Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: All right guys, how's everyone doing today? Look, off the top, just want to go ahead and bring you guys in the loop. We've had two positive COVID (tests) today and we're waiting on further testing to determine if it's a final COVID or what it may be, but the names would be (Offensive Lineman) Wes Martin and (Quarterbacks Coach) Jerry Schuplinski. As of right now Jerry's involved with Zoom meetings with the offense, getting ready for the game planning and also meeting with the players. Wes Martin's been isolated from the team back at the hotel. They'll both be receiving attention from our medical department as we determine what this is or isn't. With that being said, just bringing you in the fold on that one right there and I'll open it up into questions.
Q: Obviously, you have some quarterback uncertainty, your quarterback coach now is not going to be hands on with the team. What does this do for the position and where are you with them right now?
A: Well, we have some variables this week obviously in terms of (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) seeing some doctors today, receiving some different opinions and diagnosis and things of that nature. When we find out more information on him, that'll give us a better idea going through this week. In terms of (Quarterback) Mike (Glennon), obviously he's in the protocol. The optimistic view would be to have him ready for the game on Sunday. We'll see where that goes through on out, and then we'll get (Quarterback) Jake (Fromm) and (Quarterback) Brian (Lewerke) ready for the game based on whatever we may have to do. Being as though it's a possible COVID situation, we'll also have some emergency plans in the works with different guys on the roster. As far as Jerry, it'll be a little limiting on the field. In terms of the meetings, we've done this before as far as the virtual meetings and staying plugged in. That's both with game planning with the coaching staff, as well as staying connected through the meetings and installs with the players. We'll continue on the same path we've worked in the past with that. We'll make any adjustments we have to throughout the week based on any new information we receive.
Q: I've got two for you. First, what happened with the timeout at the end of the first quarter yesterday?
A: So the play clock and the game clock were really what looked like in sync. Both were ticking down, 25, 24 at the same time, so we were just going to go to the second quarter and at about 15 seconds, (Referee) Brad (Allen) turned to me and said, 'Hey, you're going to need to snap this ball.' So rather than go ahead and force a bad play by rushing something in, I just said, go ahead, I'll call timeout and have a productive play to put us in a better situation there. Not something you want to use in that situation right there, but the clock looked to be synced up right there, clicking at the same time. When we received the information, rather than scramble to go ahead and get something out there, we determined just go ahead and take it and put ourselves in a better situation.
Q: You're someone who's obviously conscious of your messaging and I've got to revisit postgame yesterday because I think a lot of people were kind of left shaking their heads about how you were so positive about the offense when you only scored nine points. What was the messaging behind that?
A: Look, I approach my comments publicly very differently than when I talk to the team behind closed doors. I'm someone who's very big on honesty and being very transparent with the team. I talk all the time about the truth is on the tape, so when we talk as a team, we talk every week, regardless of what the result of the previous game was, of things we did well that we can build on and things we have to correct. We go through that very, very bluntly and openly as a team and make sure everyone's on the same page. In terms of publicly, look, I'm not going to be a guy who's going to sit out there and single out players. That's just not my style. I'm just not going to do that and that's something I've believed in from being a player and working under other coaches, so in terms of just coming out publicly and going after guys, I'm not going to do that. In terms of are there a lot of things we have to do better to take advantage of opportunities in front of us? Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Were there things that I saw that I say, 'Okay, this is on the right track, as far as getting the ball down the field to our players and giving them an opportunity to make plays? Yeah.' I saw (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) making some good contested catches and we were able to find matchups with him. We talked about game planning throughout the week to find situations with (Tight End) Evan (Engram) isolated down the field with some third down conversions. That turned up in the game. The ability to get some different things working schematically, that was encouraging. But look, there are other opportunities in the game we have to take advantage of. The difference in winning or losing in this league, it's such a fine line. There's not a lot of margins for error, so you've got to go out there and we've got to make sure that when those opportunities come up to be able to make a play, we've got to go out there and we've got to be in a position to do it.
Q: Maybe this says something about me being a worst case scenario kind of guy, but if Daniel and Mike are not cleared then Jake Fromm is going to lead you through practice as your number one quarterback on Wednesday. That's right, correct?
A: Yeah, if neither one of the other two are available that would be correct.
Q: I assume you're not going to bring in somebody else from the outside, so he would be your starter on Sunday, right?
