Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Look, I'll just open it up for questions today. Obviously, there's been a lot of roster movement. I'm sure that'll be part of the whole thing, so I'll just let you start firing away.
Q: With a young team, in particular a young team, is it important to let the guys know it's 17 games, you can't get too high, you can't get too low, and you've got to grind it out?
A: Yeah, it's all about the process. Look, no matter whether it's really good or really bad, it's important that we go back to the tape every week. We look at what we did well, and we build on that. We look at what we did that we have to fix, and we correct that, and we make sure that we understand not only what we see on tape, but what the opponent is watching as well. We've got to have visual evidence of the things that we're teaching and we're emphasizing on the field for guys to see when they do it right or wrong, and how it turns out for them. To me, it's all about kind of staying steady with the process and just buying in day by day. You've got to put the work together to get the result. You can't ride the emotional roller coaster and the reality is guys, look, it's a league of extremes, right? One week you're the greatest thing out there, the next week you're the worst thing out there. You can't ride that emotional roller coaster. You've just got to stay committed to the process and keep pushing forward every week and do a good job every day, so that on Sunday you can have the rewards.
Q: The questions you had about your team coming into training camp, do you feel like you answered those? Or did the injuries kind of – like you didn't get to see your first-team offense a lot together. You didn't get to see your first-team offensive line a lot together. Do you feel like you got the answers you needed or did injuries kind of prevent that?
A: Well, it's always unfortunate when players get hurt. But I'd say in terms of the way I view it, look, to me, September is really an extension of preseason in a lot of ways. Obviously, it counts toward your record in the regular season, but throughout September, you're really figuring out your team. There's a lot of roster movement. There's guys that we're going to have on our roster on day one that we didn't go through training camp with. That's just a natural part of the National Football League. It'll be a part of the process of us really identifying what we're doing well, things we have to overcome and keep improving as we go through it. To me, you're never a final product to begin with, especially not early in the year. It's about going out there, having good fundamentals, giving yourself a chance with execution and operating in the situations.
Q: What do you want your offense to look like?
A: Smart, tough and fundamentally sound.
Q: Is there anything that you like to rely on? You know teams have staples, 'we know when we need a few yards, we'll just power run it and we can rely on that,' right? So, do you have any idea what you have here with these guys?
A: Well, there's always an aspect of that. I mean, to me, it's always about playing to your players' strengths and we've got to find out that formula. We've got to find out what that recipe is with these guys as we piece them together and when we go out there and operate. There's always something you go in with your base playbook and what you're going to install and what you're going to build on, but then you start finding out little by little as you go through the season what you really do well. We started out last year with a lot of outside stretch zone runs and we found out as we went through the year, like, 'hey look, we're better going downhill,' and that's something we emphasized. Now, is that going to be mirrored and be the same this year? I don't know. We'll see. We'll see where it goes, too. We're going to work both schemes, both families and see what's better for us as a team. But you don't really have the answers at this point in the year. You've got to go with your base fundamentals of what you're doing. You've got to build on and really think more about the players you're playing with and what they do well, then some magical scheme that you've got. I mean if we all had Mr. Coach Klein's magical playbook from The Waterboy then we'd all be pretty good, but it's really about the players on the field. That's what we've got to go ahead and rely on, is what they do well.
Q: I think it was reported that (Guard) Shane Lemieux has a partially torn patellar tendon. Is it? I think I have that right.
A: I didn't read the report. I'm not going to comment on the specifics of any injury.
Q: But would it be realistic that he could be a tough guy and play through that injury?
A: Oh, I think it's very realistic. He's a tough guy already. He'll be out there practicing with us today.
Q: He's going to practice today?
Q: Pass rush – I thought beyond (Defensive Lineman) Leonard (Williams) having a great year last year, I thought you guys did something very difficult to do and kind of schemed a pass rush without a dominant edge rusher. Is it realistic to do that again or is that really hard to repeat? Like, can (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat (Graham) do that again?
A: Oh, I don't know if that's a commentary on our roster. We have a lot of faith in the guys on our roster right now and the progress they're making. Look, to me, the pass rush, it's all tied together. It's all 11. It's not just one guy on the edge. Like look, when (Former Giants Player) Lawrence Taylor walks back in here, we won't worry about scheming anything, we'll just go ahead and let him rush off the edge. But right now, we're relying on all 11 to do their jobs. It starts with the coverage on the back end to deny quick access throws. It ties into the responsibilities with the mid-tier, the second-level, the linebackers and drop downs safeties based on the defense, and then it comes down to the execution of the guys upfront who are involved in the base-four rush or the blitz. So, can scheme help you? It can. It comes down to individual execution, alright? But in terms of can you out-scheme another team, we don't want to rely on that all the time. We just want to make sure we put our players in the position to play to their strengths. Sometimes it may look like some kind of scheme, but for us, it's week by week, it's a different plan.
