Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Alright so we'll kind of continue obviously with the normal Friday today for our players and work on all the situations, all phases in the special teams, recap the game plan, make some necessary adjustments from the first two days of practice and keep on plowing forward. So that being said, I'll open up to any questions you have.
Q: Where do things stand with (Safety) Logan Ryan?
A: At the moment, nothing's changed. Yeah, nothing else has changed, so we're still waiting. He tests every day and we'll see how that turns out. Is there still a brief window? There is. We'll see how that turns out.
Q: If he doesn't test out, he could be back next week because of the 10 days?
A: Correct, that is correct.
Q: At this point, you're having to plan to be without him?
A: Yeah, that's correct. Do we have a contingency plan if something were to change? We do. But at this moment, he hasn't been available for us on the field, so we're planning without him.
Q: What about (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney)? Is he going to practice today?
A: He's with the trainers right now. We'll kind of see, move around a little bit early in practice, see how that goes. He's in key to the game plan. KT is a real smart guy, so in terms of being in the meetings, he's going through some of the stuff we do internally in the bubble with some walk thru stuff and all. He understands the concepts of what he has to do. It's been a couple of weeks as a young player that he's been able to get out there on a Friday and practice for us at a good level and get him into the game and make plays for us.
Q: Do you expect (Wide Receiver Sterling) Shepard to do some stuff?
A: He's kind of in the same boat right now as KT. We'll see with the trainers in terms of anything that changes going forward.
Q: Is (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph going to be a long-term thing?
A: I wouldn't think that's going to be too long-term. Again, he's in there right now moving around. We'll see how that is. Kyle was optimistic earlier in the week. I think sometimes players are a little bit more optimistic until they get onto the field. So, we'll have to see where his body reacts today.
Q: I noticed (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) is wearing a play calling wrist band. Why is he doing that this week? Is there anything drastically changing in the vocabulary or just adding things?
A: No, we really haven't changed any of the terminology actually. We kind of kept all of the language really the same for the players. That's something you don't want to really change in a short week. If you add something new, you might put on a new term here or there, but that's nothing different. You do that every week for an offense. You put a new play in, maybe a code word, something like that.
Q: So why is he wearing the wristband?
A: All of our quarterbacks will be wearing wristbands this week.
Q: What's new to the offense that they're required to do that?
A: It's something a number of our players and coaches have used in the past. We thought it may be helpful with our players just going forward. Just different ways of communicating.
Q: Is that something that you initiated or is that something that (Senior Offensive Assistant) Freddie (Kitchens) has been using in the past?
A: No, I said a number of our coaches have used it. I've been around it as well, just a thing our players have used. Through communication with players, coaches within the meetings, something that we came up with that we thought may help in some avenues.
Q: Does that reflect there's been a disconnect in getting the appropriate play conveyed to the quarterback?
A: No, no it doesn't. No, it doesn't.
Q: Is the play caller still a trade secret?
A: Like I said, they're all working collaboratively.
Q: What makes their offensive line so good?
A: I'm going to be honest with you, I worked with (Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line) Jeff Stoutland, I think he's a fantastic coach and he does a great job getting those guys prepared. They've got a ton of talent up there, they've got a ton of talent. I think what he does, he's done a great job through different systems, through different coaches that have been there, different offenses that are really adapting and evolving in terms of what they're doing schematically. I think he's just a great teacher that's able to take the talented players and really get them moving in the right direction. I think the one thing, you look at this roster up there, they've really assembled a lot of talent on that roster, and we talk about the success they're having. Look, I wouldn't expect a team with that much talent to have anything but success. I think they're obviously improving right now, they're moving, but there's a lot of guys on that roster that are very talented.
Q: I don't think you've really faced the real run heavy quarterback this season. What makes (Eagles Quarterback) Jalen (Hurts) unique? It seems like the way he runs is like a running back when he gets going.
A: Well, I think the way you said it right there is a little bit different. I think there's a lot of quarterbacks in the league right now that are using that skillset. I think the game has obviously just changed and evolved, right? You look at the players that are in the league now, it used to be everyone thought everything filtered down, right? Went from NFL to college and some stuff into high school. I look at it the opposite. I think really everything comes up. What you're doing at the level of high school, people start doing more in college because it's fast for the players who adapt and make an impact. That comes up to the next level because you start getting players who have been running quarterbacks or quarterbacks who can run in high school and college, you've got a guy like Jalen Hurts, why take away something that's such a strength of his? Find a way to utilize it and use it. There's different types of skillsets in the running. Obviously, you've got (Ravens Quarterback) Lamar Jacksons, where on one side of it you go back in time, the (Former Quarterback) Michael Vicks. I think you look at a guy like Jalen, he's different than both those guys, but he's extremely effective. He's got great running instincts. He knows how to stick his foot in the ground and get vertical right now. He really knows how to work off your leverage. He's a strong runner and that's one thing, he's not looking to always avoid contact. Not that he's lowering his shoulder to plow through all the time, but he knows he can run through arm tackles. So, if you don't do a good job in space of really gathering and wrapping up on this guy, he'll run through an arm tackle. So, he's a very instinctive runner, he knows when to pull it down and run and use his legs. He's not afraid to do that in critical situations. He's been effective throughout his entire career of high school to college and now in the NFL. I think it's just natural for him in terms of what his game is and they're doing a good job of using him.
