Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: We'll progress a little bit with a normal Friday in terms of reviewing all the situations, the big four, going through the entire game plan. It's been a good, productive week for us so far. It's been very good for the team being out here. I'm very appreciative of the University of Arizona extending the facilities, what they've offered and worked with us on. Couldn't be more grateful. I know they're very busy themselves right now, they're in the middle of a big recruiting weekend, so the staff themselves are all back in off the road. There's a lot of gymnastics going on in the building, but they've completely let us have free run of whatever we want, whatever we need. Couldn't be more appreciative of that. With that being said, we'll open up to any questions.
Q: Where does (Quarterback) Mike (Glennon) stand in the protocol?
A: Everything's on track. He's obviously going to do a final clearance today with the doctor. He'll practice with us today. We'll have to simulate some contact for him today off on the side and then he'll talk to the doctor and we'll see where it goes from there.
Q: He'll start if he's cleared?
A: At this moment, if he's cleared and he's at the game, Mike will start.
Q: How's (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) progressing?
A: Actually, he had a good day yesterday. He's moving along, he's very in-tune to the game plan. I'd say we'll see how it goes today early in practice with the trainers, see if he gets a chance to get out there and get more involved. I'd say his ability mentally to function at multiple positions and understand what it is in the game plan – he's a guy that, along with (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson), I wouldn't hesitate if it goes all the way to game time to make a decision.
Q: Mike has been limited every day because he has to be listed as limited. If he gets to play, if he gets cleared, how much has he missed this week as opposed to a normal week where he's not in the protocol?
Q: How's (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones)? Anything new from today or since yesterday?
A: No, still isn't cleared for contact. Obviously, he's out here moving around. We'll practice with him today again and then we'll see if he clears. Still not cleared for contact.
Q: What did you see from (Quarterback) Mike (Glennon) last week when he did play? What does he have to do better?
A: I think as an entire offense we have to keep progressing on through, making sure we make the right decisions and then make the plays when they're in front of us. We've got to do a good job of putting the guys in position and then we've got to execute when it comes our way. I liked some of the things Mike did last week. There were a lot of things he did within the game that are encouraging. There are some things we have to coach and correct off of, make sure we don't repeat certain mistakes, but Mike prepares very well. He's got experience in this league, so we have faith in him.
Q: You've been described as a conservative head coach at least in terms of some outside perception. Do you agree with that? Why or why not?
A: To which regard 'conservative'?
Q: In terms of whether it's decision-making, play calling, when you're doing certain things at certain times.
A: I think I look at everything situationally. We've talked about different factors before. Was it the analytics factor? Is it the gun slinger factor? What's it going to be? You've got to balance that out and play situational to the game. I say it all the time, sometimes people look at not being aggressive because you punt the ball. Alright, well sometimes you're being extra aggressive saying, 'No, I know our defense is going to go out there and stop these guys.' So, I'm being aggressive with our defense to go out there and make a play and get the field position back for the offense. It all depends on how you define aggressiveness. I've gone for it on fourth down, I've got no problem doing that. I've got no problem running fakes. We've got them in every week. When the situation arises, I'll go ahead and I'll pull the trigger on it. In terms of conservative, we're going to call the game that the flow of the game needs to be called and we're going to do things situationally that puts us in a position to have success. There have been decisions I've made in the past, whether it was more on the aggressive side than people say on the outside or more on the conservative side, that I break down and look at what I've done and say, 'Okay, don't want to make that decision again in the future. Maybe that was a little bit too aggressive early on and we didn't really need that at the end of the game.' Maybe you look at the matchup and where you think you are as a team and you say, 'Okay, we've got to press it a little bit more early in the game as opposed to sit back and let it declare.' That's independent of each opponent, where you're at every week as a team. In terms of any labels on the outside, I'm really not concerned with that at all. I put us in position for the best chance to have success every week and I'm going to going to call the game situationally throughout. I look at everything from a big-picture perspective.
Q: How hard was it to hear about (Former NFL Wide Receiver) Demaryius Thomas?
A: I woke up this morning and (his wife) Amber texted me throughout the night. I woke up with the text that he had passed. D.T. is – obviously, you take all of his athletic accomplishments, and they don't hold a candle to the kind of person he was. Just character and just a quality human being. Look, I got to coach him for a brief period of time, but I'd say the impact he had on me as a coach, my approach to the game with a lot of the players, it was profound. Watching this guy as he led as a player – this guy was able to be a leader to the team as an older, experienced player, but he was on PUP at the time. He was hurt. There was a good amount of a chunk of time that I was together with him that he wasn't even active on the field. So, it's tough as a player to have any kind of an impact on the team when you're not out there competing every day, but his ability of almost transcending being a player and almost being a coach at times with the way he would share wisdom and talk through techniques, the hours that he would sit in my office when we talked through game plans. We talked through route technique, we talked through defensive recognition, we talked through how he sees it on the field. It was tremendous. But all the football stuff aside, none of that holds a candle to what kind of person this guy was and I think everybody he interacted with, he impacted. There's a lot of guys in our building right now, there's a lot of guys throughout the league that are affected by this. There are a lot of guys in our building directly. I'm not going to speak for (Wide Receivers Coach) Tyke (Tolbert), but Tyke's a guy who was extremely, extremely close with D.T. Extremely close with him and it affects his entire family. (Long Snapper) Casey Kreiter was a teammate of his. They had a strong relationship. There's a lot of guys through this league – it's a small league anyway – but there's a lot of guys that crossed paths with this guy that he had an impact on. You hear news like that, there's no good way to take it. It kind of makes you reflect back on how fortunate we are for any opportunity we have every day and you never really know when it ends.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: How are you feeling?
