Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Listen, I'd like to start off obviously by offering our thoughts and prayers to (Former Giants Head) Coach (Tom) Coughlin and his wife, Judy. It's something that, there's a number of people who knew at an earlier pace. It's obviously not our job to speak for anybody else. Look, what Coach Coughlin's done for the organization, for his players, obviously speaks volumes. You know he's even taken it further with those dearest to him and his wife, so anything we can do to support the family, as he's supported the organization, we always will. I'll say that. Then obviously Coach Coughlin has been great for me, personally, so anything he ever needs from me, I'll be here for him. With that being said, our focus today as a team is to come up here and compete against a quality opponent. The series of practices both today and tomorrow will be very geared towards situation. Situation meaning third down, red area and two-minute. We'll work some specific drills and setups to make sure we work some techniques on both sides of the ball, offense and defense, for both us and the Patriots to help us address some issues or some areas that maybe we hadn't had enough work on in camp based on the opponents we've worked against or things that haven't specifically come up in the preseason games as of yet. So, we're going to structure this working together. The pace of the practice will be a working tempo. We're going to work together. We're going to stay up, stay off the ground. There's no cutting. We're not looking to go ahead and live tackle at any point in any of these drills. There's going to be guys on both teams at different points in practice wearing red jerseys. We would treat any player with a red jersey the same as we would treat a quarterback, punter, kicker or whatever it is. We're going to stay off them. It's going to be a non-contact portion. With that being said, I'll open it up to any questions.
Q: Who will be wearing red (jerseys) for you guys?
A: So, when (Running Back) Saquon's (Barkley) here tomorrow, he'll be in a red jersey. As of right now, it's the only one we'll have. We're going to remove (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph off PUP. He's going to work mostly individual today and ramp him up. As soon as we can get him into team drills – I don't foresee that being these next two days, but as soon as we can get him involved for team drills and build him up to where he's going to be, we'll go ahead and do that in a timely manner.
Q: Is this Saquon issue something that came up very last minute?
A: This is something personal. It has nothing to do with football. It was something he communicated with me last week. There's certain instances that I'll always work with a player on. I'll let him speak for himself in terms of what it is. I'm not going to go ahead and air his business. I'm not going to go ahead speak on behalf of Saquon about his business. I'll let him address it if he feels like it, but he'll join us tonight in the hotel and be with us on the field tomorrow.
Q: But not health or COVID-19 related?
A: It has nothing to do with health. It has nothing to do with COVID-19.
Q: How many real hits does his (Saquon's) leg have to take or does he have to take prior to Week 1 for you to say he's ready for that?
A: I don't have a specific answer on that number for me. I'm relying a lot on the medical team right here. We've had lengthy meetings. We sat down the other day and talked for about an hour, specifically on Saquon and the plan for this week and then going forward. Obviously, we're all looking in terms of what does the short-term picture look like in terms of the start of the season? What's the long-term picture look like based on if we rush him back or if we take our time and where he's right at? So, we'll put him in the red jersey. The most important part is for him to get out here and get football movement, reaction on movement against an opponent. He hasn't seen seven-on-seven, yet. He hasn't seen 11-on-11, yet. These things we have to build up with him. We've talked with the other coaching staff as they have with us about their players. We're going to work together on this and make sure that both teams can operate to make progress this week and improve and be safe at the same time.
Q: How much do you believe his leg does have to take a hit or do you believe his leg does have to take a hit?
A: I think every player has to have physical contact and experience the hits they're going to take in a game before it becomes live, full speed in the regular season. The reality of the nature is, the speed of the game increases from preseason to regular season to postseason. That's just what happens. For us to put a player on the field without preparing him either through practice or preseason games without contact, we're putting that player in danger and at a disservice. I know a lot of people want to put their head in a box and pretend it doesn't exist, doesn't happen. The reality is when you go out there in Denver, Washington, Atlanta, that's live bullets now. They're flying around. They're trying to hit our players as hard as they can, as we are to them, make good form tackles and end a play. So, the best thing you can do for your players is prepare them for what they're going to see by putting them in controlled situations, experience the technique, let your body get used to the contact as close and collisions that are going to happen in a game, and then build on that as it goes to more 11-on-11 situations. I don't have a number of hits to go back to your original question. In terms of is it necessary? I would absolutely say that contact of some form is absolutely necessary. Now, we'll decide what kind of contact it is and what kind of controlled drill we're going to put him in before putting him in 11-on-11 and what we allow him to do. But before we put him out there in live contact and just say Godspeed, we're going to make sure this guy's prepared, because my number one priority is his health. Before anything else, it's the health of the player before we get on to anything else.
