Aug 052020
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Sam Beal, New York Giants (May 20, 2019)

Sam Beal – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants cornerback Sam Beal has decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to the ongoing COVID-19 issue. Under the agreement reached last week between the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), players can choose not to play in the upcoming season without penalty. The opt-out is irrevocable.

Beal has had a rough start to his pro career. The Giants selected Beal in the 3rd round of the Supplemental Draft in July 2018. He missed all of his rookie season when he was placed on Injured Reserve in July 2018 with a shoulder injury that required surgery. The Giants placed Beal on Injured Reserve again in September 2019 with hamstring and groin injuries, but added him to the 53-man roster in early November. Beal missed the last game with another shoulder issue. In all, Beal played in six games with three starts, receiving 26 percent of defensive snaps, and accruing 26 tackles and one pass defense.

Beal is the third Giant to opt-out of the season, following left tackle Nate Solder and wide receiver Da’Mari Scott.

New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Wednesday (see video at and YouTube):

Q: You signed Nick Gates to some pretty big money over the weekend. Will Nick Gates be working at both tackle spots? What’s the plan with him?

A: One of the strengths of Nick has been his flexibility. He’s a guy that can factor into any of the five positions on the offensive line. The priority now is to give him a chance to compete for a starting position at any one of those five spots. As coaches, we have to do a good job of mapping out how we are going to allocate his snaps and his reps on the field between primarily center and tackle and give him a fair shot at both. We are going to work him day by day based on the priority for him. It will start shaking out once the pads come on.

Q: Nick has never played center, so what about his skillset lends itself to that position?

A: He’s a guy that has good athletic ability, he’s got length. He’s definitely a smart player that we want to make sure we give him the opportunity to get inside and operate in that signal caller mode and play center. For him and Shane both, neither one of them has played center, so training is part of it right now. (Offensive line coach Marc) Colombo has to dedicate a little bit of extra time to those guys to make sure he is giving them some basics and building on what they know about the position.

Q: Speaking of basics, have you seen him snap the football yet?

A: We have. Between the walkthroughs we’ve had the last few nights, footballs are allowed to be on the field, obviously at a controlled tempo. Some basic drills we can operate and watch the QB-center exchanges. We’ve watched them all snap balls, and work with the quarterbacks. Of course, at this point, we are all sitting out there in our underwear, the real test comes when the pads come on.

Q: What does it mean to have Markus Golden back in the fold? You have a lot of young pass rushers, what does it mean to have him in the building to help those young guys?

A: I’m excited Markus is in the building with us. Obviously, this is the first time I have worked with him on a personal note. His reputation throughout the league is a very solid one. He was someone we wanted to have on the team, we are lucky it worked out the way it is. At this point right now, like all the other players, we are giving him a chance to acclimate and catch up with our systems and just get going and competing full speed.

Q: The last time we talked to you, you had a 90 man on the roster. It sounded like you were going to go that way. Is there a specific reason why you guys chose to go to 80?

A: Long story short, I think it was best for us to be able to evaluate everybody as a whole as they go through the progression. Ultimately, I wished we could have gone with 90 the entire way through like a traditional camp. That’s not the rules that are in place right now. (The 90 man roster) presents some logistical issues for you both facilities wise, how you can map out coordinating different players working with each other. We wanted to make sure we gave everyone a chance to get out there on the field and really take a look at them at work. After a duration of time, we felt it was in the team’s best interest to move to 80.

Q: When you do full walkthroughs, how much of it is the full team out there? Is it 22 guys, or do you supplement it by position? Give a sense of what those walkthroughs are looking like this early in camp?

A: They are really a slower version of practice. We start off in individual and we just group them with their position coaches. We want to work obviously at a much slower pace, a more controlled pace with the fundamentals that we’re teaching to give them a chance to walkthrough at a slow pace. They get to go on the field the next day during our conditioning and agility periods and operate those drills at full speed. We get to teach them and they get to carry them out. We build some group time where we combine multiple position groups and get them work. Quarterbacks with receivers, maybe tight ends with tackles to talk about different block combinations. A great deal of this is being run on air (inaudible). They are lined up across from trash cans or maybe coaches posed as players to give a sense of a formation they can line up and make checks to. We do have a limited amount of team reps at the end just to get 22 on the field at the same time. Really the biggest emphasis on that is communication. We can’t go at full tempo. We don’t want to expose our players to injury or something they are not ready for. It’s a teaching phase that we’re in right now. Building the communication and the identification of being on the field and working with your teammates, we think it’s valuable to put all 22 together. It doesn’t look, tempo wise, like anything you would expect practice to look like. It really is a controlled walkthrough tempo to get guys moving and familiar with our schemes and systems and how practice will flow once we go full speed.

Q: Given the roles some of these guys played last year, the addition of Kyler Fackrell, the addition of Carter Coughlin and some of the guys you drafted, do you anticipate expanding their roles? Do you anticipate focusing on one, two or three guys to build that core of the pass rush?

A: Even though we have a lot of guys in the same position group, they all have a different skill sets. So along with that, we have different packages we can build in based on who the opponent is that week. We talk a lot about doing more on the field. They have a skill set in rushing the passer, but they are not exclusively a pass rusher. These are guys that are going to play in the kicking game. These are guys that are going to factor into different run stopping units, different packages we put on to match the offense’s personnel. Building depth at significant positions is something we have to do. There’s going to be several of these guys that as we go we will see how it factors out at the outside backer position. Maybe some of those guys will get shifted to the inside and we’ll see how they fare at the inside position as well to build our depth on the roster. At this point we are going to give them a chance to get their feet wet at the outside backer position. We are not limited to what we can do. We want to make sure we find out what every player can do well. Then we will put them on the field in a position to execute.

Q: What are looking for Daniel Jones to improve upon this season? Where have you focused on him working both in the spring and the summer?

A: I think the biggest thing he can work on right now is just being out there with the team. Calling a play in the huddle, breaking the huddle, getting to the line, identifying the defensive front, making any checks at the line of scrimmage and then executing a cadence that everyone can work off of. Things that may seem so small are the fundamentals he has to start every successful play with. The biggest thing he can do is just to be in a groove with the team and hear his voice. Along Colt, Cooper and Alex, it’s very important for everyone to hear our quarterbacks’ cadences. They are all unique in their own way. We have to make sure they get used to hearing the play called in the huddle and get used to hearing the cadence at the line of scrimmage. This time right here, the most exposure our players are getting as far as working at a whole tempo with each other is in our on-field conditioning periods. We are allowed to use footballs in some of those periods, as far as agilities it allows you to run some routes on air. Building in the timing with his teammates is good. Remember, it’s a new year for everybody. It’s a new year for Daniel and the receivers. The have to get some chemistry established and built whether they were together last year or a new guy on the roster, that’s important for everyone to understand. We are starting completely over right now, and we have to start from ground zero. I’d say with the quarterback, there is never just one thing. All of our players are looking for total improvement as a player. With a quarterback, it’s all a mental game. It’s really the grasping and the understanding. If it was somebody’s second year in the offense, you would want to see their command of the offense on the field. For Daniel, we have to be fair. It’s a new offense, a new system we have schemed for him. He’s had a limited amount of walkthroughs of actually being on the field to do this. At this point, I am just looking to see his progress day by day and not looking to compare him to where he was last year.

Q: Is the process of him calling plays different than last year?

A: I don’t think it’s terribly different. Obviously, there’s a unique communication set. He has Jason (Garrett) calling plays in his ear now, then he has to call a huddle, he has 10 guys looking at him and they have to hear it a different way. The difference in the language always ties into how you can say it and present it to the team. You want to say it in certain rhythm so they get used to hearing everything from the personnel, to the formation, to the protection, the play call and then what the cadence is going to be before they break the huddle. While that sounds very simple, this year will be a little different but imagine doing it in front of 85,000 people screaming in your ear as you’re doing it. It’s important for the other 10 guys in the huddle to understand how he presents the play and how he breaks up the phrases so it all works and runs together. It’s important in a huddle that everyone understands not every word speaks to me. You have to decipher and pick which direct words speak to you on each play and tells you what your assignment is. It’s important that he develops that cadence in the huddle of how he presents those plays. In terms of how he did it last year, I wasn’t here. I would say the generalities of receiving a play and giving a play, that’s obviously right there something he has experience with.

Q: Now that you have had some time to look at your defensive line and edge rushers. How do you feel about this group’s ability to get home with four pass rushers? Is this a situation where you might have to get creative with blitzes? How big of an emphasis do you put on sacks versus getting pressure and flushing the quarterback out of the pocket?

A: I think I am going to work backwards on an answer in terms of sacks versus pressure on quarterbacks. I think pressure is the number one thing you have to think about in terms of applying pressure on your opponent, forcing the quarterback into a bad situation. Would you love to get a sack every time? Absolutely. There’s a reason in the National Football League the all-time record isn’t 50 per year, they are tough to come by. The ultimate thing is making the quarterback operate faster than they want to and making decisions quicker than they absolutely want to. In terms of are we going to have four rushers, are we going to have multiple rushers. We are never going to cap ourselves with creativity. That’s something that Pat (Graham) and his staff are looking at. Every opponent is unique and different. To a man every one of our defensive linemen have come in here physically at a position to train. There’s a difference between being in shape and training. Being in shape, all of us can go to a 24-hour Fitness and get on a treadmill and think we’re all in shape. To train your body to go out on a field for 60 minutes and play that high volume and high intensity, you have to start out your body in a certain amount of shape. As I saw the defensive linemen walking in, even though it was the first time meeting them in person, you see tape on these guys, you have seen a number of pictures, you know what their body used to look like. When they walked in, it was evident all of them had worked to put themselves into the shape where they can start training for football. I’m very pleased with the urgency and I am very pleased with how they are working together right now. How they are working together game by game will decide whether it’s four or multiple guys. That will change by situation as well.

Q: What made Chandler Catanzaro the right kicker out of retirement. I’m sure you saw there was some speculation you would go with someone you know like Gostkowski or Nick Folk. When the ramp up period is over and practices start, do you expect Leonard Williams to be out there?

A: I am going to give him the opportunity day by day. He’s working with our trainers, he is doing everything he possibly can to get on the field as fast as possible. We know he is doing all the right things. I’m not a doctor, when they tell me he is cleared to go, we’ll go ahead and activate him. In terms of Chandler, he is in here to compete for a job like everybody else. I have some experience in the league with Chandler, I have gone against him. It’s a small league, there are 32 kickers per week on rosters, you know who is out there. He has had some very good seasons, he’s had some very good seasons in this stadium. Chandler is someone who I have known about for a long time going back to when he came out of Clemson. We’re excited to have him here. He has an opportunity to go on the field and demonstrate what he his capable of doing. In terms of retirement, that was something that once he decided he wanted to make a comeback, we were notified he was off the retirement list. He was somebody we had talked about and we thought he was a good fit to get going.

Q: You were in New England and that is a place known for being one step ahead. How important is it for you and the team to be one step ahead?

