The NY Giants may need to face an uncomfortable conversation, and decision, when it comes to head coach Joe Judge’s future at season’s end
It seems unavoidable at this point.
After falling to the Kansas City Chiefs, 20-17, very nearly pulling off an upset but being undone late by untimely penalties and unforced errors Monday night, the now 2-6 NY Giants seem destined to finish with a losing record for the fifth consecutive season and eighth time in nine years.
If the NY Giants fail to finish 7-2 over the final nine weeks, to finish 9-8, it is almost a certainty that Dave Gettleman will be relieved of his duties as general manager.
Gettleman will leave behind a roster that will need to add at least four starting caliber offensive lineman, nearly an entire linebacking corps, and a somewhat uncertain quarterback situation.
Gettleman will also leave behind a litany of questions.
Perhaps the biggest and most consequential of all is; what to do about Joe Judge?
The second-year head coach has now won just eight of his first 24 games, after resoundingly winning his introductory press conference, and in the process winning over the Giants‘ fanbase.
That honeymoon, has long since ended.
Judge insisted that January day in a MetLife Stadium club lounge that his team would emphasize fundamentals, would play disciplined football, and embody the blue collar attitude of the fanbase it plays in front of each week.
Through the first half of this season, Judge’s NY Giants have done anything but.
Monday night, it was an offsides penalty on edge rusher Oshane Ximines that negated a fourth quarter Darnay Holmes interception off Patrick Mahomes with 4:29 left. Eight plays and 64 yards later, Harrison Butker split the uprights on what proved to be a 34-yard game-winning field goal.
Judge, on Monday night, left himself no timeouts in the final two minutes, after senselessly wasting them throughout the second half, including inexplicably calling one with 4:00 remaining in the third quarter … on defense.
Judge’s NY Giants do not play fundamentally sound football.
They do not play disciplined football, either, as illustrated by Elijhaa Penny carelessly taunting by mouthing off to a Chiefs defensive back after picking up a first down that would have extended a promising fourth quarter drive.
The harsh reality is Judge’s NY Giants are regressing.
There is no debating that the Kansas City Chiefs were the more talented team on Monday night. But, the NY Giants punched above their weight, and had a very real chance to win the game in the fourth quarter.
But, the NY Giants were the more talented roster than the Washington Football Team, in a game that was lost in large part because Dexter Lawrence jumped offsides on a Dustin Hopkins missed field goal that allowed Washington’s kicker another try, a try he drilled to win the game.
Even with all the laps in practice in the world haven’t fixed those ills.
Judge’s NY Giants continue to make senseless mistakes in the biggest moments of close games.
In one-score games in the NFL, head coaching can make all the difference. To that end, Judge has been a hinderance to the NY Giants rather than a catalyst.
Make no mistake, Judge has talked a lot about building a winning culture. Judge’s players seem to play hard, which is no easy task amid such endless losing and seemingly endless injuries, and he seems to embody everything the NY Giants organization believes itself to be.
But, moral victories only last so long. Especially for a franchise that has lost 93 games over the past 10 years. That patience may be wearing thin, even for a franchise, and an owner who have had three head coaches over the past five years.
If NY Giants owner John Mara fails to see the progress he hoped to by season’s end in order to retain Dave Gettleman for another year, he must empower Gettleman’s replacement to make his own decision on who will be his head coach.
Judge hasn’t done enough to merit any more than that.
And that decision, might be the toughest of all that a new general manager of the NY Giants will face.