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Takeaways from Joe Judge’s presser: The fluidity of an NFL roster

Judge discusses the ever-changing Giants roster and addresses injuries to key players in Tuesday’s presser

New England Patriots v New York Giants Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Every season, this day on the NFL calendar is full of high’s.

And also low’s. New York Giants head coach Joe Judge addressed this concept first thing in his media availability Tuesday.

“This is not an easy day for any coach or player in the building,” Judge said. “There’s a lot of guys that sacrifice a lot for you that put a lot into it for you. You walk in there and look at empty chairs, that’s not easy for any coach or player. I think it’s natural to come into work today with a little bit of a deflated mood.”

Despite the overwhelming changes around the Giants facility today, Judge stressed that the current 53-man roster is only an initial draft due to the extra week that teams have to make changes this year.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more roster turnover than probably in previous years because there’s going to be a lot of players that have been claimed or will be claimed, that are almost going be on short term tryouts, a lot of teams,” Judge explained. “In terms of stressing that this is short term, it’s our job and responsibility to inform all the players all the time that this is a production business.”

For this reason, Judge stressed that the NFL roster is always fluid.

“I don’t think your roster is ever final,” Judge said. “I think you’re always looking to go ahead and move as needed, sometimes that’s through necessity, the nature of the game is there’s going to be injuries at times, people get banged up and anyone we see out there that we think could improve us, we’re looking to keep as many good football players in this program as possible.”

Here are some of the other major takeaways from Judge’s availability:

On trading for two offensive linemen in the past two days

The offensive line group has been notably thin for the Giants both entering training camp and throughout the preseason. The Giants added depth by trading for two interior linemen in the past two days.

Earlier today, New York traded for Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Bredeson, who was originally selected out of Michigan in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. On Monday, the Giants made another trade for an interior offensive lineman when they swapped defensive tackle B.J. Hill to the Cincinnati Bengals for Billy Price.

It was also reported this evening that guard Shane Lemieux has a partially torn patellar tendon, perhaps explaining why the Giants added more depth on the offensive line.

“I think both guys have upside to work with,” Judge said of Bredeson and Hill. “Every decision we make is always with the team’s best interest at hand. There are two guys that are available this time of year, there’s roster movement on all 32 teams.”

On Evan Engram’s injury status

It is no secret that many of the players who made the 53-man roster are struggling with injuries. Judge stressed that he does not yet know who will be going on IR in the near future.

Engram suffered a calf injury in Sunday’s game against the Patriots, further calling the depth of the tight end group into question.

“We’ll kind of see in the next couple of days where we think this could go,” Judge said. “We’re only a few days out right now, he’s a guy that’s shown some quick turnaround in the past. Last year he had something very similar, so we’ll see where this is. It’s not the same injury as before, but we’ll see how his body responds, make decision for him and the team.”

As far as whether or not Engram will be healthy enough to play in Week 1, Judge said that he could not provide answer right now.

On CB Sam Beal making the team

Beal making the roster was a surprise.

“He’s a guy that’s quietly improved for us,” Judge said. “He just goes out there every day and he’s a guy that obviously, he’s missed some time with ball, hasn’t played a lot of ball in the last few years, but he’s gotten better for us day by day and then he’s been able to be competitive in some of the joint practices we’ve had. We’re pleased with the progress he made. That was obviously a very competitive position for us this training camp.”

On Saquon Barkley’s progress

Barkley’s status for Week 1 against the Denver Broncos remains unclear. The star running back is making his return back from reconstructive knee surgery,

“There won’t be a decision made on Saquon until Denver week,” Judge said. “We’re going to go ahead and see how his body responds and where he’s at.”

Judge said that though Barkley has not participated in contact drills during practice, he continues to see growth.

“I would say just as body movements and how he’s moving efficiently and how his body’s responding, I’ve seen that progress positively throughout the way,” Judge said. “I know he’s been working hard. We’ve been building his volume little by little, probably the biggest day for us was seeing him on the field against New England last week. He knows a lower volume day for him and limited plays, there’s some things he was able to do out there in terms of the reaction on the field, in short space and with some quickness that showed his body’s progressing beyond just rehab.”

On the return of Kenny Golladay

Golladay suffered a hamstring injury during practice at the start of the month. As one of their biggest free agent signings of the offseason, Giants fans are hopeful that the former Detroit Lion will be able to play in Week 1.

“Reports on him is he’s been improving and working really, really hard,” Judge said. “When I’ve seen him with my own eyes, I’ve seen progress from when we first lost him from practice to where he is right now, we’ll see where he is next week. The good news is there’s still a good bit of time between now and a game for what he’s dealing with.”

Judge stressed that the plan with Golladay’s recovery was never to take it slow. He discussed the value of training camp not only for individual players, but for the team as a whole.

“In terms of Kenny, the focus has been get him healthy at the right pace for his body and as soon as we can get him back, we’ll get him back,” Judge said. “Same with all the other guys on the same list. I mean look, to me, training camp is critically important to get players ready for the season, both as a team, but then also just their own bodies physically. But to answer your question, kind of just short and to the point, no, we weren’t trying to get anyone just to a game.”