A: Obviously we all have a past place, every coach, every player. It’s important that we learn from other places in anything we have done. (Inaudible). It’s only about the New York Giants right now. In terms of being one step ahead, I think everyone in this league is looking for that competitive advantage of being one step ahead. We are always trying to make moves for our team to try to look ahead in terms of situations and scenarios that may arise. We are always thinking about our total team depth. We are thinking about our 53, our practice squad and beyond that. This year has more flexibility than in the past, so it really almost expands your roster right there. It’s important for us to evaluate our players correctly and then know who is on the street or on other rosters and evaluate them correctly. If they become available in some way, shape or form, we can make the right decisions. In terms of how we use players, to be honest with you, I think the whole thing with being a step ahead is just from the beginning identifying what they do well and giving them an opportunity to play in multiple spots. When the time comes and they have to use different skill sets, they are ready to go. That’s how we want to train our players in the beginning, make sure they have exposure to all our different positions that they fit into. Scheme the calls so they can operate faster when the time arises.

Q: Do you try to parlay that into the front office? That they need to be really sharp?

A: Since I have been here, we have great synergy in the building. We have a very good working relationship across all aspects. Personnel, coaching, support staff, we are making sure we are all on the same message going forward. We talk on a daily basis about personnel. We talk on a daily basis about what’s going on in the rest of the league, whether it’s the waiver wire or maybe different calls that have come our way. It’s a natural part of the NFL. There’s a lot of talk of personnel, especially this time of the year. We have a great working relationship. I’m very pleased with how it’s going. We have the same vision for how we want to take this team and how we want to make it up, how we want to build it. We are at a point right now where we want to focus on training the guys we have on the roster. What that includes in being a part of the National Football League is we have to be aware of what’s going on outside your roster at all times.

Q: Peter King wrote the other day that the Saints are sequestering their full staff and players. It’s not mandatory for the staff but they are encouraging it. Did you guys talk about that idea? Having people not go home to their families for camp or are you prepared to pivot to that if that’s what the league goes to?

A: I read the same articles about the pseudo bubbles some teams are trying to create. To be honest with you, if it’s not completely isolated like the NBA and NHL, then it’s not a bubble. It’s really just a way of having training camp and trying to stay isolated. If it was a non-covid year, we would be trying to keep the team as isolated as best we can just to keep the focus on what we are doing and build that training camp atmosphere that we haven’t had. I’m not mandating any coaches stay in the team hotel. Obviously by the league rules, no player is mandated to stay in the team hotel. Our players either opted in or opted out of the hotel stay. The ones that are in the hotel have a curfew. We have expressed to the ones on the outside that they have to make the right decisions when they are on the outside in terms of how they structure their nights. I’d say the biggest message I have for everybody, whether it’s the coaches, the support staff, the players, it’s not about being in a bubble. It’s about making the right decisions when you are away from the building to make sure we don’t bring something into the building.

Again, I said this last time, it’s not my right to go out and get something to eat and I might put myself in an atmosphere where I might bring something back to the team and it costs them an opportunity. That’s not my right, I’m not entitled to do that. We have to all understand that our decisions impact each other. We are all in training camp, there’s 32 teams right now, everyone is working to the same goal. No one within this building is entitled to cut short our team’s pursuit of that goal by making a selfish decision away from this building. The NFL has released some guidelines for players in terms of where they can go. As coaches, we have to be smart about that. There are other teams out there that have hotels. We have a hotel, too, we have multiple floors on the hotel rented out for our players and coaches should they choose to stay there. We have people on this team, players and coaches that have wives and children. Everyone is going home to see their wives and children. I want to see mine as much as I can. The reality is, there are sacrifices we are going to have to make this year. We have to be determined individually. If that means I have to spend less time or make sure I don’t surround myself with other loved ones who aren’t going by the same guidelines that I am operating on a daily basis, then that’s a sacrifice we have to make. That’s not easy. Let’s be realistic, you have guys on oil tankers, you have soldiers overseas making a lot less money who don’t see their families either at times. I’m not suggesting people don’t see their families, I am suggesting that everybody on a team and away from the team has to make decisions responsibly to account for the sacrifice of being a part of the National Football League this year. That’s just the reality and we have to all understand that. The challenge is going to be real.

Q: What are you seeing from your team as far as morale, as far as energy, in terms of attitude at this point?

A: I see a lot of energy in coming in and improving on a daily basis and that’s increased from Day 1. It’s day by day. We’ve got to stack them together, I say that every day. I see that with our guys every meeting, every walkthrough, every session. That’s all I can ask for from them right now. There’s an urgency to improve, there’s an urgency to learn. We have a lot of guys reaching out to coaches on their own for help. We have players in meeting rooms doing extra. You can see the things you want to go ahead and breathe into your culture coming together already. That’s important and that has to sustain over the test of time. A few days together doesn’t solve all our problems. As far as a starting point, I am very pleased with where we are going. We just have to be diligent with the day by day process of coming in with good energy, being attentive, and making sure we learn and then can execute at an improving level on a daily basis.


Jul 312020
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Joe Judge, New York Giants (January 9, 2020)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Friday in his first training camp presser (see video at

Opening Statement: I hope everyone had a good summer. Right now, where we’re at, the coaching staff was in here on the 19th, really getting back together and start getting used to being in the stadium as a crew. We got the players in a short time after when you guys all saw in the media when it was released. Our early entry group right now is rookies, quarterbacks, first-year players and a few guys that were injured last year going through rehab in the offseason. Right now, we have a few more days left. By the end of next week, we’ll be able to get that early group on the field. Our veteran group right now is finishing up their testing and quarantining period. They’ll start their physicals tomorrow and we’ll see them in person on Monday. It’s a good point for us right now. We had a good, productive few days. It’s almost been a little bit like a rookie minicamp for us in terms of rookies getting on the field, getting them exposed to some of our new stuff for the first time in terms of being on the field, our strength and conditioning program and getting some walkthrough time with them. It’s been great with the vets, the quarterbacks especially, getting these guys on the field, being able to go through the systems with them. It’s been a productive couple days so far. We have another walkthrough tonight, then tomorrow we have some strength and conditioning programs. They’ll have off on Sunday and then Monday we’ll pick it back up. Any questions with anything we’re doing, fire away.

Q: I wanted to ask, I know it’s early but what have you seen about what kind of relationship, if any, Jason Garrett and Daniel (Jones) have been able to develop over this very unusual offseason and these first few days?

A: I’ll tell you what, it’s still early. These relationships are going to evolve over time. But I would say for our entire coaching staff, and it’s reflected, obviously, through Jason and Daniel, as well as Jerry Schuplinski and Daniel, our coaches work very hard and our players work very urgent to do what we’re trying to do, and that was in the virtual program, knock down these walls. Look, we were given the opportunity to work together. Just like we are right now, we had to interact. Communication was the biggest part, talking about the introduction of our schemes and systems, laying out some of the groundwork for our culture. We’re all looking forward to getting everybody in person, but you can tell that over time, the relationships will obviously… we’ll see more to it. But it’s been very positive to this point with all the players and coaches.

Q: I’m just curious, with all of the planning you put into how you thought this was going to take place, what has been the biggest challenge for you as a coach? Have you gotten a chance as the coach where you almost feel like you’re kind of coordinating everything and not really coaching football?

A: Look, I’ll be very honest with you, the other day was the first time I’ve been in a walkthrough where instead of being directly related to a specific group or running a period at a time, you’re walking around observing everything. By the time we got to our second walkthrough, look, my natural tendency is to be very hands on, so I find my way to groups and I know what I wanted to get across to different players. There’s definitely a lot of coordination that goes on. The planning is huge, but really ultimately, our job as a coaching staff, and my job, is to make sure we’re positioned to adjust accordingly and keep moving. That’s what I’ve seen right now from our coaches and players. We’ve got to figure it out, and right now everyone is figuring it out. Whatever we’re allowed to work with, we’re going to have to figure it out. We have to plan day by day. If that plan changes, we adjust and we keep going full speed.

Q: We’ve seen other sports try to launch here in this COVID atmosphere. Obviously, hockey and basketball seem to be doing okay in a pretty tight bubble. Baseball is having some struggles without that bubble. What have you told the players that they need to do and that they need to be aware of to make this football season work, not just for the Giants but really for the whole NFL?

A: The first thing we have to all understand is, everyone at this level has sacrificed to get here. We’re going to have to make some more sacrifices, whether that’s socially away from the game, how we interact with friends and family members throughout this season. But we have to make the right decisions. The biggest thing is everyone has to understand that all of our decisions directly impact each other. It’s not fair for me to go out and do something and put myself at risk and come in here and get players sick. That’s not my right. I’m not entitled to do that. We have to all make the right decisions, both in the building following the protocols and away from the building. I think ultimately as a league, we just need to trust that the plan in place that the league put, make sure we adhere to the protocols, make sure we wear the PPEs. Let’s be careful, let’s be cautious, but we can operate aggressively if we just follow the plan in place.

Q: I was curious if you guys, the coaching staff, have talked about, in the scenario that you were to test positive or if Jason (Garrett) or Patrick (Graham), if you had a succession plan and how you plan on dealing with that? I’m sure you have to plan for all scenarios this year.

A: We absolutely have. We have succession plans for the coaching staff. Once we get a depth chart in place at the end of the roster development, we’ll have plans for every player on the team, who the next man up would be. To be honest with you, my plan as the head coach as we go through training camp is not only evaluating players, but also evaluating the coaches in terms of interaction. It has to be the total chemistry of how a game day would operate. There will be decisions that we’ll make at the end in terms of going through the season. Those decisions may change as we go through the entirety of the season. But we’ll structure practices accordingly. We’re always in for developing every player, we’re in for developing every coach as well. We started talking back in the spring in terms of if any one coach, myself included, couldn’t come to work that day for any period of time, how would we address meetings, practice on the field, the game. We have to make sure we have a plan.

Q: Leadership is so vital during this COVID time, not only from the coaches’ standpoint but from the players’. Do you see players that are handling the leadership in this time period, adapting to protocols, and basically, even in a virtual fashion, showing you that this is going to work?

A: Our players are very committed to doing everything possible to make this work. Our team is committed to improving on and off the field on a daily basis. I would say in the short time we’ve been with the players in our stadium as far as the protocols, they’ve done their absolute best. Obviously, when you first get in, there are some natural tendencies you’re used to from being in a team environment that you have to start to distance yourself from, both physically and just, hypothetically, having a form of distance among the players. The leadership aspect of it, I think we’re going to see that emerge. We’ll have a leadership council, we’ll talk. Part of our culture is doing what’s necessary to be successful. At this time, to be successful, we have to stay healthy. The healthiest team has an advantage, and we’re going to do our part to stay healthy.

Q: Two questions, if I may. Given the fact that there are no preseason games, do you have a plan in place regarding a scrimmage or something where you can test out game day operations, which I imagine you’re going to want to do? I’ll wait before I ask the second question.