Q: I know they've changed their coaching staff since last year, you were very pointed in your comments after the end of last season with them being disrespectful to the league with the way they handled their last game. Is that even a factor going into this?
A: No, there's nothing from last year that's going to be relevant on Sunday.
Q: When you guys are putting together your game plan, you're obviously deciding, based on down and distance, what personnel would work best. When you get to a game situation where you see things, how much adjustment can there be within the groupings? In the case with that fourth-and-1 the other night, you guys didn't have (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) or Kadarius on the field. Is that a situation where if you guys wanted to say whatever worked during the week, we need Kenny and KT on the field for this play?
A: Yeah, I believe you always have to be flexible within the game. You have to be able to make adjustments. Now that really starts back in training camp in terms of the system you put in, to be flexible within it. The vocabulary you teach your players so they can have flexibility with where they line up and create multiples. Then within the game plan, you have to be fluid enough to know that you can get back to certain base concepts that maybe you didn't work as much in the week that they went back to in terms of how it's been installed, where I'm a big 'same as' teacher. Sometimes you can change something in a game and say, 'Hey guys, it's the same as this scheme, except we're doing A and B.' Keep it very familiar for the majority of the guys and change the key pieces you have to. You have to be fluid to make adjustments within the game. I think it's the biggest part. To me, you talk about going into halftime and making adjustments, but there's not really enough time at halftime to sit down and make all your adjustments. If you're not adjusting consistently throughout the game every time you go to the bench, you're not making corrections and coaching on what's coming up on the game, how you're going to call the next series, what the issues are, how we correct that and what we can take advantage of what they're doing, then you're not really coaching the game. You're just there watching, might as well be in the stands.
Q: They've done a good job of using the run to set up the pass. Do you guys want to see your team run more to set up the pass?
A: I think you have to be balanced. I talk about all the time, balanced in this league means you have to run or pass when you have to, not necessarily to have 50-50 portions. I think in this league, the run game really does set up the pass and that's really for all teams. There's different elements to the run now. There's different elements of it, but to be able to throw the ball effectively, you really have to be able to run the ball to a degree to set up that. Now, that really sets up, what kind of pass game does that set up? It doesn't always set up the drop backs because a lot of times in certain passing situations, it's third-and-7, third-and-8, that's a situation that's pass heavy. So, a lot of teams would be playing different types of defenses on that. You really want to be able to throw the ball on early downs and really you have to have the threat of running to get them into more of a defense and personnel that's geared towards stopping the run first and that creates the matchups in the passing game. They're doing a really good job through the RPOs and the quarterback zone reads and things of that nature of having the run element, and then when they have to drop back, they can as well.
Q: Going back to last year's draft, how unusual or unexpected was it for two division rivals to make a trade like that over you and what do you think of the player that the Eagles got in that trade?
A: Well, two part, I'd say the unusual part of it, I guess history speaks more than anything because you don't get a lot of those trades. Unexpected, we kind of had an idea they were going to do that anyway, to be honest with you. Like that was something that leading up to it, we had a pretty good idea they were going to do that. Now, in terms of the player himself, this guy's everything you thought he was going to be in the draft. He really is. He was a guy that was very, very impressive coming out. Not just in terms of how he played, everyone sees that on tape, but the competitiveness, the leadership, the instincts, the intelligence and just the whole package. This guy was very, very impressive leading up to the draft and you can see that the things you saw in college that the biggest knock on him coming out was the question mark of is he big enough, right? That's the thing everyone asked was he big enough to go ahead – and you had to go back in your evaluation and say, 'he's done it at every level.' (Offensive Assistant) Jody Wright would tell us stories all the time about when they were at Alabama's camp and he was working out, they had the same questions about him. Every coach asked the same questions, like 'this guy, he's not big enough. Look at his legs, they're skinny legs. This guy can't do this or that.' Well, he made a whole lot of plays in Tuscaloosa, right? Now, he's making a lot of plays in Philadelphia. He's obviously their go-to-guy or one of their go-to-guys. So, I'd say in terms of the evaluation of the player, we watch all the guys that come out in the draft and we watch all the guys as they go through their career and you want to stack up your evaluations based on what that player's doing both on and off the field. Because everyone has strengths, weaknesses, concerns, whatever it may be through the draft, so you look at everybody and you say, 'OK, were we right on that guy? Were we wrong on that guy? Did we misevaluate him or what's the reason this guy's career kind of took a left turn or whatever it may be?' So, we always take a push on that and I'd say with this one right here, it's kind of what you evaluate him, what you expected is what you saw.
