“The Giants hired who?” “Who is Joe Judge?” When the New York Giants hired Judge to be their head coach in early January, fans of all teams questioned the move. While the team finds themselves in a 2-7 hole, the Giants seem to be in good spirits as they are technically still in the running for the NFC East title. While moral victories are unwelcome by many Giants fans, Joe Judge has this team playing hard, and it will soon translate into wins if they clean up their own mistakes.
Joe Judge Is the Right Coach for the New York Giants
After the Tom Coughlin era ended following the 2015 season, the Giants have been in a head coaching carousal ever since. Ben McAdoo seemed like a good hire at first, leading the team to an 11-5 record and a Wild Card game appearance in his first season. Shortly after an off-season full of high expectations, the team fell into a dark hole, only winning three games in 2017. McAdoo was fired in early December of that season along with the general manager at the time, Jerry Reese.
This brings up the Dave Gettleman–Pat Shurmur experiment. Shurmur, who was the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings before accepting the Giants head coaching job, was advertised as a “quarterback guru” who would bring out the best in Eli Manning and the rest of the offense. While that did somewhat hold true, with the Giants scoring the most points in the NFC East in 2018, Shurmur led the Giants to a disappointing 9-23 record in two years as head coach.
Shortly after firing Shurmur, the Giants decided to take a chance on New England Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge. Judge had worked under arguably two of the best coaches in football history: Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. While those are two great mentors to learn from, Judge made it clear that he wanted to establish his own style of coaching, one that focused on the fundamentals of the game.
“The primary focus I’m going to have as a head coach is I’m going to make sure we are fundamentally sound, we are situationally aware, and that we play with relentless effort.”
The fundamental work looks like it is paying off so far for Judge and the Giants, for example, the loose ball drill. At the end of training camp, Judge was filmed diving for a ball in a drill where a hose is sprinkled over players as they work on recovering fumbles. The Giants have 15 takeaways this season, seven of those being fumbles.
Again, while two wins through nine games are not impressive, the Giants have really kept themselves in games this year besides one. The Giants have four losses this season by five points or less, second-most in the league behind the Los Angeles Chargers (5).
Joe Judge having a “no-nonsense” approach is evident. Rookie tackle Andrew Thomas was benched for the first few offensive series in Week 6 for being late to a team meeting.
“I was late for our meeting last night,” Thomas said. “Coach Judge always talks about actions have consequences, and I take responsibility for my actions and the consequences. It won’t happen again.”
Another part of Judge’s plan coming to fruition is telling players not to reveal everything to reporters. When asked about injuries, players usually answer in a way that says “ask coach Judge.”
Most recently, Golden Tate has been disgruntled about the number of targets he receives during games. After his wife went on a tirade over social media and Tate liking a tweet saying that the team should cut him, Judge made the decision that the 32-year-old wide receiver would not travel with the team to Washington for disciplinary reasons.
“I’m not going to tolerate and put up with any kind of selfish behavior from anybody,” said Judge.
Tate was back at practice this week and will look to play against the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the actions Judge took to counter Tate’s actions will send a message to the rest of the team that selfishness will not be tolerated.
The Joe Judge Report
Every week, win or lose, the Giants YouTube channel has a show called “The Joe Judge Report,” highlighting plays from all three phases of the game. While watching this segment, one can tell that Judge is passionate about the game and that he knows what he is talking about.
“I’m not going to be the offensive coordinator, the defensive coordinator, or the special teams’ coordinator. I’ll work with all three sides of the ball.”
This statement holds true in these weekly videos, it is quite remarkable watching Judge break down plays from every game.
John Mara and the Giants took a chance on a first-time head coach in Joe Judge. Judge has not seen the results yet in terms of wins and losses, but this team is improved from years past. Wins will come, but for now, all that the Giants need to look for is improvement. Joe Judge is crucial in the Giants’ development and he is the right coach to lead this squad going forward.