A: Yeah, absolutely. We have to do a good job of structuring training camp in that we’re able to evaluate the players first and make sure we make the right decisions while we form this roster. You can’t do that without playing full speed football, and you can’t have a safe team who’s ready to play on September 14th without having some full speed football, whether it’s a situation of intrasquad scrimmaging or intrasquad games. We’ll also develop the coaching staff as well through intrapractice communication and then within the scrimmages and intrasquad games. We’ll also divide the coaches up and make sure the necessary communication takes place. Then going back to an earlier question, we’ll make ways within scenarios of, within game communication where a certain coach isn’t there and practice those scenarios as well so we have a plan in place.

Q: Then my other question is you have some players coming off injuries. I don’t believe you put anybody on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform), but is everybody going to be able to go full speed? Evan Engram? Corey Coleman? Then I think you had a couple of other guys who had injuries they’re coming off. And Markus Golden, where do you stand with him?

A: In terms of Markus or any other player, there’s an entry process that everyone has to go through. The testing, the quarantining, then the physicals. Once these players clear that process, I’ll be happy to talk about all of them. To this moment, that’s one player who has not cleared the process. In terms of the question as far as being limited, I’m going to wait until all of the players clear their physicals to give you an absolute answer on that. Remember, these are guys that we still have not seen physically for some time. They’ve been sitting in a hotel now for about a week quarantining and testing. I’m going to let Ronnie Barnes and the doctors do the physicals. We’ll get all of the necessary information and see where we’re at right there. But Evan has been working hard throughout the summer. He’s been training and doing his rehab. We’ve had him out here with our group working and going forward, we’ll see where he’s at physically as we ramp up the intensity and the volume, and we’ll make our decisions from there.

Q: I’m sure not long after you got this job, you envisioned what it would be like to stand up in front of your whole team and address them for the first time as the head coach. Obviously, that has not happened yet. It will happen much differently when it does because of the situation. Are there a lot of players that you’re literally meeting for the first time, face to face, and when do you envision the first time you get these guys all in a room together?

A: In terms of our roster reduction, eventually we have to be at 80. That’ll be the first time you’re actually getting the entire team together at once. That will be the first time you get to talk to everyone at once, collectively. To answer your question, no, we don’t have any strangers. We’ve taken our time this spring to make sure everyone has gotten the chance to establish relationships with each other. It is the first time I’m physically seeing some of these players eye to eye. But the funny thing has been, even though we’ve been talking through the virtual world throughout the spring, these young guys came in, these quarterbacks, first-year players, you just pick right back up where you left off. We were very thorough this spring with how we prepared, how we launched into the program. This isn’t going to be the first time I will address the team in terms of our culture or what we expect. At this point, we’re really looking forward to getting training camp started and getting football on the field.

Q: When David Sills goes on the COVID/Reserve List and a player is asymptomatic like that, can you just describe how that response went, if you were pleased with how the club and the organization responded, if to your knowledge anyone else has caught it or tested positive since? Do you feel comfortable with how you handled that first positive test?

A: I have a lot of confidence in the way that our medical team has set up these protocols and how they’re handling everything going forward. I think our players will as well. We’re taking every possible step to make sure our players are coming into work every day and focused on football, but knowing that they’re safe if they follow the protocols and the plan we have in place. The biggest thing for us is any player who cannot be with the team on a daily basis due to any kind of illness is we can extend the meetings through Zoom like we did in the spring. The one thing is it’s not something foreign for our players now. They’ve already gone through an entire spring of it, so if they can’t be in the meeting room with us, they can be in a hotel room with whatever their personal situation is and still participate in the meetings and not fall behind on the mental aspect that day.

Q: I know it’s an ongoing legal situation with DeAndre Baker, but now that he’s on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, what’s the thought process in terms of you guys keeping him around? Also, as you start training camp, how is it going to look at the top of the depth chart at cornerback aside from James Bradberry?

A: To address the first part of the question, he’s not on our 90-man roster. Currently, he’s on the exempt list, so I’ll let the league deal with that issue. I’m not going to comment on any ongoing legal investigation. In terms of our depth chart, the entire team is really at the same point. Everyone has to come in and compete at ground zero and build their way up. Again, we had very productive meetings in the spring. We haven’t been on the field together yet besides the walkthroughs with this early group. I mentioned earlier, it’s been more almost a rookie minicamp-type atmosphere of getting guys on the field, getting them acclimated to our systems, just getting used to being on the field with the coaches and players together for the first time. It’s new for all of us right now. It’s a new staff, it’s the first time we’re meeting together on the field together, it’s the first time being with our players together. These are things that we’ve been able to take this early reporting opportunity to iron out some details and get on the same page.

Q: This obviously is not a normal season. Do you have to prepare differently for other things that may pop up along the way? How do you go about doing that?

A: It’s different for every situation. I think that my job is to make sure that we’re preparing for all the possible scenarios that could come up throughout the season. It’s not only things we’ve thought of already, but things that pop up as we go. ‘Ok, what if this happens? What’s our plan in place?’ Now you do that as a football team anyway. This year, you just take into a different account with COVID and how that may affect our team or other teams as well. But the biggest thing is just to talk about the situation. You talk out how you’re going to handle it. A lot of it is personnel oriented. A lot of it may be preparation based on meetings, how we had to do the spring virtually. In practice, how will that look? Right now, we have all plans for practice that will look as normal as can be. If that changes at some point, we’ll figure it out and we’ll adjust and we’ll keep on moving. We’re just not going to make any excuses for anything that comes up this season. We’re all here to play and coach football, we’re here to do it well, and we’re going to put everything into it.

Q: You don’t believe in the idea that because it’s going to be a wild season, you might get a pass in public perception?

A: There are unknowns in every season going in. This year is no different, it just has a different element that we haven’t dealt with before. As we go, we’ll see how things change and how they shake out. Right now, we are looking to go ahead and build the strongest team we can.

Q: Obviously with Nate Solder, the most important thing is his family and we read your comments about that. From a football standpoint, you lose your most experienced tackle. Dave (Gettleman) has been trying to build this offensive line to a strong point for three years. From a football standpoint, how secure are you with your offensive line and your tackles without Nate? From a salary cap standpoint, that opened up a lot of space under these rules. Do you expect to be active in free agency this summer?

A: We’ll always make the best decision for the team. We don’t feel right now that we have money burning a hole in our pocket. We just know there is a little bit more for us in the cap space right now. We fully support Nate Solder’s decision. I’ve known him personally going back to my time in New England. Not only have I known him, but I’ve had a relationship with him and his family. His wife Lexi is a great woman. Their children and what they are going through personally, this was not an easy decision. I don’t want to talk for Nate, he has put out his own words. From an organizational standpoint, we wanted Nate to play this year, but we fully support his decision not to because we absolutely understand what he is going through. This was not an easy decision for him, we talked about it a lot. At the end of the day, I am not going to try to talk a player into doing anything when it comes to the situation we are in right now. You have to make the decision personally that’s best for you and your family. I think Nate did that and we fully support him. From a football standpoint, we have confidence in all of our players. We still have to get on the field and practice and evaluate them, and that’s at all positions. Whether it’s the offensive line, skill positions, defense or wherever it ends up being. We have to see these guys perform under pressure and handle the loads in install and see how they perform when they are tired and in direct competition. There’s a lot of things that have to be done in a short period of time. We have to make good evaluations as coaches. I’ve got to set practices to make sure we can evaluate guys at multiple positions. We have to do a good job of making sure we see what every player does when he understands what to do and can play as fast as possible. That’s our job as coaches and teachers.

Q: Has any other player indicated he plans to opt out?

A: At the current moment, no.

Q: What went into the decision on Aldrick Rosas and what went into signing Chandler (Catanzaro) as his replacement?

A: In terms of who may be coming in, I’ll be happy to talk about that when they complete the entry process coming in. On the decision to release Aldrick, we felt it was best for the team based on all things being put together moving forward. I like Aldrick a lot as a person and I wish him the best of luck. I am not going to comment on the legal investigation, but we made a decision we felt was best for the team.

Q: You spoke a lot about versatility when you got hired and leading up to the draft. How big of a role did that play with the selection of Xavier McKinney and how do you see him fitting into to the secondary? How optimistic are you that we can play a full 16-game season?

A: I have a lot of trust in the plan put forth by the league. We spent a lot of time on this. When these players left, we signed off and took vacations. As coaches, we took a little bit of a break for about a month. It was 24/7 around the clock really working on making sure we got the facilities in order that we can bring our players in and have them work safely. We are doing everything we can, not to just be compliant but making sure we are staying ahead of issues that may arise. We are trying to educate our players on a daily basis. We have to enforce the rules as coaches. We have to rely on the leadership on the team to build the culture in the locker room. In terms of the optimism for a season, right now we have 16 games on the schedule and I’m looking forward to playing every one of them. To answer your question about X, versatility is huge part of our systems, offense, defense and the kicking game. Our defense is going to be multiple both by base scheme and based on game plan and who the opponent is. You are going to see four to six DB’s on the field in certain times. His role will be different based on different game plans. He’ll have a chance, like all are other players will, to establish what he is going to be in our defense based on how he performs in this next month of football.

Q: With Nate Solder gone for the year and based on who you have, some very young players are going to have to fill significant roles. Normally by now you have seen them on the field, tested them a little bit. How concerned are you in general about using rookies and young players in key spots anywhere this season when things are so unusual?

A: The age of a player doesn’t really ever bother me. We bring guys in to play. This isn’t like college where a young guy in the NFL is given a red shirt year. You have 53 and 54 guys on your roster, you have a limited roster. Everyone has to contribute and everyone has to play. One thing you hear a lot about and people get caught up in the word ‘starter’. You can only bring so many to an active gameday list, everybody plays. It’s not really significant who the first 11 on the field are. At the end of the game, everybody has a role, everybody has a very important job and everyone has to contribute. We are going to play all of our offensive linemen at multiple positions right and left. We are going to have a competition for every position. We are going to have multiple guys playing inside at center and outside at tackle. We are going to play all of our tackles at right and left to start camp and see who fits best where. Once we establish who should be on either side, we will go forward. That being said, we want to cross-train all of our players. You can’t just play right tackle or left tackle, or right corner or left corner. Based on depth and health of the team, it may require you in the middle or an entire game to play on a side you don’t normally play on. All our guys are working to switch sides and mirror their technique and play effective for a game.

Q: Do you expect there will be less movement at the bottom of the roster than there normally would be? If you claim a guy off of waivers or sign a free agent, you are not going to have them on the field for a full week?

A: That’s one thing we have talked about. This may a different training camp around the league in terms of the time of the claims. That’s not going to eliminate the roster moving, it’s still the National Football League and people are going to look to fill their needs and possibly improve their depth as they see guys on the waiver wire. The one thing I think you have to be conscious about as a coach is if you have to move somebody off the roster to claim somebody, you better have a plan in place for that week so you can say you are at 80 but you are really at 79 if that makes sense.

Q: I would think that would become more of a pressing issue once the regular season does start. Normally when you claim a guy on Tuesday, he probably wouldn’t even be available to you on that Sunday’s game.