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham
Q: What has this week been like since you guys lost a coach?
A: Really just having to adjust in terms more so of the offensive side of the ball and (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) is the head coach, but really just been trying to plow away on Philly with the short week ad Thanksgiving. Just trying to get all situated liked that. The fact that Philly is playing so well right now, the quarterback, the offensive line, the receivers, and the backs. Really just spent most of my time getting adjusted on that and not really having time to sit down and think about too much of anything else. Just appreciative of all the stuff Jason (Garrett) did for the team and the organization. Just thinking about Philly really.
Q: It has to grab your attention when a coordinator gets fired.
A: You're always aware when it's somebody from the staff, but Joe, the head coach, his job is to do what he thinks is best for the team and then we've got to move forward and just keep plugging away because Philly doesn't care. We've got to adjust to them.
Q: When you look at Philly, it seems like they've kind of reinvented their offense completely philosophically. Who are they basically? Are you preparing for the offense that you saw the first seven games or are you preparing for the offense that's kind of grinding it out?
A: I just think naturally you look at all the tape. That's our job, to look at all the tape, but when you're game planning for a team especially this late in the season, you're really going back and referencing probably the last four or five games. That's a normal breakdown in terms of what we have the guys break down, having thoroughly broken down, you pick those games. But really what you're seeing right now is that the offense is going through the quarterback and there's more of an emphasis to run the ball, like what you would think for most teams in this division – whether it's the Cowboys, whether it's what we're trying to do and trying to get the run game going. They're doing a good job with it. They cause a lot of confusion or they put a lot of stress on you with how they're running the ball because of the fact that the quarterback can run the ball and it's running through him.
Q: How much did you miss (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan) last week and if you don't have him back this week, how much will you miss him this week?
A: Anytime you have a player of Logan's caliber, you're going to miss him somewhat. Again, the level of how much we missed him – we like to have all our weapons out there to play a game. The thing is he was out for whatever reason and we just have to move forward going ahead with that, and then we'll see what happens this week. When he gets back, he'll be ready to go, I know that, and I trust that. We'll always welcome that back, whether it's the experience, the communication part of it, the tackling part of it, the coverage of it. Anytime it's a good player like that, you're going to miss it somewhat and you've just got to adjust off of it.
Q: What message does the firing of Jason send to the rest of the coaching staff, if any?
A: I don't know about a message. I just know this – and it's been laid out since I've been coaching football, period – we get judged based on how our guys play and all that stuff like that, so we've got to do a good job there. We all know what we signed up for. This is a business and every day I come in thinking, 'Hey, you could be fired.' That's just part of it. I've always thought that way whether I was a QC, a graduate assistant at Wagner. It's just the nature of the business I think, coaching football especially at this level. I don't know the message, I can't speak for the other coaches, but for me personally that's how I kind of operate in my day-to-day, just knowing that I'm accountable for my job. I've got to do my job and my job this year and the last three years has been defensive coordinator – one in Miami, two here – and this is my second year with the Giants, so I'm responsible for the defense and I've got to do a good job. Obviously, last week we didn't do a good enough job, so hopefully this week we do a better job and compete and go out there and give us a chance to win. The message I don't think changes, not for me personally. I've always been like that. Just like I would assume for you guys in New York City, it's higher stakes. It's different. It's higher stakes, that's just how it is – and we sign up for that because there's good and bad. But if you like living on that edge a little bit, you like it.
Q: When you face a team like Philly which is pounding the rock, can you reinvent yourself to play more four defensive linemen, play heavier, things like that?
A: You can. The thing you've got to be careful of with a team like this, you don't want to do too much. If you do too much and then they start to adjust – it's like when I was in college coaching and you go against an option team. If you start doing too much, you're going to spend too much time adjusting and then the next series they're going to be onto something different. The thing we've got to do, I think we've got to put our best run defenders out there and that's where it has to start, stopping the run. Put our best run defenders out there and react to the pass game. In terms of the personnel groupings, it'll change. We'll mix it up a little bit, but you can't do too much. You don't want to have this guy doing a different job on every other play when the plays can vary from series to series.