A: The plan right now is for Jake to go ahead and continue in his role. In terms of – we have a lot of contingencies, whether it's the COVID contingency or the uncertainty in terms of the other quarterbacks. Look, Brian Lewerke is working as well. I think COVID adds another element to it as well that we've got to prepare, to be honest. We're talking internally about a lot of options right now personnel-wise, scheme it up, to see what we can do to address it and make sure we're building in depth for a multitude of reasons.
Q: Can you just talk about Jake and what you've seen from him the first five days here? If it comes to that scenario where he has to make his first NFL start nine days after getting the playbook, what would you expect from him and what have you seen from him?
A: Well, I'd say first off when you get a guy on a short-term basis, including last week, a quick turnaround for a guy like Jake, the biggest thing you want to do is just make sure that he has a grasp on what he would have to run within the game. While when you go from Daniel to Mike, you want to push and stay as close to the offense as you possibly can, and you expect them to go out there and execute the game plan. For a guy who's only been here in your system for a couple days, you've got to go ahead and select more of menu of what he can go ahead and operate in and that's not always limiting based on his ability, it's just based on being new in a scheme and system. What's he comfortable with going out there and playing aggressively and making the right decisions within? At this point, you really want to go ahead and let him continue to improve on it. He's an intelligent guy. He's demonstrated that already. He's got very good poise out there and he has a very good presence. One of the things that's very impressive about this guy is you talk to former teammates of his, like we did before he got in here – most of those Georgia guys, and every single one of them lit up and said, 'We'd absolutely love to have that guy on the team.' He's got a very good presence. He's a good teammate. He's got leadership qualities about him. He had a lot of things you would hear someone say at a banquet about him. He's got a lot of intangibles. In terms of him as a player, he's shown at practice a good competitiveness and the ability to go out there and handle some different situations. He had a lot thrown on his plate in a short period of time last week. A lot of it, whether it's a quarterback or any other player on a short week turnaround, you want to kind of use as much comparable coaching as we would to go ahead and make sure they can associate a scheme or a system to what they've been exposed to previously for kind of quicker learning. At this point, he's been studying the playbook and studying the game plan, so we're getting him on our page. He's got some time to go ahead and keep on building with it and he'll spend between today and tomorrow and Wednesday really getting ready for Wednesday's practice. In terms of him, I've been pleased with the way he's been progressing so far. It's been a very short window with Jake. I've been encouraged by the way this guy works and if Jake's numbers called on, I know he'll prepare himself.
Q: In the game yesterday, it seemed like there were a lot of plays where Glennon was clapping, trying to get the snap off, the play clock running down, like they were having trouble getting the play off. What do you think accounted for that yesterday? It seemed to happen several times.
A: There were a couple times Mike had some communication on the line to put us in a different play and audible it based on the defensive look we were presented with and something he wanted to get into. Some of those audibles he made were able to get us into some good plays and convert. He checked into a couple runs against blitz zero looks on some third and fourth down situations and gave us an opportunity. Some of it was communication and he just knows the clock of what he's got to go ahead and operate under. When you start clapping, you're letting everyone know, hey, it's time to go, we've got to get this thing off now.
Q: Regarding the COVID situation, are there other guys that have to quarantine as close contacts at the moment or are those two guys the only ones that need to quarantine at this time?
A: Right now, they're working through all the tracers and contacts, so we don't have any information at this moment on any of that stuff. Right now, the only information we have is just on two guys that had positives.
Q: Can you take us through the (Dolphins Wide Receiver) Mack Hollins touchdown? It seemed like there was some communication issues going on in the back end there. Could you take us through that please?
A: Well, they did a good job right there. They got into a bunch formation and we made an adjustment where we were bringing a little pressure off the edge. They used a sprint out dash protection, so kind of got two on the edge right there and they got Mack in the seven route right there and we've got to do a good job of combo-ing that on the back end with the DBs. They made a good play, we've got to make it a little bit tighter contested between playing a little bit deeper with some guys and making an earlier break. It was a good scheme by them, got into it in a little red area. We've got to take advantage and make sure that we can go ahead and make it a tighter contested throw and fight them to the ground to see if we can draw that ball off of them.
Q: (Linebacker) Elerson Smith got some more reps yesterday. What have you seen from him?
A: Yeah, he's getting more and more aggressive I'd say. That comes with confidence and preparation as far as playing. He's a guy that's got a good skill set and obviously we've thought a lot of him from when we drafted. He missed a lot of time through the spring and training camp as far as really getting prepared into it. Each week he's really improved. He's doing a good job for us on special teams right now. He's doing a good job in the pass rush stuff and he's improving on his run defense as well. He's a young player who's developing. He's far from where he's going to be, but he's making a lot of gains every week. I like the way he prepares. I like his motor and how he plays. He's got good length. He's a very powerful rusher, he really is. He's got – when you see him, whether it's hitting sleds or on the weights or he's in isolated matchups, he's got a lot of power in his lower body and he knows how to transfer that power and play to the length of his arms and create extension and go ahead and be disruptive at the point of contact.