Q: What's the plan for (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) and (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) today?
A: They're both going to stay with the trainers today and ramp up. We'll see where they are for tomorrow. They're more day by day at this point.
Q: What about (Tackle) Nate Solder?
A: Nate will be limited in practice today. You'll see him do some things. He'll definitely be continuing to do the individual with the group. He'll do a little bit against the Patriots in some team drills. Really, it's going to be kind of based on ramping him back up from missing some time right now.
Q: You felt that (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) got good work last week in Berea, right? What do you look for him to maybe advance that work in these two days here?
A: I think he's just got to keep taking steps every day he gets on the field. It's going to be great because it's different schemes, different opponents, different techniques than what he saw last week. That's the benefit of these practices. Now, there's going to be some similarities in what he sees in our practices, but it's not carbon copy. (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat (Graham) obviously worked in this system. There's things he's taken with (him) to build his own system. There's things that are very different in terms of the techniques we play, the checks, the adjustments, whatever it may be. So, while there may be some similarities, it's a different defense for Daniel to see. It's much different than last week. It would be great to see him make the adjustments, our team to make the adjustments on the fly to be able to go out there and compete at a high level.
Q: Is (Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) back to a full load or are you going to hold off on him?
A: We're going to increase him today and tomorrow we expect him to be full speed. We'll see where he goes with that. But this guy, we're just kind of managing some loads with him right now.
Q: How beneficial is it to get that work against a foreign scheme in practice?
A: It's huge. It's huge. The one thing is when you practice against yourselves, you're obviously going on your install map out and you're working very thoroughly on what you have to accomplish on all sides of the ball. Now, what happens sometimes is that can get a little predictable for your own team at times. You come out here today, the periods are unscripted. We're moving on through it. They're going to make adjustments. We're going to make adjustments. The players are going to have different techniques. There's different reactions we're going to see from the players in general. It's huge for us to get this work against other teams.
Q: How similar or dissimilar is your program and your practices to kind of what we're going to see here from the Patriots?
A: You may see a familiar layout. Obviously, there's some familiarity that everyone brings. I can't stress enough that, again, I've learned something from every coach I've ever worked under and every system I've been in. So, I've taken something for our program from everywhere I've ever been. That starts with (Former Mississippi State Head Coach) Jackie Sherrill going all the way through (Alabama Head) Coach (Nick) Saban, (Patriots Head) Coach (Bill) Belichick, Coach Sherrill, (Former Mississippi State Head Coach) Coach (Sylvester) Croom, (Former Lansdale Catholic Head) Coach (Jim) Algeo. So, it's everyone I've ever worked for, I've taken something from it. Will the layout and format of practice look familiar? Yeah, it will look familiar in some regard. Some things will be different. There are some familiar drills that we do we'll actually do competitively against them today that you've seen us do in early parts of practice as part of our ramp-up, warm-up and technique that we'll absolutely have the opportunity today to kind of do more competitively today against somebody different. Is this going to look identical or a carbon copy? Absolutely not. Are there similarities from any coach who comes from a different program? Yeah, there's always something you can trace back and say that looks very familiar.
Q: What do you say to the idea when people look and see, especially from a distance and say, 'the hard practices, the hard training camp, oh, he's just another one of these Belichick guys,' and fall into the stereotype there?
A: I can't control what people say. I do what I thinks best to get our team ready for the season and make them safe individually to play.
Q: What does a healthy Kyle Rudolph – what can he do for Daniel?
