Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Today we'll start our prep on the Panthers. Obviously, this is a good team, they've got a lot of talent on their team, but they play really as a cohesive unit on all three sides of the ball. (Panthers Head Coach) Matt (Rhule) does a good job organizing all three sides in terms of the theme of how they want to play. I'd say offensively, (Panthers Quarterback Sam) Darnold is doing a really good job being productive in the pass game as well as using his legs to extend plays. They've got very talented receivers who are always a shot threat. They're very good in situations. Think (Panthers Offensive Coordinator) Joe Brady does a really good job of mixing up what they're going to do and using the information he can gather pre-snap from you to go ahead and take advantage of what you give them.
On the defensive side, (Panthers Defensive Coordinator Phil) Snow does a great job. He really gets after you. They play very fast up the field on the defensive front. They're one of the best in the league. There's a lot of speed on the second level with the linebackers and defensive backs. Very opportunistic, they make plays – you can get disrupted.
In the kicking game, (Special Teams Coordinator) Chase (Blackburn) does a great job of really having his players play the way he played as a player – size, speed and very aggressive. They're making plays by just playing through blocks, blocking punts, being very disruptive on the field goal protection. They're going to give us a lot of things to prepare for this week, so with that said I'll open it up to any questions you have.
Q: What did you see from your guys coming back this morning, whether it's focus or – what was the mood for these guys?
A: They're focused and ready to go, ready to practice. Got in here with a couple days of rest. We'll go out here today, put the pads on and start going at it, but good focus in the meetings this morning. Kind of moved quickly through some meetings this morning in terms of changing the page on a couple of things. We'll get in the Panthers as well and then we'll come back this afternoon and do a little bit more.
Q: How much of a blow is losing (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) for at least three games? He had played well and more shuffling on the line that's been shuffled so much.
A: First off, it's our job to have all the players prepared. It's their job to be prepared and go out there and be productive. You don't want to lose any player. I think Andrew has done a really good job obviously going through some stuff in the offseason, coming back, played very well. He's been improving as a player throughout his career for us. He's a guy on the offensive line that we have a lot of confidence in as a player. He prepares extremely well and does a good job coming in ready to go every day, but we're confident in (Tackle) Matt (Peart), (Tackle) Nate (Solder) and (Offensive Lineman Korey) Cunningham getting out there and playing for us, as well.
Q: Would you agree that when he was playing well earlier this year that you were able to slide things to the other side because you were confident that Andrew could take care of his side by himself?
A: We've done that both ways. We've had schemes where we've helped our tackles, we've had schemes where we've put them on an island. We're pleased with the way these guys have improved throughout, pleased with the way Andrew played when he was healthy.
Q: What's the plan for a bunch of these injured weapons – (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley), (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay), (Wide Receiver) Darius (Slayton), (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney)?
A: Darius will be out here with us today. KT, we'll see where he's going to be. He's going to start with the trainers and we'll see where that goes today and see where it goes leading into tomorrow. Much the same with Saquon and Golladay, we'll see where they are. We're not going to plan on those guys doing a whole lot with us today, kind of more see how they get out today with the trainers and what tomorrow looks like for them. No hard timelines and no one really being eliminated at this point.
Q: Do you know who's going to play the left and right tackle?
A: You'll see all three tackles play this week. I would expect all of our guys to play both right and left. That's what we're going to practice and prepare this week. You'll see Nate, Matt and Cunningham out there.
Q: Obviously, Andrew was in and out, but how does that impact some of the game planning offensively?
A: We're going to game plan the same way we always do. You've got to take into account who you're playing against and whether Andrew is playing or not playing, you've got to look at this front. There's a lot of speed off the edge. You've got to account for how they play. They're very disruptive, they get up the field, they do such a good job on early downs because that speed really coming up the field and the speed on the second level with the backers scraping over the top, they really disrupt your run lanes. They get after you on the pass and they really do a great job of getting you into second-and-long, which leads to third-and-long. That's how they play very well. In terms of Andrew being in or out, we have to game plan the same way to account for that speed coming off the edge with our tackles.
