Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Obviously today is a significant day in the calendar year in the NFL to be in compliance with the NFL's mandates. We've reduced our roster to 53 at this time. This is not an easy day for any coach or player in the building. There's a lot of guys that sacrifice a lot for you that put a lot into it for you. You walk in there and look at empty chairs, that's not easy for any coach or player. I think it's natural to come into work today with a little bit of a deflated mood. It's our job and responsibility to get back up and get on the field and prepare going forward today. I'd say today, we're going to focus on as a team, as you watch practice, is really a situational day, we'll tempo down. You want to take these three days now and prepare for the upcoming opponents early in the season, work on some of our own corrections and fundamentals, but we're also going to focus hard on the situations that may come up throughout the season. We're going to work on some unique ones that kind of come up with the end of half in the games, but you might only see once a year. Want to make sure we get them installed today and make sure we're on the same page when they do come up, we can go out there and efficiently operate. That being said, I'll open to any questions.
Q: You picked up two offensive linemen yesterday and one today. What is the reason behind them and what do you like about those guys?
A: I think both guys have upside to work with. They have potential to go ahead, and I think improve our team. Every decision we make is always with the team's best interest at hand. There are two guys that are available this time of year, there's roster movement on all 32 teams. There's more players available this time of year than at any other point in the NFL calendar year. There's a lot of communication between clubs and obviously everyone's responsibility to do their due diligence and find out who's available and see if someone's out there to help your team
Q: Any updates on (Tight End) Evan Engram's status?
A: No, to be honest with you, we'll kind of see in the next couple of days where we think this could go. We're only a few days out right now, he's a guy that's shown some quick turnaround in the past. Last year he had something very similar, so we'll see where this is. It's not the same injury as before, but we'll see how his body responds, make decision for him and the team.
Q: How much optimism do you have that he could be ready for Week 1?
A: I really couldn't give you an answer to that right now. It's very much a gray area right now in terms of where he's going to be going. I'll kind of give him a couple more days, see where he's at, see how he progresses, see if we move around a little bit, we'll kind of make a decision from there.
Q: How much do you stress that this is an initial 53-man roster, knowing that there are still things that you guys can do in the next couple of days?
A: Yeah, I think what's unique this year, obviously compared to previous years is you have the extra week. I think you're going to see a lot more roster turnover than probably in previous years because there's going to be a lot of players that have been claimed or will be claimed, that are almost going be on short term tryouts, a lot of teams. There's going to be a lot of roster turnover, in our opinion, these next two weeks. In terms of stressing that this is short term, it's our job and responsibility to inform all the players all the time of that this is a production business. It's a day-to-day business, for all of us, coaches and players. We've got to make sure we show up and we operate every day, and we execute efficiently. The players have to understand that they have to come in and perform every day as coaches we have to perform as well.
Q: Are there any guys that made the 53-man roster that you know will be going on IR tomorrow or in the future?
A: We've got a couple of guys we're discussing right now. Not all decisions are final, so before I go ahead and make a statement out in public, I'll wait until we make it internally.
Q: What did (Cornerback) Sam Beal show you to make the initial roster?
A: He's a guy that's quietly improved for us. He just goes out there every day and he's a guy that obviously, he's missed some time with ball, hasn't played a lot of ball in the last few years, but he's gotten better for us day by day and then he's been able to be competitive in some of the joint practices we've had. He's been out there and played a good bit in some of these games' pre-season wise. We're pleased with the progress he made. That was obviously a very competitive position for us this training camp. He's a guy that obviously did enough for us that, at this point, he's factored in.
Q: What kind of workload can we expect from (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) today or this week that we didn't see from him in the past?
A: Today, it's going to be mostly a downtempo practice (for) the entire team. I don't think anything you're going to see one way or another today is going to reflect anything going forward with any players. He spent some time with the trainers, strength staff, tomorrow we're going to put him in practice and start building his volume more than you've seen the previous weeks and then we'll see Denver week, where that takes us. There won't be a decision made on Saquon until Denver week and it's probably not going to be Monday either guys, just to give you a heads up on that. We're going to go ahead and see how his body responds and where he's at.
Q: Was there anything you can see from practice that makes you gauge that he'll be closer to being able to brace that contact?
