Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: Joe, how did (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) come through yesterday? I know it was mostly light stuff and individual drills, but how was his first day back?
A: Yeah, actually it was really encouraging. He got out there with the team, was moving and more and more comfortable with it. I don't speak directly for him and how he feels. What we'll end up doing is put him through today something very similar and then we'll back him out for tomorrow. So, again, just kind of more an extension of the rehab. We've got to make sure that we control not only just what he does on the field, but then also the repetitions and the volume he gets within each period, so it's something we're going to keep an eye on and see how his body responds. We'll look to increase it as we go through this process, but in terms of yesterday, I was very encouraged with how he came out and had a good day of work. Good excitement for a lot of people to have him back.
Q: The fact that you guys are back in pads today, does that kind of change what you're going to allow him or have him do to evaluate where he is or is it kind of predetermined regardless of what kind of practice you're running?
A: Yeah, the pads won't affect him at all. He's not going to go ahead and see any defenses today. You'll see him do individual, do some teach periods where it's offense versus offense. These aren't live drills by any means, more steps and teach type stuff. He'll do those things. In terms of competitive drills, he won't see those in the short term.
Q: What does he have to show you to get that point where he can get into competitive drills potentially?
A: Yeah, it's more on the doctors to greenlight him. So, in terms of what I'm looking at, how he's moving, how he's responding. I make sure I'm taking the information from the medical staff and I apply that going forward with him on the field. Look, the important thing for me is he keeps progressing physically and gets used to being back out there on the grass in a football sense.
Q: Saw (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay was doing some stuff off to the side catching stationary. How is he progressing coming back from that hamstring?
A: I'd say I'm pleased with the way the guys are working, they're all making progress. Everyone's individual injury is different, but Kenny's doing a good job working and getting back and as soon as we can get him on the grass, we will.
Q: Joe, a week ago was the fight. What have you seen in that week? I mean, you addressed it right away and you said there was no real carry-over in there. Have you seen anything in the last week that was maybe encouraging to you about how guys kind of rallied after that?
A: No, we're past that. Look, we walked off the field the other day and it was done. It was done. It didn't carry over into the building, moved on past that. Like I said, it's kind of like a fight in the house with your brothers, it can get rowdy, but when it's done, it's done.
Q: Have you ever seen it not happen in your time in the NFL or even in college where it wasn't done?
A: I've seen it plenty of times. To me, it's important that our guys understand that we're all one team. It's going to be competitive between the lines, it's our job to push and challenge each other, but at the end of the day we're all on the same page.
Q: Joe, how do you think the linemen are handling kind of jumping around from spot to spot, tackles at guard, centers at guard, guards at center, etc.?
A: Yeah, I think they're doing a good job. Part of our job is making sure that everyone gets experience at all positions. Especially at this time of year, you never know what comes up in terms of who's going to be in your preseason games at different spots. Also, you look at the five different combinations, there's different exposure and experience with guys as they build through the year. You want to make sure your interior linemen get reps at center and guard because you can never have enough guys who can snap the ball in a game. If we only take eight guys into a game, well, somebody has to be the backup center, somebody has to be the emergency center if something happens to those first two guys. In terms of the tackles playing both sides, tackle to guard, we're just always looking to build in different flexibility just in case – hey, someday you may hit a 'break glass' situation or somebody's gotta bump on down and you don't want it to be the first time they do it once live ball starts.
Q: Joe, what are the keys to working on a silent count on offense? You guys are going to be in front of a few fans tomorrow and finally in front of full houses down the road here. How important is that and what are the keys to it?
A: So silent count is discipline and repetition. That's what it comes down to. You've gotta get reps so everyone understands what the timing is. Defense is generally always working on silent count in terms of how you're keying the ball. Offensively, you have to have an idea of what the keys are pre-snap, do you have some kind of indicator from a player, is it something based on the timing we're going to work. But it all just comes down to repetition and practice.
Q: That's something that (Center) Nick (Gates) said he's never done in his life. Does that concern you?
A: That's why we're practicing.
Q: Joe, one of your edge guys, (Defensive End) Ifeadi Odenigbo. What are you seeing from him this camp?