A: You are absolutely right and that’s part of the discussions we’ve had in the claiming process. We don’t have a definite answer on how the regular season is going to go. At this point, we are kind of assuming it is going to be very similar to what we are looking at right now with the testing and quarantine piece. I think what you said is very fair and very true. You can no longer work a guy out on a Tuesday, Tuesday night he is doing meetings and Wednesday he’s practicing with the team. It’s important for us to establish depth. In terms of the practice squad, the league has allowed us to flex players up and down and the amount of veterans we can keep on the practice squad roster. That’s going to be key for all the teams and how they manage those 16 positions going forward.

Q: I know players are in a hotel now and they are quarantined. As the season comes up, how are you going to handle them when they go home? Are there some rules that you are going to put into effect to limit their access when they are home?

A: The league has put out some rules already with the agreement in terms of where they can and cannot go and be exposed to large crowds. The thing I want to emphasize with the team is we have to make responsible decisions, all of us. What I have to think about personally is, it’s not just where I go, I know I’m at the stadium or driving to my house. I have to be conscious of where my wife and children are. Who are they around on a daily basis? What am I bringing back to the team? There are some sacrifices we have to make. Like I said earlier, everybody has had to make sacrifices to get to this level. If the biggest thing we have to do is for half a year wear masks around each other, distance a little bit and when we go home, be home, I think it’s a pretty fair trade off to be a part of the National Football League.

Q: How did you decide to split up your 90-man roster for camp? Some teams are doing the quarterback thing where first string and third string are together and second and fourth are together. Is that something you are doing?

A: The league really established how we can split the roster. You have to go rookie to first year players and then vets in another group. What you had flexibility with was injured players and quarterbacks. We felt it was most beneficial for us now to keep all the quarterbacks with this first group. As we progress and have time to get on the field in phase two activities coming up next Friday, we can have the quarterbacks working with them on the field. The biggest thing we are thinking about right now at this point is physically to give our players a chance to get their bodies ready for practice. That’s why the league has set this up, that’s why the players and the coaches were very adamant about having a training period for the players. We have to remember, these guys can’t go from 0 to 100. You have to give them a chance to train and get their bodies in a position to be ready. They have to go out there without having to face an offensive or defensive player in front of them and just have football movement. There are things that when you train on your own, you just can’t simulate. It’s really the reactive movements that you are so vulnerable to. To avoid soft tissue injuries or have ligament issues, we want to make sure we take our time with this front part of this acclimation and give the players the full progression of lifting, running, walkthroughs and eventually getting to phase two activities. Eventually getting to padded practices and true training camp. For us, it was important to get the quarterbacks in that first group so we can start their clock right away and get them on the field and keep them healthy.

Q: You are getting 14 practices and I think 10 are padded, which doesn’t sound like a whole lot. With that said, how much of your evaluation of the players is going to be swung more towards the mental side. To understanding what the coaches are asking in the scheme of their specific roles. Does it change how you are going to evaluate as you go along?

A: It is kind of funny when you think about the way it was set up. When you talk to a lot of the coaches on the staff, you have to reach back to your previous experience. This is almost more like a college training camp because you are not worried about getting ready for a preseason game. You are not concerned about having a plan in place for a specific opponent. You really have more time to work on your own installs and what you can address within your own team at your own progression. The number of coaches on our staff, myself included, who have been through college football, we have thought back as to how you can have this progression. For us, there are waves to training camp. While we are having these walkthroughs on the field, we are going to really emphasize the mental part. We’ll bring these guys around in the systems and give them an opportunity to really learn this at a good learning and teaching pace. When we get the opportunity to get on the field, we have to really ramp it up. It’s not ramping it up to say here’s the green light, let’s step on the gas. You have to get the players’ bodies ready for competition. Each part of the season gets faster. Preseason is not as fast as the regular season, regular season is not as fast as the playoffs. Every round you go in the playoffs, it gets faster and more intense, that’s just the truth. Not that the players aren’t putting in max effort, it’s just the reality of the situation of how the teams get better as you go, the reaction you have to have and the intensity of the game. We have to do our part as coaches in ramping up the practices in training camp, so when we get to the regular season, our guys are physically prepared to play safely on the field.

Q: Some teams have talked about quarantining their quarterbacks. I don’t know if that would be Daniel (Jones) by himself or quarantining a back up quarterback. Is that something you are thinking about putting into action?

A: We are trying to keep all the players spaced out physically. In terms of just quarantining any one player at this moment, we want to have every player around here so we can have an interpersonal connection with them, get them on the field and train them.

Q: Will you have separate protocols for your quarterbacks just to keep those guys extra safe during the regular season or just in the building now?

A: I think we are doing everything we possibly can to keep our guys extra safe to be honest with you. Our guys know to go back to the hotel, they are in their room. We keep them late enough here anyway. They don’t have a ton of time once they leave the building. Normally they get back, they read their notebook and then their head hits the pillow and they’re out and they start the day over again. We are just making sure all of our players, not anyone specific, but all of our players keep spacing, follow the protocols. We put a lot of work into that. It’s just part of understanding what we are dealing with. We can’t make this the biggest obstacle. We are going to have 16 games of opponents that are going to be a lot tougher than just following protocols. We have to get ready right now and follow all the little details and get ready for the season.

New York Giants offensive lineman Nate Wozniak has retired from the NFL. The 6’10”, 280-pound Wozniak was originally signed by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Saints (2018-2019), Minnesota Vikings (2019), and Atlanta Falcons (2019). The Giants signed Nate Wozniak to the Practice Squad in December 2019.

In a wide-ranging discussion of current issues surrounding the New York Giants, Eric from BBI joined the D-Man and Stormer Big Blue Podcast on Thursday evening. The audio for the show is available at Spotify.


Jul 292020
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Nate Solder, New York Giants (October 7, 2018)

Nate Solder – © USA TODAY Sports

As had been expected by some, New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder has decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to the ongoing COVID-19 issue. Under the agreement reached last week between the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), players can choose not to play in the upcoming season without penalty. The opt-out is irrevocable.

The highest-paid player on the team, Solder had two years left on his current contract with $9.9 million in base salary each of the final two years, but counting $19.5 million against the 2020 NFL salary cap and $20.5 million against the 2021 salary cap. While his cap hit will be significantly reduced this year (media reports indicate possibly around $13-16 million), his contract will now be pushed to 2022 with the pre-existing significant cap hits now counting in 2021 and 2022. This year, Solder will likely receive $350,000 “stipend” that does not count against future earnings and a credited NFL season towards medical insurance and benefits because he is high risk with family cancer issues. (Compensation is $150,000 for low-risk players).

“My family and I have been praying, wrestling and listening to God about our current circumstances and whether it is best that I play football this season,” Solder said in a prepared statement. “Our primary goal is to pursue God and listen to the Holy Spirit in everything we do. As hard as that can be and as daunting as what He asks us to do can seem, we have come to believe, trust and wait on the Lord. That is why we have chosen to pause for this season. Our family has health concerns, most notably our son’s ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer. We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy. With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football.

“We fully recognize that being able to make a decision like this is a privilege. I will deeply miss my teammates, coaches and everyone in the Giants organization. I want to thank them and all my friends and fans who continue to support me and my family through the highs and the lows. As scary and bleak as it sometimes can be, we know that the God of the universe has all things under His control, and His plans are and will always be for our good.”

Solder’s 5-year old son, has been battling with kidney cancer since he was 3-months old. Solder also faced testicular cancer in 2014.

“We have great respect for Nate as a person and player,” said General Manager Dave Gettleman. “When he called today, I told him it is faith, family and football. He is doing what’s best for his family.”

“I spoke with Nate this morning,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “We were together in New England, obviously, and he has always been a thoughtful, conscientious person. Ultimately, he made this decision because it is the right thing for him and his family. We support Nate and Lexi and their children (son) Hudson, (daughter) Charlie and (son) Emerson. Our concern is for their health and well-being.”

The expectation is that rookie 1st-round pick Andrew Thomas will replace Solder at left tackle with free agent acquisition Cam Fleming competing with Nick Gates at right tackle. Third-rounder Matt Peart could also factor into the equation.

In March 2018, the Giants made Solder the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL when they signed him away from the New England Patriots as unrestricted free agent. However, despite 32 straight starts at left tackle for New York, Solder has not played well at all with the Giants. He really struggled during the first half of 2018 before settling down a bit during the second half of the season. In 2019, his inconsistent play throughout the year both as a pass protector and run blocker was a significant factor in the team’s struggles.

The 6’8”, 325-pound Solder was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In nine seasons, Solder has started 127 of the 130 regular-season games he has played in.

Willie Young, an offensive lineman with the New York Giants from 1966-1975, passed away. He was 77. Young played in 135 game with the Giants, starting in 119 of those contests. He was also the father of Rodney Young, who played defensive back for the Giants from 1995-1998.


Jul 262020
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Aldrick Rosas, New York Giants (December 2, 2018)

Aldrick Rosas – © USA TODAY Sports

Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants will cut place kicker Aldrick Rosas before the bulk of the veterans report to training camp in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Rosas was charged with three misdemeanors related to a hit-and-run traffic incident that occurred in California in mid-June. He was cited for reckless driving, hit-and-run property damage, and driving on a suspended license due to a previous DUI. Police also alleged that alcohol was a factor in the accident although no sobriety test was administered since Rosas had fled the scene.

Back in June, TMZ broke the story and had originally reported that witnesses saw Rosas allegedly driving erratically around 100 miles per hour and failing to stop at a red light at approximately 8:30AM. He then allegedly crashed into the side of a truck at the intersection, but kept driving. Police reported that Rosas later fled his disabled vehicle on foot. They allegedly found him near the crash site with his hands, legs, and bare feet covered in blood. Rosas was treated at a nearby medical facility before being booked by police.

The Giants re-signed Rosas as a restricted free agent to a 1-year, $3.259 million contract in April. None of that money was guaranteed so that full amount will now be credited against the team’s cap.

After a stellar sophomore pro season in 2018, Rosas regressed in 2019. Rosas was 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) on field goal attempts and missed four of his 39 extra point attempts (89.7 percent). Seventy percent of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

Rosas was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2016 NFL Draft. He did not make the team. The Giants signed him to a reserve/futures contract in January 2017. He had a poor first season with the Giants, converting on just 72 percent of his field goals and 87 percent of his extra points. However, in 2018, Rosas made the Pro Bowl after making 32-of-33 field goal attempts, including a team-record 57 yarder.



May 122020
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Joe Judge, New York Giants (January 9, 2020)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media by conference call on Tuesday. (Video is available at

Q: You talked a lot about trying to establish a culture with the Giants now that you’ve come in. How much difficulty are you having really getting to do that with the environment that you guys are currently coaching in via zoom and all that? In what ways are you trying to build comradery?
A: I think a lot of the things we’re trying to build within the culture right now are showing up based on the circumstances that we have allotted to us and how hard the players are working. That’s really what we’re looking to build, is that culture of everyone doing whatever it takes to be successful. Right now, we’re seeing that across the board with our players. I’m very pleased in how they come every day prepared. I’m pleased with how they come every day with a lot of urgency. We’re getting great feedback and communication through the meetings with the players themselves. As far as building comradery with them, probably the best part of the day is when you can click on the Zoom and everyone has their screens unmuted and you just hear the guys talking across. That’s probably the best part. It took about a week for everybody to get comfortable enough to do that. I think they kind of realize, as coaches, we’re laughing listening to them talk and then they got a little bit more comfortable and really started breaking it down. It’s fun seeing all of the personalities really emerge and the connections. Today was the first day we had the rookies in the meetings with the vets, so you could tell right away, a couple guys saw some new faces and you heard a couple others, ‘Rookies in here today.’ I’m sure they’ll be asking them for a joke by tomorrow.