A: We'll have to wait and see. We haven't seen him on the field with Daniel. That'd be unfair to make some kind of prediction or statement for him right now. I know he's working very hard. He obviously has a very accomplished resume. He's a good player. He brings a lot of value in situational football. He's a big target with good hands. You know what, we'll just wait until we see him and Daniel really working together in team situations.
Q: Will your reps and how you dole them out be any different than what you did in Cleveland last week because you expect the 'first-teamers' to play a lot more on Sunday night?
A: Not totally, but there are going to be some different groups that we blend together to see how the chemistry forms. We're still going to have to work everybody on the roster for the volume of the practice to make sure everybody gets work. But there's going to be certain drills that we're going to prioritize, different personnel groupings against people that we are going to put on the field as well.
Q: How much can guys that are fighting for roster spots help themselves these next two days?
A: Everyone needs to come out here every day and be productive. Every day.
Q: (Wide Receiver) John Ross, (Linebacker) Elerson Smith, will we see more from those guys?
A: No. They're going to stay with the trainers today and ramp up.
Q: Being out here, I know it's not a trip down memory lane, but when you came out here and looked around did you say, 'this is what I remember?'
A: I mean look, I don't really have time for nostalgia right now to be honest with you. Obviously, there's a lot of players that I've coached for years that are on this team. There's a lot of familiarity with a lot of things. Right now, I'm focused on getting our team to improve and get better. We're out here, and if I start trying to take a walk down memory lane, I'll forget about what's going on in the present. So, I've got to keep my focus narrow right there and understand what our team has to do.
Q: Have you talked with Bill yet or how does that work?
A: I haven't seen him this morning. We talked on the phone at length throughout the last few days leading up to this. We've talked continuously throughout the offseason mapping this out. I've talked with other coaches on their staff to make sure we're mapped out drill by drill. Pat (Graham) and (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett) and T-Mac (Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey) have talked to their coordinators. Position coaches have talked across the ball. I'll see Bill when he gets out here.
Q: Are you going to have your captains, your leaders talk to their leaders like you did in Cleveland?
A: We've already kind of touched base and addressed it. We're going to be okay.
Q: Can you guys evaluate, or do you evaluate another team's players off of these kind of practices? Like, is it an opportunity to scout?
A: Well, the most important thing for us to do is evaluate our own players right now and understand where we're progressing to. Now, every time you play anybody – whether it's our own offense versus our own defense or it's a foreign opponent in a game, a scrimmage, a practice or whatever it may be – you always have to have some kind of evaluation going on of who you're playing against. How is your player stacking up against whoever he's matched up with on a one-on-one or a team type of situation? You can always go ahead and put a scale on the talent level, the ability level and where we are technique-wise. You're always evaluating everybody. That's just the reality of it. Every time I watch our game tape, I'm evaluating our 11 on the field and I'm also evaluating that against their 11 on the field. It'd be a lie to say you're not evaluating everybody, but right now our focus is on the New York Giants.
Tight End Kyle Rudolph
Q: How are you feeling?
A: I feel good. It was exciting to be back out there with my teammates. For me, this was the first football I've gotten to play since December. I've still got a long way to go, a lot of work left ahead, but this is what I love to do. The last few months have been tough just watching each and every day, but I've got to give a ton of credit to our medical staff, our trainers, our doctors. Here I am today back at practice and it felt damn good.
Q: What was the hardest part about not being able to practice this long into camp?
A: The hardest part of any injury is just not being out there with your teammates. We get such few opportunities to be out here on the field and you really gain perspective of that when you're not able to be out there. Nobody enjoys training camp. It's hard, it's a grind, but you don't realize until you're physically unable to be out there how much you miss it and how much you want to be out there.
Q: How important are these next couple of weeks, especially for you, to get that timing down with (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones)?
A: These next couple of weeks are huge. I mentioned it before, I just was able to get my feet wet today, but I've got a lot of work left to do. I'm just going to keep working each and every day chipping away at it. One of my favorite sayings is, 'You eat an elephant one bite at a time,' so if I look two weeks from now as, 'Oh my God, how am I going to get ready to play a game?' I'll never get there. But if I just take it each day a time, I'll be happy with where I'm at in two weeks.
