Head Coach Joe Judge, Quarterback Daniel Jones, Running Back Saquon Barkley and Outside Linebacker Lorenzo Carter spoke to the media following Friday's Blue-White scrimmage at MetLife Stadium. Here is what each one had to say.
Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: What do you make of your offense that was out there first? When they only come away with three points in the four drives, how do you make sense of that? How much weight do you put on that?
A: There was a way we managed the game in terms of the tempo of that first half. We weren't tackling to the ground so there was a large part of our running game that we weren't really trying to hammer. It kind of makes you play left-handed when you don't establish the run early on, but that's just what we decided to go with when we had Daniel and some of the other guys in the game. We thought that was best for the team and what we wanted to see. There were some missed opportunities early on, some dropped passes. We have to do a better job in that second quarter against the pass rush. Overall, I thought they moved the ball decent as the quarter went on. We were able to get a little bit of openings early on with some seams and runs between the tackles. We had an opportunity to move the ball with the passing game in the second quarter. As far as getting in sync together with these guys, it was decent overall. We have to improve and clean up a lot of stuff. Definitely don't want to come away with any turnovers. We had one of those in the pocket tonight, we have to clean that up.
Q: How do you look at the pressure along the line of scrimmage? It looked like Lorenzo Carter came away with three or four sacks. I'm sure it's a positive to you that he got pressure. On the flip side of that, you have to worry about your offensive line when you see that. How do you make sense of that?
A: I've been watching the progress on both sides the entire training camp. Obviously, I'm watching from a dual perspective. Zo has been very particular in training camp, he has made a lot of improvement. He plays with a high motor. He is developing a skill set to really expand on what his game has been in the past. Bret (Bielema) is doing a phenomenal job with him. The offensive line, to be honest with you, it's live competition. We're going out there, there's some different tools we can use to help these guys in games. We chose to keep this a little bit vanilla tonight so it takes a little bit of tools you can use through game planning away from it. We have to see more improvement in the on one matchups and how they handle it across the board.
Q: One of the things I looked at early was I thought Colt McCoy and Dion Lewis looked pretty good. Your thoughts on them?
A: I think they've both had good camps. Dion's a guy, you give him the ball in space, he has an ability to make plays and make guys miss. You get him between the tackles, sometimes he's hard to find. He does a really good job of reading the blocks in front of him and finding the hole and getting vertical in it. Colt does a nice job of managing the game. He has a lot of savvy out there to really find the open receiver, he has a lot of poise in the pocket to sit back there when the pass rush is coming. He has that clock in his head from being so experienced in his career that he knows when to get the ball out. He's been productive for us along the way and we're happy with his progress.
Q: Do you have any update on Blake Martinez? Then Evan (Engram) didn't play tonight, just curious is there anything up with him?
A: On Blake, no, there's no update based on what we talked about last night. In terms of Evan, look honestly, we've just been pounding him so much in practice that we've really kind of backed off a little bit with load management. It wasn't just him. We made decisions going in in terms of how we were going to use all of our players. These are things we look at in terms of total reps they're taking at practice, some of the GPS numbers we get from our strength staff and training staff. It was a calculated decision tonight that we just said hey, you know what, tonight's a night, even if it was a regular practice, we may have backed off Evan a little bit. We made the decision tonight. There were a lot of other guys we had to evaluate, so we wanted to make sure they got maximum reps and we pulled back a time limit for everyone.
Q: You said no update on Blake, but you left it yesterday as you weren't overly concerned. Is that still where you're at?
A: Yeah, I'll check with the trainers and see where he's at right there.
Q: What did you think of the night Wayne Gallman had? Also, it looked like Saquon Barkley ran with a couple of different units. What was the thinking there?
A: Just try to get him his plays when we knew he was going to be in the first half. We just bracketed how we were going to play the players tonight going in. There were over 50 offensive snaps in the first half. We wanted to make sure we got Saquon enough snaps early on. We weren't planning on him playing the second half. That was really what we wanted to reserve for a lot of younger guys. We wanted to make sure we got a good, clean evaluation of them competing. That's all it was for that right there. In terms of Wayne, he's a guy who's really flashed over the course of the entire training camp. He's a guy that we've challenged and told him we want to see how he responds in competitive situations. Obviously tonight, he had a good night. But he's a guy that's shown a lot of potential throughout his career. He's shown a lot of improvement for us, and we're happy with the night he had tonight.