A: Well, I haven't seen the contact yet, so I couldn't tell you deliberately on that, but I would say just as body movements and how he's moving efficiently and how his body's responding, I've seen that progress positively throughout the way. I rely a lot on the information from our training staff and medical staff and doctors who spend a lot of time with him. I know he's been working hard, we get a lot of GPS numbers and different readings on his body, they trend in the right direction for him with how he's working. I'm very pleased with how he's working. He's had some good days on the field with us. We've been building his volume little by little, probably the biggest day for us was seeing him on the field against New England last week. He knows a lower volume day for him and limited plays, there's some things he was able to do out there in terms of the reaction on the field, in short space and with some quickness that showed his body's progressing beyond just rehab.
Q: Do you anticipate getting contact in the next two days?
A: Well, we're going to talk about that tonight, actually. We've got to decide which one these next few days will be padded, so we're going to talk as a staff today based on when we get our practice squad in here and what we think is the best for our team.
Q: Is that set up of your schedule the way it is because you don't have a practice squad here today and you probably won't have one tomorrow when you hit the field?
A: We're actually going to bump the practice time back a little bit. We originally had you guys scheduled for about noon. What I'm going to do is push it back a little bit so, we'll give you the official time when we do that. See if we can get some practice squad guys in here tomorrow, kind of help with some of the numbers and just get those guys back on the field. In terms of today, today was just scheduled to be a later day, anyway, with all the roster moves. You don't want to do an earlier practice today and have guys in and out of the building. You want to be fair and go through the process the right way.
Q: In the roster release you list Casey Kreiter as being released. Is that a handshake agreement that he'll come back? Can somebody else step in?
A: Yeah, legally they can do whatever they want to do. I can't speak for 31 other clubs.
Q: Is (Offensive Lineman) Shane Lemieux one of those guys you have to decide whether he's short-term, long-term or do you expect him to compete for a starting spot?
A: I'd say these next few days will tell a lot. I don't think we're going to see anything today that's going to really push one way or the other on that. He's been trending the right direction, he's had some good work. Obviously, we kept him behind when we went to New England to work with the trainers. That was a positive week for him. Tomorrow and Thursday will kind of be big tells for us in terms of going in that Week 1, maybe what we can expect to see.
Q: Are you done with the Offensive Line movements?
A: I don't think your roster is ever final guys. I think you're always looking to go ahead and move as needed, sometimes that's through necessity, the nature of the game is there's going to be injuries at times, people get banged up and anyone we see out there that we think could improve us, we're looking to keep as many good football players in this program as possible. We don't have a cap on how many we're going to keep at this point, we'll see what's best for the team as we go. I would say that we're always looking to add good players.
Q: I know the next couple of days, as you've said with previous players, to ask about (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay). It looked like, at least publicly, he did more pregame Sunday than he has publicly for us. Have you seen him take a next step where you've advanced in that or is it still the same?
A: Well, I definitely saw what you saw. I mean, it was publicly he was on the field. There was a lot of our players working out on the field, before the game. Really, to be honest with you, for a lot of those guys it was some of the best work they had and it should be because it's further along in the rehab for everyone, so it should constantly get better. Reports on him is he's been improving and working really, really hard. When I've seen him with my own eyes, I've seen progress from when we first lost him from practice to where he is right now, we'll see where he is next week. The good news is there's still a good bit of time between now and a game for what he's dealing with. We'll see where that is. There's also obviously things you have to iron out. It's not just get someone to the game and say, 'Go ahead and go play ball, roll it out there.' You've got to get in there, have to practice with the team, get the timing, execution, the communication down. These are all very real things we have to count for as a team. As coaches, we'll spend the next few days really kind of narrowing down as much as we can, schematically what we want to focus on against Denver and even going into Washington with the short turnaround after that. I look at the players we have available, we'll spend Wednesday, and Thursday really evaluating some of these new guys, see how they look on the field. Then, next week we can get in Monday, it'd be a good day coming off that three-day break to see some of these guys move around, see how their bodies responded and hopefully on Monday, it gets us a better window going into Wednesday to get Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, practice. Again, I don't think anything's going to be made on Saquon on Monday. Maybe some of these other guys, we have a little bit more of a glimpse into it accurately of what we can expect out of them within a week at that time.
Q: What caught your eye about (Defensive End) Raymond Johnson III?
A: Yeah, he's a high motor guy, he's definitely shown some pass rush skills for us. He's a young player developing, quiet guy, big personality as far as the smile, but it's kind of a big quiet person, I don't know if that makes sense to you. Kind of, if you know him, it kind of does. Definitely gets out there and works hard for us every day. He can play to his length. He's still far away from where he's going to be as a player, midway through this year and this year, next year, and that time he's going to keep on getting better. That's going to happen because of his commitment to the process and work ethic.