A: I feel good. It felt good to obviously get away a little bit, come here out with a trip. I feel like it's beneficial for the team to get away, kind of like a little reset, restart button going into the back stretch of the season. Had a great week of practice, not only myself, but as a team and especially on the offensive side of the ball. Ready to go out there on Sunday against a really good Chargers defense and a really good Chargers team.
Q: Yesterday you had your ankle heavily taped, today you don't seem to. Were you not feeling good yesterday? What's the distinction for you there?
A: Pads. Just pads. When we have shells on, obviously it's more just to protect it. When you have pads, it's the nature of football, you get a little more aggressive. You get a little more physical. Sometimes bodies fall and just in case someone did fall, it gives a little extra support.
Q: Is it hindering you? The ankle, like is it significantly hindering you?
A: No. It's like I said before when I first came back, it's nagging. If you ever know anyone that had an ankle sprain and you go on through the season with it, it just nags here and there. That's not the reason – I'm not going to make excuses why I haven't been performing at a high level. I don't believe that's the reason.
Q: When you say it's a reset, this is also pretty different for you guys to have a practice week, you're walking through there are fans out here kind of getting to see guys in their jerseys. It's something you've seen before, but is that almost a refresh too to just kind of relax a little bit?
A: Yeah, it's a refresh. Just being in a different state, different weather. I like it because it's kind of like college. You're forced to be with your teammates a lot more. When you go home after practice, usually you go home – I go home to my family. (Tight End Kyle) Rudolph goes home to his family. (Tackle Nate) Solder goes home to his family. It's a different environment when you're home. When you're here, (it's) not a bad thing, meaning being forced, but we're put in hotels. We're eating together more. We're talking crap, playing games, watching football together – all the stuff that you kind of have in college ball and you miss. You don't really have that when you get to the NFL. That's why I think it's beneficial for the team also, too.
Q: What's your impression of (Running Back) Gary Brightwell? What's he brought?
A: I think he's young and he's a young, talented back. Obviously, he's been elite for us on special teams, making plays. Hopefully sooner or later he can get on the field because he's made some plays for us in practice. You can see his twitchiness, his elusiveness, his one-cut ability. He's very talented. I look forward to continuing to work with him and continuing to try to teach him the things that I've learned in my short career, and whatever I can do to help benefit him to have the best career he can have.
Q: Has this stretch of games here and you noted it before, the lack of productivity, is that wearing on you at all?
A: It's not wearing on me. Are you talking individually or as a team?
A: Individually, obviously, I would love to be doing a lot more for my team, meaning being more productive, and you've got to take accountability. You've got to look yourself in the mirror and go back, watch film and see what you can do better, see what you did good, take it and grow from it. Obviously, these last couple games haven't been playing as well as I would like to play, especially last week with a couple drops and stuff like that. You can't let that slow you down. My mindset is once I get to practice, get on the jugs, catch as many balls as I can and practice to make sure I catch every ball that I can. The balls that I do drop, go back and work on that. When it's in the run game, make sure I get my footwork right so I can see it better, set up the runs better, put myself in the best position I can to be successful to my team.
Q: This is a team that's at the bottom of the league in run defense. You know that.
A: That doesn't mean anything.
Q: Doesn't mean anything?
A: No, it doesn't mean anything. You can't look at it that way. Whatever they're ranked, it's the NFL. They get paid a lot of money over there. Those coaches get paid a lot of money over there, too. Obviously, we feel like we have a great game plan. Obviously, they're going to do some different things that we're going to have to adjust to. We've got to come ready. We can't come with the mindset that, 'Oh, they've been struggling in the run game, so this should be cake walk.' No. Obviously, we know we have to establish the run game and that starts by us, that starts by establishing the line of scrimmage, dominating the line of scrimmage and me making the right reads and me finishing the runs and getting vertical and making plays when the plays are needed to be made.
Q: What did you see when you watched the tape last week of yourself? You said your own assessment was that you didn't like what you did last week.
A: Yeah, I had two drops. Two balls that hit my hand and I didn't come up with the play there. I felt like as the game went on, I got better in the run game. I've just got to continue to take what's there. Whatever the defense gives me or whatever opportunity I have, take what's there and when big plays are there to be made, like a catch in the flat or an under against a linebacker, I've got to make those plays.
Q: There were a few stumbles. You talked about this in the past kind of aligning your mind, your eyes, your body.
A: That's just going to come back with –
Q: Is that what you're looking at when you saw that?