Q: You alluded a little to the pressure in the one on ones and the offensive line. But all things considered, how do you think Daniel Jones played? A second, unrelated one. Dexter Lawrence really seems to have been doing a really good job batting down passes. What do you make of how he's improved and in particular, that skill set that he has?
A: Yes, so I'll start with Dexter. I think Dex had a really nice camp. He's a guy that came in really good shape, really ready to go. He's done a really good job working with (Sean) Spence(r) and working on some of the pass rushing stuff. But really where he's improved this year a lot is his ability to build that wall and anchor in the run game, and really help us get them to a third down situation. He has a good knack for getting his hand up at the right time and batting the ball down. A lot of that comes into just his instincts. But he's also got that good length where he can really keep extension off the offensive line and see through them to when the quarterback is in a rhythm of throwing the ball, he gets his hand up at the right time. I've been happy with the way Daniel's been progressing. He played a good night overall tonight. We need to make sure that we give him some help as far as getting this out. Receivers need to do their job as far as taking advantage of opportunities right there. But I thought Daniel was productive when he was in there. Obviously, there are things to clean up. This is like any other preseason game. We have to look at this very critically as a team, be very honest with our players, let them know where we're at and where we have to go going forward.
Q: I know you said that things were a little bit vanilla in this scrimmage, obviously. It looked like though with the pass rush, there were guys lining up in different spots. Lorenzo Carter came from each side and some other spots as well. Is he a guy when you look at him that can be used in many, many different ways for this defense?
A: Yeah, I think we talk all the time about versatility, and Zo's definitely a guy that has a lot of position flex with his skillset. He has that outside linebacker, that kind of defensive end range for coming off the edge. He's also a guy that if we want to can play in a stack. He has a history of doing that as well. He's made improvement in the pass game in terms of coverage wise, and he's shown improvement on a daily basis in the pass rush. The night he had tonight was no surprise to us. He's a guy that we're expecting a lot out of and we're putting a lot of responsibility on him.
Q: Did you specifically try to do some things tonight just to make sure you did them? A challenge, halftime interview coming off the field. Were there any details that you did to say 'Look, this is my shot at this, I need to do it'?
A: Absolutely. Everything we did tonight was very intentional in making sure we checked every box for what myself, every other coach and every player would experience as close as we can to when we play our opening night game. Everything from the interviews coming off at halftime, everything to the setup of this press conference right here with how we're doing it, Coaches Club, the way we conducted our pregame and halftime adjustments, the challenge which obviously wasn't a critical play. I wanted to make sure we took an opportunity to get used to the challenge operation to the entire team. Then we made sure that we gave the opportunity to manufacture some two-minute drives at the end of the half and the end of the game. These are things we wanted to make sure that we experienced as much as players, as coaches for the communication aspect.
Q: Any technical glitches of any kind or anything like that?
A: We're going to go through it with a fine-tooth comb tomorrow and make sure that we talk about everything we did operationally and what we have to clean up. Obviously, it's never perfect. Obviously, it's never as sharp as you want it to be. But overall, I thought it was a good start to where we're going.
Q: What were your thoughts on, we saw Daniel kind of lead the breakdown as you guys were ending your warmups. We're not used to seeing quarterbacks do that around here. Eli (Manning) was usually sort of on the fringes of those events. What does that mean to this team and to Daniel that he was able to grab the reins there?
A: Look, we've had a number of guys break the team down. We have different guys break them down every day. But if you're asking about Daniel's leadership, he's definitely a guy who's taken a leadership role on this team. That's been evident with the way he comes to work every day, the way he holds himself and the way he practices and prepares, and then the way he performs when he gets into competitive situations. In terms of him calling up, I don't know if it's new to somebody else to see. For us, it's no surprise. He's in a position where he's in front of the team on a daily basis. For us, it's just business as usual.