Q: Was the plan with Kenny Golladay always to take him along slowly and then ramp him up two weeks before the season once he got injured?
A: No, absolutely not. With any of our players, I'm of the mindset, we're not determining what's important, what's not important, preseason is not important. Like that - that's not the way we think, but in terms of Kenny, the focus has been get him healthy at the right pace for his body and as soon as we can get him back, we'll get him back. Same with all the other guys on the same list. We're not in the mindset here of it's only preseason, don't worry, just get him to the opener. That's not how we operate. I mean look, to me, training camp is critically important to get players ready for the season, both as a team, but then also just their own bodies physically. A large part of what we do in training camp, as you guys see, is get them physically ready through conditioning, football position contact so we can callous their bodies with what they're going to have to experience throughout the season. But to answer your question, kind of just short and to the point, no, we weren't trying to get anyone just to a game.
Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q: Happy Anniversary.
A: Tomorrow, isn't it? Or is it today? It probably was the 31st. I had a trip to go to Universal – I'm a big Harry Potter fan, so I was going to Harry Potter World – and got that call from (Head Coach) Joe (Judge). I tried to hold out an extra day or two. My wife still went without me, so she enjoyed it.
Q: Are you saying last year you had a trip planned for Universal until Joe Judge called you?
A: Yeah. I was like, 'Man, I'm in shape, but I'm still going to live life.' I had it planned I think on the (September) first, had to fly up here for the first, so I missed it.
Q: It worked out okay though, right?
A: Yeah, it worked out okay. I made a little more money than I would've spent in Harry Potter World (laughs).
Q: You've gone through this many years, but what's it like when you go from one day having 90 people here and the next day it's down to 53?
A: It sucks. It's always a really, really tough day. A lot of good guys. It's the hardest part of the year. I'm fortunate every year I make the team, I don't take it for granted. There might be a day when they call me or I'll call them first, who knows? But it's really hard because a lot of guys gave it their all and sometimes you give it your all in life and it doesn't work out. I think a lot of guys showed well for themselves, so hopefully they catch jobs elsewhere. It's a small league, you run across these guys again. That's why the fraternity of the league is, you're shaking hands after games with guys you played with and you never take it for granted. It's a tough day for me, as well. Never fun.
Q: You guys drawing straws to see who gets to pop (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) once he gets out there?
A: He's itching at the bit. I think (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) has first dibs. Unfortunately, I haven't played with Say a lot, but I just love him as a teammate. He brings a certain energy to him and he's a really hard worker. He just has so much confidence in himself and I think it rubs off on people. I just think he's a guy that's a force multiplier. I think he makes the players around him better and the guys block a little better trying to spring him. He's just an energy bunny for our team. Whatever he needs, extra hits, extra routes, whatever it is, I'm free to give him that to get him ready to go when it's his time to go.
Q: You're a veteran, Blake's a veteran, you guys know what you can do and can't do, but Joe said Saquon's got to prove he can take a hit before they can put him on the field. In the next few days of practice can you guys do that? Can you be physical enough with him so he can prove that he's ready to play?
A: If the coach asks, if the CBA allows it – I don't know what the rules are – but if it's a padded practice or whatever, I'm sure. I remember one time (Patriots Safety) Devin McCourty was coming back from a shoulder injury and he was All-Pro and (Patriots Head Coach) Bill (Belichick) had him after practice doing live tackling drills with scout team running backs. I'm like, 'I think he knows how to tackle,' but he did the same thing with Junior Seau, and Junior Seau is the all-time leader in tackles, so I wouldn't be surprised if me or Blake had to take some shots with Saquon just to get him ready if that was asked. It wouldn't be the first time I've seen them make good players (be) like, 'Wait, you want me to do what?' If Junior Seau did it or Devin McCourty did it, then I wouldn't be surprised if Saquon has to do it.
Q: You'd give him a good shot, but not a really good shot.
A: Well, he better not give me a good shot either, you know? We're grown men, we'll just do a nice form tackle, keep our head up. It's football, we all like a little bit of contact, some of us do.
Q: Traditionally, this is the time of year where it's obviously a difficult day today, but now you guys can focus on the first game. Does it ramp up? Has it ramped up already in terms of mentally getting ready for the Broncos or do you think it takes a couple days?
