, is there any thoughts about going back there? Do you sit there and say, 'I hate the field' or whatever?
A: No, I'm not thinking like, 'I hate the field.' I'm excited that I'm healthy enough to be able to go out there and be able to play another game. Like I said, you never know when these are opportunities are going to be taken away from you. That's my whole mindset is cherish these last two games that we have and go out there and try to finish on a high note.
Q: Real quick, we didn't see you out there today. Is this sort of like a maintenance thing with you on Wednesdays at this point and how are you viewing it? Is that what it is?
Q: Also, what do you hang your hat on? Like what do you go into this week and say, 'we're positive that we can turn it around this week because we have this offensively, we can still do this'?
A: You've got to play for – you've just got to have heart. That's what we have to have. That's what we've got to hang our hat on. It's heart. It's the name on the back of your jersey. I think (Offensive Assistant) Jody (Wright) said it last week to me and Book (Running Back Devontae Booker) and a couple of guys, like there's going to be some little kid in that stands that has never seen you play before, so you've got to take all those things into account too. Obviously, the season hasn't gone the way we would like by any means, but we've just got to go out there and fight for each other, too. That's another thing – heart, pride, your last name, those little kids that are still watching, and for each other.
Q: Just because it is going back to Chicago, do you ever let yourself think about what would have happened if that play didn't happen? You guys just missed the playoffs last year, maybe if you're healthy you guys go to the playoffs, maybe this year turns out differently. Do you ever think about what might be different for you and the team right now if that play never happened in Chicago?
A: I try not to think about it, but it happened. I really don't try to think about it, I guess probably more so last year but this is a whole different season.
Q: A lot of times players when they get injured and they go back to the place where it happened, they will take a moment, sometimes even go to the spot where it happened. Do you think you will do something like this to maybe put some closure on it?
Q: The other question was, there's been some speculation about your future next year and you had mentioned about Coach Judge saying, 'you never know when this is going to be the last time on the field.' Do you ever think that this possibly could be your last time or two in a Giants uniform?
A: No, I don't. I can't control those things. I can't control those. I can't have that thought process. My thought process is come in every single day and try to be a leader I can for the team and try to get better physically, mentally and all the above. Like I said, with these last two games, especially coming up with Chicago, try to finish on a high note and play for each other.
Q: Is it safe to say your dream is to come back next year and several years after to turn this thing around and be on this team when things do turn around?
A: Yeah, I've answered that before.
Q: In these last two games, obviously, you want to win these last two games as a team certainly. What would it do for you if you could have a big game and help the team win one of these last two games? Does that help a player going into the offseason having a couple of big games or one big game and saying, 'that's something I can build on physically, emotionally, personally,' all those things?
A: I'm not focused on that. Whether it's a big game for me or anybody else, the whole goal is to win. The whole focus would be to finish on a high note as a team these last few games.
Q: Can winning a couple of games down the stretch help a team going into next year, mentally, physically, all that stuff?
A: Definitely. Finishing the season off strong can build confidence going into the offseason.
Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q: From a player's perspective, is it challenging to try to normalize dealing with COVID and players going off and on and not knowing who's going to be playing and also worried about you and your family's health? I feel like all of us are trying to normalize it in our minds because we have to and try to get through it, but I want to know from a player's perspective, do you ever get used to it? Do you have to?
A: Yeah, I think in football, you're taught from a very young age, no excuses, next man up and that's just the mentality. But it is affecting people these last two years as obviously we know. With so many things changing week to week, CDC guidelines, different strands, it's impossible to say it's not affecting teams differently. We've had a whole bunch of guys go on the COVID list like every other team has. When you go into a game plan, for instance without out (Safety) Julian Love right now, that changes a lot of guys roles when you go into a game plan without a cornerback or a running back as late as Friday. Our safety coach (Senior Defensive Assistant) Jeremy Pruitt goes on the list, so now we don't have our normal meetings with that. It's far from normal, these last two years have definitely been far from normal. Right now, it's just crazy different from normal as possible. You see teams out there without quarterbacks, you see teams out there without skill players, teams out there without a line. You make the most of it because if you don't play, you don't get paid. It's a pretty tough position for anybody and it's a tough position as a player because you really don't have good options, you've just got to make do with what you've got best and everyone's dealing with it. I wouldn't call it normal, I can't say you're prepared for it, you've just got to deal with the times that we're in, until we've got a hold of it as a world, this pandemic.
Q: I don't know if you've ever been in this situation before in your career being mathematically eliminated and still having games to play. How do you handle that? How do move forward with this? How do you communicate to the younger guys on how to do that?
A: Yeah, I've never been. Fortunately, I've never been in this position, I don't want to be, I don't like this position. It's been very frustrating, it's been a tough year, obviously for all of us, myself included. It's about habits man, it's about habits. I believe that championship teams or winning teams or competitive teams, there's only one way to do it. There's only one way to play the game, only one way to practice the game and regardless of times, score, or mathematical playoff implications, you still should play the game the right way. Hopefully I symbolize that and obviously, in times like these, when you want to feel sorry for yourself, you want to feel down and out, I understand that the position I put myself in in this league and as a father who's raising a young boy, a young girl, regardless of how the season may go for them, it's still all about how you finish and it's still about competing, snap in and snap out. Hopefully I can – I realize I play for more than myself and I symbolize more for myself. I still go out there and try to make my family proud and people everywhere who buys a ticket, I still try to prepare and compete my best and give them some entertainment. I think we need more of that. I think we need that and that's just what it's going to have to be moving forward.
Q: We know how you feel about (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat Graham, I'm curious what do you think of the job that (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome Henderson has done this year? It seems like you guys have guys coming in and out of your secondary every game. It seems like mix and match. What do you think of the job Jerome has done as a coach?
A: I think Jerome's done a great job, I think he's done a good job. I don't think anybody is going to say they felt like everything went their way this year, it obviously hasn't, but Jerome's done the most with what we've got. I think Jerome does a good job as a former player and a coach to put us in position to make plays, switch our game plan week in and week out with the matchup. Who's (Cornerback James) Bradberry matching, what position am I going to play, what position is Love going to play, how can we get (Safety Xavier McKinney) Zay around the ball? I think he does a good job of trying to feed everybody that way. I think Jerome does a great job of we have some veteran players on our secondary, myself included and I think he allows me to speak when I have something to say, or he allows input from us who play the game, himself being a former player. He's not a dictator in that room, he allows his players to have input. I think it allows us to feel like we're heard and allows us to play hard because we know our coach is on the same page as us. I have a ton of respect for Jerome and like I said, we've all been going through stuff, Jerome's been going through stuff off the field with his family and I think he's able to show up to work every day and give his best effort.
Q: Fans are upset, they're angry, they're disappointed in the season and the last few years. I'm wondering how much you and the player sin general realize it, hear it or talk about it even at all.
A: No, we realize it and it's just not okay. Their reaction is okay, the product isn't okay right now. I take that to heart as a leader on this team, I haven't felt like the preparation and the work has always generated to the results on the field and I understand that, and I take my share of ownership on that. I just try to symbolize the way to play and how I play and control what I can control. I can't control the positions I'm put in on the field. I can't control the score all the time, but I just try to play every snap hard, especially last game finishing that game off and stuff like that. But no, I understand that we have a great fan base, a ton of tradition here. It's a privilege to play here. I played in a franchise in Tennessee where the fan base was nonexistent. You couldn't even get fans to the games, you had to put tickets half off to get fans to the games. So, I understand the tradition of this area, the history of the NFC East, what these rivalries mean with Philly and Dallas and the Washington Football Team. It means a lot – this is what people talk about day in and day out. I'm here to be part of that change. I'm here to demand better, I'm here to play better and I'm here to hopefully going forward start bringing some of that championship and playoff habits to the team because I believe you need to have that before you actually make that. I'm trying to be part of the solution the best I can. I take it very seriously and I hear what the fans are saying, I understand the frustration and I'm equally as frustrated. I'm going to try my best to finish this year off right and go into next season and look for changes.
Quarterback Mike Glennon
Q: (Quarterback) Jake Fromm was teammates in college with (Bears Quarterback) Justin Fields, obviously, the Bears quarterback. It reminds me that you were teammates with (Seahawks Quarterback) Russell Wilson, so you had your own great college quarterback duel. I'm wondering if you could talk to me a little bit about what that was like for you and what that taught you maybe about competitiveness coming into the NFL to have to go against a guy like Russell and win that job at N.C. State?
A: I really enjoyed my time with Russell at N.C. State. Obviously, he's an incredible player. And kind of to your point, I saw what it was like to see an NFL-caliber quarterback at 18 years old. We had I guess what you can call it a friendly competition. He won the job the first couple of years. Then eventually, he obviously left for Wisconsin and gave me an opportunity to play for two years. I really enjoyed my time with Russell. He's one of the hardest-working, dedicated teammates I've ever been around. I'm not sure what Jake's experience was with Justin Fields, but I guess there are some similarities in the aspect of two guys in back-to-back years. I was only one class behind Russell. Obviously, it was a tough situation when a player of that caliber is only a year ahead of you and it kind of a creates an uncertainty in your future, but at the end of the day it worked out for both of us. He's had a great career both when he went to Wisconsin and now with his time with the Seahawks, and it worked out for me. It allowed me to play for two years and now I'm in my ninth year in the NFL, so it worked out for both of us.