Q: Real quick, can I ask you about Javon Leake? He had the one big run and a nice return.
A: Yeah, he did a good job in the return game right there. There was some space to hit it. He didn't waste the opportunity. He did a good job tonight in the run game. Took advantage of some opportunities. We'll watch the tape and we'll evaluate all of our players as we go.
QB Daniel Jones
Q: How would you assess how you performed tonight? I know you probably want to see the film to give a detailed assessment, but just at first glance, what are your feelings about how you played? What are your thoughts also about a little bit of pressure there, what was that kind of like for you there?
A: Yeah, like you said, I'd like to look at the film to see a lot of the details and see some of those plays. But overall as a group, as an offense, we did some good things and moved the ball at times. I don't think we were consistent enough through the course of the scrimmage and we left some plays out there. I certainly did, and need to look at a few things. Like I said, overall we did some good things and some encouraging things. But I think in any situation like this, there are going to be things that you have to clean up, there are going to be things we'll work on and look to improve here going forward.
Q: What about the pressure that you faced?
A: Yeah, I have to make sure I'm conscious of my depth in the pocket and step up in the pocket, and making sure I'm getting the ball out on time consistently. I'll continue to work on those things. Like I said, we'll get to work this week and make sure we're moving forward.
Q: Just wanted to ask you about the pregame ceremony and everything you guys put out there today. Just curious how much went into that? How would you describe the emotions over the last couple of days? What were your feelings out there when you guys were watching that video?
A: Obviously, it's been a tough week really. We've had a lot of conversations as a team, as players and certainly, a lot went into the planning of that and deciding to do that as a team, to stand together as a team and to make a statement. That was kind of the goal. We started back in the summer kind of coming together as a team and looking for a way to take action, a way to kind of come together as a group, as a team, and hopefully drive some change, drive awareness and eventually action. That was kind of a piece of the program that we've had going really since this summer. We're going to continue to do that, continue to work through our groups in our teams, and hopefully make a difference. But it's been a tough week. Certainly a lot of emotions, certainly a lot on everyone's mind. We have a unique opportunity as athletes in this generation to help lead change and help lead this movement. That's something that as a team we're taking very seriously and hope to help make a difference.
Q: Do you internalize maybe any frustration from only scoring three points in a half in this type of setting the way you might in a regular season game? Similarly to that also, putting the ball on the ground late there, obviously, that's not something just you control, but you've worked on that a lot. I'm just curious your reaction to both of those things?
A: Each of those plays, each of those situations in the first half are something we're going to look at specifically and individually. To kind of look broadly at a half overall and come to a sweeping, generalized statement about that, I don't think that's going to be helpful for our progress moving forward. As a team, as an offense, we'll look to narrow in on certain situations and look to improve those. Also, we do the same thing in my evaluation of my play tonight.
Q: We saw you break down the team before the game after the warmups. I don't think that's something we saw you do last year. Certainly not something we've seen a starting quarterback do for a number of years around here. Just how important was it to do that? What was said? What was the message you were conveying to the guys?
A: It was just an opportunity to get the guys together. Getting everybody fired up and ready to go. It was the first opportunity to be here in the stadium. We had uniforms on and the simulation of a game, so I think guys were excited and just wanted to kind of continue that excitement and add to it if I could. But I think guys were focused, guys were locked in. It was fun to get back out there on the field.
Q: You probably didn't want to get the defense too excited.
A: Yeah, it was a weird dynamic there with you're also hyping up your opponent. But like I said, it was fun to get back out there on the field.
Q: How ready do you think this offense is? The regular season is pretty much two weeks or so away. What do you think you still need to accomplish in order to be ready for that Monday night opener?
A: There are certainly things that we'll continue to work on. I think we've made a lot of progress here in these first few weeks of camp. I feel good about that progress. But like you said, I think there are opportunities to improve and we'll take advantage of that going into next week and the week after. I feel good about where we are. Probably like most teams in the league, there are things to work on, things to improve.
Q: Do you feel comfortable enough that if the game was coming up, you guys could go out there and function the way you want as a unit?