Q: You've seen game-breakers at wide receiver this year already and even at tight end. At least from our vantage point, you've adjusted to that. Has (Eagles Wide Receiver) DeVonta Smith gotten to that level that you will treat him as if you treated the other big-time playmakers you're facing?
A: I would say this, this guy is what he was advertised as coming out of college. He's an elite-level player. He's really, really, good. I remember the knock being his size, but I could see, there's probably two or three touchdowns where people bounce off of him and he scores. His toughness shows up on the tape, whether it's in the pass game, run after catch, the gadget plays they give him, but also his blocking. The Wide Receivers Coach (Aaron Moorehead) – those guys block and he's part of that, I think they do a good job there. He's tough, he's physical and then his receiving skills are up there with anybody in the league that we've seen so far. I've been very impressed with him and unfortunately, we're going to have to deal with him for whatever many years on his contract in this division (laughs).
Q: We always talk on the offensive side of the ball about how valuable a good offensive line is, so Monday night and this Sunday are probably two of the best in the league. How much of a challenge is it to go against a line like that?
A: It's a challenge and I would say more so because of how well they're playing together. I've always thought (on the) offensive line you could have one star player here and you could assemble four star players or five star players there, but if they don't play well together then it's a problem. The thing I'm seeing on tape and I know (Eagles Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line) Coach (Jeff) Stoutland – I mean, I don't know him personally, but I respect him as an offensive line coach. I think he's one of the best in the league. They do such a good job. It's a big challenge, it's a big challenge. Like last week, the O-line played well together. It's a big challenge because you're trying to find cracks in the wall or whatever it is, but it's hard because they're able to pass stuff off, they're playing in unison together. It's a big challenge.
Q: How did (Safety) Julian (Love) play last week?
A: Julian was out there competing. I'm sure there were a couple plays that he would want back, just like there were a couple calls that I would want back. But he competed, he played hard the whole time, made some tackles when we needed it, had a pass breakup there, did a good job there. Julian's always ready to go. The combination of his defensive plays and his special teams plays – I think it was over 90 plays for this guy. He stepped up big for us. He stepped up big for us and I'm sure he wishes we got the win, but we didn't. There's always room for improvement, there's always room for improvement.
Q: After the game, (Defensive Lineman) Leonard Williams said he didn't play well enough. The other day, (Cornerback) James Bradberry said he didn't play up to his standard. Is a little bit of where you guys are at right now you need your big guys to play the way you need them to play?
A: I think we might've talked about this earlier in the year, the way the NFL is set up – and this is just my opinion and how I learned it – your best players have to play well. Your best players have to play well. I know that when we're going good, our best players are playing well. I'm sure there are plays they want back and stuff, but it's not all on them. It's definitely not all on them. I know those guys have got a lot of pride, I know they've got a lot of pride and that's probably why they said that. But I'm sure there's a few plays they want back. In order to win games in this league, the guys that you see as the star players have to play well. They have to play well because whether you want to look at the salary cap or however you want to look at it, they've got to play well in order for you to be successful.
Q: Why do you think James hasn't played to the same level that he did last year?
A: Each year is so different right there. I think JB has had really good games this year. He's got his hands on some balls, he's doing a good job of tackling. I just think there might be a couple plays, one here or there off, that he probably wants back. I probably could've put him in a better position there – on me. But it's a long season. I know we're a little over halfway through it, but we've still got room to grow. We're just trying to improve. JB works hard, he works hard every day out here in practice. Everything's going to come together, everything will come together.
Q: How much better does (Eagles Quarterback) Jalen Hurts look to you than he did earlier in the year?
A: He looks pretty good. I think the smart thing about – I'm not saying it wasn't smart before about what they were doing, but the run game is setting up the passing game for them. The play-action shots, you watch the plays and how they're pushing the ball down the field off the play-action. I mean, it's 35 yards a gain for some of that stuff right there. I think obviously the way the coach is setting up everything off of the run game, it opens it up for the passing game. Then in the run game, he's always been able to run the ball. This guy is big, strong from what I remember seeing at Alabama and Oklahoma when I watched college football. What I'm seeing in terms of his improvement, there's definitely a confidence out there. There's definitely a confidence throwing the ball. He's sitting back there, getting the ball out on time, throwing to the receivers before they're open, throwing them open a little bit. That's the thing that's showing up there. Like most young players especially at that position, you've got to learn to play with some anticipation and that comes through work, practice and having success on the field, then he becomes more confident doing what the coaches are asking him. The thing that I'm seeing most drastically is, again, the combination of the run game setting up the pass game and his improvement in terms of confidence, which comes from having some success.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: So are you calling the offensive plays?