Q: When you look at these two teams, Saquon, (Panthers Running Back) Christian McCaffrey, obviously super talented players. How hard is it – because that position is so tough, there are a lot of injuries – how hard is it to build a team and an offense around a running back these days because of that limitation?
A: That's a pretty big article question there. Look, obviously, those two are very, very talented players. On the field, they bring a whole lot to a team. Offensively, when you have players like that, it helps your defense as well because you're normally moving the ball and even when you have to punt it, you're going to be punting from better field position, which helps your defense play on a longer field. With both those guys, the threat (of) the run and the pass game is very, very real. I'm not going to speak for Matt's team, I'm not going to speak for the Panthers, but guys just have to step up. Guys have to make plays. We have a lot of talent on our roster. I think (Running Back Devontae) Booker did a lot of good things for us. Him and Saquon are different players – that's not positive or negative. We talk to our players all the time, you have to know who you are as a player to understand how you have to play and we have to understand our players as coaches and understand how to use them. We're going to use whoever we have available to us to make plays. I'm pleased with the progress Devontae, (Fullback) Eli (Penny), (Running Back) Gary (Brightwell) have all made. We're waiting on Saquon to get healthy. I know he's working hard with the trainers right now. We'll see where he is going through the rest of this week. Obviously, we want to have him back as soon as possible. He's a guy that made an impact for us, helped the team make an impact for us as a leader and a player on the field.
Q: Obviously, it's not a knock on Devontae, but how much do you really have to change stuff when you have a healthy Saquon and when you don't?
A: When it comes to the run game, you're going to try to call runs that are more favorable to that back. When you look at Devontae, he's had success in some zone schemes, but there's also a lot of things he does in some of the gap schemes, the pin and pulls, where he can stick his foot in the ground and get vertical down the field that he does very well. Kind of more run to his size and one-cut type ability. Saquon can do all those same runs. Saquon also has, I think, a natural instinct with some of the zone runs with the folds and the cutbacks. Both guys have very good hands in space. You see Book every game make some kind of a tough catch, even on a checkdown or whatever it is, so we have confidence in both guys as receivers. Now, are you going to do the same types of routes with both guys? You can. Doesn't mean you're always going to game plan based on who you're playing and what you think the favorable matchup is there. We have confidence in all those guys going out wide, but are there different wrinkles you're going to do with different players? Absolutely.
Q: Do your edge rushers have another gear that they can reach effort-wise, energy-wise to get to the quarterback?
A: I don't see any issue with their effort right now. Are we going to do things to try to help our edge rushers in different schemes? Absolutely. Are there things that have to come together with all 11 on the field so everyone's productive? To me, the pass rush always starts with the coverage. The coverage is aided by the pass rush. They've got to work off each other. If one's lacking, the other one has no chance of getting there. To me, in terms of how the edge rushers are playing, I'm pleased with their effort. They've got to keep making progress. There are a lot of things we've got to do better as a team. In terms of those guys being productive, we've got to help them a little bit as coaches and we've got to make sure they make the plays when they come their way.
Q: Was there any thought and is there still any thought of putting Toney on IR or do you feel like he'll be back in a few games?
A: We haven't had any conversations that would lead to anything with IR. I'm telling you right now, no.
Q: What can (Cornerback) Aaron Robinson bring to the secondary whenever he does come back, whether it's this week or in the coming weeks?
A: We're about to see. He'll be out there today at practice with us and we'll see how he moves around. We haven't really had an opportunity to see this guy going full tilt since he's been here. We're looking forward to getting him and (Linebacker) Elerson (Smith) out there and giving them a chance to get working with the team.
Q: Is there a timetable for them that you say, 'Okay, now you're starting. This is where their clocks starts' or do you think because they've been in your program this whole time that it might not take as long as someone from outside the building to hit the practice field?
