Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: I want to start off and address the staff move we made. We made a decision to move on from Jason Garrett as the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants. I have a lot of respect for Jason as a person and as a coach. He's been a tremendous asset to me as a young head coach. He's helped our development here. He's built very strong relationships in the building with the players, along with other support staff members. He's done a good job putting the team first. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for everything he's done for us. With that being said, ultimately, I'll make every decision based on what's best for the team long-term. I feel we have to be more productive as an offense. Generally speaking, the offense's job is to score points. I don't believe we're scoring enough points. It's my job as the head coach to make sure I give our players an opportunity to go out there and make plays. With that being said, I'll open it up to any questions you may have.
Q: Just as a point of clarification, did you give Jason a chance to stay on in any other role, like demote him from play-calling, or was it just a straight relieve him of his duties?
A: I'm going to keep a lot of the conversations that happen in-house between me and Jason and the other coaches just between us. I respect the question and understand what you're asking. I'll keep that all between us in-house, but we've made the decision to move on from him as the offensive coordinator.
Q: What made now the right time versus – obviously, in an ideal world I assume you would've liked to do this in the bye week. Why now after the bye week with a short turnaround to the next game?
A: First off, I don't think there's ever an ideal time to make a change like this in a season, but you have to go ahead and you have to be prepared to roll with it. Talking in terms of – we make adjustments all the time with players. When we lose significant players to injury or a loss in the game plan or whatever it may be, we have to make adjustments and keep on moving. I explain to the coaches all the time, I expect everyone to approach the game planning from a coordinator's mindset so they understand the big-picture and they can greater contribute to what's going on within the game plan. In terms of entering the bye week, we had played a stretch of three games leading into it where I thought as a team we were making some progress overall. There were some things we had to address and change and improve on, but ultimately, I thought going into the bye week giving it a little bit more time going forward. I just want to make sure that we continue to make progress in the right direction. Again, this is not a snap decision or anything in terms of a reflection of last night, but we've got to make some moves to give our offense an opportunity to change some things up, be more productive and ultimately score more points.
Q: The feeling from a lot of people was that this was sort of an arranged marriage, that ownership wanted you to hire Jason. What's your belief or your story on that and why don't you think it worked in the end?
A: I'll keep this really short and to the point. In terms of the answer of why it didn't work in the end, I'm not going to break down every adjustment I think we have to make or what we need to do. Ultimately, like I said, we need to be more productive and score more points, and that's the focus going forward obviously. Just very simply on the staff, I hire the staff.
Q: I don't know if it was officially announced, but is (Senior Offensive Assistant) Freddie (Kitchens) going to be the interim OC?
A: We're going to handle things collaboratively in-house with the offense and we'll kind of go on as the week goes in terms of specific roles on a game day.
Q: How much would you anticipate the offense looking different than when Jason was calling plays?
A: We'll have to see as we put the plan together going forward. Obviously, we're going to do some things and the goal is to score more points, be more productive, so we'll talk in terms of game planning tonight specifically for the Eagles at this point and see how that looks when we get the call sheet together.
Q: Because you have a history on special teams, how much involvement did you have with Jason during the week setting up the game plan? Were there times this season when you really specifically asked him, 'Why are we doing this? Why are we doing that? Why is this not happening?' Was he resistant to some of your suggestions? Did it kind of reach a boiling point yesterday?
A: First off, I'd like to address the first thing you said. In terms of my history, I've coached on all three sides of the ball for an extended period of years. In terms of my involvement, on offense for a lot of years, my involvement on special teams for a lot of years and my involvement on defense for a few years. So, in terms of my involvement in football, I look at the game from a big-picture standpoint on all three sides of the ball. I make sure that I build up a strong knowledge base in all three phases, that I can have insight, input, and assess and evaluate what we're doing on all three sides of the ball. With that being said, I communicate with all the coaches, especially the coordinators, on a daily basis in terms of what's going into the game plan and what I see on offense, defense or special teams and things that I think need to be addressed. All that being said, I have nothing but respect for Jason and appreciation for what he did. There was no boiling point. It's just a move we feel that we had to make at this point to help the team go further.