A: He's playing hard, he's playing hard and I think we knew early on that when the pads come in is really when his game is gonna show up. He's done a good job of that. He's a high effort guy, definitely brings an element of sub pass rush on the edge. He's definitely given our guys a good challenge in one-on-ones mixing it up. He's shown up in team periods for us. He's a guy that we just gotta make sure, like everyone, he's making consistent progress with us every day and I'm pleased with the way he's working.
Q: Consider him like a high-motor guy?
A: Absolutely a high-motor guy.
Q: When you look at the next couple of weeks, I would imagine you have to stay ahead of everything knowing that you're going to be on the road. You guys have already said you want to churn the bottom of the roster and you want to see how many guys can come in and upgrade. How does that affect that process knowing that you're going to be out of here for two weeks?
A: I think the way we're practicing, mixing everyone in with different groups right now, is kind of answering those questions for us and we'll make sure that we get enough time in the game for the young guys that we really have to evaluate and get a feel on. We're going to let the performance on tape really determine that part of the roster for us. We're looking to evaluate every one of our players every day. We've got to make a lot of decisions and I think I said it again, it's different than last year because after this Jets game we have to release five players. It's not something we're looking forward to doing, but it's just something in how the nature of the rules are, that we have to make those decisions. You'll see today a large mix of different guys in different personnel groups. You'll see a different element of what we're playing today in terms of making sure that we can evaluate different guys at different positions. That's interior offensive and defensive linemen. That's some of the defensive backs. That's some of the tight ends. We've got to make sure we get a good look at some of these positions where we've got a lot of young guys that we have to see step up and play.
Q: And with that, those are the guys already here. As far as free agent tryouts, I know it's a lot of talking with (Senior Vice President and General Manager) Dave (Gettleman) and them, but how do you manage that in the next couple of weeks when you're not here? Can you have free agent workouts on the road?
A: You've got to kind of manage that with your personnel department from behind. We're not going to have any workouts for ourselves in Cleveland. That won't be part of it, but there are some days leading up to it and a lot of those questions may come down to either the health of the team or what we need to do to go out there and work and function in practice. But ultimately, we're looking at these players competing for the roster. We'll always churn the roster as much as we can. We'll always see who's available out there and make sure that we've got our list right and when the need comes, we know who to turn to.
Q: Joe, two injury questions – (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph, where does he stand? And (Offensive Lineman) Jonotthan Harrison, is he going to be out here today?
A: You're not going to see Jonotthan do anything except with the trainers today. Kyle Rudolph's making progress every day. I know he's a guy that wants to be as involved with the team as can be. He's a guy that's got more of a long-term plan, like we talked about with Saquon and some of those other guys. In terms of a timetable, I'm not going to place anything artificial on him, but I'm going to let the trainers and medical staff let me know when he can continue to do more and more, and we'll get him phased in. The one thing that Kyle's done a great job of is just his experience of what he's done in the league, who he is as a person and how he prepares. Mentally, he stays as engaged as he can be through the meetings, through kind of watching tape on his feet if you would, kind of moving around in the meeting room and getting some kind of simulated reps and staying engaged. So when he gets back, he's had as much mental experience as he could. Nothing can ever fully replicate or simulate what you've got to do on the grass, but he's doing everything possible he can to get himself in a position that when he hears a play call, he has to get lined up, he sees the front and knows who he has to block or who he's working off in the pass route. He can process that faster.
Q: Joe, will practicing against other teams impact how you decide to use Saquon in practices coming up? Like will you be more hesitant to put him out there against somebody that may not think that they should ease up on him or something?
A: Well, I think it's a factor with any player you have that has any kind of ailment. We've got to make sure that we can put them in a controlled setting where their safety is best. We did a drill yesterday where it's a non-contact, just a space kind of tracing. We don't do it as a tackle drill, and look, I told Saquon he was up, I told (Linebacker) Blake Martinez, 'Blake, you've got Saquon,' because I know these guys can work with respect and what they're going to do against each other. It's just two guys that we trust that Saquon can execute the technique, build in his rehab, get in a football movement. Blake can work what he's going to do, and he also knows that he's not going to do anything and make a mistake that maybe someone else would make. I'm not accusing any one of our players, but sometimes you may get someone who's maybe a little outside their lane and we want to make sure we keep them safe.
Q: Obviously, that would apply to someone on another team though?
