- The Cowboys were not happy with the officiating crew in their game against the Cardinals, as DE Demarcus Lawrence said, referring to the officiating and Arizona: “It’s a possibility we see both of these teams in the playoffs.” (Michael Gehlken)
- Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch feels the officiating crew missed a fumble call: “It was totally a fumble, and I just don’t understand how, with the technology we have nowadays, even if we don’t have timeouts or whatever it may be … Certain things are so obvious. …To me, we’re playing more against the refs than other teams.” (Gehlken)
- First-round LB Micah Parsons said he knows the team can perform better: “I think it’s one of them days when we beat ourselves. I know we can play a much cleaner game.” (Jon Machota)
- Cowboys QB Dak Prescott plans to play next week. (Machota)
- According to ESPN’s Tim McManus, Eagles LB Shaun Bradley was in a minor car accident on the way to practice one day this week, but he didn’t suffer any serious injuries.
- Eagles QB Jalen Hurts admitted that he had to improvise on a third-down throw to WR Greg Ward due to not being able to get the play-call. “We’ve got to operate a little faster in and out of the huddle…What actually happened on that play was I didn’t get the play. I thought I heard what he said, but I kind of had to pull one out of my hat…And G-Ward made a hell of a play.” (Zach Berman)
- Eagles LB Davion Taylor has been ruled out for the rest of the season. (Berman)
Giants HC Joe Judge said he knew what he signed up for when taking the job in New York, and understands that expectations to succeed are high and results are expected quickly. That was one of the points he hit on a meandering, 10-minute rant during the post-game press conference after a blowout loss to the Bears.
“We talk inside a lot. I don’t ever ask for patience from anybody, let’s get that clear right now,” Judge said, via NJ.com. “And the fans have every right to have an opinion. That’s why they’re fans. They have every right. You buy a ticket to come in the stadium, you have every right to boo me going into the stadium. That’s the way it is. That’s what we sign up for, right? And it’s New York. It’s supposed to be a tough place to be. Certain cities in this country, they don’t even know if their team is playing today, all right? So you sign up for a job, you say you like New York, you expect to have this. I don’t shy away from that. I don’t worry about that at all. But when you talk internally, you look at a lot of things moving in the right direction. And you know the targets for what you have to improve going forward. The important thing is you need direct targets of what you have to improve on. I’m not going to go individually into these today. All right, but you know the direct targets of what you have to hit, all right? You look at what you’ve got to make short term to make it a quick turnaround, to build on things you’ve done well. I say it all the time: There’s things we’ve done well that we’ve gotta build on, right?”
Judge said despite the fact that the Giants have been eliminated from postseason contention, the players and the coaching staff are still giving it their best and he believes the culture and foundation in place is a testament to that.
“Then another player spoke up and said they’ve never been in playoff contention, period. They weren’t present with us last year for the remainder of the season for a certain reason to be in it last year and play down the stretch. Both guys had the same response: Every guy in the team and in the locker room, everybody on the team comes in to work. Everybody comes in every week and is committed to doing what they have to do and doing it the right way and playing together as a team. There’s a lot of teams right now that are out of playoff contention, OK? Whether it’s golf clubs in the locker room or people planning vacations outside of it, all right, where there’s a lot of finger pointing and blaming and shouting, all that stuff. You know what we don’t have in our building. Any of that. We don’t have any of that. Any of that. Our guys know we have one more week this year to be this team. We have one more week this year to be this team. They expect me to show up and give every ounce of football I have in me this next week, you got that? You’ll get everything out of me. But I expect to see it in return. I just told them a second ago, that’s what I expect. The expectation here is I expect every ounce of football you’ve got inside of you, OK? There’s things we have aligned right now, there’s things we have in place where certain units are playing and certain players are playing, and we’ve got some foundational core guys, and we know the culture is strong. All right?”
Judge feels having a strong culture within the building is paramount to building a sustainable winner.
“I’m going to tell you right now: You guys always ask me about that off-the-field stuff and why the hell is it so important to have culture? I’ll tell you right now. A few years ago before I came here, when I came here and sat down with all the players and I wanted to know what it was like in here, what we had to change, I wanted to hear it from their mouths, all right? To a man, every player looked me in the eye and said: Joe, it’s not a team, they don’t play hard, we’re out of the playoffs, everybody quit, everybody tapped out, not showing up to captains’ meetings, all that stuff, all right? They tapped out, OK? I’ve been parts of teams at other places, I’m not trying to make this place anywhere else I’ve been.”