A: Like I said, we've made a lot of progress. I think we're in a good spot for where we are in camp. We'll continue to try to improve, continue to straighten out some of the things we're working on. We'll be ready come Week One.
Q: I know you only have one year to compare this to, but in the preseason games when you're playing other teams and they're on television, the offense is kind of vanilla. You don't want to show everybody what you're doing. Does a scrimmage like this let you open up the playbook a little more? Did you guys dig deeper into Jason's (Garrett) playbook than you would if you were like playing the Packers tonight?
A: Yeah, I didn't really think about that a whole lot. We were running our stuff, we were running the stuff we've been working on all camp. We weren't really limited in that respect. I felt like we were able to execute it. We were able to get out there and guys knew what they were doing. Guys knew how to execute it. We ran our stuff.
Q: You've played in this stadium before, obviously, when there's 80,000 people here. This is as close to a game as you're going to get before the real thing. What did it look and sound like to you? Was the crowd noise different? Was it ever hard to hear communication with Jason Garrett? Also, just at some points when you're going down the field and you look around and it's empty, I mean this is not anything you've ever done before.
A: Yeah, it wasn't super loud tonight, so it didn't really come into play much. Whatever the circumstances are and however it feels on game day, I think we'll be ready to go. It's certainly different, like you said. Different than last year, but I think we'll be ready to go.
Q: In two weeks, you'll be playing the Steelers and it will look virtually the same. This was a practice, this was a scrimmage. That a real game on Monday Night Football will look like this with nobody here?
A: Yeah, I think guys will understand… guys will be ready to go. It'll be a big opportunity to get out and play. Guys will be excited and ready to go. I know we'll be ready going into it.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: This is as close to a game as you're going to get until the real thing. At some points when you're on the field playing sort of real football and you see nobody there, and the way it sounds, the way it feels. Is it just really amazing to think that this is what it's going to be like in two weeks when you play the Steelers?
A: I kind of got the back half of that question. You were a little low. But from what I understand that you asked was how did it feel to be there? I remember at one point on the sideline, Evan (Engram) and I looked at each other and said 'wow, we're really in a pandemic.' We looked at the coaches, the coaches had masks on, there were no fans there. Obviously, we have tremendous fans and we would love for them to be there. But we know what's going on in the world, especially with COVID going on right now too. That's just not the case of what it could be. But I think the team did a really good job of getting some feel for what it's going to be like when we have to go out there in two weeks or so on Monday night. Hopefully we'll be able to go out there and execute.
Q: When you come out, what did you want to get out of tonight personally? Was it a strange feeling to run behind two completely different units tonight? It seemed like one series you were with the one group, and then the next series you were with another group. I'm just curious how that affects you when your linemen are completely different?
A: It doesn't affect me at all to be honest. I was told before I was only going in the first half, so I knew I was rotating with both groups that were going in. I was trying to get some plays, trying to get some runs in. We didn't know exactly how it was going to go because in football, you never know how many plays you're going to get in a drive. I think Coach did a really good job of rotating us and getting a real feel. Honestly, it's never going to be exactly what it'll be on game day. But for me running behind both groups, I love it. You get to mesh well with all of those guys and get to run behind all of those guys. You never know. At some point during the season, especially during this year, you never know who's going to be out there. You have to try to take advantage of every opportunity you get.
Q: Just as a quick follow up, were you surprised on that one pass to the one side, on the screen, that the rookie (Tyler) Haycraft was out in front of you? It seemed like he was running with you step for step.
A: Yeah, he came to me and said 'great job setting up the block.' I was just like 'you did a great job moving too.' He's been doing well, but not only him. All of the offensive linemen have been improving and working every single day. Really as an offense and as a team, we're working every single day trying to improve.
Q: I know it's only a scrimmage, but does only putting three points on the board as a first-team offense bother you at this juncture given that you do have to be ready in two weeks for the Steelers?