Q: What’s going to happen after this week is over? Do you have a plan for the next phase? Have there been any discussions? I saw a report about teams discussing moving training camps out of areas where there might be stay at home restrictions for them.
A: The first part, we definitely have a plan. We’re assuming right now that we’re going to continue working virtually with the players. We’ll wait for further clarity from the league. We were told to plan through May 18, so that’s what we’re doing right now. In terms of relocating, our Ops department is doing a great job right now mapping out a lot of different scenarios in terms of if for some reason we have to relocate, they’re making connections around the area, around the country, as to whatever we may need to do. We’re waiting on direction from the league in terms of when we’ll make decisions on that. Hopefully in a perfect world, we’re all back together in New Jersey training sooner than later. But we’re planning for a lot of hypotheticals to make sure if they come up, we’re not caught by surprise.

Q: Where are some of the options that you’ve considered in terms of moving training camp? Would you do that in the spring, too?
A: I don’t know that we necessarily have an option to do it in the spring unless the league gives a thumbs up on that. I think right now with the climate of the country, one thing we have to consider is, first off, the safety of our players traveling across the country. Getting on flights, traveling through cars. There is a lot of mandated quarantines that come with that as well, so the timeliness factor of getting players, having them travel, the amount of time they’re quarantined, getting them in the building, can we secure that they’re going to be quarantined along with all of the staff and coaches that are surrounding them, whether that’s in our facility or somewhere else? There are a lot of logistical things we have to consider. The first thing we talked about in all of these conversations is are we 100 percent certain the players are going to remain healthy and we’re not putting anybody at risk. I have a tough time right now asking a player to fly across the country from California when I probably wouldn’t be the first one most willing to throw my two sons on a plane to go the other way. We talk about this, we have to consider the big picture of what’s going on. Look, I would love to have them in Jersey right now. I would love for us to have setup remote camp if that’s what was necessary. But getting them to the campus and making sure that while we’re there they’re not exposed to anything, we have to consider that as well.

Q: How much have you been able to install so far? Everybody wants to know, what is your offense going to look like? I’m curious, how would you describe schematically what your offense is going to look like and is it something Daniel Jones has done before or is it completely new?
A: I think schematically, the easiest way to describe it to the outside world right now is it’s going to be similarly based off what Jason’s (Garrett) done in Dallas over the last 10 or so years. There are going to be some similarities carried over from that, but it has to cater to our players we have on our roster currently. Right now, we’re installing all of the base concepts and the shell of the offense. I think really you’ll see throughout training camp as it takes form with the character of our team and as different players emerge. Really along with that, it’s going to take shape throughout the season as well. We’re going to be a team that focuses a lot on game plans and whatever we have to do game by game. That might be running the ball every play or throwing the ball every play based on the opponent. But we’re going to make sure we’re not too rigid in what we’re doing that we can’t adapt by game plan.

Q: Are there are similarities for Daniel regarding what he did in college with maybe what you’re doing here? They ran a pro style system I believe at Duke, or what they ran last year here with the Giants?
A: It’s not the true west coast system. Really one thing that Jason does that’s really outstanding is it’s really his system that’s been formed over years collectively from where he’s played and coached. Those are part of the conversations we had when we talked about joining the staff. We’ve talked along the way that it’s really a collection of what Jason has put together throughout his own career. There are going to be similarities to this in some regards to Daniel. I can’t tell you concrete wise what that’s going to be. But there are a lot of cousin concepts you would say in every offense. When me and Jason talk about the offense, there is a lot of familiarity in the terminology and the verbiage that he uses that I’ve heard when I worked at Alabama under (Nick) Saban. A lot of that comes from crossover of offensive coordinators that they work alongside in Miami together. Within this league, you really kind of study the head coaches and coordinators. You talk a lot about coaching trees, but it really comes into the influences that you’ve worked under or played under. Normally, once you work under somebody, you develop your own style, but you borrow a lot from that person that you just left, whether that’s as simple as verbiage, terminology, philosophies on route-running, pass protections, all those things there. I would say, to answer your question, there are going to be some similarities with Daniel, but I would not say it’s a carryover in any way, shape or form from his rookie year.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about how first-year coaches might be at a bit of a disadvantage with the way this whole process is playing out with not being able to get in the building and having to rely on Zoom. As someone that’s never been a head coach before, is there anything about this that’s advantageous to what you’re trying to do and what you’re trying to build?
A: I think the advantage goes to who is most prepared from this point forward. That’s what we’ve been working on doing and focusing on what we can control. Our IT Department, along with our coaching staff, did a great job with setting up the use of computers. Our players are doing a great job of accessing all of the information and working with us in the allotted time. We have a lot of guys that are showing a lot of urgency. They do everything they can to give themselves a head start heading into training camp. That’s really what the spring is about.

Q: Is it more difficult not knowing what training camp is going to look like? Obviously, you’re coming in trying to set a foundation, build a culture and kind of leave your mark on the team in all aspects. But not knowing what the future holds, what’s that like as a coach and what’s that like for these players?
A: I’ve mapped out training camp based on the calendar leading up to our opening game right now. Any adjustments we have to make based on that, we’ll make accordingly. That’s my job to be prepared and have contingency plans for the team to operate. We’ve talked through different scenarios, but right now we’re mapping out training camp assuming that we’re opening up on September 14 with the Steelers. We’re looking forward to that.

Q: You mentioned earlier on another day that it’s imperative for these players to start forming bonds, and some of that has to be them doing it themselves. How about you with the players? A head coach has to bond with the players. Is that more difficult now, and is there anything you can share, anything you know more about certain of your players, a good example of one or two of those, that you didn’t know just from the laptop, remote, things like that? Something that you know now that you did not know.
A: I’ll tell you what, we found different ways throughout the meeting times to work together. I found time to grab certain players out of the meetings. I’m going to work my way through the team as we go throughout the rest of spring, making sure I get face time with each one of these guys. Leading up to this, I spent some time talking to these guys on the phone really just checking on them and their family. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of these guys in person when we were still in the building. They were still around working out. I would say one of the interesting things about this whole process is just like we’re doing right now, as somebody else is speaking, really everyone has the freedom to look around right now and really observe how people are. When there’s an assistant coach presenting, everybody in there is also presenting themselves and how they conduct themselves in a meeting. You’re looking around, how’s the guy set up in his house? Is it a quiet setting? How is he dressed? What’s his eye focus like? Are his eyes down? Is he trying to text? We haven’t had a lot of that. We’ve had a lot of guys with great urgency. You have the opportunity in this setting here to really see your players in a meeting standpoint where they really can’t hide. Right now, we’re on a one by one box on this screen, but we’re all face to face. You don’t know who’s looking at who at this time, so everything you’re doing at all times is really what you’re being evaluated on.

Q: Obviously, you’re looking, you’re not spying on them. Everyone knows, on this also, it’s open.
A: I’ve made this clear to our players. Everybody is always making an impression. I can’t sign on with the team and stumble through a team talk and show shoddy film and have technology that doesn’t work, and have them think ‘Ok, this guy is going to be ok. He knows what he’s doing.’ We’re always creating an impression. We’re always forming an opinion of ourselves. But along with that, let’s not get confused. We’re not going to evaluate a football team based purely on how they are on a computer. We can go down to Circuit City and find a great football team on a computer. But we want to make sure right now that, look, we’re just trying to give the players an opportunity to learn our material, to learn our systems, to get a head start going into training camp. We’re trying to be as much of a resource for these guys as we possibly can. We only get two hours a day with the vets. But we get two hours a day with the vets, we need to use those two hours as much as we can. Along the way, we’ve used everything the league has allowed us to use in terms of loading up playbooks and cut ups and voiced-over installs for the players to watch at their own pace on their own. We’re trying to get ahead of everything that they may need. Look, until we get on the grass, you really can’t evaluate a football player. You just can’t do it. I’ve made it clear to our team, this spring is about learning. This spring is about building a base so when we get there in training camp, we can play fast and we can play aggressive. You’ll be evaluated in training camp. Right now, we’re learning. Now along the way, you are making an impression.

Q: From your perspective, if you were in the building and circumstances were the traditional format you would see leaders emerge, guys looking at the veterans or even looking at some rookies who have set the tone. Will you take it upon yourself to reach out to some guys and say are you guys getting together? Do you want to see who emerges as the leaders of this team or is too early?
A: The interesting thing is, early on in this process, I think we all had a lot of question marks in terms of how we are going to see relationships, how we are going to see leadership, how are we going to see all this emerge. Naturally it always comes to the surface. You can see a lot of guys from interactions in meetings. You can see who is going to take the reins and start the communication. You can identify from different players who is standing out front and organizing some extra communication exercises on their own at the time. You still have the ability to see who is stepping out in front. As I’m talking to these players individually and asking them for direct feedback as well, you can tell how engaged and really how invested they are in the program by the answers they give you. It’s been very telling and I’m very pleased with the way our players are working right now. Whereas on the front end, there was a lot of talk about what we can’t do, I think we are finding out along the way we are getting a lot done because this is the asset that we have to use and we are finding ways to use it. These players are inventive, they are going to find different ways to get together with each other and socially interact. They are going to find different ways to get together and study with each other and get caught up with material and help each other out with notes. Maybe even more so now than some other springs in the past because the reality is everyone’s situation is different around the country. You have to find what to do in your free time. Things still aren’t opened up everywhere. Every state is a little bit different, but generally speaking the country is still closed down for the most part. These guys are in areas where they have a lot of free time in their day where there is not a lot to do necessarily.

Q: I know you have accepted the limitations that you have in this situation. All things considered, do you think you as a first-time coach you should get a pass this year based on the inability to be normal?
A: All I’m focused on doing is everything to put our team in a position to play their best ball now. I’m not thinking about anything outside of the scope of that. Whatever we have to work with, we are going to make work for us. We’re going to get into training camp and go ahead and make sure we get these guys on the grass and put them through it. Identify the best 53 for our team and then the best actives for game day and go forward with it. We’re not thinking about what we don’t have right now, that’s not an option or thinking about what we have access to. Every day, we are focusing on how to get better and that’s my only focus right now.

Q: What went into the decision to claim Cooper Rush?
A: Like everyone else in the league, we are looking at the waiver wire every day. We are always trying to acquire good football players for our team. The competition in training camp will sort a lot of things out. When we see a good player out there and we think he is someone that can be an asset to our team and come in here and compete, that’s all we’re considering. He was someone that came across the waiver wire that we had known about and some had experience with him. We thought it would be a positive move for our team.

