Joe Judge collateral damage of a flawed Giants franchise

The Giants failed Joe Judge in more ways than Joe Judge failed the Giants.

That Judge is gone, relegated to a few lines in the team’s upcoming media guide, is a byproduct of the terrible hand he was dealt, rather than the flaws that were revealed as a young head coach for the first time.

To be clear, there were flaws. Judge can be a bulldozer when it comes to smoothing things over. His working relationship with general manager Dave Gettleman soured over the course of last season, a situation neither of whom is blameless for.

Judge hasn’t helped himself on several fronts down the stretch of this breakneck season, falling apart a bit when he needed to stay as solid as possible. When an untested guy is 4-13 in Year #2 and his team is outscored 163-56 in a six-game finals streak (all without their starting quarterback, mind you), turning on game days in three-hour torture sessions. , there is no strong case for a No. 3 year. But there is a case.

Judge’s perception and Judge’s reality are not the same thing. The tough image fostered by the baseless label of “Timmy Tough Nuts” doesn’t come close to the totality of who Judge is as a person and as a head coach.

He never attacked his players in public. Do you think he had any thoughts on the state of his offensive line that he was eager to share after one of those ridiculously weak offensive displays? There was no word from Judge, and those linemen knew he had their back.

The judge was not a facsimile of Bill Belichick. He invited a small group of media members who covered the Giants to an after-dinner meeting in his Cleveland hotel suite during joint practices with the Browns. Judge, in his spare time at the team facility, conducted “chalk talk” press sessions, going to the blackboard to explain the intricacies of his offense and defense. He hosted a media dinner in Tucson when the Giants practiced at the University of Arizona in December. That was far from Belichick-ian.

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge argues
Joe Judge didn’t get what he needed from the Giants to smell success.
Roberto Sabo

Judge was not to blame for arriving when Gettleman was in the third year of a decision-making slump that greatly weakened the roster. Some within the Giants will insinuate that Judge worked so hard with his players that his team was never able to recover, which is why he was ultimately forced to hold only one hard practice per week. What is undeniable and needs to be investigated is why the return of injured players often took longer than their anticipated recovery time.

Co-owner John Mara promised patience. The judge told him that this was not a quick fix. Sure, it was hard to accept some of Judge’s repeated assurances that progress was being made behind the scenes. Sure, his “many things are going in the right direction” mantra after the 20-9 loss in Miami sounded delusional. But remember, Judge was told he would have time to build from scratch and was certainly led to believe that time would not be limited to two years or more.

It wasn’t fair to get rid of Judge after only two seasons, but it really wasn’t fair to the GM search process to retain Judge and have that decision pending on the new man in charge of football operations. As usual, the good of the team outweighed the good of the individual, and Judge was the collateral damage.

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge walks with general manager Dave Gettleman at practice
Dave Gettleman’s cap management left Joe Judge and his staff with too many holes to plug.
corey sippin

Mara, with all this recent experience, should have exactly the right gait for her routine every two years of walking down the aisle to fire the head coach. He said it was “heartbreaking” to tell Judge that he was going to be fired. Probably not that heartbreaking, though, as Judge had to tell his wife, and especially their four children, that their two-year stay in New Jersey, after making new friends, adjusting to new schools and handing over their equipment Patriots for all things Giants, it’s over and over.

Judge grinds his coaching staff and his players, and that can wear them down. As the offense sank, he tried to keep things afloat by micromanaging that side of the ball, but there were too many holes to plug. The roster was bleeding and needed reinforcements, but the Giants were so tight against the salary cap that they couldn’t afford to bring in any help, leading to despair among the coaching staff.

“Joe is a good guy,” said an assistant coach. “He handled it the best he could.”

Joe Judge was flawed, but not as flawed as what was going on around him. He was 38 when he was hired and 40 when he was told to leave. The Giants said they knew there were going to be growing pains, but they didn’t give him enough time to grow.


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