A: I'd say for two young guys especially, I think there's a difference. You talk about an older guy – and I'm just going to use a name for being an older guy in the league, (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph, who missed a large part of training camp. His experience, his knowledge, his ability to kind of get more mental reps, get ready, his ability to step in that early and be able to play within the system and become productive as he played is different to me than a rookie, who the reality is they haven't played preseason games, they haven't scrimmaged against another team, they haven't really had full contact practices at this point. They've been in the meetings, they've done a good job mentally staying caught up and within the game plan. They've done a really good job within our program with anything you ask them to do. But the reality is, they've got to get out here and start playing football. I don't have an immediate timetable. Look, if you stay within the structure of the rules, could it be this week? It could. To be completely transparent with you, for both guys who haven't gone through really training camp, preseason games and all that stuff, I find it hard to believe for any rookie to come back that fast and just go ahead and jump right back in. Even last year when (Safety Xavier McKinney) Zay came back off the injury, he missed a chunk of the season, he at least had some of preseason and some of the training camp part of it. As he played into it, we had to phase him in throughout the year. Remember when he first came back those first few games, we said he was going to be kind of small parts, kind of build him up. You're not going to take him and just throw him out there for a full tilt game right away.
Q: What have you seen from Sam Darnold and the way he's running Joe Brady's offense?
A: I think he's been very productive. I think he's a big, strong quarterback. He's got a big arm and he's very aggressive with a lot of throws. You can't forget about this guy's legs. It's the one thing you see a lot of teams right now, they're dropping you in the zone or letting the man kind of a carry them out of it. He does a good job keeping his eyes downfield. When he sees an opportunity, he pulls it and runs. He's smart with running the ball, he's productive, he gets down. He's good in the low red area as far as getting that thing in the end zone as a runner with his legs. He's a talented quarterback and they've got a lot of weapons. He's going to find a way to get the ball around.
Q: How do you look at injuries? Is it something that no one can control or do you think there are some ways that you can help to minimize injuries?
A: I think there are certain injuries that you can help to minimize through the physical conditioning and preparation and then there are other things that we've really seen within the games that are just sometimes unavoidable. Sometimes they're pretty traumatic injuries. There's nothing really (Center) Nick Gates could have done differently to avoid his injury. There's nothing you could have done to really prepare him to avoid that injury. That's just the reality of it – (Wide Receiver) C.J. Board the other day with the forearm. There's certain things you can't really avoid. You don't want to see any of your players get hurt, you don't want to see any player get hurt. In terms of the injuries, unfortunately, that's part of the game, but it's part of the game that we all sign up (for). It's our job to prepare every player, it's every player's job to be ready to produce. We have that next man up mentality. Obviously, we're not trying to push anybody out of the way, but when something happens, we've got to keep moving forward. That game is going to be played either way.
Q: How do you make sure that the confidence of your players does not sag?
A: Prepare them. Confidence comes from practice execution. We get our guys ready to go on the practice field, we correct the mistakes, we show them what they're doing well and we keep moving forward.
Q: How is their confidence level from what you can tell?
A: They came in today with a good attitude, they're focused, ready to go. We'll see them on the field today. I see a team that works hard.
Q: How is (Offensive Lineman) Isaiah (Wilson) looking? You have a first-round tackle on your practice squad and you're a little light on tackles. Is he coming along?
A: He's making progress for us. He's doing a good job working right now. He's spent a lot of time with strength and conditioning, the trainers. He's getting caught up in our schemes and systems. I'd say he's a hard worker, he's a smart guy. He's got a little ways to go, but he's doing a good job working. He actually won't be out at practice today. He's got a non-football-related deal today. Just a (stomach) bug to keep him out of the building. Nothing football-related, nothing serious.
Q: You said he has a bug?
A: He's got like a bug. He's sick. We're keeping him out of the building.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: Burning question for you, (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan) said you were reading a book on the way home from Dallas. What were you reading?
A: What was I reading? I think it was Ryan Holiday, one of his books, 'Stillness Is the Key.'
Q: You said you didn't forget anything.
A: Yeah, I was good to read, and I felt good (laughs).