Q: Five quarterbacks is obviously a lot. Is the roster construction different because you don’t have to get on the field and have a certain minimum at different positions? Can you alter how you construct the roster right now?
A: You definitely can. You can have 90 quarterbacks right now because you don’t have to worry about throwing to anybody. In terms of going to camp right now, we’ll address that as we get closer to camp in terms of all the positions. We obviously have a template like everybody else has of the desired numbers at each position. I think the overriding factor is you don’t want to turn away a good player just to suit the numbers. You kind of structure practice accordingly to make sure there is as many good players on your roster as there possibly could be.

Q: You mentioned earlier that you have players in different areas of the country, some in places where things are re-opening. Some players can go to beaches or gyms and others can’t. Are you able to give them any guidelines or restrictions on what they should and shouldn’t do? How worried are you that doing something normal like going to a gym could end up hurting the health of one of your players?
A: I think everyone has to make the decisions based on their own circumstances of where they are at. We’re concerned about the health of all our players. We have a training staff with Ronnie Barnes and his guys that they have full time access to for guidance on whether or not they should go somewhere or shouldn’t go somewhere. Everyone’s situation is different. One thing the league has allowed us to do is provide some equipment to guys that don’t have access to gyms, which we’ve done accordingly. We’ve made a decision not to track workouts as a lot of other clubs have as well this spring for a multitude of reasons. The biggest thing we have been able to do is provide our strength coach to be an asset that if they want to reach out and ask him questions, along with our nutritionist and training staff. The league has allowed us to upload programs to follow if they choose to. Obviously it’s the spring, it’s voluntary, nothing is required. We just want to make sure we have answers to questions the players may have as we go.

The biggest concern for me is without having a spring is making sure the players are in good enough shape coming back to practice. That’s the one thing the spring is heavily beneficial for these players. They can play football and do football movements and get in football shape before coming in and competing for a job while playing football. As a coach, I’ve got to put us in the best situation possible to practice hard to compete and to avoid injuries at the same time early in training camp. The new CBA laid out a lot of guidelines that’s geared towards looking out for the players early on in training camp to make sure they don’t come in and get thrown into the fire without an acclimation period. I think that’s something working through the CBA that will help long term with these guys. Immediately, this year without having a spring, the biggest thing we can emphasize with our players is whatever you have to do, whatever you have access to, we have all the resources you need. Make sure when we come into training camp you have given yourself every opportunity possible to be in the best shape so you can physically stay healthy, stay on the field and compete.

Q: You spoke earlier about the type of offensive system you are going to install. Can you talk about the defensive system that Patrick Graham is putting together?
A: It’s going to be a multiple answer and everyone says, what does that mean? The easiest way to describe that is you go back to last year in Miami where Patrick was, you can follow that through the different systems he’s been a part of whether it’s New England. He had experience in New York and Green Bay, and there is a little difference in flavors of defense as well. We’ll be a team that’s multiple by game plan and how we have to matchup and attack the opponent. The elements of the defense you can really look through and what it will closely resemble will really be the other stops that Patrick has been along his way that I have been there as well. The New England system, some of the Houston system, the Tennessee system, the Miami system. Those families of defense will be the biggest influences that go into ours. Of course, ours will be mostly dictated by the players we have in the games.

Q: In terms of special teams, obviously Thomas McGaughey is an outstanding special teams coach, how much of your influence from the Patriots are you going to bring to the Giants special teams?
A: I will be involved with all three sides of the ball, but T-Mac is the special teams coordinator here.

Q: There’s that (Muhamad) Ali quote about preparation. “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses. Behind the lines out there on the road long before a dance under those lights.” You were talking earlier about preparation. Is your message to your guys that there is no substutute for grinding now? This hard work now can pay off later.
A: There’s no short-cut to success. You have to put one day with the next and keep putting them together and that’s going to string together and give you an opportunity to be successful. It’s all about preparation. We have to do a good job preparing, preparing physically, preparing mentally. That’s truly our message to the team, we’re providing them with the opportunity, we want to be a resource for the players at this point. Give them every opportunity to learn our systems so when they get in, we can continue to learn, but it’s going to be a at a faster pace in training camp obviously. That’s where the competition really begins.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about how you got Patrick Graham? Obviously, he was under contract in Miami and you know Brian Flores. How did that come about?
A: Without going too much into different conversations, we followed the league procedure, we put in a request to speak with him. They granted the request and he was our top choice.

Q: You guys used the tag on Markus Golden. How did that come about? I think the Patriots are one of the only teams to use that in recent years when you were there. Have you talked to Markus since you guys put the tag on him?
A: Without going into what we talked about, yes, I have spoken with Markus. I have a lot of respect for him as a player. He’s a great person, he’s a hard worker. He’s a productive player so we have a lot of respect for him. He’s definitely someone that I have spoken to in terms of possibly adding to the roster. We placed the tag on him. That’s something that’s allotted to us through the league rules. We thought that it was a situation when it came up and was available to us, it was something we could use. We have an interest in Markus, we’ve talked to him. We are going through the procedure right now. We’re going to let it play out a little bit and see where everything shakes out.

Q: Are you preparing your players to play in front of an empty stadium. If you have to do that, how do you prepare guys to do that, have the same energy etc. From your perspective, what do you think the NFL should do? Do you think it’s more important that we wait and start a season later so that everything can be normal? As a coach, is it best that you wait for the ready set go or not?
A: As far as our approach, the league will make those decisions. I think the one thing the league is being very considerate of is everybody’s safety. Players, fans, and everybody. I don’t think anyone wants to play in front of empty stadiums. The fans are a huge part of this game. Playing in front of stadiums, that’s where the juice and the energy comes from on a weekly basis. We don’t have fans at practice, so we prepare them every day without people watching. These guys have to go out and they will be prepared for whatever the situation is. Truly, we want the fans there. It would be a different atmosphere. We prepare for whatever, but the fans are a huge part of this game and we definitely want them there.

Q: Would you consider training camp being driving distance? Somewhere around New Jersey?
A: To be honest with you, if we can’t practice at the facility, I would like it to be the best set up possible. There’s a lot of factors that go into that in terms of field space, training room, weight room, food for the players, rooms and accommodations. These guys have off days in training camp as well. One of the advantages of being at the facility is these guys have a chance to go home see their wives and kids on the off days. That’s a big part of it. Our training camp practices are open. It’s important to me that the players get to go out there and walk off the field and see their wives and kids and girlfriends on the way off the field. Spend 10 minutes of keeping things in perspective before you go in there and over-analyze everything you did on the field. In terms of where we go, hopefully we are in the facility. That’s really what we are pushing for. If the league determines something else, our Ops department is in the middle of having that organized in case we have to go that way. We’ll see what’s available. I can’t really answer that as a hard question, it’s a little bit more of a hypothetical there. I would rather be in the facility than anywhere else.

Q: Final question is where did you get the haircut?
A: I got some clippers and I experimented on my back deck. It took a little while longer than a normal haircut. To be honest with you, I kind of have that quarantined hair falling off of my ears for a little bit. My wife cut my youngest son’s hair and it looks like he got in a fight with a broken bottle. I did my own a little bit.

May 072020
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (October 27, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

In a normal year, the new coaching staff and veteran players of the New York Giants would have begun the team’s offseason program in person on April 20th, a few days before the 2020 NFL Draft. But COVID-19 has prevented coaches and players from congregating in person and thus teams like the Giants have initiated virtual offseason programs, allowing interaction through computers and other devices. The Giants are now in the third week of their virtual program.

Last week, during an interview with CBS Sports, Head Coach Joe Judge singled out quarterback Daniel Jones. “I love working with this guy every day,” said Judge. “He’s got a fire that burns in him. He brings other guys along with him. He shows up every day. He knows what you’re going to teach before you’re teaching it in terms of being prepared on material. He sets the tone for the room, and I’m very excited when we finally get these guys in person and get with him.

“We had a lot of conversations, a lot of conversations. Let me tell you something right now, sitting down with him and talking his philosophy on the program and where we’re going to go, what his goals are in his career, I’m glad he’s on our team. Let me put it that way. I’m really glad he’s on our team.”

That praise has continued this week. In an interview with NBC Sports on Wednesday, Judge said, “We’re going to have different leaders. Daniel has to take on a role by the nature of his position. He’s done a phenomenal job of setting the tone with the way he’s working right now, and that’s the biggest part of it. You can’t be a leader if you’re not effective at your job and you don’t work hard for the team. Those are the two important things.

“But the other guys on our team have to lead as well. Everyone has their own style, and everyone has their own impact on the game, but we can’t rely on one guy to lead. But I’d say Daniel is off to a very strong start in these virtual meetings by setting the tone on how he’s working. That, to me, is the biggest thing. Everything he can do at this point, he’s doing. That’s all we can ask.”

Judge also discussed the challenges of working with his new roster during these challenging times.

“The biggest thing is we’re working virtually, but we have to knock down some of these walls and bridge the gaps for our players and form relationships,” said Judge. “The one thing we can’t have is we walk in for training camp in July or August and we start looking around and now we’re introducing ourselves to each other. We can’t have that. We have to find a way as a coaching staff of eliminating those gaps with our players and start just forming relationships. The X’s and O’s are very important, but the thing we’re missing right now is the lunch table conversations, the locker room bonds, walking off the field in phase two and three and just taking your cleats off on the steps together. There are things you can’t replicate through a computer. But we’re going to do our best as a coaching staff to put the players in a situation where they can start forming some of those relationships.

“A lot of (bonding) has to come through the football meetings themselves and the X’s and O’s and conversations. A lot of it has to really come along, give the understanding to the players that at some point, they have to reach out themselves. Look, a lot of these guys play video games together. As much as that seems like just something to pass time, it’s as important for team bonding right now as anything, if they can get on an Xbox and play with each other or pick up a phone and FaceTime like we are right now, at least look each other in the eyes as they talk. There are a lot of different modes. We kind of told players to be inventive. We’re always searching for ways as coaches ourselves that we can put them in positions to try to create competitive situations within meetings. But the more interaction we can promote, the better it’ll be for us as a team.”

Meanwhile, the coaching staff also has to adapt with the times. “I think the best thing I can do is just stay as busy as I can day by day,” Judge said. “We have a lot of work leading up to it right now. We’re mapping out training camp already, talking as a staff trying to get advanced scouting reports and everything on the same page. We’re still a new staff, so there’s a lot of things we need to make sure we cover without being in the building. There are things as simple as, ‘Alright, first time we go on the field, we’re not having spring ball right now. First time we go on the field, where are the different position groups going? When I blow the whistle, does everybody know where to run?’ So, they are all the discussions we’re having through computers right now so when we get back in the building, we can work faster together. There’s plenty to keep me busy. Let’s kind of manage a little bit of the anticipation or the energy as far as tapping my foot and waiting. But it’ll come fast enough, and we’re excited for the season to start.”

Apr 152020
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Joe Judge, New York Giants (February 25, 2020)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media by conference call on Wednesday in advance of next week’s NFL Draft.