Q: The two offensive linemen you traded for, are they going to be here at practice today?
A: (Guard) Ben (Bredeson) is making his way back over. (Offensive Lineman) Billy (Price) will not be today. But he'll be in the fold with us this week.
Q: What's the acclimation process like and is it realistic for them to be ready if they need to start even in Week 1?
A: I mean, we'll wait and see. It's our job to get them ready. That's what I'll always rely back on. The offensive line coaches, the offensive coordinator, myself as the head coach, special teams coaches involved with them as well – we've got to do our jobs of giving them the information and make sure we can relate to what they already know, so they can build on a faster transition into this offense and get them caught up as fast as we can. I mean, look it's different than in previous years as well, where you may claim somebody and you're playing five days later. So, if we have a couple of extra days to work with, that's a bonus. That's something we're going to embrace with these players we're picking up, but obviously we've got to do a good job as coaches educating them and they have to do a good job as players keeping up to speed and communicating with us of what they need more help on.
Q: You've turned over that group a lot since the start of training camp. What's your comfort level as a whole with that group and especially with what you saw in the preseason from them?
A: I have faith and confidence in all the players on our roster. Look, as I've said before, this is the time of year there's more roster movement in the league than at any other time of the year. It's our job to do our due diligence and always know who's out there, and any decision we make it's always for the best part of the team.
Q: We saw you claimed three guys. I don't know if you can tell us, do you know what the corresponding moves are? Did you put anybody on short-term IR or release anybody?
A: I'm going to hold on that right now until everything is final. In terms of the young guys that we claimed, these are three guys that we've known about. Obviously, two being rookies this year, the other being a rookie last year, but these are guys that being young in their careers we obviously knew coming out of college. It's our job to know the league, to study who's out there and know who's available. They're three guys that we're looking forward to working with and developing and giving them a chance to come in here and compete.
Q: What will (Running Back) Saquon's (Barkley) workload look like today?
A: It'll be increased from what you saw last time. Obviously, yesterday was a walkthrough, I wouldn't count that. But from what you saw last week, including him in New England, it'll be increased from that.
Q: Including getting hit?
A: Today is a shells practice, so we're not going to be hitting each other today.
Q: So, tomorrow is the big day for him, I would assume?
A: If we decide to go pads, it could be.
Q: Not definitely going pads?
A: I haven't decided yet. We'll see where our team is with a lot of things.
Q: Does the weather affect what you want to do with him? It's going to be on wet turf today, does that play at all into it?
A: No. The footing is the footing over there. We've got the shoes that we put on, we make sure that everyone's in the right footwear that's best for them and safe for them. We work on the fundamentals of planting off the correct foot with the right body position all the time. Look, to be honest with you, we haven't had a rain day yet in training camp. This is kind of a blessing today and hopefully it comes down a little bit for us.
Q: You were at Miami's pro day. Did (Linebacker Quincy) Roche work at that? What do you remember about him from that?
A: He did. I remember him having a good day down there. Obviously, he's a good-sized player. He's got some short area quickness, initial burst. He's got a good motor. You actually go back and watch his tape – you can watch Miami, you go back to his days at Temple, there's enough on tape that makes you interested. He played a lot down in Pittsburgh this preseason, so there's enough tape to go ahead and evaluate and kind of project – part of our job is projecting. Excited to have him in here to start working with him.
Q: One of the mantras that some of the veteran guys have been using lately is, 'you've got to learn how to stop losing before you can win.' I don't know if that comes from you or elsewhere. Did that happen last year or does that have to happen again? Where are you in that process?
A: I think that's always a part of the game. Look, there's a lot of parity in this league. There's a lot of talent. The league is structured that the worst teams have the earliest draft picks, you get compensatory picks for players you lose in free agency. The league is built for parity. There's good coaches on every team, there's good players on every team. It's too close a competition. Over a third of the games – I believe the stat is right now – are decided by three points or less, so mistakes kill your chances of winning. We talk all the time about being smart, tough and fundamentally sound. That ties into being smart in knowing the assignment and the execution. Tough, physically and mentally tough, to be able to go out there and handle adversity. And then fundamentally sound, for us at every position to have good execution on every play. Every good play starts with good fundamentals, so we're always stressing those three principles to make sure that we're not having turnovers, penalties, mental errors. That's obviously a key component for us. It's tough enough to win a game in the National Football League. If you put yourself behind the eight ball with self-inflicted wounds, it becomes even tougher.
Q: Will practice squad guys be practicing with you today?
A: We'll have some. I'm not going to go through the whole list. When we have it finalized, we'll release it to everybody. We should have some guys out there today with us.
Q: Any update on (Tight End) Evan Engram?
A: To be honest with you, there wasn't really much to report on from yesterday. He wasn't out with us on the field, he was with the trainers. Yesterday was really kind of a down day for him, in terms of what it is. I don't think we're going to have anything hard evidence-wise in these next couple of days. The plan is really to give him a few days, which extends really through this weekend, to see how his body responds and see where he's at.
Q: Have you heard anything from the League about the Saints game yet?
A: No, I have not. Obviously, we've got a lot of guys in here with ties down south, ties specifically in Louisiana, so there's a lot of guys who are constantly talking to me about their families down there and how everyone is doing. Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people down there in that storm. A lot of us were down there through (Hurricane) Katrina, so you think back 16 years ago about what it was and what it looked like this time of year, it was a different time. In terms of the game itself, I know (the Saints have) relocated. I don't have anything on the logistics of that. I'm sure the operations department will handle that and wherever they decide to play, that's where we'll be.
Q: But it won't be here?
A: I can't rule that out. I have not had a conversation about that at this point. To be honest with you, we've been so busy on personnel stuff and the end of training camp and our own install, I really haven't spent much time on where that game is going to be.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: How's it been to have (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay), (Tight End) Kyle (Rudolph) and (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) and all those guys finally back out there at the same time – which I don't know if you've really had in training camp yet?
A: It's been good. Like we've said, they've worked so hard to get back and are continuing to work hard with the trainers. It's been good to have them on the field and I know those guys are ready to work.
Q: Are you going to let them play against the Broncos?
A: I'm not going to do any of that, but that's up to coaches and trainers.
Q: You spent so much time in training camp working with the same five offensive linemen and now a lot of guys are gone, and new guys are here. How do you build chemistry in eight days that you had in five weeks?
A: It's just a daily process. You talk about those five guys, and we'll continue working. The new guys coming in will pick it up and we'll all be on the same page fast.
Q: I know it was just against air (routes on air) a little bit today, but was there a time when you were out there today that you looked at all of those receivers and said, 'This is what it was supposed to be like'?
A: Like I said, it's good to have them out there. Definitely good to have those guys back out there. I know they're ready to go and looking forward to getting out there. It's been good.
Q: I know there's still work to be done before the season starts, but what's the biggest thing you noticed about the offense with all the receivers?
A: I think just the versatility it gives us. Certain guys in different positions can do a lot of different things. I think it gives us a lot of versatility and it gives us an opportunity to attack defenses a lot of different ways. Each one of them has different skill sets that we can utilize and get the ball to them in space.
Q: I'm curious how you as the quarterback view this offense. What's the identity of the offense going to be? What do you view it like? What's the staple of it? Is it a vertical offense, is it a power run offense?
A: I think we can do all those things when we want to. I think versatility. First and foremost, it's a tough, smart group. I think it starts up front, all those guys are tough, physical football players and from there we can attack a lot of different ways – downhill running the ball, vertically stretching the field and getting the ball in space. I think that's what we want to be as an offense is first, physical and tough, smart and an offense that's versatile and can attack a lot of ways.
Q: Do you feel like you know what your team is right now more so than in years past, or is it less because of all the injuries, all the transactions, constant movement? Do you feel less certain of what you guys usually are going into this season than you have in the past?
A: No, I don't think so. I don't know if I have a real broad expectation of, 'this is what we should be.' I think we're more focused on what we're doing day-to-day and executing and preparing, and like I said, we have the ability to do a lot of different things, to attack a lot of different ways. That's what we're working on.
Q: One of the additional dimensions that you brought to the offense last year was your running ability. Have they told you keep on running or do they want you to cut back or what?
A: That's been a part of (Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Jason) Garrett's system for a long time and we'll work that stuff in. I think that's always a part of the system.
Q: But you want to run if it's there?
A: Whatever I need to do from my position to help and help move the ball.
Q: On days like in minicamp and in training camp, (Tight End) Evan (Engram) is probably one of your favorite targets along with (Wide Receiver Sterling) Shepard. What has your dialogue been with Evan since the injury?
A: I know he's working hard with the trainers. He's such a hard-working guy, focused, and is always prepared, so I know he's attacking his rehab day-to-day with the same effort and focus. We'll continue to talk and watch film, study, and I know he's working hard.
Q: Noticed you were in the red jersey all summer. Was it good for you to get some more reps like you got the other night?
A: Yeah, it was good to be back out there on the field and feel the game, feel the pass rush and get hit a couple times. Felt good to be back out there.
Q: It seemed like they were really going for the ball, too. You were able to hold onto it. Obviously, that's something that's been a problem in the past. Was that sort of a weird positive to come out of it with?
A: Yeah, always a focus.
Q: How much have you been able to throw to (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) even when we're not watching?
A: We've been throwing a good bit and feel like we've got some good work in. He's working hard to get back and we'll continue to work, but we've gotten some good time in.
Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: I think earlier this season you told us you had just gotten the first shot (of the COVID-19 vaccine), are you through now?
A: Yeah, I'm fully vaccinated now.
Q: Does it make life easier?
A: I mean, not much has changed besides not having to wear the mask.
Q: It's a pretty big topic league-wide, is it something you guys still talk about within the locker room?
A: I mean, I think it's a big topic worldwide, not just in our league. But at the same time, everyone has their freedom to take it or not. We sometimes encourage guys to do it, but at the same time, everyone has their right to or not.
Q: You said it doesn't change a lot, but it's going to change a lot this weekend, right?
A: Oh, this weekend, yeah. I mean, I never really leave on bye weeks anyways. I was probably going to stick around regardless if I was vaccinated or not. It's a short, three-day weekend and I don't really like to spend much of it flying, so I'd just rather stay here and rest.
Q: You obviously had a huge sacks year, but other than you, it was three sacks here, four sacks there from your teammates. That I assume is because (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham schemed up guys to be open. Is that hard for a defense to do to rely on scheme to get pass rush other than you or not have that other guy like you who got a lot of sacks on his own?
A: I think it all has to play in together. It has to be a combination of scheme and the player doing their job – and not just the player, all the other 10 guys doing their job as well. I rely on those back guys to cover their receivers and their alignments to have time to rush, just as much I rely on Pat Graham to call the right calls in the right situation, just as much as Pat relies on me to beat my one-on-one when the time is right. I think it's a combination and that's what makes the game such a team sport.
Q: How much will it help to have (Linebacker) Lorenzo Carter and (Linebacker) X-Man (Oshane Ximines) back as guys who can produce?
A: Yeah, it'll help tremendously. A lot of the edge guys went down last year, that's what caused me to play defensive end a lot. I'll probably still rotate at that position, but Zo's a great player and X is a great player. I was sad to see those guys go down last year. I'm excited to be able to play with those guys.
Q: Do you think your role will be different at all with (Former Giants Defensive Tackle) Dalvin (Tomlinson) gone, (Former Giants Defensive Lineman) B.J. (Hill) gone, it's kind of a little bit of a different look in that room?
A: I mean, it's a little bit different. But we talk about it in the league, this is my seventh year in the league now, so I see this every year. We always talk about, even if I'm coming back to the same team, it's going to be a different team. Every year is a different team, no matter if you're playing on the same team or not just because guys are constantly coming and going. Something that Pat Graham always says is adapt or die, and that's something that really sticks with me, especially in this league because it's a fast-changing league. If you can't adapt to it fast enough then people are going to move on and the train's going. So, we'll adapt, and guys will move up and fill in roles and fill in shoes and we'll keep going.
Q: I'm sure you wouldn't mind it, but do you think it would be a healthy situation in this team to have you lead them in sacks again? Or does somebody else need to do that at a different position?
A: I don't think there's pressure on any one guy to be the leader of a certain stat. I think we are all competing with each other to do that and I think that's just going to make us be better as an overall defense, as an individual and as a team. If Zo (Lorenzo Carter) has more sacks than me and I'm up one more sack than him, then I'm going to play harder and he's going to play harder because he doesn't want me to catch up to him and vice versa. I think that'll just continue to push the team.
Q: Is it hard to assimilate a lot of new players late in camp? Whether it's offense, defense – is it just hard to bring guys in and get them up to speed right away for the regular season?
A: I don't know. It's hard for me to say because I don't bring those guys in and evaluate them the same way the front office does, and the coaches would. I'm assuming that they're making those changes for a reason. They've obviously seen something on film or seen something in the guy in the reason why they're bringing him here. It's our job to just compete. The one defenses love giving an offense a scout look in the first few plays and stuff like that and I just think it's our job to make sure everyone's ready that does come.
Q: You joined the team mid-season – how long did it take you to feel comfortable when you got here?