A: Nope. Stay in my lane. I've got enough to deal with.
Q: What's this week been like for you guys as a coaching staff when something like that with (Former Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett) does happen?
A: Unfortunately, that's football. That's part of it. We've all got jobs to do, and my main focus is worrying about my lane. I stay right in my lane. I coach the kickers, the punters, the kickoff team, the punt team. I don't worry about the other phases. I just focus on my job. My job is to help the other phases, so I cheer them on as much as I can and make sure I focus on doing my job. The sign on the door when you walk in and we talk about it all the time, it's do your job and that's players and coaches, not just the players.
Q: Does it put you on notice?
A: You're always on notice. This is the New York Giants, like you're always on notice, right? We're in a high-performance business, so when you don't perform at a high level, that's the way it is. That's the reality of our – that's players and coaches. It's a high-performance business, so we know that walking in the door.
Q: Do things get more interesting for your units now heading into December in that building? You're going to have a couple home games here coming up, what do you have to look at overall as opposed to maybe what you've done in the first couple of home games?
A: My focus won't change. Our job is the make sure that the units are fundamentally, schematically and technically sound, and we're doing our jobs. We're doing what we're supposed to do to help the football team. Control vertical field position, making sure that we're doing our individual jobs at the highest possible level we can possibly do it. My focus won't change. We're always trying to find a way to get better and that's just the way of life in our room. We use the word Kaizen and it's something that I show them every single day. It's the act of continuous improvement. We're always trying to find a way to get better and it'll be like that from September all the way until we stop playing.
Q: How's (Wide Receiver) Pharoh Cooper doing in your estimation?
A: He's doing a good job. He's doing a good job. He's been limited in what he can do. I mean, he hadn't had a lot of opportunities last week when you have seven touchbacks, so we didn't get a chance to do anything kickoff return-wise and then punt return, the one punt return he could've gotten was out of bounds. He's been limited in his exposures, but he's done a great job in practice and when he gets an opportunity in the game, I expect good things out of him.
Q: You and (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) have talked a lot about how (Defensive Back) Nate Ebner and his leadership and how valuable it is. Who stepped up in that role with him out?
A: I think it's been more of a collective deal with that. It's hard when you lose a guy like Nate with all the experience that he's had. You look at – he's probably the most decorated guy on our team as far as postseason experience. When you lose a guy like that on the field, it's hard to replace, but Nate's been great. He's been in the meetings. He's here every day. He's at practice. He's like a coach now. He's been really good in that regard – being on the sideline, helping guys out and just being an extra set of eyes.
Q: I probably should have the statistics but I'm watching yesterday's game and when (Cowboys Running Back Tony) Pollard takes that kick back for the Cowboys, I was trying to remember the last time that I saw kick return go back. It seems to be even more rare than it's been the last couple of years. What does that do to a unit where there used to be a time where you rely on that to be a big part of this game? Have you been able to make any changes to kind of enhance that?
A: It is what it is. When people don't want to play, they don't want to play. If they want to kick it out of the back of the end zone, like Tampa did, they kicked it out seven times. It wasn't like it was just a little bit into the end zone, they were like nine, 10, 11 deep. That's just part of it. A lot of times schematically, when you're playing against a good unit and you know, 'OK, our offense is pretty good or our defense is pretty good,' you use that to your advantage, right? So if you know that they can't return or they don't want to return, you hang the ball up, or if they're not very good at it, you hang the ball up. Or if you know they've got a dangerous returner back there, 'you know what? We ain't going to let this guy wreck the game,' and it's no different than playing Cover 2 on a wide receiver that you think that's really, really good. You've got a jam corner, you've got a safety over the top, you've got a hook, curl guy coming at him. So it's the same schematically, it's the same type of strategy. But yeah, it's hard to answer the question, it's hard when you don't get as many opportunities.
Q: You guys did the opposite though, you went shorter on more of the kicks, if I have that right? So what's the benefit and the drawback of doing either one?
A: The benefit for us is we feel like we've got a pretty good kickoff coverage team and we felt like we had an edge there. So if we can put their offense on a longer field, we felt like obviously that would be an advantage for us. We should have had one tackled at the 10-yard line, it got out to the 14. But again, that's 11 yards of field position we just stole by hanging the ball up and making them return it.
Q: This week, in light of Jason's firing, is there a more aggressive re-evaluation by the coaching staff of everything you're doing and changing things? Or is it not that drastic?