Opening Statement: I’d like to take a second to acknowledge (New York Post Photographer) Anthony Causi and his family. I know it’s a very tough time for his family specifically, but also everybody else in the media. There’s a lot of things going on out there, people’s lives have been turned upside down, that I think it’s important we keep in perspective as we talk football through this call that there are bigger things going on, that ultimately what we do is entertainment and a means of escape for people dealing with much bigger issues. So with that being said, I’d like to go ahead and start answering any questions that I can for you guys. Fire away.

Q: A lot has been written and talked about how a new coach like yourself might be a little behind because of OTAs being cancelled with the virus. Maybe you could get into a little bit of that and how you plan on catching up once you get into the building, as compared to a (Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach) Doug Pederson who has had a system in place for years.
A: All we’re concerned about at this point, really, is getting a foundation ready through whatever means it ends up being. We’ve been preparing for this now for some time, for these meetings to go virtual, we’ve got to communicate with our players through the conditioning program and have everything set up so that we can work with them. I think the advantage goes to whoever is best prepared from this point forward. I don’t think any established program is at an advantage over anybody else. It’s how you can find a way to communicate with your players and deliver a message. Whether you’ve been in the program for years or not, everyone has changes to their system, everybody has changes to what they’re going to be doing in the offseason. They’re going to have the same challenges of communicating to their players.

Q: Can you take us through what Monday is going to look like and how that’s going to work with the players?
A: Yeah, so I’ll tell you what, without going into too many specifics in terms of what we’re using, we’re using some virtual meeting software, like most everyone in America is — like my kids are in the kitchen right now taking virtual school. We’re going to start out with position meetings. We’re going to take our time of going through, making sure that first off all of the players are sound and set up on how to use the software. Before we get into too much of the football, we’re going to make sure that everyone knows how to use it, and where to find all of the information. Monday is going to be a lot like a first day back in the building, you know, through a regular spring program. We want to spend some time with position coaches, we want to make sure the coordinators get a chance to address their room, and I’ll have a chance to talk to the team for the first time. So, before we get into all of the X’s and O’s of football, there’s an important element of just getting to know the players and them getting to know us that has to take place.

Q: With regard to the NFL Draft, because of the offseason and the inability to develop players in a hands-on way, does that impact your evaluation in the draft and maybe the need to draft a guy who is more pro ready or guys who are pro ready versus somebody who requires more hands-on development early?
A: No, I think that when you’re looking at players in the draft, first off, you’re always looking for the best player available and to me that means long-term upside. If you think you’re taking someone who is “pro ready,” what all of these rookies find out the second they step in the building is none of them are pro ready. That’s why they need the spring program, that’s why they need training camp, that’s why they go through growing pains as rookies. To me, it’s about finding the upside of the player, of looking down the long scope of a career and seeing who’s going to be the best player with the most upside for you. There’s really no short-term fix or band aid. You’re not going to pick someone in this draft and say, “Okay, we answered an issue there.” It’s just bringing the best guy available and then working with them every day. No one is a finished product, whether they are a college guy getting drafted or someone who is in the league right now. Everyone has to improve to get to where we need to be.

Q: You have members of the staff, you were also in the league during the lockout when there was some uncertainty. In this day and age, with no telling when we’re going to possibly have your guys back on the field — how flexible do you have to be in terms of the teaching, getting these guys ready to go so that when they hit the field they don’t miss a beat?
A: Well, this is definitely a fluid program first off. What we’re dealing with right now is a lot of uncertainty, so we have to control is what we have the ability to control. For us as a staff right now, we’re looking at just making sure we get the installs in the way we want to get them in and make sure that whether our players get back to us this spring or not, they’ve got a solid base on the knowledge of our program so that when we start truly practicing competitively in training camp, that they’ve got a good head start on it. I would say there are some significant differences between this year and 2011. First off, I’d like to point out in the lockout, the biggest difference was our players’ ability to train and condition themselves to be ready to practice when they returned. And when you think about it, at the time, you had Drew Brees bringing the Saints down to New Orleans to throw, Colt McCoy took the Browns down to Austin, Texas. Travel was accessible, these players had the ability to go to a gym in their local town and train, to work with trainers. That’s been removed, for the most part, across the country right now. The biggest thing we’ve got to make sure that we adjust for is the ability for our players to be prepared physically when they get back. When you track 2011, which is the last year we didn’t have an offseason program with players, the injury data is what it is — it was the highest recorded in league history, especially in recent years. That was even with the players training on their own as hard as they could. The tough thing for our players is to really get pushed through football movements to prepare themselves for practice. So, we have to make adjustments so that when we finally do get the players back, hopefully sooner than later, but we have to make sure we practice the right way and give them, give the players, a chance to condition their body and be physically ready so that we can avoid injury. That’s really our top concern right now is football wise, making sure the players can physically prepare their bodies and we can give them the resources and tools to do so, so that when we return to play everyone can play safely and aggressively.

Q: You are working remotely like so many people are in a house, with a family, with kids, a first time head coach. What is that like for you? Is it difficult, any technical glitches, any family emergencies you’ve got to run out to do? Tell us what your new normal is like.
A: You know what, the normal for me is my office just moved to my basement. I operate out of my basement. Same work hours I would hold if I were in the office, up early and stay late. Make sure you get everything done. You know, we still meet on our regular basis as a staff, whether that’s offense or defense or as an entire staff, strength staff, whatever it is. But we’re meeting through online, virtual meetings. We have technology that’s allowing us to be very functional and productive. There have been some adjustments by everybody, but that’s our job is to figure it out and move forward. One thing I’ll tell you that I’m very confident in is when we start dealing with the players, there’s no generation that’s been more prepared for this offseason than the ones we’re going to deal with now. They are very technologically savvy, they are going to have a lot of feedback that we’re going to get from them that we’re going to rely on in terms of how we can improve our meetings, to do what helps them. So, everybody has adjusted. I think if the worst thing we’re dealing with right now, to be honest with you, is working out of our basement, we’ve got it pretty good. Look, there’s a lot of people out there right now who don’t have jobs to go to with this situation, there’s police, fire department, there are nurses who leave their house every day, who leave their family behind and they are putting themselves out there to protect us. So, I think there’s people we have to acknowledge with the right perspective who have it a lot tougher than a bunch of football coaches just trying to function to get ready for an offseason and a draft.

Q: This is obviously suboptimal for a second-year quarterback learning a new system. Is there anything being done behind the scenes or plans for when you guys can get back together, whenever that may be, to help get Daniel (Jones) up to speed and really guard against him potentially falling behind learning a new system without the on-field reps and in-person coaching you guys would be able to get?
A: Well I’ll tell you what, really for all of our players, everybody is in the same boat right now trying to start from scratch. What we’ve been allowed to do right now by the league is we’ve had contact with our players, but everything has been non-football to this point. We’ve just wanted to check on them and their families and make sure everyone is safe and healthy and if there is anything we can do to help them in this process. We want to make sure that all of our players and their families really have the access to our medical team, so if something comes up, we can head it off before it becomes a major issue. In terms of the players football wise, we’ve been able to give out iPads, and we’ve been able to load information on it, but we haven’t been able to have any instruction or interaction dealing with football. Now on Monday, that’s different. We get to go fully virtual with it, which will be a big advantage getting to meet with the players face-to-face, so to say, and start dealing with the players. In the meantime, the players have looked through what’s on the iPad, they’ve watched old film, they’ve had a chance to look at playbooks which have been loaded up. But really, Monday is when the instruction and teaching starts. That’s what we’re looking forward to.

Q: Now that you have had a chance to evaluate your team from a distance, can you give us an idea of what you think of the current team you have?
A: I’m excited to work with all the players. We’ve watched them and again we have watched them from a distance is the key thing to say. We’ve watched them on tape, we have watched them from afar. Most of us were on other teams last year, so we have watched them from an outsider’s perspective. We are really anxious to work with them in our building and put our hands on them.  It wouldn’t be fair to give a true evaluation of anybody who you haven’t worked with. We are excited to work with every player from the previous roster and the new guys we added to the roster right now. We are looking forward to the draft and we are all kind of tapping our foot right now just anxious to be have any type of exposure to players that we can. When we start going virtually, it will give us a great insight to the players as to how they interact in meetings, how insightful they are with the questions they ask, how current they can stay on the information and that’s what we are really waiting for.

Q: This is your first time going through the draft process as a head coach. What is the biggest thing you learned up in New England about their approach to the draft?
A: I think it is about evaluating the players. To me, the biggest part of the draft is evaluating the players. Not for what they have done in the past but for what they can do in the future. You have to have the foresight to see how their skillset can add to your team and how you are going to use them. The biggest thing from my time in New England is to how to look at the player and find what their strengths are and then see how you can use them to your team’s advantage.

Q: I know you haven’t had a chance to see these guys up close and personal, but you added some key free agents. Three guys in particular on defense, Bradberry, Martinez and Fackrell. What do you expect they will bring to the team and why did you feel you wanted to add them to the roster?
A: I expect everyone on the team to bring a level of commitment and competitiveness that’s going to make us an improved team and that’s what I expect from them. I expect when they show up, they will be in shape, I expect them to be ready on the material that we have presented to them and I expect them to come out on the field and compete aggressively every single day. That’s what we expect from our players every day, whether it was someone on the roster last year or someone we added in free agency or someone we add in the draft. That’s the expectation of all the players, to come to work every day with a relentless attitude to improve this team.

Q: When you look at a player, how much does a premium position like quarterback or left tackle factor into the evaluation process?
A: I think it matters only in how they fit in your system and how you can use them to expand in your system. To me, every player has to have a level of versatility. I don’t care if you are a one-position offensive lineman or you’re the quarterback. Everyone has to have versatility within their game to adjust to different game plans and schemes. If you find a player that has great impact and upside, that’s a guy you want to add to your roster. The upside is the biggest part of it. In terms of is it someone that has to have a true position home, to me the position home is going to be defined by how you use them. That’s up to us as coaches to be creative and maximize strengths. Not talk about what they are not but figure out what they can do in order to help us win.

Q: All the free agents you signed this year, members of your staff have some kind of past history. How important is that in integrating that prior knowledge with what you are trying to build in terms of these players maybe serving as group leaders?
A: I don’t think we are looking for any players to come in and be ambassadors or to raise the other players. We added players to the roster who we think are good players. Some we had previous exposure with, some we didn’t. It’s a small league, whether you are coaching a player, coaching against him or watching him on crossover tape every week, you know the league. I believe all the players we added have a great deal of value, I believe they are all going to add to our team. They are all going to compete, which is the biggest thing we like out of all the players we’ve added. You watch them on tape, and they all have very competitive natures in how they play and that’s the biggest thing to us right there. As far as the previous relationships we have with these players, that’s not going to give them an edge or an advantage over any other player on the roster or we are going to add at any point to the roster. We are always going to play the best player, we are always going to play the player that gives us the best opportunity to match up with an opponent by that week’s game plan. I’d say the players that are coming in should know that about us already. They don’t expect special treatment. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to all these players when we signed them. The message is very clear, the expectations for them are the same as everyone else on this team. No one at this point has an advantage on the roster over anybody else for a spot on this team.