A: You know, it absolutely would. Now, in terms of him against another team in practice, we'll look to see how he progresses this week. We'll have to see where he is next week for Cleveland. I would not expect to see him next week in any kind of 11-on-11 or live action. Now that's not a final deal, but I would just say based on what we know from our medical team and where he's at in his own rehab we're not going to try to artificially accelerate and get him involved just because of the competitive nature spiking up.
Q: Joe, since training camp has started, have you had like a tentative depth chart that moves up and down every day or every week or whatever?
A: I tell our guys all the time, when they come in, the depth chart is really blank and as we start practicing and they start putting together things on tape, you start filling in names based off of what they're doing. That can change every day. It's really just cumulative. It's what you do consistently day in and day out. Some guys may flash one day, some guys may flash another day, but ultimately you want to go ahead and measure who's consistently dependable, who's productive for you on the field. But in terms of filling those names in, yeah, the answer is as we start practicing, the names start getting filled in. Now, they're not written in permanent marker, so at any point, based on who is playing, the best get in that spot.
Q: Will (Wide Receiver) John Ross (II) be practicing today? We saw him leave practice a little early.
A: No, he's going to do some stuff with the trainers today and kind of ramp him up a little bit and see where he's feeling physically. There's going to be a couple of other guys, like (Tight End) Kaden Smith where we're going to kind of keep them on a lower load based on some things he did earlier in the week and last week with a higher volume. So we're going to build him in and kind of get him more into tomorrow's practice and the end of the week. Based on what he's done individually, we'll tempo back with him a little bit here.
Guard Shane Lemieux
Q: How are you feeling?
A: Good. It's one day at a time. It's good to be back out here with the guys. I'm enjoying it. Training camp's different now. I get to see faces of my teammates. I get to know the guys. Getting with (Offensive Line Coach) Rob Sale, (Assistant Offensive Line) Coach Ben (Wilkerson), Coach Flats (Offensive Consultant Pat Flaherty), it's going good. Really enjoying this.
Q: When you got hurt, (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) said something like you would chew off your leg or something to be out there.
A: I like to practice. I like to practice. I like to work. I want to get better every single day and I'm just taking it a day at a time.
Q: How scary was that injury? Was there any thought that it might be serious?
A: No, it's football. It's football. Stuff happens and I just work my butt off to get better every single day. I might not be out there but I'm still trying to work.
Q: So it was a terrible ride right? When the cart takes you off it must have been awful?
A: Oh, I was mad. It's whatever. It happened when it happened. I'm just trusting the treatment staff and the plan and the process to get back.
Q: Were you scared? Did you know that it wasn't too serious?
A: You know, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what to expect. I just trusted what the treatment said, and the doctors and our staff said. I was more concerned at that point about missing the rest of practice, you know.
Q: How do you look at how your rookie season went? I'm sure you've had a chance to break down the film. When you look back, what did you like? What didn't you?
A: I think every single year through my football career, every offseason there's highs and lows. There's things you can take into the offseason. I had some struggles last year, but I think every single year since I was a little kid, I had struggles, so taking them not in a negative view, but saying, 'OK, this is an opportunity where I can come in and fix my game this year.' It's not a negative, don't put it in a negative. Take it next year and build off of it and there's positives to build off of, too, so it's keeping it even keel. Not taking the bads and not taking the goods, just staying right down the middle and continuing to get better. I know what I got to work on and that's the biggest key right now is knowing practice to practice where you're lacking, what you've got to work on that day. You can't focus on 10 different things in practice, you've got to focus on one thing so you can get better at it every single day.
Q: You, (Tackle) Matt (Peart) and (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) were all drafted in the same draft class. Is there added chemistry knowing that you all came in together, coming up together and knowing the same way?
A: Yeah, I think we're a really tight group. I think all along the offensive line – me, (Center Nick) Gates, (Guard) Will (Hernandez), even (Guard) Kenny Wiggins now, (Tackle Nate) Solder, it's nice having him back – I think we have a really tight-knit group. We really enjoy each other's presence and we really enjoy working with each other. I think we hold each other really accountable this year and I think we're growing together.