Q: How'd you feel like the guys came out today obviously coming off a tough loss? I know (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) challenged guys to see who was willing to play all 60 minutes and all that? How did you feel like everybody responded today?
A: I thought well. I thought we put an emphasis – Coach put an emphasis on fundamentals and coming off the ball and practicing fast and kind of the speed of the game, like what you're talking about. I thought we did that. I thought it was a physical practice and I think guys responded.
Q: When you got a chance to look at the film, what stuck out to you that wasn't totally apparent after the game about how you played, like you personally?
A: I don't know, I think like any game, there are good things and bad things. There was certainly good in the game and things we can build on, things I can build on. We've got to get rid of the mistakes and the stuff that's holding us back. You try to look at each play separately, how it adds to the whole, but what was going on in that specific play and learning from that, so lots to learn from.
Q: A couple of weeks ago I asked you the impact of having (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) playing so well and what that did for you. What does it do now that he's not going to be in the lineup?
A: Like I said, he's played well, and I hate to see him go down. I know he's dealing with a lot with those injuries. We've got a lot of confidence in the guys stepping up and (Tackle) Matt's (Peart) played at a really high level this season as well, so he'll step in and whoever else is in there we have a ton of confidence in. Looking forward to working with them.
Q: Do you at times have to make a conscious effort to not speed things up? Maybe things are breaking down a little bit, obviously you're back there with the ball and you've got to make quick decisions, but to not go too fast and make sure you scan and see everything to make the right play?
A: Yeah, I think that just comes within making reads and playing the position. I think it's understanding when to get the ball out of your hands, trusting the read and going through it and being true to that. That's my job, how you play quarterback, so definitely something I've got to continue to do.
Q: Is there a certain crisis management some plays when things break down quickly and all of a sudden, it's like, 'Okay, I can't do what I want to do on this play,' so you have to quickly go to the next thing? How difficult is that?
A: I think that's a big part of the position and Coach (Jason) Garrett talks about it a lot. The plays not – we'd hope for it to be perfect every time, but the reality in pro football and for everyone across the league is it doesn't work out perfect, so it's about managing situations and avoiding the bad plays.
Q: You're down so many receivers, tight ends, running backs this season, your offensive line's been in flux. I know you guys have the 'next man up mentality', but how hard is it to keep it up, when you just never have that consistency of personnel?
A: It changes things up here and there and (it's) tough to go without guys. But like you said, we've got guys who have stepped up and we've got guys who can make plays and guys who can do a lot of things, who bring a lot of different things to the table. It's about playing to those strengths and I'm confident, and I think we're confident as a group, that we'll be able to perform.
Q: Does it ever make you wonder a little bit about what this offense could have been if you had everybody out on the field the way you were planning?
A: I think our focus is on what we're doing this week and preparing with this game plan and getting ready to go.
Q: How much does the identity of the offense change with – I know you guys come into the season and you're planning on (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) to be a big piece and eventually getting healthy. But when you don't have him, how much does the whole look of it change in your mind?
A: He's a dynamic player, obviously. He brings a lot to the table. I think within the game plan and what we plan to do, we kind of structure it towards the strengths of the guys we have and like I said, we have a lot of good players who bring a lot to the table. When we plan and when we go through the week, that's the idea, is to get the ball in those guy's hands and tailor it to what they do well.
Q: With that hit in Dallas, does that make you reconsider how you run the ball, and do you have to make any changes to be a little less risky as far as putting yourself in harm's way?
A: I think the Dallas hit was one thing, but I think I've realized that through these first couple of years and it's certainly something I need to do better. Yeah, I'll keep working on it.
Q: Is that just a really hard thing for you to get through in the heat of the moment to not take on that hit?
A: I think 3rd-and-one on the goal line is a little different situation than some of the situations I've been in in the past. Yeah, I think I definitely need to do a better job in some of those situations getting down.
Q: In 20-20 hindsight on that play, did you see (Tight End Kyle) Rudolph kind of alone?
