NY Giants Head Coach Joe Judge (8.22.21)

Opening statement:

“I’m proud of the team and the way they came out and competed. This is definitely a positive week for us as a team, and we got better this week. We got a lot of quality work in two days of practice with a lot of our vets and young guys. A lot of guys were taking a lot of balls. We were able to evaluate our roster and evaluate a lot of players going into the stretch. We are going to New England next week, and we will be able to go with our team as narrowed down as possible. We’re not making all the final decisions, but this game will give us a clearer picture going into New England next week in terms of treating it almost like a regular season game.”

On what the plan was going into this game:

“It really went back to the quality of practice we had. With the volume and intensity of the work we had, we thought that it was best for the health of those players, especially with a quick turnaround and one day off in between. As we get these guys ready to go next week, we know it’s going to be a hard work week that simulates a regular season week and having a competitive practice session with Patriots. It was the best thing for the health of the team and it also gave us an opportunity to really evaluate a lot of guys on the roster. We have to make sure that we have as clear a picture as possible to give them a fair evaluation.”

On why NY Giants Matt Cole played CB:

“Because of the way Matt competed. He has been the guy since he got here. Whether special teams, offense or defense, he just says ‘yes sir’ and goes out there and plays 100 percent. We were sitting there and looking at the amount of guys we were going to play yesterday. We knew the depth of some was going to be an issue. We knew it was going to be a hot day and playing a lot of snaps. We just turned around and said, Let’s let Matt go out there. This guy competes on punt returns against a gunner. Let’s see what he’s got. To be honest with you, I’ve had experience with receivers in training camp and guys that have stuck around. One thing that impressed us was that he didn’t blink. He went out there. He got the ball thrown to him a couple times. He made a nice tackle. He stopped them short right there and forced a field goal. Obviously, the calls were a little new to him. He got a crash course last night on our defense and some meanings, but he went out there to compete.”

On when Cole found out he was playing:

“The decision was made yesterday so we got him before we went into the final meetings for prep. We brushed up the best we could. (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome (Henderson) did a great job of communicating with him on the field in terms of the technical signs on a play-by-play basis. We kind of had a 10-man huddle, and Matt had a personal tutor on the sideline, but he did a good job.”

On whether getting better this week was because of guys like DL David Moa and LB Trent Harris:

“I think our entire roster got better this week. We had great quality work. I thought our practices are exactly what we needed to come out here with high intensity, high volume, building our conditioning and our fundamentals at a competitive rate. I thought seeing those young guys play in competitive situations throughout the entire game – for 60 minutes – gives a really good extended view of these players, not only early or in some small glimpses but extended – how they make adjustments in games, how they respond to situations, four-minute for the defense, two-minute for the offense. You can see a lot of players elevate their game this entire week. There is definitely a lot of push on the roster. There are positions like Trent, Moa and other guys.”

On LB Oshane Ximines:

“It was good to see X back out there with us. He had a good week of practice. We just wanted to get him some reps in. Go with X and just get him back out there playing ball. He obviously missed a lot of ball last year being injured. He missed a lot of ball this year with starting camp late so the goal for him and (LB) Ryan Anderson was to just get them as many snaps as they could with playing ball. I’m happy the way it came out. They did some nice things for us today. Obviously, there are always things to clean up. We’re never fully satisfied with the tape. However, they went out there and played a lot of ball for us and definitely did some good things.”

On whether RB Saquon Barkley will play next week:

“We have not [made a decision]. We are going to the doctors and approach it as we get closer. We will have conversations tomorrow and will definitely be increasing what he’s doing. I can’t tell you exactly what that’s going to be. I don’t know at this point if that’s going to include 11-on-11 or 7-on-7, or whatever it may be, but we’re going to make sure we’re very calculated with what we do. At the same time, he had a great week this week with the trainers and with what he could give us on the field. I know he is tapping his foot and getting anxious. As soon as we get the greenlight from the medical staff, we’ll keep going.”

On whether it is a reasonable timeline for RB Saquon Barkley to play in the opener:

“I don’t have an answer there, but I wouldn’t eliminate any possibilities.”

On what the message was for WR Sterling Shepard after the altercation with Browns CB Troy Hill at joint practice:

“I handled that internally. We handled that internally. They kept it to their players and we’ll keep it between us.”

On whether TE Kyle Rudolph will come off PUP this week:

“He had a good week this week at rehab. When I talked to him with the medical team, it’s optimistic that there may be a chance coming up to get off. Again, that is an individual basis so we will see what the medical team says on that and see if we can get him out there with the team working.”

On whether LB Azeez Ojulari was injured at practice:

“He has had a week in practice, and we aren’t used to having full weeks, so that’s why he wasn’t out there.”

On whether he sees a finish line since Cleveland and New England were the early goals laid out:

“I think we’re progressing for where we want to be. We’re at a point where the first part of training camp was ramping the team up, getting the conditioning right, building on the fundamentals. And that never stops. But coming out of the Jets week, and turning around and having a good week here in Cleveland with a lot of good competition – it’s a great team to correct off of. It’s a great team to teach off of. To turn around and in this game, have a lot of young guys playing and going out there and showing how to make some decisions. Now turn around and going to New England next week and having their folks. We’re working, specifically with individual practice. We will talk to their staff in New England and narrow down who the folks are going to be, but it’s going to be a lot of situational football. It will great for our team and something that we have to get against another opponent.”

On if the team will be getting out as expected:

“Yes. Last I heard, the hurricane should not stop us from landing in Newark as planned. There were some contingency plans earlier in the day, but the plan all day has been to go ahead and get out of here. It was either going to be landing in Newark or somewhere close to drive. Right now, everything is going to Newark. I haven’t talked to anyone back home, but I hear it’s been more rain than anything.”

On how the storm may effect the trip to New England:

“I haven’t spoken to anyone specifically in New England about that, but our Ops team has worked on the travel plans in terms of going up there. There are some alternatives if anything happens, like a train trip.”

On the importance of game exposures:

“It is huge. A lot of times in practice, it is kind of scripted. Even when you call something off the cuff, they know in certain periods that you’re going to play certain things. When you get into games, you get to move things around. You really work different guys around. That is where versatility comes in. It’s not just something you talk about. It’s something you have to have in our program. As you go through the season, these scenarios are going to come up, so you have to do something different than what they’ve practiced on. You have to be able to go in and make the adjustments. This is great preparation for our players, but it is great preparation for our coaches as well. Make the sideline, in-game adjustments collectively and talk about it as a staff. Get the offensive guys together, the defensive guys together. This is valuable experience in preseason and will set you up to work together to seamlessly make the transitions in the season. That’s really where it’s most important.”

On the decision to not give S Xavier McKinney a series:

“To be honest, we wanted to get him out there and let him break a single color roll. When (DB) Logan (Ryan) is on the field, Logan handles the majority of the calls. We just want to give him some game reps of being out there and running the huddle, making the on-field checks, and getting prepared for the season.”

On P Ryan Santoso:

“I have to evaluate the tape fully. I thought it was a good start for what we want to do. A large part of our focus for this game was to take a look at some of the guys, like (K Ryan) Santoso with kicks. He has been tremendous for us so we wanted to make sure we got him out there. Those guys did a tremendous job for us. We’re happy to have (K) Graham (Gano). He is a phenomenal kicker. I know he is a quality guy and we wanted to make sure we got him some tape, to be honest with you. This guy deserves to be 1 or 2. He’s got that kind of ability. We have all the faith in the world. We have tried to get him out there for some kicks, and we haven’t been able to the past few weeks. We wanted to go for two at the end because there is no overtime in preseason.”