A: No, I mean, there's always a constant eval of what you're doing. Every week we look at how we're doing what we're doing. I can't speak for offense or defense, I know for us, special teams-wise, we're always trying to find a way to get an edge. We're always looking back on what has happened. If something negative has happened in the past, then we'll deal with it and try to fix it and make an adjustment.
Q: We haven't been in the building in forever, so where is that 'Do Your Job' sign? Is there one in there?
A: Yes, the back where the players come in every day, it's right there. There's a sign coming in the door, sign walking out of the door. There's a group of core principles that we have that the players understand. They see the sign coming in the door and when they leave, they have things that they need to uphold once they leave the building. This is not something we just kind of trip and fell into. It's just the way of life. Again, everything's not going to be perfect, we understand that. It's just when you try and do things right and you're always trying to get better and you're always focusing on the next opponent and what do I need to do as an individual? What do we need to do as a team to take that next step? You're always going to do what's best for the team.
Q: So, the message is different coming in than going out?
A: Yes, different message.
Q: Is there anybody on the Eagles you need to watch out for on special teams?
A: They're a talented group. They've got a ton of guys that play hard and that's the one thing about (Eagles Special Teams Coordinator) Michael Clay's unit, he's been around a bunch of good coordinators from (Lions Special Teams Coordinator Dave) Fipp, to (49ers Special Teams Coordinator) Richard Hightower in San Francisco. He's been around (UCLA Head Coach) Chip Kelly when he played for Chip in college, so this guy, schematically, has been around some really good coaches and he's an excellent coach. His gunners when he was at San Francisco, he had some of the best gunners in the league. He was instrumental in developing (49ers Running Back Raheem) Mostert, Raheem Mostert. Really, people didn't know who the guy was and then he went to San Francisco and blew up and that's a lot because of Michael Clay. Their personnel, they have really good personnel. Guys plays fast. They're physical and they play hard. Schematically, they don't do a ton of stuff, but they are physical, and they play hard for Mike. All these guys are talented. Returners are talented. The kicker is very talented, as we all know, he hit a frickin' 61-yarder as a rookie to win the game at Philly in 2018 against us, so we kind of know who the guy is. They've got a very talented group.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: How big of a message does it send to the offense when your coordinator gets fired?
A: Obviously with JG (Former Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett) getting fired, as an offensive player, you feel like you take some responsibility. Obviously, we know that he's the one that got fired, but we've still got seven games left and we've got to take responsibility about knowing that it wasn't just only him. As a whole, we didn't do enough as an offense and we've got to continue to get better and continue to work on that.
Q: Do you think the offense will look a whole lot different with a different play caller in there? Do you anticipate it looking differently when we see you guys on Sunday?
A: I mean, when you're in Week 12 or Week 13 in the NFL, there isn't really much more you can have. Obviously, you could have new wrinkles here and there, but you're not really going to have much, the terminology is not going to change. I think (Head) Coach (Joe) Judge came and said collectively as a group they're going to come and make decisions and put together a game plan. That's the thing where we've got to get better at, executing the game plan. You can say what you want about coaches, but at the end of the day, like I said after the game against the Bucs, as players we've got to take some responsibility about it too and go out there and make plays.
Q: What do you see on the other side with the Eagles defense? What do you expect to see from them?
A: It's always a tough game going against the Eagles. They're a great team. They have good players over there, especially (Eagles Defensive Tackle) Fletcher (Cox). I always say Fletcher's one of my favorite people to go against. He's one of the best players in the league every single year, year in and year out. You know they're playing at a high level right now just as a whole. (Eagles Cornerback Darius) Slay's making a lot of plays over there – he's a heck of a playmaker. It should be a really good game. It's always a good game when we get to go against each other. Just got to do what we do and hopefully come out with a win.
Q: How are you feeling physically?
A: The ankle's something that – anytime you roll your ankle, it's something that's going to nag throughout the season. That's something you've just got to stay on and you've got to keep up and it gets better week by week. Just got to keep trusting it and keep trusting my body and keep putting the hard work that I'm putting in and just keep going with it.
Q: How much did you do today?
A: I guess did the practice report come out yet? I guess we'll find out when the practice report comes out.
Q: Why didn't you do anything?
A: Did the practice report come out and say I didn't do anything?
Q: You tell me. Did you do anything?
A: I guess we'll see when the practice report comes out and says.
Q: It makes us think that you're not really feeling okay then?
Q: If the practice report does come out and says 'did not practice' or 'limited' or – I mean, we saw you stretch.
A: I mean, that's part of practice.
Q: I saw you go inside.
A: Oh, you want to know why I went inside?
Q: You're feeling like you're going to play and you're fine?