Q: Is your goal to be ready by opening day?
A: My goal is to get better each and every day and make sure that I'm in shape to go when this team needs me.
Q: Where are you at physically in your own estimation, as far as endurance, speed, that kind of thing?
A: The only way to get into football shape is to play football. Like I said, I'm just trying to take one step in front of the other each day for the next two weeks and get ready to go.
Q: I know you can't be sure, but you had said when you had the surgery that you didn't think you would miss any football. Are you confident that you'll be ready for Week 1?
A: Like I said, I'm just going to keep working each and every day to make sure that I'm continuing to progress the way I have for the last five months. Like I said, two weeks from now we'll look up and see where we're at.
Q: Did something change between late-June or early-July around the start of camp, as far as whether it's a setback, or did your training schedule or rehab schedule change? Is there some difference there?
A: No, no change. It's just been, like I said, from the day I had the surgery trying to get better one day at a time with the goal being Week 1.
Q: What has been your impression of Daniel Jones now that you've gotten some time to spend with him?
A: It's been awesome to watch him. I was a huge fan of his from afar. Obviously, we came up with the Vikings a couple years ago and our defensive guys just raved about his talent. Now, getting to know him as a player and as an individual, his leadership ability, guys gravitate towards him, and that goes a long way, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Continuity is huge and we all rally behind Daniel.
Q: What was your schedule like these first couple weeks of camp? We didn't see you doing much out here. Were you doing stuff at other times during the day?
A: Oh yeah, we were working. Just because you guys didn't see it doesn't mean we weren't working. You guys know (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) better than that, you guys know he's not going to let me not work.
Q: Running routes and stuff, were you getting that work in, too?
A: Like I said, we were working each and every day so that today I got to go out on the field. I've got a lot of work to do from here until the first game and I'm just going to keep trying each and every day to get better.
Q: Do you feel it?
A: I'm 31 years old and I've played a lot of football, I feel pretty much everything (laughs). That's just the nature of this game, but I tell you one thing I felt, it felt damn good to be back out on the practice field today with my teammates.
Q: Do you feel confident?
A: I'm completely confident in my body.
Q: What have you learned or observed about Joe Judge?
A: I've learned a lot about him. I have a little bit of the 'Patriot way' in the (way) that they do things and the culture that Coach Judge came from because I played for Coach (Charlie) Weis at Notre Dame. I've followed this program for a long time, and you see the culture that he's trying to instill here with us as the New York Giants. We have a really young team, it's a team that needs to learn how to win. He says it all the time, 'You can't start winning until you stop losing,' and you see that day in and day out the way he pushes us on our fundamentals, on our technique. To me, it's the first time that I've had a head coach that's not a defensive coordinator, it's a head coach that's in charge of the entire team. It's been a lot of fun for me to get to learn from him.
Q: What have you learned about (Tight End) Evan Engram?
A: I learned a lot about Evan. I've been a huge fan of Evan's for a while watching him the last four years. Extremely excited for him this year. He's as explosive a tight end that I've certainly been around and that I've watched in this league.
Q: How can you help him? He talked a lot about learning from you. How can you help Evan?
A: I try to help not only Evan, but (TE) Kaden (Smith) and (TE) Nakia (Griffin-Stewart) and (TE) Jake (Hausmann), and everybody else in our room. I've seen a lot of football, I've been around a lot of football. We have an unbelievable coach in our room in (Tight Ends Coach) Derek Dooley and if I can ever add anything to the way that he's teaching stuff or the way that he sees things, because I've been around a lot, I've seen a lot of things. Just trying to bring these guys along and help them reach their full potential and be the best tight ends they can be.
Q: What makes Kyle Rudolph such a red zone weapon?
A: Just a big target. I've got a lot of basketball in my background. You see carryover between the game of basketball and the tight end position. The thing about the red zone is the windows are a lot tighter, there's a lot less space, but I try to (take) a lot of pride in making tight-window catches and when the quarterback has the confidence in me to throw me the ball in a tight window, catch it for him.