A: Yeah, that's going to continue to come back with playing football. Obviously, it's been very unfortunate to have the injuries that I've had and the biggest thing that I can see is just the lack of, not the lack, just the lack of time that I've spent on the football field. Obviously, you can simulate it in practice and in camp and in training, in the offseason, but it's nothing like getting back on the field. That's only going to continue to come as I continue to just play more and continue to get back on the field. Obviously, I see stuff where I'm like, 'Damn, like I've got to be better there.' But I also see stuff where I left my feet for the first time in a minute. Obviously, it wasn't the right decision to do there from fourth-and-3.
Q: Why not? It actually worked.
A: Yeah, I got the first, but I kind of got stuck in between a spin and a hurdle. Like you said, it worked. Stuff like that, leaving my feet, it shows obviously, I know I have confidence. It's different to have confidence in yourself and then going out there and your body is showing that it has confidence in itself too. Like I said, obviously, it's been frustrating with injuries and the lack of time that I have spent on the field, but the more and more that I'm continuing playing in games and continue to be able to practice at a high level, all that stuff is going to come back. It is what it is.
Linebacker Blake Martinez
Q: How are you feeling?
A: I'm feeling good. Just kind of working out every day, trying to stay consistent, working with the training staff and strength staff, making sure I make improvements. Keep working through it.
Q: Where are you at in the process? Got stuff you're doing at this point?
A: Right now, it's just progressing. There are certain checkpoints and things like that, but as you can see, I'm able to start walking. Things like moving, bodyweight work in the training room, nothing heavy or anything. It's been good to finally – mentally for me – to be able to do stuff like that again.
Q: You're early in the process. Do you have a targeted return date when you think you'll be good to go?
A: No, just kind of working at it each and every day. Obviously, like any other football player they want to get back as soon as possible, but for me it's just making sure I do the right things, listen to the strength staff, listen to the training staff. When they say it's go time, I know I'll be ready to go.
Q: For a guy that had been so durable throughout his career, when something like this hits, do you kind of take a step back and say 'wow' because you begin to think that maybe you'll never be in a situation where you're hurt?
A: It's definitely a tough moment, but for me I've always been a person that just loves the challenge. When this happens, obviously it sucks to happen, but it's something I can put on my bucket list of something I worked through and came back and conquered.
Q: What have you seen? You'd rather be in the middle of it calling everything, but what have you seen watching this team for pretty much the whole season?
A: I think you see improvements each and every week. Obviously, I'm a big defensive guy, so to be able to watch that and see how the guys are starting to mesh together, playing really well as of late and just seeing the guys grow, especially at the inside linebacker position.
Q: What was your reaction when you heard you guys were going to be coming to Tucson for the week?
A: I was excited for it. I have my bittersweet moments here – they didn't want me to play here, so went to Stanford and became smart (laughs). But no, it's good. I've been kind of the tour guide showing people around, showing them good spots to eat and things like that.
Q: What sort of places have you taken them to eat?
A: My favorite Mexican food spot was Guadalajara Grill, so we went there. Great spot. They cook the salsa in front of you and things like that. Then we did a team activity at my dad's cousin's place, No Anchovies. Great pizza. Then we went to I think Flemings, which is everywhere, but yeah (laughs).
Q: There was a youngster who got to go out during stretch with (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley). What do you think that meant to a local kid to see an NFL team come in here, but have a chance to go out on the field like that with an NFL player?
A: I think it's huge. I look back to the days where if one person – it didn't even matter if it was practice squad, whatever, first-round draft pick, whatever it was – if someone came up to me and spent their time to say hi to me and to talk to me, it was one of those moments that I look back and I'm like, 'I want to become that person.' I get that motivation, I get that drive to be able to be that next guy that's all of a sudden talking to a kid – and I'm not the kid anymore.
Q: Because you guys are here and not in New Jersey during a regular practice week – I know most of your day is probably rehab early in the morning. Are you getting to spend more time with the guys, whether it's in meetings or just at night just because you're here?
A: 100 percent. I think it's slowly grown more and more over the past couple of weeks where I've been able to be reincorporated with the group, whether it's lifting, meetings and all these types of things. Obviously, here I'm the tour guide going to dinners and stuff like that, so it's been fun.
Q: You're a leader of this team. To not be on the field, how can you still lead? Can you find opportunities to lead? Do you behind the scenes that we don't see?
A: Yeah, especially for the inside linebacker group – (Linebacker) Tae (Crowder), in general. Being able to talk to him, whether he comes into the training room while I'm rehabbing or in the locker room. I'll be in meetings every now and then depending on my rehab schedule and be able to talk to the guys, and I watch every game. So, talking through to him on what he can kind of change up, what he can see, how he can hit things quicker and those types of things.
Q: Where are you during the home games?
A: This last game against Miami was the first time that I was able to go on the field and things like that because of my knee. But typically, I'm just watching at home.
Q: How many guys have come to see the facility and what has been their impression?
A: The facility here? Actually, we're going today potentially. I don't know how many people – I invited everybody, so we'll see if it can fit that many people. I think it can, but we'll see what they think after that.