A: Yeah, that's the mindset. If that's the question, you want, that's the mindset. I played last week and like I said, it's getting better each week. The reason why I went inside had nothing to do with my ankle.
Q: How did you feel like you played against the Buccaneers?
A: Obviously, not enough because we didn't win. I got to go in there, obviously your mindset when you come back, you want to go and be right back where you were at and go crazy and have an amazing game. That's just anybody as a competitor, as an athlete what you want to do, but at the end of the day, you've got to work back into it. You've got to feel it, getting my feet back underneath me, getting my eyes, getting my vision back. I felt explosive still even though I really didn't get a chance to show it. But like, just within my cuts a little bit, felt pretty good. Just got to keep trusting it, keep trusting and keep getting better and keep working.
Q: The Eagles ran the ball 50 times last week. Would you like to see you guys run the ball more or with the offensive line banged up so much you can't?
A: I'd like to see us win. That's plain and simple. I feel like a lot of people get caught up in how you win. The only thing that matters is winning, whether you carried the ball 50 times, or you throw the ball 50 times. For me, it doesn't really matter how we're getting the job done. I just want to get the job done.
Q: What does it feel like when there is that disconnect between your feet, your brain and your eyes?
A: It sucks. I can tell you right now, it sucks. It feels weird, it's frustrating. But you know, that comes with some of the unfortunate things that happened to me the last two years. It's part of it, it's part of it, it's part of the journey, it's part of the story. As I continue to work through it and continue to get better, when I'm back and I'm doing the things that I know I can do, continue to have a long, healthy, successful career, I'm going to look back on these moments and these dark times and these frustrating times and know that these are the moments that helped mold me become the player that I am and the player that I am going to continue to be and going to be in the future.
Q: Have the coaches asked you guys as players about what you want to see in the offense this week? Have they solicited any feedback from you guys on how this can evolve?
A: Yeah, they kind of tell us as we're going through the week we've got to start figuring out and knowing what we like too, because we're going to be the ones on the field. We're going to be the ones running the plays. If you've got your five top runs, come let me know your five top runs. Like these five plays that you know and you believe that are going to work, let me know the play that you believe is going to work. Just be open, be honest, the plays that we like, the plays that we don't like. When we're out there at the end of the day, we're the ones that have got to be out there running the plays and make the plays happen.
Q: Joe talked about speaking with the team captains, a bunch of them, before making a final decision with Jason. I'm assuming you were part of that. What was that like and what do you as a team leader say to a coach when you're in that kind of situation?
A: Honestly, it sucked, because you develop a relationship with Coach Garrett and the offensive coordinator. Aside from football, he's a good dude. I learned a lot from him with football, without football, just the way he carries himself, his mannerisms. There's a lot that I'm going to take from him, so when you see anybody let go, whether it's the OC, whether it's one of your teammates, whether it's your teammate who gets traded, one of your teammates gets released or he doesn't sign back, it always sucks, but that's kind of just the part of the nature, the part of the business. That's really it.
Q: One of the themes that Joe has talked a lot about this week is focusing on players, not plays. I'm assuming you're in that players group. Does that excite you and the other playmakers that we've been sort of chronicling all this year?
A: Yeah, I guess you could say it excites me, but I really don't read too much into it. Meaning no matter what the play call is, whether it's a play designed to go to me or it's not, or it's designed to go to (Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay) KG or (Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney) KT or (Quarterback Daniel Jones) DJ or whoever, we've got to make the play happen. It doesn't always have to be some fancy play or some play that's directly designed to get me in space or to get our wide receiver one-on-one. Sometimes it's got to be a dirty three-yard run and you've got to make that dirty three-yard run and get down there and make it what it is or if you get one-on-one with a safety, make that play. It doesn't matter. They can scheme up as much as they want and they could draw it up beautiful, but if all of us on the field are not playing as a whole unit, playing as a collective group, it doesn't matter.
Q: You mentioned you don't need to get the ball in space, but how much is that the goal here? Do you sense that that's the change here, that they need to get you guys, the top playmakers, involved in space so you can do your thing? I know what you say about the dirty yards and that's great and all, but as for you, Kadarius, (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard) Shep, those guys, that's where you make your difference, isn't it?