Judge points out that dealing with adversity and working through a season that doesn’t go the way you’d hope for is a strong indicator of how good the culture within the building is.
“Lessons I’ve learned, I’ll tell you right now, all right? In 2018, I was part of a team who halfway through the season we were all pretty convinced we were getting fired. We didn’t think we were going to make the playoffs. Had no concept of anything that was coming. We just knew we were going to keep showing up and improving week after week. And on the outside, we were all terrible. We didn’t care about any of that noise on the outside. We didn’t care about it at all. What did we care about on the inside? What were we doing? Guys showed up, they worked, they fought, they worked. We improved enough as a team, put things together, make a run and end up winning the championship. But the things I really learned that year was the importance of the culture inside. How important and valuable that is. I was part of more talented teams that came up short and lost games down the stretch. Much more talented. But one thing that really solidified in my mind, in my DNA that year in 2018 was the fact that it’s so much more important how strong you are inside because no team goes through a smooth season. No team goes through a smooth season.”
Judge feels it’s paramount to get the locker room to buy into what he’s preaching. He feels it’s important for the players to “trust the process.”
“This ain’t a team that’s having fistfights on the sidelines. This ain’t some clown show organization or something else, OK? We’re talking about the foundation built. The toughest thing to change in the team, the toughest team to change in the club is the way people think. You understand that? That’s the toughest thing. You can get new players, you can have them in your damn locker room all you want. You have to change how people think. You change how they f—king — pardon my language — believe in what you’re doing. They have to trust the process. And that’s a lot easier said than done when they’re looking up right now, one game left and the most games they’ll win is five this season, OK? But I guarantee you this: Those men are going to walk in on Wednesday and be ready to roll. We’re going to practice hard on Wednesday, we’re going to practice hard on Thursday, we’re going to practice hard on Friday, OK? We’re going to play for each other on the field next week.”
Judge feels the team is closer to becoming a winner than when he was hired to be the head coach.
“You guys ain’t been in the building for two years now with this COVID shit, right? I’ll tell you right now, if you’re in the damn building, if you walk on through our locker room, you ain’t seeing the crap you saw before. All right? You ain’t seeing guys planning vacations, you ain’t seeing golf clubs in front of players lockers, you ain’t seeing that stuff. OK? You ain’t seeing it. That’s not because this is some high school program we’re practicing with. It’s because our guys understand how to play together as a team. And they understand the process of what we’re going through. So I can go through a whole X’s and O’s evaluation. I can go through a roster evaluation. I can do a lot of things for you right now, OK? I do it every day myself. I go through all of that stuff. But in terms of the next step to take, I can tell you right now, OK? I can tell you we’re a whole lot closer to where we’re going, we’re not further away. I can tell you that right now.”
Judge claimed there are players both former and current who expressed a desire to remain in the building, or if they left New York, to return. He feels that’s a testament to the culture and foundation that’s been put into place.
“I can tell you we’ve got more players here who are going to be free agents next year, all right, they’re coming in my office every day begging me to come back. I know that. I know that. I know players that we coached last year still calling me twice a week telling me how much they wish they were still here even though they’re getting paid more somewhere else. OK? So I know we’ve got the right foundational pieces right there. I know we’ve got players at key positions that are guys you can build with and carry on with. I know we have the right temperament. I know we’ve got the right culture in terms of teaching these players, OK? Which is why I don’t try to come up here and assassinate a player because I think it’s going to save my ass. OK? Because behind closed doors, we shut those doors, I can tell every player, to a man, look them in the eye and tell them exactly what the hell he screwed up on, exactly how it’s gotta get fixed. I gotta hold him as accountable as can be. Because I ain’t gonna sit up here like some other cowards sitting at the microphone and put his players on blast. OK? That’s it. I signed up to be the head coach here. Whatever bullet gets fired, it gets fired for me. You got that? It’s gotta go through me to get to them. That’s the way it is.”