A: To be completely honest, no. That's a scrimmage, that's practice. You're practicing to get better and to improve and to be ready to execute when that situation does come. Fortunate for us, that's in two weeks. I'm glad that we're not at the point where we need to be. Every single day, you need to grow and grow and get better. But putting up three points, to be honest, the defense did a heck of a job too. We made our plays. But it wasn't even bringing down to the ground. It wasn't allowed. So, no, no concern, no concern for me. I know it's no concern for our team. I think all three phases of the game, we improved and we got better today.
Q: Now that you actually did play in an empty building, what do you think you're going to lose from not having fans there? What was the most surprising thing to you basically of the ambiance that was there? The music and the noise that they kind of pumped in.
A: It kind of felt like practice. I think that's kind of going to be the vibe for the season. Hopefully, we're able to find something that we would be able to bring fans back by the end of the season. But that's the way it's going to be. It felt like practice. You go out there with your teammates, you have music going, you go out there and you just try to get better. Obviously, there's no fans there. It's definitely going to be different. You said what do I miss. Anytime you make that big play and you hear those fans roar, you get that energy from them also. Fans do play a big part in a game, especially for me, coming from Penn State and coming to New York. For me personally, I've always had great fans. But now, you have to find that spark in yourself. To be honest, that's why you do it. You love this game. You wake up every single day and be able to play the game you love since you were a little kid. So, go out there and have fun with it, whether there are fans or not.
Q: Obviously, no one is going to overreact to an intrasquad scrimmage, or even if this was just a first preseason game. But the reality is, you don't have much time this summer to fix whatever problems you guys find on the film. Does that concern you that this was sort of the last scrimmage you'll have, and do you believe there is enough time to get everything right in time for opening night?
A: Yeah, I do believe there's enough time. I don't want to speak on behalf of every other team, but I don't think any team in the NFL is at the point where they want to be. That's the reason for preseason, to get better and improve so when the opportunity does come, you're more than ready. But yes, I don't think it's anything to panic (about). I don't think it's anything to panic. There are going to be mistakes that were made today that you go back and you watch on film and you're able to fix it in practice. Those mistakes, if they're not happening on that Monday night or that Sunday, then it really doesn't matter.
Q: First off, what was it like to have your coach challenge a play that would have taken yards away from you?
A: At first, I was a little confused for the challenge. But everything, every yard counts. For me, I have to just be more aware of the sideline, know where I'm at, have a presence on the field. You try to make those yards because like I said, every yard counts in this game of football.
Q: On a more serious note, we talked to you guys yesterday and you were going to have a meeting later in the day. Just curious how that went and did anything come of that?
A: Yeah, we talked. We kind of came up with an idea. We came out and kind of came up with an idea of what we wanted to do. We wanted to focus on justice and change and to be able to challenge other people and showing this community that we stand with them. We were able to go out there as a team and kind of get the message across. That's not the only thing that we're going to do. We've been doing things within our teams, of giving back and really focusing on our community and focusing on things that we feel like can help change what's going on in this world. We kind of wanted to have that message to challenge other people to step up too and rise to the challenge.
Q: That pregame video, did you record that in the last 24 hours?
Q: I wanted to ask you about a running back from the Bronx and the Big Ten named Javon Leake. He kind of followed in your footsteps a little bit. Have you been able to connect with him because of that shared heritage?
A: Yeah, not only because of that. Javon, he's awesome. He's a great dude. He comes to work every single day. He's a heck of a player. I think he's been showing up, he's been doing well. I'm proud of him. But not only him. The running back room. We're very competitive and we all come in every single day and try to compete to try to get the best out of each other. I think we've been doing that, starting with our coaches, with Coach Burton (Burns) and Steve (Brown).
Q: Have you been able to figure out how far away you guys grew up in the Bronx?
A: No, no. That's a conversation I should bring up. I do know he's from New York, I do know he's from the Bronx. But we never really got into that.
Outside Linebacker Lorenzo Carter
Q: You had a pretty good game tonight. What would you attribute your progress to? What in particular did you work on in the offseason to become more effective? What's your optimism level that this is the year that you finally turn the corner?