A: For sure. To me, I break a football season down into seasons. I think OTAs is its own season, I think camp is its own season. I think camp's about improving your fundamentals, proving your worth on the team, earning respect in the locker room, showing how competitive you are and really staying healthy. Thankfully, I stayed healthy through camp and now I'm ready to focus on the next part, which is the regular season. Obviously, I think December football and playoffs is another season we'll get to a little bit later. But, got on my iPad today, I saw the Denver film got loaded up, their last 32 games. I've got to watch (Broncos Quarterback) Teddy Bridgewater back when he was in Carolina, maybe Minnesota and then what he throws well and what he does, and all of Denver. It's tough because we just haven't seen him play in that offense other than some preseason, so it's going to be tough to study, but I'm sure I'll watch it all. This is what I do, this is what I'm here to do is situational football, game plan against the opponent, learn their strengths and weaknesses, getting our defense in the right checks, being an extension of (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat Graham out there and trying to win the game versus my opponent. Training camp is like, you don't know what plays you're going to run each day, we're just out there trying to get better. But a game has situations, down-and-distance, score, and I think we have a lot of smart football players that dictate how we play each snap.
Q: With all the injuries and rehabs you've had as a team in training camp, is it important for you to see (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and (Wide Receiver Darius) Slayton and (Tight End) Kyle (Rudolph) out there today doing what they could?
A: I'm not going to speak on anybody's injuries, but for sure, that's always a great sign. And we have a great, well-documented sports and medicine staff here. (Senior Vice President of Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie Barnes is like the Godfather, so we're in good hands in that case. I trust the trainers, I trust those guys to be working hard and when they're ready to play, they'll be ready to play.
Q: One of the things that Rudolph said last week, and I think you've said in the past too, is that a program has to learn not to lose before it can win. Are you at that point yet? Are the Giants at that point yet?
A: You've got to keep from losing before you can start winning. We're all 0-0, so we haven't had an opportunity to lose or win, but we're going to see. I think we're a lot smarter. I honestly feel like – speaking on my behalf and the defense and just as a team – I think we're a lot smarter than we were at this point last year. At this point last year, I was learning names and trying to figure out what position I was going to play. I'm just so much farther ahead in this system with this team and my teammates understanding their strengths and weaknesses. That's what these next two weeks are about, or 10 days or whatever is it until Denver, it's about getting a good game plan and learning it so we can execute it to win the game.
Guard Will Hernandez
Q: Does it look like very few people after having 90, then 85, then 80 and you just see a smaller group out here? Is it different today?
A: Of course. It's definitely a big difference, you go from 90 guys to 53. You can definitely tell there's a lot less guys out here. It is different.
Q: That's basically what your team is going to be, right? So, is it kind of the next step to getting to the real thing having the team?
A: Yeah, this is the next step in how this process is.
Q: You guys have two veteran offensive linemen coming via trade in the next 24 hours. What will you tell those guys about what your offensive room is like?
A: I'm going to tell that that they're going to love this group. We've got a bunch of guys that are going to work hard, and we play for each other and welcome.
Q: Where do you think your group is right now, your starting unit? Where do you think you are right now less than two weeks before the real thing?
A: Just like everybody else, we've got work to do. We are never going to be content. We're never going to say it's good enough. We're always looking to improve. We're always looking to get better, and that's where we're at right now. We need to get better. We need to keep improving.
Q: What do you think of (Defensive Lineman) Raymond Johnson (III) standing over there now and just made the team. What did you see from him this summer?
A: I'm very happy for him. This is a dream come true to a lot of guys. It's a big deal. I'm happy for him. I've seen a lot of good things, just like the coaches did. There's a reason why he's still around.
Q: Did you know (Offensive Lineman) Billy (Price) at all coming out of the draft?
A: Yeah, I met him at the combine. Then, he also worked out with Duke (Manyweather – OL Masterminds), so I got to see him there a little bet. So yeah, I've met him before.
Q: You guys aren't –
A: Yeah, we talked a little bit. We never really got a chance to work out together and do stuff together, but when I met him, he's a great guy, great player. I'm looking forward to having him.
Q: You haven't talked to him since this trade, have you?
A: No, I haven't.
Q: When people watch the preseason game, there's a lot of people that come away from that saying, 'this offensive line it's not going to be good, this is going to be a bad offensive line.' What do you say to that and what's your reaction when you hear that from people?
A: Is that what they're saying (smiles)?
Q: That is what they're saying. I'm not going to lie.