A: As far as the defense, I got comfortable pretty quickly. When I was in college, I had three different defensive coordinators in three years, so I think I'm a fast learner when it comes to X's and O's and the playbook and stuff like that. But as far as comfortability with your team, that definitely does take time. It's always an adjustment playing in a new locker room and learning new guys and new teammates. I'm probably best friends with everybody in there now, but that first year that transition was difficult. It just depends.
Q: One of the things Pat talked about was his concern early was the run game. You guys have lost Dalvin, how are you adjusting to stopping the run?
A: Yeah, Dalvin was obviously a big piece of our defense, but that's the way the game goes. He moved on and I think we definitely have guys – AJ (Defensive Lineman Austin Johnson), we brought in (Defensive Tackle) Danny (Shelton). (Defensive Lineman) Dex (Lawrence III) is really stout upfront. I think I'm pretty stout in the run game, as well. I think we have great linebackers that play downhill, as well. I think we'll be fine.
Q: You earned a pretty nice contract with the way you played last year. Now that this season's here, does that put more responsibility on you to keep earning that contract or does it take care of itself?
A: I think that's something that I'm working on the most right now is the same thing I did last year that helped me get such a good season was just ignoring noise. Just like guys were doubting me last season and I was able to ignore them and focus on my process and just focus on what would make me a better player. It's the same thing I have to do now when people are praising me saying that I did so well and are expecting great things out of me, I just have to keep ignoring the noise and focus on my everyday process.
Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Q: What happened in Cleveland?
A: Oh, that's in the past. We don't need to talk about it.
Q: Not for us (laughs).
A: It's in the past, we don't need to talk about that. Things get heated though, it's training camp, you're competing, it's hot out there and guys are emotional during this time. It's the time when you're trying to earn a job, so things can get heated, but we dapped it up afterwards and everything. We let bygones be bygones. Everything is cool now.
Q: Did you have the best training camp of your career?
A: I don't think I've had a bad training camp, but I'll definitely say this is one of the top ones. I can't tell you the reason why, but I feel like I worked my tail off over the offseason like I always do. I just came back, I was feeling great, my body feels good. I was able to get out there and perform.
Q: How's it been to finally be out there with (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney). I know they've been fighting to get back, but in the last couple days, it seems like it's been the first time in a while.
A: Yeah, yesterday we had a walk through, but it was just great to have the guys back out there and just have them get a feel for being out there with the ones. Then also, today they ran routes on there, so it's good to see them get out there and actually run some routes and test out their hamstrings and see how it's going.
Q: You played the whole summer without them, right? I'm wondering how different do you expect the offense to look when they do get on the field with you?
A: I don't really know, I haven't really thought about that. However it looks, I know it's going to be good, we've got playmakers, we've got guys that can make plays and (Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Jason) Garrett does a good job of getting guys in the position that they need to be in to be successful. I have confidence in the coaching staff and the guys to make plays.
Q: Do you have a feel for what the offense is at this point? Do you know what you can rely on? Do you know what the strength of this offense is?
A: Yeah, we're still building some stuff, but throughout camp you've seen it progress and seen the things that work well for us. We're trying to hone in on those things that work well for us. We'll add some new stuff as time goes on.
Q: Building off the last question, I was going to ask, you were pretty honest you wanted the Giants to add more playmakers in the offseason. Then for most of training camp, it was you, (Tight End) Evan Engram and last year's offense again. Was that discouraging at all, like where are all these playmakers we added, they're standing over there (on the sidelines)?
A: No, that's just part of the game, injuries are going to happen. Like I said, training camp is really tough on your body and to make it out of training camp without something is very rare. I have full confidence in those guys. They're listening to everything the trainers have been having them do. They have progressed and (are) working their way back on the field. I know when they get on the field, they're going to make plays, so that's how it goes.
Q: There are a lot of people looking at the offensive line saying no matter how many playmakers you have, you guys aren't going to have much of an offense if the line doesn't perform. Are you concerned?
A: No, I'm not concerned about the line at all. Those guys have been working their tails off. Last week was our first week to actually be live and get to see some different looks. I have confidence in the O-Line. We'll be fine there.
Q: You guys have been pretty confident in (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones). What have you seen from him this summer that lets you know he's going to make that jump?
A: Yeah, he works his tail off. Over the offseason, he's nothing short of that. We were throwing almost every week. We would have different throwing camps. that guys going to come to work with an attitude every day. He wants to be great, and he's been working towards that. I've got confidence in my man.
Q: Do you see it paying off?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Does (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) look ready to you?
A: Yeah, Saquon looks great. He's been listening to the trainers and doing everything that they have him do. It's a process for him as well and I think he's getting towards there.
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands heading into Week 1.