Q: You guys have put so much time putting together the plan out there in Arizona and getting everything together. How close are you in terms of the training staff and having everything you need out there? Do you have full use of the facilities out there especially for the guys who are trying to rehab and get back this week?
A: Yeah, I'll tell you what, the University of Arizona has been very, very accommodating and they've done a great job as far as letting us use their facilities. Our office setups, our meeting rooms, the weight room, the training room, the workout facilities, the field that we're going to use for practice – really, everything's been first class and these guys have done everything that we've asked. They've bent over backwards. They couldn't be more hospitable for us. We're very appreciative of everyone out here, but the most important thing for us is that our players have what it takes to prepare to go out there on the field. In terms of the injured guys for their rehab, the guys with normal bumps and bruises for the treatment, our players with workouts and the recovery stations they use throughout the week and the (inaudible) to keep their bodies fresh, that's all very positive. One thing about coming to a major college like this, these guys have just about everything you can imagine. One, because of just the functionality of using it and having a larger roster, but then also the recruiting, the arms war they have to have, every bell and whistle you can possibly present to a recruit has to be visible when they come on an official visit. The one thing they have here is plenty of facilities and it's a beautiful facility. It's a great area to be in. We're obviously all getting adjusted to it today, but we've had meetings today in terms of reviewing the film and going through yesterday's operation. The players are just now being dismissed and leaving, it's about 2:30 out here. Players are kind of closing out their day and going back to the hotel to kind of get some rest and get out and kind of just have some fellowship as a team. In terms of everything we can do out here, yeah, it's great. Really a first-class operation.
Q: If I were to see the minute-by-minute schedule of now until you guys take off and leave for Los Angeles, is it the exact same as it would be in New Jersey? There's talk about bonding and being out there together and everything, do you have anything set aside? Or because it's a game week, is it like everything is the way it would normally be?
A: Well, I'd say the structure of the daily schedule is as close to what it would be if we were back in Jersey right now in terms of the meetings, the practice, the post practice film and all that stuff. But then you've got to remember when they're done with practice, as opposed to going home, they're going back to a hotel. It gives them a little bit more flex time on the back end. Even as the guys are staying and watching extra tape in the position groups, get extra treatment, get a workout in, whatever it may be on the back end of the day, there's still a lot of time for these guys when they get back to the hotel to get some good quality time as a team. In terms of getting out and going to a restaurant together, having some fellowship, there's plenty of time for that. In terms of doing anything as a team, we've talked about a number of things in captains' meetings. We wouldn't do anything that will take away from our weekly prep. It wouldn't be anything in lieu of practice or in lieu of a meeting, but something additional on the back end. We've talked about a couple of possibilities and I'll touch base with the captains again later on to see if there's anything they're interested in doing.
Q: Was Mike playing with symptoms towards the end of the game there?
A: Not that I'd been made aware of. At some point after the game, they kind of came to me and just let me know they were looking at him, so during the game there was nothing I was informed of, told of or that I know of anything was.
Q: Just looking at the running backs, I know you've been trying to get (Running Back Devontae) Booker more involved. How much are you considering getting him more touches, the most touches among the running backs rather than (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley)? He seems to have been more productive in his opportunities the last two games.
A: I don't know that we look at anything in terms of most touches. I think when we go into it, there are a lot of personnel groupings that you see right now where we're using two and three running backs at a time on the field, just strategically. A lot of those packages both guys are available. We have packages where Saquon is getting the handoff and Book's blocking or running a route. We have packages where Book's getting it and Saquon is blocking or running a route, whatever it may be. We'll continue to grow in those packages. Anything we think will present opportunities for any of our players to kind of get the ball, make a play in space or get the ball and punch it vertically on a run, we'll go ahead and look to do. In terms of a pecking order at this point, that's not really the way we're thinking. We're thinking more in terms of what do our players do well and how can we continue to build to give them opportunities to do it on the field.
Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: Tell us about what you told (Head) Coach (Joe Judge) when he came to you or if he came to you and said, 'Would (Quarterback) Jake Fromm be a good fit for this team?' and, assuming you said yes, what you saw from Jake that said yes?