A: That wasn't really the idea there and I could've communicated a little better.
Q: One of the things that Joe said was that one of the reasons why he thinks that you play so aggressively when you're running is that you don't want to be considered different than the other guys...(inaudible)
A: I think that's part of it. I think I've always kind of felt that way as I'm trying to compete, get as much as I can out of certain plays like anyone else would and like other guys do when they have the ball in their hands. Like I said, there are situations I can learn from and do a better job protecting myself and protecting the ball.
Q: Speaking of Rudolph, one of the reasons he was brought in is he's a big red zone target. That's what he does. Why do you think he hasn't been more involved in this offense?
A: I think certainly it's something we're focused on in the red zone is using him and making him a big weapon for us down there. I've got to do a better job in a lot of those situations getting him the ball in situations he can score, but that's something he does well and something we're working on.
Q: Do the Panthers mean anything to you? I know that was kind of your childhood team.
A: It's cool. I grew up pulling for them in Charlotte, and certainly still have a lot of friends who are Panthers fans, so I think that's cool to be able to play them. But it's another game, we're preparing like we always do.
Q: Are they rooting for you or are they rooting for the Panthers? How does that work?
A: I hope they're rooting for me. I've probably got some who are still Panthers fans.
Q: Who was your guy growing up?
A: I liked (Former Panthers Quarterback) Jake Delhomme a lot and (Former Panthers Wide Receiver) Steve Smith. Growing up, I was a big Steve Smith guy. Just the way he played and his toughness, the way he competed, I always loved watching him.
Q: How much did you get to know (Panthers Quarterback) Sam (Darnold)? You guys were in the market here together.
A: I got to know him a good bit and I've obviously watched him a lot. He's had a good start to the season, so always pulling for him.
Q: When you look back on last week – I mean, you started the season so well. When you look back on last week, what went wrong?
A: I think it's just forcing things that weren't there and bad decisions that set us back. I think just not staying true to the reads, some of the things we were talking about earlier and trusting that. I've got to understand that, understand what went wrong, what I was thinking and make sure I correct it.
Safety Jabrill Peppers
Q: How did you take (Head Coach Joe) Judge's halftime challenge to show more effort?
A: I took it well.
Q: Did you think there was any lack of effort or want to on the field on Sunday?
Q: How did you feel the team came out today, especially coming off a tough game like that?
A: We came out well.
Q: What do you guys feel like you still have to prove?
A: What do you mean?
Q: You're 1-5, four games out of the division lead. It's not really like last year.
A: Nobody cares about that. We've got a job to do. We come out here and do it.
Q: You've always been a sparkplug for this team, igniting the enthusiasm out there on the field. When things get tough like this, how do you keep that momentum and positivity?
A: Just remember why you do it.
Q: What's the level of urgency for this team right now? How do you view that?
A: There's always been a level of urgency. You just have to take it up a couple of notches.
Q: It doesn't change as the losses pile up? You realize at some point this has got to turn, right?
A: You always have to have a sense of urgency.
Q: Are you disgusted right now with where this season is?
A: I'm just motivated to play better and get this thing turned around.
Q: You're not always this man of so few words. Is there a specific reason for that at the moment?
A: No, not really.
Q: Obviously, you're not the coach, but what would you say is the mood of the team?
A: Just got to get better.
Q: Your team has had to play games without (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley). The Panthers are doing that without (Panthers Running Back Christian) McCaffrey. Do you look at them and say they are different because he's such a runner and receiver? Are they kind of different with him and without him?
A: It's the next man up. Everybody has capable people when people go down, so it's all about the next man up. We respect the next guy just as such. Obviously, C-Mac is C-Mac, but you've got to respect the next man up.
Q: How does their offense look though?
A: They're good.
Q: How different does it look with him and without him?
A: They still look good.
Q: The trade deadline is two weeks away. Your name is one that comes up a lot. Do you want to be here? Do you expect to be here?
A: I just want to win, baby. I want to make plays, go out there and win ball games.
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers.