#10 Judge looks legit
The past two head coaches of the New York Giants were total disasters.
Ben McAdoo sounds like the name of a bumbling coach in a football comedy movie, and in reality he was not much different. He wore an oversized suit to his first press conference. He used a diner menu as a play sheet. But he’ll forever be remembered for killing Eli Manning’s ironman record of starting 210 consecutive starts, before benching him in favor of Geno Smith.
Pat Shurmur came in and underperformed. He never seemed to take command the way a head coach inherently has to. He went 9-23 before fans, management, and even the players saw enough to know that he wasn’t the guy.
Joe Judge was an unknown candidate to replace Shurmur. Before his name popped up, the leading candidates seemed to be Matt Rhule, now the Carolina Panthers’ head coach, or Mike McCarthy, now the Cowboys’ head coach.
No one was sure that a special teams coordinator would be the best choice for a young quarterback, or a team that struggled with an immense amount of losses since their last good coach. Fans called in to radio stations to complain that he was no more than the latest Bill Belichick wannabe.
But from his first press conference, Joe Judge proved he’s the real deal. To listen to Judge break down football is to listen to a master of his craft explain it with ease; never condescending, always insightful.
Judge inherited a mess. And from the start he’s had to deal with the arrests of his starting kicker and a first round draft pick from 2019, a player getting into a fight on the field, the same player causing distractions off the field, plus a multitude of injuries to his best and his most promising new talent in this strange season of the NFL and COVID.
But he’s handled each and every issue like a consummate veteran. His players have been leaving all effort on the field, despite loss after loss. And outside a blowout in Week 3 against the 49ers, the Giants have been in every game.
That game could have broken a bad team. Player’s effort is a direct response to how they feel about a coach. And from every metric, it seems like Judge has all the players believing in his vision.
It helps that Judge is surrounded by Garrett and Graham, two great coaches in their own rights. And he can only improve his command of the team with some experience under his belt. But the Giants should feel confident that they found their next long-term coach.
Judge getting this team to hang in an NFC East race after starting the season 0-5 shows he has the ability to turn this organization around. It’s a surprise that it took less than a full season to prove he’s already an improvement from the past two regimes.