A: I really didn't talk to coach that much about that decision, but when I saw the news that he was coming in, obviously excited. Definitely played with him for three years at Georgia. We won a lot of games there, so I'm excited to see him get his opportunity.
Q: For those of us who only have seen him play on TV, what is it about him that gives him a chance here? Obviously, it's a tough spot for him to be in. What gives him a chance here to have some success?
A: Jake does well with seeing the whole offense, knowing what the defense is running, what pressures are coming, getting the ball to the right people, being the best leader he can and I think that's something that he does really well.
Q: With all respect, you guys have a lot of pride as players and professionals – is it embarrassing to not score a touchdown, to have the kind of offensive performance you did yesterday? If so, how do you guys react to that and regroup quickly?
A: It's definitely frustrating. We have a lot of talent on this offense. Definitely capable of being more explosive. When we look at the tape and look at the end result, it's always frustrating, but we go back like we do every week, figure out what we can clean up and do what we can to be better for next week.
Q: What have you seen from (Chargers Outside Linebacker) Joey Bosa, assuming he plays this week? What kind of challenge is he? Where does he rank sort of in the pantheon of the edge rushers that you've had to face so far?
A: Definitely one of the best in the league right now. Very good with speed to power and has a really good double-hand cross chop. It's going to be something that we definitely have to key in on to be prepared this week.
Q: How do you guys approach this week as an offense not knowing who your quarterback is going to be?
A: From an offensive line standpoint, we're just trying to do the best job we can to open up holes for the running back and protect whoever's throwing the ball. Regardless of who's at quarterback, if we're not protecting, we're not doing our job. It doesn't matter. So, the focus is on us performing better and that way the offense will perform better regardless of who's throwing the ball.
Q: What do you think of the idea that a guy who's only been here nine days having to start?
A: That's the beauty of the NFL, it's next man up. Jake's getting his opportunity. I'm excited for him to get his chance, but, like I said, next man up and we're doing everything that we can to help him.
View all the action from the Week 13 matchup between the Giants and Dolphins in Miami.
Safety Julian Love
Q: What is the mood of the leadership of this team right now coming off kind of a devastating loss like that? What are the leaders of this team talking about and how do you guys think that you can get this right quickly?
A: Obviously, we are on the trip right now and I think the mindset is that it's important to really spend the extra time this week, be around each other and to really finish this week with a win to get this ship righted and get it going in the right direction.
Q: To expand on that a little bit, is this a close-knit team? When you have one side of the ball that's playing pretty good, and the other side that is not playing well, a lot of times the finger pointing starts. How do you prevent that in the locker room? Is this a close-knit team where you don't see that as a problem down the road?
A: I think that's a good question. I would say we are a close-knit team. I think just naturally in every level of football I've been a part of, the defense is going to be close to each other and the offense will be closer to each other. Those guys move the same and meet in the same rooms most of the time, so you'll always have that. But I think this team definitely has a relationship across the ball, which is exciting to be a part of, really. I think this team is pretty close together and I think that's really crucial. When it comes to finger pointing, I don't think that's ever a thing with us. I think it's a matter of holding each other accountable, as well as ourselves. You've got to look at yourself first, but I think the accountability factor is really up on this team, so I think that's only going to progress from here.
Q: It sounds like there's a chance, maybe remotely, but a chance, that (Quarterback) Jake Fromm could be the starting quarterback nine days after he got to the Giants. Talking to people around him, they say that kind of relates to when he made his first career start as a true freshman at Notre Dame in 2017, not long after arriving at Georgia. I was wondering if you remember anything about going against him in that game as a true freshman that impressed you?
A: You had to bring up that game (laughs). Georgia did get the win in South Bend. I think from an early age – it's a big-time place to play, in that setting, in that game, in that atmosphere. He came in and was well-composed and, obviously, they got away with the win. Obviously, that was only his freshman year, so he's only built from there. I don't know him personally too well, so I'm not the best to speak on him, but I'm excited to see what he presents in whatever position he is put in going forward.
Q:*How aware are you as a player of what your head coach says right after games – he addresses you, then he comes out to speak to the media, which is really speaking to the fans and the public, as well – about what tone he takes, what he says, what criticisms he makes, what encouragement he makes and things like that?*
A: Obviously, I'm very in-tune to what he says to the team and what he says to me. I'm not too much in-tune to what he says to the media after games. I will say that he tries to represent this team the best he can. He's a guy who takes on a lot and he's the ultimate leader I think. I'm not sure what he says to you guys most of time, but I know his message to us is very poignant and direct in what he wants to accomplish going forward and how we build off of that game.