The NY Giants just walked into Seattle and pulled the biggest upset of the season thus far – this team is starting to show why the entire NFL should be on notice.
On January 9th, 2020, Joe Judge had fans of the NY Giants ready to run through a brick wall during his introductory press conference. Fast forward to December 6th – his team went into Seattle ran through their opponent, punching the Seahawks in the mouth on the way to a victory.
The NY Giants have found their perfect level of nasty – and they’re using it to go on an unprecedented playoff run. Following years of being pushed over by division rivals and beaten down by teams with winning records, Sunday’s win in Seattle represents a changing of the guard for the Giants … and maybe the NFC East.
General manager Dave Gettleman’s vision was a team that would win the trenches, play defense and run the football. Against the Seahawks, Judge’s coaching staff made his vision come to life.
Perhaps nobody deserves more credit than defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham. What he did to Russell Wilson with a defense missing their top four edge rushers was nothing short of amazing – creating a pass rush that flustered the MVP candidate with multiple seventh round picks.
After being hired with little to no fanfare, fans are now praying he doesn’t get a head coaching gig this offseason – although it would be much deserved.
First year coaching staffs (who usually don’t have to deal with a global pandemic as well) aren’t supposed to go on the road and defeat a Super Bowl contender. Judge, Graham and the rest of the coaching staff are proving your past observations don’t apply to them.
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The best player on Graham’s defense, Leonard Williams – who Gettleman brought over from the New York Jets in a move killed by fans and media alike – has been playing at an elite level. Aside from Aaron Donald, no interior defensive lineman has been better.
On the offensive side, the Giants got two touchdowns out of Alfred Morris. After spending almost a year out of football, he’s been a strong contributor for the Giants, and got to hit a home run in Seattle’s end-zone twice.
Back-up quarterback Colt McCoy did just enough to help the Giants get a win, but Daniel Jones’ return from a hamstring injury should help the offense find another gear. With Wayne Gallman and Morris leading a strong run game, Jones should have plenty of opportunities to get going with the play-action game, which he’s been successful with in his career thus far.
Perhaps the unit that’s been under the most scrutiny since the beginning of Gettleman’s tenure has been the offensive line. They’ve been dominant over the last couple weeks, even with rookies, a converted guard at center, and players never considered ‘special’ leading the charge.
Perhaps the best way to gauge the evolution of the offensive line was just to look at the Seattle Seahawks – who brought in former Giants’ starting right tackle, Chad Wheeler, in the second half. Wheeler proceeded to get continually beat by Jabaal Sheard and Carter Coughlin, who aren’t exactly Michael Strahan or Justin Tuck – but you would’ve thought they were.
Judge’s team is full of players and coaches that have continually been written off, but they’ve used that to their advantage. It all contributes to their grittiness, and willingness to put everything into every week.
While Judge and Graham are becoming more well known around the league, coaches like offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens, and outside linebackers coach Bret Bilema have all had high profile coaching gigs before. All three ‘failed’ at their last stops, but have contributed to the Giants’ culture change.
Judge has set the tone of what he expects from his players and coaches all season long, but he put his money where his mouth is with the firing of offensive line coach, Marc Colombo. If you don’t bring a team first attitude, you’re not going to be a part of this team.
"“I want this team to reflect this area … That is blue collar, it’s hard work, it’s in your face. We’re not going to back down from anybody,” said Judge in his introductory press conference. “They put a Giants uniform on, they put a Giants hat or jersey on, that it’s not representing just the 53 on the field, but it’s representing their neighborhoods, their communities and their families with the values they have instilled in their children.”"
For the first time in a long time, Giant fans have a team that they can be proud of. Break out those hats, shirts and jerseys with pride, it’s going to be a fun ride the rest of the year.