Q: You said you kind of understand the 'Patriots way' and what it's all about. There's people who see Joe and some of the things he does is he takes from (Patriots Head Coach) Bill (Belichick), and they see the hard training camp and they say, 'He's just another one of these Belichick assistants, disciples.' What are your thoughts on that?
A: The thing that sticks out for me in Coach Judge and the way that he pushes us – certainly training camp is hard and we're going to work, but he said it day one that it's going to be worth it. It's rewarding. It's not rewarding if you go out and you haven't worked for what you earn. This team is going to work for everything that we earn this year. Guys take a lot of pride in the product that we put on the field because we've worked for it.
Q: How does a young team learn how to stop losing?
A: We rely on our fundamentals and technique. When we get tired, when it's today in the middle of practice or late in the fourth quarter, you just have to rely on your fundamentals and technique. When you've constantly drilled that over and over and over again, you fall on the fundamentals and technique when you get tired.
Q: Have you been on a better conditioned team than this one?
A: No, not at all.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: It seemed like an up and down day for the offense. What was your sort of impression of that?
A: Yeah, kind of up and down. Made some plays, didn't do some things great. We've got to look at a few things and clean it up. That's the way practice is sometimes, and you've got to be able to push through. We'll look to correct it going forward.
Q: How much do you make in adjustments on the side when the defense is out there? Is it like a game where you're trying to figure stuff out during practice?
A: Not quite like a game. I mean, we've got the practice scripted certain plays we want to run. There's conversations about what they're doing and how we're seeing it and what we're adjusting to. There's a little bit of that, but I wouldn't say it's quite like a game.
Q: How was it having (Tight End) Kyle (Rudolph) out there finally for the first time?
A: Good. Good to see him out there. He's worked so hard to get back and he's been behind the scenes a lot helping all of us, helping me, helping the tight ends, and it's been good to have him out there.
Q: What can he do for this offense and for you specifically?
A: Well, he's played a lot of football at a really high level. He knows the game inside and out. He knows how to make plays. He knows how to get up and catch the ball. I think he'll make a difference for us and I'm excited to get him out there.
Q: You mentioned there were some ups and downs. What do you think some of the ups were and then also some of the downs?
A: Yeah, I don't know. We'll go and look at the tape and look to correct it. I thought we made some plays. We made some plays down in the red zone. We moved the ball alright in the two-minute, but some things we've got to clean up and plays we've got to look at and correct going forward.
Q: This is another week where you won't get to work with (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) in team settings. Are you concerned at all about that team chemistry developing in such a short period of time?
A: I know those guys are working hard to get back and are working with the trainers every day to get better. We're focused on improving as a group and getting ready for Week 1.
Q: I saw you run a bunch of zone reads today. Is that something you guys came in and had pre-planned? Is it something that just sort of worked out that way? Take us through how that kind of works today.
A: Yeah, there was certain stuff we had in practice today and the plays we're looking at. We'll just keep working. That's been a part of our system last year and certainly it is again this year. Just stuff we're working in.
Q: There were some runs also, correct me if I'm wrong, but it seemed like the coverage was good down field and you just had to run. Was that also the case?
A: Yeah, a couple of plays there. I thought we did a good job protecting up front and they made some good plays in the back end and had good coverage. Yeah, I just got to be smart with the ball.
Q: I know you're trying to make the best of what you have, but are you curious at this point to see what the offense is like with (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley), with Kenny, with Kadarius, with Kyle?
A: Like I said, I think those guys are working hard to get back and I know they're doing everything they can. It's our job to take the steps forward as an offense as a group. We'll be ready whenever they do get back.
Q: Last week in Cleveland, I think everyone felt that the first practice was not nearly as good as the second one – intensity, execution, all those things. Do you agree with that? I think you actually said that last week. Do you maybe hope that that happens and carries over to this week also?
A: I think we did a good job responding on the second day. I think the first day in Cleveland was good, as well. We didn't finish as well. But I think like I said, we'll look at the tape tonight and try to correct some things coming out tomorrow like you would in any situation from one practice to the next.
Q: What do you think of the hill?
A: It's a different way to condition, but it was good.