A: I think we make a difference whether it's in space, not in space. I see what you're saying. Obviously, you want the play calls to be designed to set you up and put you in the best position possible, but sometimes it's the NFL. Those guys are good over there, too. They're scheming up, too. It's not like before we never had any plays designed for this person or that person. Sometimes just the way the game plays out, you get behind the sticks. Certain situations on the football field, whether you're in the red zone or you're not. You've got packages that may not be able to come up just because of how the way the game is going. So, for me and what I'm kind of telling the guys too is obviously it sucks that JG, he got fired, he was let go, but like I said after the game, it's easy to point the finger, sometimes you've got to point the thumb. We've got realize that we're just as accountable for that, too. The reason why that decision was made was because we're not scoring points. The reason why that decision was made was because we're not making plays and at the end of the day that's on us, too. We've got to go out there, make the plays whenever the play is called, make it happen and find a way to win the game.
Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay
Q: How big of a change do you expect in the offense with a new coordinator?
A: My mindset is just staying positive, to be honest. Excited for this weekend. Excited every weekend for a chance to play and be out there on the field. My mindset is just being positive.
Q: Can there be big changes in an offense in a week when you're essentially using the same playbook still?
A: I won't say 'big changes.' I feel like we're going to still run the stuff that we know and do well. At this point, I think it's just about getting the right guys in the right spot.
Q: How much would you like to start getting the ball more down the field on the sideline?
A: To be honest, just more opportunities, period. Any way I can help the team, that's all I really want, so of course I would like more opportunities.
Q: Have you been frustrated with your lack of opportunities?
A: I'm going to just keep that comment to myself.
Q: Do you believe that you will be less frustrated after Sunday's game?
A: I don't know. I'm going to keep that comment to myself.
Q: What did you eat for Thanksgiving yesterday?
A: I had some macaroni, some yams, some greens, some turkey, some ham. Had a couple cakes. (laughs)
Q: What do you expect to change with the offense and what you're used to?
A: To be honest, I'm just coming into it with an open mind and go into it like I go into every week. When the ball is coming to 19, I've just got to make the play. Hope for more opportunities of course, but when the ball comes to me, I've got to make it. Even if I don't have a lot of opportunities, I've got to make the most of those opportunities.
Q: There may be a situation or a lot of situations on Sunday when you see a guy who you're pretty familiar with on the other side of the ball.
A: My boy (Eagles Cornerback Darius) Slay. It should be exciting. I'm excited to go against him. I actually haven't even talked to him. I'm pretty sure I'm going to talk to him before the game though.
Q: What were those practice battles like for you?
A: It was always good competition. That's a good player over there. They paid him as well to go over there, what, two years ago I believe? I'm looking forward to it.
Q: Do you find it odd that he has more touchdowns than you?
A: Yeah, that's messed up, huh? (laughs). It is what it is. He's a playmaker. I know him very well. I'm not surprised that he's always around the ball making those plays for their team. I played with him, I want to say three years, and he did the exact same thing when I was with him. I want to say he led the league in interceptions one year I was with him – so I'm not surprised.
Q: Do you feel like guys are excited about this change for the offense?
A: I really can't speak for other guys. As far as myself, I loved Jason Garrett. Things I guess didn't work out and we had to make a change. But Jason Garrett in my book as a guy, I love the guy, to be honest.
Q: Does (Senior Offensive Assistant) Freddie (Kitchens) call good plays?
A: I don't know who's going to call the plays. (Head Coach) Joe Judge might call the plays, I don't know. We're going to see.
Q: Do you think you've been winning on your routes?
A: Yeah, and I feel like on other routes I can do a better job, but I do feel like I win on some routes. Even when it might not look like I'm winning, I could possibly still be winning.
Q: You're not really a guy that separation isn't necessarily your game, right?
A: I wouldn't say that. I know people say I don't always create a lot of separation, but at the end of the day the ball gets caught, so I don't really care what other people think that much. Catch the catch.
Q: Were you disappointed in that one missed block? That looked like it could've been a big play.
A: Yeah, that was all on me. That was on me. The nickel blitzed and it was a perfect shot for (Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney) KT to be right there on the safety. I take full responsibility on that play.
Q: How much do you feel like this offense has to prove? There has obviously been a lot of criticism and all that because you guys haven't scored that much, and the coach just got fired. How much do you feel like this group has to prove that you're better than what you've shown?
A: To be honest, I don't think we're trying to prove to anybody. I think we all know what we're capable of and I think we just want to go out there and just put it on tape. We leave a lot of plays out there with penalties. For instance, when I missed the block, that falls down on player execution at times, so you can't put everything on coaches or the play caller. We play a big role in this, as well. We just have to do a better job.
Q: How much do you guys look at this as sort of a fresh start? You're making alterations and changing.
A: It's too late to say this is a fresh start, you know what I mean? I guess you could say 'get on track,' as far as us getting on track, scratching, erasing that last game that just happened. We've got another opportunity this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Let's get on track, I would say that. Not a fresh start, let's just get on track.
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