Q: I assume you're going to have the same players out there, the same quarterback, same offensive line, most of the same playbook I would think. What makes you think that changing the coordinator is going to fix the scoring problems that you've had?
A: Real simple, it's my job as a head coach to make sure that I give our players the best opportunity to go out there and be successful. There's going to be a lot of the same players out there and it'll still be elements of the playbook that we'll have out there. We'll see as new wrinkles develop and new schemes and concepts that may be included. Ultimately, we have to put the players in position to execute, but we've got to find something to go ahead and give us an opportunity to change things up a little bit. Obviously, at this point, what we're doing, we're not scoring enough points.
Q: Were the players in today? Did you address them on this decision yet or did they find out through social media? How did that work?
A: I spoke to a couple of captains in person. We don't have any meetings today. Today is the players' day off for recovery, so I was not able to address every player directly face to face. I'll do so tomorrow when we meet as a squad.
Q: Besides coaching, you're obviously also in the business of talent acquisition and to some of the peers, you're effectively making the decision here to side with players over coaches or a coach in solving a problem. Are you cognizant on how that could positively impact the way players around the league perceive you? Could that ultimately be a good thing for your program?
A: I don't know. That's layers that I don't really consider making this decision. To be honest with you, just really simple, to me when you get into coaching, it's about the players. That's just the way I've been brought up in this business and the way I look at the game. It's about the players, it's the players' game. Our job as coaches is to give players opportunities to be successful, help develop them and put them in a position of strengths and go out there and they compete. The fun of coaching is to see someone you've worked with on something specific have success in that area. That's the reward, to see somebody else have success. In terms of siding with player over coach, I evaluate everyone the same. I talk to our players openly all the time that before I get to evaluate any players, I evaluate the coaches and make sure that before I hold the player accountable, that I make sure they've been in a position of strength to have an opportunity to be successful. With that being said, players are held accountable for everything they do, as well, how they practice, how they prepare and how they produce and how they execute. Everyone's held accountable for everything they do. No one's exempt from that right there. Not trying to make any kind of statements in terms of players versus coach. The way I see the game, you have to have coaches who are completely in line with players, who want to see them succeed and you have to have players who trust the coaches (and) that they have their best interest at heart. With that being said, I don't always worry about perception on the outside. In fact, I hardly ever worry about perception on the outside. I make moves that I think are in the team's best interest and when you're in a leadership position, you can't really ever worry about if it's a popular decision or not. You have to make the right decision.
Q: What do you like about Freddie as an offensive coach? What do you think conceptually he does well and how can that help the offense, like his voice being a strong one in that room?
A: I'd like to emphasize again, the offense will do this collaboratively as a group and will work through it. If you're asking specifically about Freddie, what I like about Freddie, is Freddie has a very aggressive approach to the game. I think Freddie's done a good job in terms of using his players and creating matchups and situations where they can have success and he calls it with a degree of multiples and variables, which present problems to opponents. He sees it through the lens of the player, if that makes sense, in terms of creating plays for the player. I think that's a valuable asset. There are different ways of seeing the game and different ways of formulating game plans. I trust all of our coaches here – I value all their input. We talk extensively in terms of how we want to put the game plan together. Specifically, on Freddie, as you asked, Freddie brings a game of – he has a very good collection of knowledge. He's been in a variety of systems, all of which he's been successful. He sees the game with the right lens.
Q: As far as your players go, are there more drastic changes coming after you watch this film to starters or personnel based on what you saw on the Buccaneers film that you've reviewed?
A: I think there are a number of things we have to correct and improve on. You watch the tape, there's always some good things you can build on and there's a number of things you have to look at and just identify and say, 'Okay, this is something that we have to correct and correct fast because Philadelphia is watching that same tape today and they're going to look to exploit weaknesses.' That's their job. Our job is to fix it and make sure that we don't get exploited. On the same note, in terms of personnel, we compete every week going through in terms of playing time. I talk all the time about taking guys to the game and giving them an opportunity to play. We'll kind of see how the week of practice goes in terms of who goes ahead and plays throughout the game, but I want everyone to have an opportunity to compete for playing time.