A: Over the past couple of months, it has just been really rough for me and the community of Black people. I know my team, we have come together, we've had many talks. At this point, I really just feel like my main focus is making sure we do what we can do to bridge the gap between Black people in this society and everybody else. The state of this country, I'm not comfortable. Nobody is comfortable. The people that I know in my hometown, the people that I've talked to, my teammates, we're not comfortable and this isn't okay, whatever is going on. I just feel like this country is divided. We have to use our platforms, we have to use our voices as Black men, as athletes, as influencers. Anybody that has a voice needs to use it. Not just Black, not white, not just Latino, everybody, we have to come together. Until we do that, I can't really honestly think about football. I woke up this morning thinking about the different people that have been done wrong. Just thinking about that this is the 57thanniversary of the march on Washington. The 57thanniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech. I can't help but feel like everything Martin Luther Jr. said in that speech is still relevant today. We're still dealing with the same things and that's not right. We should be further ahead as a country, we should be further ahead as a people. We just need to do what we need to do. Also, the 65thanniversary of Emmett Till's murder. Honestly, that's all that's been on my mind this whole day. Waking up and seeing everything that's going on in this country, I just know this team, these people, these men, we are going to do everything within our power to make sure we bring about real change. We are not going to stop with the video that we did, locking arms at the 50-yard line before the scrimmage. That's not it, that's a small gesture but we have a lot more to do, we have a lot more work. My guys, everybody is working hard. We are doing more than just talking. We stand with the NBA, we stand with the MLB, we stand with the MLS, we stand with all the professional athletes that are choosing to make their voice heard. Choosing to use their platform for positive change and for peace and for justice. Other than that, honestly, I haven't thought about football too much today. I haven't thought about anything dealing with our game plan, anything dealing with this season, anything dealing with the game of football. It's literally just been trying to figure out what we can do as a team. What I can do personally and what we can do as a country to end this. I'm tired of it, enough is enough. I don't want to be in the same situation my grandfather was in, my great-grandfather was in and everything else. That's really all I have to say. I don't know if you guys have any more questions.
Q: What do you want to see change about the way police treat Black people in this country?
A: I just want equality. I want police, I want everybody to realize that all life is sacred, all life is valued. I just don't want to see the injustices done. I want justice, it doesn't matter what race, what color, what ethnicity, what religion. I just want America to stand on the values that were written out in the Constitution. All men are created equal, all men have inalienable rights for life, liberty and justice. I just want that check to be cashed. Like Martin Luther King said, I don't believe they should default on that check. I don't believe America is bankrupt from the fact that we all have the right to life, liberty and justice.
*Q: You talked about your father and your grandfather. What kind of experiences did they tell you about? I'm guessing they grew up in Georgia just like you. *
A: I just know my grandfather lived through this. These are people that lived through this. I literally was in Atlanta when everything was going on this summer. I literally came to tears as a I watched the news and I see the National Guard and people on horses pushing back people, throwing tear bombs. Things that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. Things that I thought were just in the history books. Things that I saw in history books, things that I saw in videos. I actually sat there and watched it in real life. It really was just heart wrenching and my heart went out to everybody that was out there just peacefully protesting, just trying to do the right thing. I feel like we have to continue to do that. Don't let fear and division continue to manifest itself in this country. We have to come together, we have to do it together. I know my team, we come from all different backgrounds. We have guys from the south, we have guys from the north, we have guys from the west coast, people from the middle of the country. We all come together and have a common goal. I need the microcosm of this world that we have in the locker room, I need that to become reality. We all work together, it doesn't matter where we're from. We're all working together towards one common goal. The United States, I believe we are the greatest country in the world, we need to show that. We need to show that we can come together and work towards that one common goal and just be America. Be the dream, this is the American dream. People dream of coming here. We need to create that dream. Keep that dream.
Q: Would you have rather not played in this scrimmage tonight?
A: I can't say that. It was a chance for us to get better. It was an opportunity for us to get better as a team. We agreed that we were going to make our statement before the game and that's what we did. We came together, we talked about it and that's the decision we made as a team. Everything we do this year is going to be as a team. There's no individual in this, that's the message. There's no individual, we are doing everything as a team, everything collectively, and that's it.