Q: What has it been like with this coaching structure you have? The four guys that are coaching you – (Senior Offensive Assistant) Freddie (Kitchens), Rob, Ben Wilkerson, Flats
A: They all bring in valuable experience. I think they all have sent the same message and I think it's really good having more voices because they have different aspects of seeing things. We have great relationships with every single one of them and I'm just blessed to have such a great room full of coaches.
Q: What about Rob in particular? What's he been like?
A: Coach Sale is awesome. He teaches nastiness. He teaches being smart. He teaches physicality. He teaches just being tough. His guidelines, we're really buying into that and continuing to do that a lot better.
Q: How did you get hurt? Was it friendly fire or something like that?
A: It was a weird plant. You couldn't even see it on film. It was just one of those things.
Q: Is that something you have to deal with moving forward or is it something that should just heal up and be fine and you're good to go?
A: I think I'm just taking it one day at a time. I don't know the timetable or anything like that, it's just good being back out there today.
Q: Shane, as a young player you watch some of these older veterans retiring back-to-back like that. Those guys are learning to be teammates with you and then they leave. How do you react to that? How do you see that?
A: I think it's not my place to say anything about that, but obviously Zach (Fulton), Joe Looney and all those guys, they're respected veterans that were in our room. These guys played their butt off for ten, nine years. That's a personal decision. I don't even want to speak on that. I'm in year two, I can't speak on that because those guys are vets, they've seen it all. I'm blessed to have those guys in my room, even for a short amount of time.
Q: How weird was the last year for you in the sense that Will gets sick. You come in to grab the job and keep the job. Was it difficult? Your job is to do your job, but taking over for somebody because they got sick.
A: Well, I think it wasn't weird. I think that's football. I come to practice every single day with a mentality that no matter what happens every weekend, every Sunday night game, no matter if I was playing or not, I was ready to go in. I took that approach and I had a really good group of veterans last year that taught me that mindset, and whenever my name was called, I was going to be ready and prepared to perform.
Q: Did Will ever come up to you and say, 'No problem. Just go out and keep playing'?
A: You know, Will and I have a great relationship and I was just worried about this week to week process of getting better every single time.
Q: Shane, when you had to go off on the cart, I've had guys tell me that's the loneliest ride you can have for about 45 seconds when you're rolling off. Is that how you felt?
A: I didn't feel sorry for myself at all. It's not like that. I was worried about, crap, I didn't get my other one-on-one rep or crap, I didn't get in the last team period. In my mind I was thinking I'm missing valuable opportunities to get better at this practice. That's all that was going through my head.
Q: Shane, do you like that label of being a nasty player on the field? Do you take pride in it?
A: I took a lot of pride in that as being my characteristic ever since I was a young football player and the way I was taught to play this game is through physicality and nastiness. But you can talk about it or you can do it, you know what I mean? If you watch tape, you want to see it on tape. You can't just say you're a nasty player and not do it. I'd rather walk the walk than talk the talk.
Q: Did you see yourself doing that on tape?
A: Obviously, there are highs and there are lows. There's times where I'm not and times that I am, and you gotta keep that up. It's not my job to name myself a nasty player.
Q: Did you change your appearance? I mean, you look different this year.
A: I had a mustache last year, it just wasn't as good. I still gotta work on it a little bit.
Tight End Evan Engram
Q: Evan, would you consider this your best camp?
A: I definitely prepared a lot for this camp, I'd say that. Just having a mindset, just attacking each day, each play, each rep was definitely my motivation coming in, so I'm not going to think back on last year or anything. I'm just really focused on performing to my best ability in this camp for sure.
Q: Are you happy with the way camp's going for you?
A: Things can be better, actually. There's good stuff. There's good film, but there's also a lot I've got to get cleaned up. A lot of small detail stuff, footwork in the run game, hand placement, details on routes – everything that comes with being a tight end if you break it down really hard on yourself. Trying to improve on that each and every day on those things.
Q: What have you seen from (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) in his third camp?
A: More vocal, more leadership. You can feel his presence and just his assertiveness. When things don't go the way he doesn't need, he corrects them, and he speaks up. I mean, he's taking leadership, so just his assertiveness is really on display.
Q: What was it like having (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) back on the field yesterday?