Q: Even if let's say you blame everything on Jason and take that out of it, your defense didn't exactly have its finest moment in primetime last night either in getting pressure on Brady, which was very, very small or when they double-teamed the wrong player in the end zone. I'm just wondering how you account for that on the defensive side? It should have been a rested group, you had the bye, you had some time and they frankly didn't really look like it.
A: I'll address the first part first. This isn't a blame game. That's not what this is at all. I'm not looking for a head to roll. I'm not worried about external opinions or perception, I've said that a number of times. This is not a blame game and I'm very appreciative of Jason for a lot of things he's done for us. In terms of defensive performance, there are a lot of things we have to do better. There were a lot of guys on that field that played very well. A lot of guys made plays. In situational football, we've got to do a better job of getting off the field and they did a good job last night of finding some matchups. They did a good job last night in terms of getting the ball out very quickly, having answers before the snap and isolating some positions that negated the pass rush. We obviously have to do a better job of that. We've seen a lot of improvement with that throughout the season and our situational football, and we're getting productive pass rushes in key situations. We've got to continue on with that track right there. Every opponent's a different opponent. When you play against a team like Tampa Bay, who's very talented and very well-coached and executes at a very high level and a player like Tom, who's going to go ahead and find the matchups, you've got to go ahead, and you've got to make sure that you're on spot every single time. Obviously, we didn't do that well enough as a whole throughout the game. There were some adjustments made in the game that helped at certain points, but ultimately it wasn't enough.
Q: I'm just looking for a quick clarification, who will call plays on Sunday?
A: I'm not going to go ahead and get into that just yet. We're going to talk as a staff and we're going to go through a number of things with the offensive staff tonight and throughout the week. We'll make those decisions and get everything ironed out before the game.
Q: The second question I had is, is this an admission the season is not going the way you want it and something has to be done?
A: No, this is simply a move to make sure that I make the best decision for the team. Right now, we have to do things to be more productive on offense and score more points. We have to do something to change it up and this is the time we decided to make it.
Q: I have a two-part question here, will you be more involved with the offense during the week and on gamedays and could that include you calling plays? And then number two, this is an offense that you rubber stamped, and you hired Jason, so how much do the failures fall on you?
A: I've said all along, I'm responsible for everything on this team. I'm the head coach. I've never shied away from that. I don't point fingers, so I always start with evaluating myself before anything else. In terms of the involvement. I'm involved with all three phases of the game on a weekly basis consistently throughout. I don't bury myself in one meeting room. I don't sit back in my office and just go out to the field and be surprised at what's going on, so I stay involved with all three phases consistently throughout the week. In terms of play-calling, we'll talk with the offense and I'd say everything's on the table.
Q: I'm sorry, you'll say what?
A: Everything's on the table in terms of the offense and how we collectively do things.
Q: So, you might call plays?
A: Everything's on the table.
Q: With seven games to go, what's your message to a frustrated fan base?
A: I was asked this last night and as I said last night, I don't see this as the fans' responsibility to be patient for anything. It's our job to work hard and put a product out there that they can be entertained and proud of. Our focus right now as a team is getting ready for Philadelphia and going out there and play a good, clean football game and compete on Sunday.
Q: I'm just curious, do you have any regrets that you were too patient with the offense at all? Looking back, do you think there was another point where you could have made a move like this to kind of jumpstart the group? Why is this the right time?
A: I think there were different times within the season – you're referring specifically to just this season?
A: I think there are different times that – we've talked about it a number of things of changing things up and looking into whether it's game planning or things we're doing within a game. We've used a number of different factors and tried a couple of different things within the game plans. Ultimately, I just think when you have to do something to help the team, it doesn't matter when it happens, you just have to go ahead and do it. Ultimately, we felt this was the best time. As I explained, there's not really ever an ideal time to make a change like this in a season. You don't ever really want to have to do this, but you've got to be willing to make whatever decision is best for the team.
Q: You know the personnel that you have, you know what they're capable of. How do you envision the offense playing for the rest of the season?
A: As I said last night, I expect to see an increased level of production. That's what I expect. Ultimately, the job of the offense is to score points and, like I've said a number of times, we haven't scored enough points offensively and that's something we have to do a better job of. It sounds very to the point, basic and generic, but just kind of keeping it big-picture, that's the job of the offense.
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