Q: I just thought it was interesting because not every college quarterback gets the level of competition on their own team that you and Jake both got, so I figured that had to help.
A: Yeah, it's definitely unique. Two NFL quarterbacks that are only a class apart probably doesn't happen a whole lot at the college level. But, it was neat to see kind of his progression in college and then go on to the NFL and win a Super Bowl in his second year. It really kind of gave me confidence after seeing him every day. I knew what he was capable of doing, but knowing that I belonged at this level, as well.
Q: Is there anything special for you about going back to Chicago and playing in Chicago this week?
A: I've played them before. Really, the past three seasons I've played them. This will be my first time returning to Chicago, but I have nothing but great things to say about the Bears organization. I enjoyed my time there. It didn't necessarily work out on the field, but as far as just the people around that organization, the way it's run from ownership all the way down, I really enjoyed my time. It'll be fun to go back.
Q: How are you approaching this week in general? Are you looking at it as sort of an open competition here in regards to who starts and when?
A: I'll prepare like I always do. I've kind of told you guys that I pride myself on the preparation side of things and preparing to be ready to go. We'll treat it just like I always do.
Q: What are of the challenges of sort of a platoon situation? It sounds like that's what (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) is thinking about doing, where both quarterbacks will play at different times and in different packages. Obviously as a quarterback, you probably want to stay in and keep a rhythm. What are the challenges of dealing in a system like that?
A: I think getting into a rhythm would be probably – I've never actually had that, but I think it would create a challenge. But if that's what's best for the team, that's what we'll be ready to do.
Quarterback Jake Fromm
Q: Can you revisit what was probably one of the more interesting times in your life and the quarterback battle with (Bears Quarterback) Justin Fields, what that was like, how that helped you and if you guys are still in contact at all today?
A: Back in college my sophomore year, Justin was a great teammate, a great competitor. He made me a lot better at the quarterback position and helped our football team then. I look forward to seeing him this week and just wish him all the best.
Q: Are you guys still in touch at all?
A: Yeah – kind of, yes and no. I haven't texted him yet this week, but we still text back and forth. Hope him and his family are doing well and had a good Christmas.
Q: How did that help you? I just asked (Quarterback) Mike Glennon this because many years ago he was in a competition with (Seahawks Quarterback) Russell Wilson at N.C. State. How did that kind of competition against Justin, who obviously became a first-round pick – winning that competition, what did that do for your confidence and launch you forward?
A: It made me a better football player. I got to learn about the things that he did well, and I got to get better at the things that I did well. Kind of a little bit of everything and just seeing how another great player, great athlete plays the quarterback position. I learned a lot from him, and it made me a better football player.
Q: I know you said the other day that you weren't happy with the way you played, obviously, on Sunday. When you went back and watched film, was there anything that stood out in particular that you were upset with yourself for doing or not doing or anything like that?
A: I kind of went back to the old saying – and I just remember this back in high school, 'It's never as good as it seems and it's never as bad as it seems.' You go watch it and, obviously, I wish I had played a lot better, but you figure out what you did good, what you did bad, you learn from it and you move on. Ready to go into this week determined and ready to get my butt to work.
Q: (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) said that he figures on both quarterbacks playing at some point on Sunday. How important is it do you think to kind of get back on the horse after last Sunday's performance?
A: Anytime something doesn't go your way, you want to respond and get the opportunity to respond. Would love that opportunity to respond and go out and do better, get better and ultimately to score some points and ultimately win a football game.
Q: I know the circumstances haven't been ideal with the injury situation and all that stuff. Do you feel like you had to press a little bit more than usual to where maybe the pressure is on like, 'Oh my god, I can't make a mistake,' type of deal?
A: No, ma'am. I would say for me I can only control what I can control. That is my preparation, that is the decisions that I make and that is where that ball goes when I let it go. For me, it's just about trying to put myself in the best situation, put the offense in the best situation to move the chains and score points. I just want to get better at doing that and move forward with that.
Q: After the game or the day that came after that, did anybody reach out to you to say, 'Hey, relax. It's fine'? Eli (Manning) had a game in his rookie year where he had a 0.0 rating. Just wondering, did anybody reach out to you?
A: I have a lot of friends and family reach out offering their support. I'm very grateful and very thankful for that, that a lot of people are in my corner. I definitely want to prove those people right who love me and whenever I get an opportunity again to go out and obviously do a lot better.
Q: It would be fair to say that your confidence still is the same?
A: Oh yeah, always.
View rare photos of the all-time history between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.