A: I mean, it was good. It was a blessing for him. I know he's had a long journey to get back. We've all been supporting him and watching him overcome that adversity, so just for him to get back on the field with us yesterday, it was a blessing. He's a brother. He's family and he's going to help our team when he gets back in the lineup, so it's good to see him back.
Q: Evan, I know this was last week, but we haven't talked to you since. Were you relieved that (Defensive Back) Logan's (Ryan) hit on you didn't result in an injury? How do you get over something like that?
A: No, we're family. We're brothers. Literally, it's in the past and we definitely got over it and learned from it. So like Logan said, things get chippy out here when competing and we've been competing ever since. It's not going to stop. We're family, we're brothers and it was good for us just competing like that and bounce back from it.
Q: What did you think of the punishment laps and kind of what happened after?
A: I mean, that's just (Head Coach) Joe (Judge). That's just Joe. We got into it, so we have to pay for it.
Q: When that happens, do you and Logan have to talk it out or is it just over as soon as you are inside?
A: We got in the locker room and we were all laughing about it and chopping it up and talking about it. Like I said, we're family, man. It's like little brothers fighting, literally that's how it was. We got in the locker room and we made up and we had fun and we all talked it out and it was all good.
Q: When something like that occurs, has it been helpful?
A: I definitely feel that for our team, for sure.
Q: What are you looking for Saturday night? Do you even know if you're playing?
A: Execution, whether I'm playing or everybody else is playing, execution. It's our first preseason game. This is our first time beating up on somebody else other than ourselves, so the biggest thing for us to do is go out there and execute the little details. That's the number one thing for our tight end room and as a team.
Q: Is Jets-Giants still any rivalry?
A: I mean, I know every preseason game we played against the Jets, it's been rocking. Even in a preseason game, I remember the first three years, it was a great atmosphere, so I'm definitely a fan. We're just going to go out there and compete.
Q: Evan, tomorrow night fans will be at practice, do you remember what that feels like?
A: I can't wait, honestly. Honestly, I can't. That's been circled on my calendar. I do miss the fans at training camp every day like in the past. Just being back in the atmosphere and kind of getting a taste of what it's going to be like come September 12th, I'm definitely looking forward to it and can't wait.
Q: People can't almost put into words of what it looks like to run through that tunnel.
A: Football is football, but just our fans, how passionate they are, and every Sunday before last year that stadium was rocking. We feed off that. We feel like we've improved as a team and we're ready to put the product that we've been working for and building for on the field for our fans.
Q: Was it jarring that first time to have the smoke and then no fans in the stands?
A: Yeah, it was definitely different, especially when we started off on a primetime game. Primetime in that stadium normally it's crazy, so it was different. Never really fully got used to it, but we're just ready to get everybody back in there, for sure.
Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence
Q: I know it's a practice, but what will it be like when you're over at the stadium tomorrow night with live bodies in the seats?
A: It's going to be pretty fun. Obviously, we missed the fans last year. They bring a different type of excitement, a different type of juice. Playing in front of them is just an honor, really.
Q: Did you ever get used to it last year or was it something you never got used to?
A: Yeah, you kind of got numb to it after a while. You're just out there trying to win games and do your job, keep the spirits up and keep the energy up yourself. We had a lot of games to kind of feel that out and just keep things going for ourselves.
Q: It's not something you want to get used to.
A: Heck no.
Q: Dex, what did you think of the defense today? It looked like you guys significantly outplayed the offense today.
A: I go every day to have an attitude, a tenacious attitude, and just go out there and get it. You know, a lot of the times we've got the players on the other side of the ball, so the work we're getting is amazing. We're out there to compete and make each other better every day. That's just our one goal every day, just to get better, don't make the same mistake and just compete against those guys and help us all grow as a team and get better.
Q: The last time you played in a preseason game you were just a little rookie. What can take out of the preseason this year?
A: Honestly, what you take out of any preseason game or any scrimmage, honing on your skills, honing on the work that you put in, controlling your emotions -- like you said, it's a big crowd out there, so just honing on your emotions, your technique and go out there and just get a feel for how things are going to be and get reps.
Q: Decades ago, people would talk about this game as the bragging rights game. Is there such a thing now?
A: I mean, probably. You obviously want to be top in the state in games like that. I wouldn't say bragging rights, but more of an internal rivalry type of thing, trying to be on top of your state.