Joe Judge puts Giants disaster on himself

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Joe Judge was brought here to clean up somebody else’s mess. Now we get to see if he can clean up his own.

“I’m the head coach. It’s my responsibility. Point blank. Every player on this field, every position group, the execution, it all comes down to me,” Judge said on Thursday.

“The fish stinks from the head down. “I’ve been taught that by great guys I’ve worked for and played for. There is no excuses, no exceptions. You demand of your coaches to make sure your players are playing the right way, you demand of your players to know what to do and they have to go out there and do it. But it starts with me and ends with me.”

You either weather storms, especially in this market, especially when the fan base is disenchanted, disillusioned and disgusted with the sham product they have been paying for with their hard-earned dollars and everlasting loyalty, or you do not.

As adept as he is from shielding himself and his players from the raging outside noise, Judge is plenty aware enough to recognize that the honeymoon with Giants fans is over for him and his team.

They watch their depleted Giants, for as long as they can, until they can’t bear to watch them any longer and head for the Turnpike, or for the GW Bridge, where they can probably still hear the boobirds venting.

They watch their depleted Giants look like guppyweights in the ring with heavyweights and groan:

SAY IT AIN’T JOE.

Judge, as a rookie head coach, showed John Mara that he was the right man for the job, the CEO and leader that he had been searching for since Tom Coughlin left the building.

Now Judge has to remind him, and the faithful, that he is the right man for the job. 

Joe Judge on the sidelines during the Giants' game against the Cowboys
Joe Judge on the sidelines during the Giants’ game against the Cowboys
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His players profess love for him in the meeting rooms and on the practice field – just not on game day. Which ultimately is the only way to keep score.

What Mara thought, what Giants fans thought – what I thought – was that this team had enough talent to morph from pretender to contender as long as Daniel Jones took the next step.

SAY IT IS JOE.

And now? A 1-5 laughingstock strangulated by a Losing Syndrome and embarrassing those who came before?

SAY IT AIN’T JOE.

So now we get to see how qualified Judge is at crisis management – ironically against the other coach that intrigued the Giants in Panthers coach Matt Rhule.

No one who lives and dies with this team wants to hear about all the injuries. Not after an entire decade without a playoff win. Not when the 2021 Giants have broken Judge’s Day 1 promise to field a blue-collar team that would represent the tough, hard-working people in this area. 

But they cannot and should not be dismissed out of hand. 

The coaches who preceded him and followed Coughlin would tell us they were built for this, when the buzzards began circling over their heads and the jackals were pounding on the door. Turns out they weren’t built for this.

Judge can still prove that he is built for this.

Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey: “Joe’s our leader. We all look to our leader for strength, he’s done a helluva job I think of keeping the team moving forward. One thing as special teams coaches you understand is the only constant that we have in this league is change, and it’s always changing, so you’ve gotta be able to adjust to the change – positive, negative, you gotta be able to adjust to it. And Joe’s a tough guy. Joe’s mentally tough, and he’s doing a great job with our team as far as the leadership part of it, moving forward, staying focused on the task at hand and that’s to win today. You don’t have a chance on Sunday if you don’t win today.”

Joe Judge talks to his players against the Rams
Joe Judge talks to his players against the Rams
Getty Images

Defensive coordinator Pat Graham: “The emotional consistency, the emotional stamina to be the same every day. That’s why he’s a good leader. Whether we win, lose, whatever, Joe’s gonna correct us. There’s a standard he has, and if we won by three touchdowns or lost by three touchdowns, Joe is consistent in how he’s handled it, trying to improve the football team as we move through the season. The goals still remain the same – to be playing your best football once you get to Thanksgiving – obviously we gotta start winning some games. But Joe is as consistent as I’ve ever seen him, never too up, never too down.”

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett: “Not really my place to comment on Coach Judge, I think the biggest thing we all try to do when you have done tight tines is just kinda settle back in to what you need to do each day to coach your best and to play your best, and each day of preparation leads to an opportunity to play your best on Sunday. If you can get everyone focused on what we need to do right now, I think that’s what gives you the best chance, and really applies to life too. Somehow, you have to learn from your past experiences, don’t worry about what’s next … collectively as an organization, that’s what we’re trying to do, every coach, every player and Joe’s our leader’s done a really good job of that.”

Bill Parcells overcame a 3-12-1 rookie season in his second try at it with a No More Mr. Nice Guy persona. Coughlin’s genius as a coach was mitigated by a militaristic tyrannical approach that threatened his ouster if he didn’t transform into a kinder, gentler Tom – as well as provide for ownership a plan to get Eli Manning at the end of his third year to the next level. 

“I just keep focused on the job and the task at hand. In anything you are doing, if you come in and try to look at everything at once and take on everything at once you are going to feel suffocated,” Judge said.

The good news is Judge hasn’t flinched, he hasn’t blinked. “The only time you really feel any kind of pressure or nerves (is) when you’re unprepared,” he says.

Judge him from this point on. He deserves as much. Still time to Say It IS JOE. 



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