Q: Had a lot of fun on it?
A: Yeah, a lot of fun.
Q: Did you watch (Patriots Quarterback) Mac Jones throw or play during his periods at all? How do you think he did? Did you talk to him at all or chat him up at all?
A: I didn't get a chance to watch a whole lot of their offense. I'm more focused on what we're doing and trying to get ready for the next series.
Q: What will you look to accomplish in your first preseason action in this game on Sunday?
A: Just to get out there, be comfortable, move the ball and score points. Like any game or practice, just execute football plays, move the ball down the field and score. So, be efficient and execute as an offense.
Tight End Evan Engram
Q: What did you think of the hill?
A: Different, it's different. I had a hill in pee wee days that we used to run after practice, so that was going down memory lane a little bit, but it was good work.
Q: How did you feel practice went today for the offense?
A: It was good. For us, it's always, 'How can it be better?' I thought we came out here and competed, we can compete more, we've got to execute more, we've got to get on the film and correct the stuff. We aim for perfection, nothing is ever perfect, but that's just how we work, that's how we've got to continue to work.
Q: What was it like having (Tight End) Kyle (Rudolph) finally get to get out there and run with you guys?
A: It was good. He's been working his butt off nonstop just to get out of the building. I know it was good for him to put the pads on, helmet, run around, catch some balls and be involved with the group. He's been involved off the field and in the meeting rooms, all the x's and o's. He's been great to work with, so just to get him on the field, I know he's happy about it, it's good to see him out. He looks really good.
Q: What does he add to that group?
A: Everything, everything. He's a receiving threat, he's a blocking threat, he's really smart in the film room. I learn from him, every meeting he teaches me something and I know it's the same for the rest of the guys. He literally is going to help us in every aspect of the game and I'm really excited about it.
Q: Do you feel like (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) and the 1's got into a rhythm today passing the ball?
A: Yeah, we always get going. I think our biggest thing is to start fast. That's been a big goal for us for the last couple of weeks was starting fast and get it going, that's been a huge point of emphasis for us. We've just got to continue to improve on that and continue getting rhythm and executing more consistently.
Q: Do you think you started fast today?
A: I think we started fast; I think we've got to stay fast. I think we started fast and kind of let off on the gas a little bit. That's us figuring out the mistakes and fixing that and coming out here and correcting those and then continuing to play fast.
Q: You went through something similar that Kyle had experienced, did you compare notes or give any tips on recovery?
A: Yeah, his surgery was a lot later and he had a really quick turnaround. I think my surgery was in December, he had his after he got signed. I think I was able to kind of answer some questions and he had kind of the same recovery. Just with the rehab and keeping up with it, kind of give him some pointers. He's an older guy, so it kind of feels weird, but he's bounced back really good, he feels good, so that's good for him.
Q: When did you feel back at 100 percent?
A: That one was different for me because that was when all the COVID stuff happened, so I had rehab back at home which was good, but it was very different, a lot of obstacles. I had this surgery in December, I didn't really feel 100 percent until about June or July going into camp. I'm just glad I'm good, I'm glad he's good too.
Q: When you get some of the injured guys back, how excited will you be for this offense?
A: I'm excited now. I know what those guys are going to bring to the table. The biggest thing for them is to kind of pay attention off the field, stay locked in on what we're doing so when they get back in, they're full speed, full force. I have all the excitement about this offense. All of the guys, not just as football players, but the men that we are, how we work, how we try to improve every day. That's all we're doing, is working and improving everyday and we're going to put the best part of it down on the field.
Q: We haven't seen it much, but how much does this offense provide you an ability to get down field and make plays down the field in the tight end position?
A: I disagree, I think we have a lot of stuff that we're down the field making plays and that's kind of how the offense is built. I know there's plays where I can get loose and win on some fades and win down the seam or win across the field, across the single-high safety. I think there's plenty of opportunities for us to make plays down the field. It's just getting on the same page with DJ (Daniel Jones), obviously DJ having to make the right reads and us making the play.
View photos of the Giants practicing with the Patriots in New England ahead of Sunday's preseason finale.