A: That's fine. Like I said, we are a line of constant improvement. That's our thing. We constantly want to get better. We need to get better quick. But it's never going to change, we're always going to want to get better. Even if they would have said we were the best O-Line in the NFL, I would have given you the same response, we need to get better.
Q: Do you guys pay attention to that? Do you use it as motivation? Or do you take the opposite approach, and just say, whatever they want to say, that's fine?
A: It goes back to my same answer. Since we're in that constant state of wanting to get better, it doesn't really make a difference what they say.
Defensive Lineman Raymond Johnson III
Q: What were your emotions as of today, making the 53-(man roster)? And that can change of course, as you know.
A: My emotions – I've been just trying to stay calm all day, but (it's) definitely a milestone for me. Obviously, it's excitement. I'm probably going to enjoy tonight, just have it on my mind of course. But by tomorrow I'm forgetting it, I'm resetting and I'm getting right back to work.
Q: When you came to camp, what were your thoughts about – am I facing a big hill or what?
A: My thoughts were just, you're playing football. I've been playing football all my life, so my thoughts were just come in and just play the game like I know how to play it. Be coachable, listen, take mental notes from the vets and everything will fall in the right spot.
Q: How long did it take you for you to feel like that you belonged here from the start of the spring through the end of training camp?
A: I think it took roughly about that first – maybe those first two weeks, because the speed of the game is a lot faster than college. The players are a lot better than college. I would say the first two weeks it kind of took me just to mentally get right and know, 'Okay, this is a faster game.' But I'd say after those first two weeks, it was smooth sailing, and I knew I was in the right place. I knew I was here to stay.
Q: Just to clarify, two weeks in the spring or the first two weeks of training camp?
A: Two weeks in the spring. Yeah, two weeks in the spring.
Q: What do you think you bring to this team?
A: Besides the obvious reasons – young legs, I'm cheap (laughs). Just a guy who's always going to be coachable, hard work ethic. I'm always one of those guys who's always eager to learn. When people think I'm just quiet and I'm just standing around, I'm eager to learn and I'm always trying to learn something new.
Q: People think you're quiet?
A: For the most part. Especially when I first got here. I was very quiet, very observant.
Q: But you're not quiet?
A: No, no. I don't think so.
Q: How much have you soaked up from the veterans in your group because you do have big personalities, but also guys who have accomplished a lot lately in this league?
A: I can't tell you the magnitude of how severe that these guys have helped me. I've learned so much from them and continuously, I'm still learning. I think every day I get in the mind and the brain of (Defensive Lineman) Leo (Williams) and guys like (Defensive Tackle) Danny Shelton. I'm just picking their minds every day, like, 'What can I do here better? What can I do here?' So, I have to tell you, I've been learning from them daily and I don't think it's going to stop. They're probably going to be tired of me by the time the end of the season's over.
Q: Georgia Southern probably isn't the most well-known place around here. Did you get recruited by bigger schools or how did that work out?
A: Yeah, I actually did get recruited by a lot of big schools. I think in high school I actually kind of messed myself up because I got eligible late out of high school. So, a lot of my big offers, the ones that I was leaning on like, VT (Virginia Tech), I talked to USC (South Carolina) every day, Clemson and those kind of guys, they kind of backed off. So, I ended up falling on with Georgia Southern.
Q: I made this joke a couple of days ago about the idea that they don't give that 91 out to just anybody in this building. Did you realize the significance of who wore that number?
A: Oh man, yeah. Day one, man, I remember getting the number and I was like, 'Jeez, I didn't even get drafted.' So, I'm looking like, this is crazy because not a lot of people know, and I know not a lot of fans know, but I'm a huge Giants fan and I grew up watching (Former New York Giants Defensive End) Justin Tuck. Just to have the opportunity to have his number was huge to me and I didn't take it lightly.
Q: Did you try to grab him when he was here that one day?
A: Oh, yeah. I definitely picked his mind a little bit. We talked and basically, he was saying the same thing that you're saying, 'Hey man, anybody can't where this number, so you better be right.' I took that one to heart.
Q: How nerve-racking were these last 24 hours? Could you sleep at all last night? What was going through your head?
A: Oh yeah, I slept great. My approach to it is, I've done everything I've needed to do. I work hard, I play hard. I've learned. I did everything I could do on my end. I'm big on controlling the controllable, whether they need me or not, make sure I did everything on my end to put myself in the best possible position. So, I slept great.
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands heading into Week 1.