Q: At the combine, you had talked about how important it was for you to be able to be on-site and be at pro days and dig into guys personally and seeing them. In the adjustment of what you’ve done pre-draft, have you done anything different to kind of dig into guys, to kind of make up for what you personally lost in your evaluation of some of these prospects getting ready for the draft?
A: What we’ve done is we’ve used everything available to us to really go ahead and get the best picture of each player. I can tell you losing the visits to your campus, or to go to the player’s campus and watch them at a pro day, you really have to utilize these meetings online. It gives you an opportunity to look a player in the eyes when you talk. I’m very big on body language, I’m very big on eye contact. At least you have the opportunity to look a player in the eyes, you ask him a question and see his reaction. That’s big right there. It gives you a good picture of how they are as far as talking ball, how much they can learn and teach back to you. The other thing we’ve had to do is rely on our contacts and people we trust. We’re very fortunate on our staff and me personally that we have a lot of contacts out there with a lot of these players that have coached them, and that we have good enough relationships with these coaches that they give us honest feedback. To me, it’s important that you’re not just talking to someone at that program, you’re talking to someone you trust at that program that’s going to really tell you inside and out what that player is like as a person, as a teammate and as a player on a daily basis. I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to guys that I have very good, very deep relationships with investigating these players, and that all goes into our evaluation. The talent level is one thing, but it’s more than just fantasy football. We’re not just throwing players on a roster. We’re building a team. We have to account for how guys are in the meeting room, how they are in the locker room, how they interact with their teammates, and what they’re going to bring from a culture standpoint.

Q: With that in mind, when you look at all of the college coaches you have on staff, how much more valuable does that make their insight when you’re talking about players that maybe they’ve coached  or coached against, so that you don’t necessarily need to go to those outside coaches and kind of help bridge that gap between being on campus and not?
A: I’ll tell you what, it’s been a great asset for us. One of the things you forget about in this whole process of the guys that we have that have just come from colleges in the last couple of years or maybe just from this last year is maybe they haven’t coached them directly, but they recruited them and they have personal relationships with these players. You find out a lot about a player from a coach who’s spent a lot of time meeting him and his family. The homework that they’ve done over the course of really a year-plus when they’re recruiting in college is more beneficial than you spending an afternoon at a pro day with him. It’s been a great resource for us. We have tremendous guys on our staff who… Look, they were great recruiters in college. That’s not going to mean anything in the NFL, but we can use what they’ve learned in the past on a specific player to tie into what we see as a whole person.

Q: Can you just give us an idea how next Thursday, Friday and Saturday are going to work for you? Are you going to be locked in that basement? I actually read a quote from the Chargers GM that he was going to have his kids help him out, like tracking other teams’ picks and stuff. Is it going to be you in your basement talking on video chat with Dave (Gettleman) and the scouts? How do you envision the actual three days of the draft working?
A: I’ll have a more accurate picture for you after we go through a couple of mock drafts ourselves as an organization, with the league. However, I have told my kids that there are times I’m going to need them to get out of the basement or be present. Based on how we set up our draft board so that I can have a visual in my basement, I’ve already talked to them about possibly taking tags off the wall and organizing different things. I’m not looking to make this a vacation for anybody. We have a lot of serious work to get done. But it is still our house, and like everyone else in America is finding out, everyone is working with their family always present, and that’s pretty true for us. I have a golden retriever (Abby) sitting on the couch next to me for about 15 hours a day. Right now, she can probably tell you more about who we’re going to take in the first round than anybody else.

Q: Is the goal of virtual learning simply to know the playbook, or is it ‘this is how we want to practice, this is how we want to do everything’?
A: All of those elements will eventually tie into it. The first part of it ties into the playbook and the material. Eventually, we will talk as a team in terms of how we’re going to conduct the team, how we’re going to practice. It’s important the players not only know what you’re going to do, but how you’re going to do it. That will come into the coordinators explaining to them our style of offense, our style of defense, our style of special teams, and how we’re going to look. They have to understand where they’re going to fit in the puzzle.

Q: Obviously there’s a lot of uncertainty looking forward about whether you’ll get to training camp or the season. A lot of coaches plan out their schedule months in advance. I’m going to assume that you probably do the same thing. How much have you had to revise your future plans, or are you just holding off on making any future plans at the moment?
A: Well, it’s my job to be prepared. As the head coach, I need to have a plan for everything that’s going to come up. When we got the memo from the NFL the other day of how the spring is going to look, I sat down and we’ve made four calendars already in anticipation of different scenarios that could come up. We have them color coded, so if we get the players as scheduled, we’re working off the blue calendar. If we don’t get the players, we’re working off the red calendar. If we get them later in the spring, we’ll pull up the purple calendar. We have different scenarios mapped out, so we have a plan of attack when that time comes. It’s our job to figure it out and have a plan for the players, and we’re working on doing that right now.

Q: What’s your message to the fans of the New York Football Giants right now?
A: The biggest thing is beyond football. I hope everyone out there is safe, I hope everyone is healthy, I hope everyone is staying in good spirits. We’re doing our best right here to get back to work for you guys so you have something to watch and be proud of. I can assure you, we’re going to make sure that the hard work that they have in their communities and things that people are looking forward to getting back to when normal life resumes, we’re going to make sure that what they’ve been anticipating, we put that on the field. We give them a product that they can be proud of. I just want to thank all of the first responders, too. The police, the fire department, every doctor, every nurse, ambulance driver. You find out how essential life is, how about essential employees, how we really would be struggling to function without people to do the everyday things for us. Look, it’s tough sitting in your house. It’s a lot tougher going out there every day, being exposed to the virus and doing your job, and then having to go home and look your family in the eye. We can’t take lightly the sacrifices all those people are making for us, and we appreciate it.


Mar 092020
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Rhett Ellison, New York Giants (October 20, 2019)

Rhett Ellison – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have officially announced that 31-year old tight end Rhett Ellison has retired due to concerns over a concussion that caused him to miss the last six games of the 2019 NFL season. Ellison played in 10 games in 2019 with seven starts. He finished the year with just 18 catches for 167 yards and one touchdown. The transaction will save the Giants $5 million against the 2020 NFL salary cap, but will also count $2.2 million in dead money.

“The past few weeks, it’s kind of been an emotional roller coaster,” Ellison said in the press release. “But the overwhelming feeling I have is gratitude. Just thinking back to all the people in my life, even before I put pads on, that were able to nurture and grow the gifts God put into me and make this career possible. I think that was the biggest thing that was the fun part about the retirement process, which is reflecting on those people, thanking those people, reaching out and just the lessons they taught me, the tools they gave me for my life after football.

“In the back of my head, there’s always that, ‘I get it, this could be my last game,’ just because of the nature of the sport. When I ruptured my patella tendon (in 2016), that was the first time I realized, ‘Oh wait, this can end at any moment.’ Since that injury, it’s kind of stuck with me, like, ‘Don’t take these games for granted. Don’t take these opportunities for granted.’ I was never surprised. I know injuries are a part of the game. There’s no way I could have told you that was going to be my last game (the November 10th contest against the New York Jets), but it ended up being my last game. But my mentality, just from having multiple injuries throughout my career, was you realize how short your time is on the field and you never really know when it’s going to end.”

Ellison was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Vikings. The Giants signed Ellison as an unrestricted free agent in March 2017. In 2017 and 2018, Ellison averaged 25 catches and 254 yards per season for the Giants, starting 26 of the 30 games he played in.

“The people I met when I was with the Giants made such an impact on me,” Ellison said. “One of the coolest things I got to be a part of was made possible by the Giants and it had nothing to do with playing on the field. The Giants opened up their doors to about 100 homeless people in Newark and created this event off an idea that myself and Jenny (Schumm DePaul) at Project Kind came up with. They just rolled with it without hesitation. It was so cool to see an organization open the doors to their stadium to people in need without any kind of hesitation. When I think back to my time with the Giants and just my football career in general, that was one of the coolest things, if not the coolest thing, that I’ve been a part of. The Giants really valued that and they valued me that way. I would definitely say the people there made this special for me the past three years.

“From talking to former teammates that have retired, their advice is always take it slow. You’re so used to going all out all the time that you just feel like you have to jump back into something, maybe before you’re ready. First and foremost, (my wife and I are) just going to take our time. It’s going to be fun just getting more quality time with my family, with my extended family, and just getting to be at holidays for the first time in probably a decade. Just enjoying my family and friends and reflecting on everything. But the number one thing for us is service. How can we find ways to serve? So, we’re going to take our time figuring that out.

“(I will miss) being a part of the team, being with my teammates, the locker room, the cafeteria, the camaraderie are what I’m going to miss most. I think the process, too, of just the physical preparation. I was kind of weird in that I loved the physical preparation before the season. My favorite time of year was training camp. I was just a little bit off that way. But that’s what I think I will miss the most, my teammates and just the physical preparation. Game days, I don’t know. I’ll know exactly how I feel when Sunday rolls around, but the immediate reaction is I’m going to miss my teammates and I’m going to miss just the physical preparation of the game.”

The only tight ends on the roster currently under contract are Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, Garrett Dickerson, and C.J. Conrad.

“He’s definitely the best teammate I ever had,” Engram said. “Rhett not only helped me with so many things on the field, but helped me off the field, too. I’m going to miss him. He’s definitely going to be a friend of mine for life… He’s like a walking teach tape. You can pull up any play that he’s on and that’s exactly how the play is supposed to be done whether it’s a route, whether it’s a certain blocking technique we have to execute. He’s a really good professional, he’s a really good technician. He’s a perfect example to learn from.”

The New York Giants have exercised their contract option on quarterback Alex Tanney, meaning that Tanney is now under contract for one more season. If he makes the team, Tanney will earn $950,000 in salary, a $37,500 bonus, and a $25,000 workout bonus.

New York Giants Strength and Conditioning Coach Aaron Wellman has left the team to accept the same position with Indiana University. Wellman had served as the Giants’ strength coach since 2016, under both head coaches Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur.


Mar 062020
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Joe Judge, New York Giants (January 9, 2020)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

Head Coach Joe Judge

One of the hallmarks of a bottom-tier sports franchise is how often it cycles through new coaches. In the last five years, the Giants have fired three head coaches and more assistant coaches than I care to count. With fan ire now rightfully shifting towards ownership, John Mara took a tremendous gamble in hiring Joe Judge, a 38-year old who has never served as a head coach at any level.

  • 2020-Present: Head Coach, New York Giants
  • 2019: Special Teams Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach, New England Patriots
  • 2015-2018: Special Teams Coordinator, New England Patriots
  • 2012-2014: Special Teams Assistant, New England  Patriots
  • 2009-2011: Special Teams Assistant/Football Analyst, University of Alabama
  • 2008: Special Teams/Linebackers Coach, Birmingham-Southern College
  • 2005-2007: Graduate Assistant, Mississippi State University

On the surface, Judge’s resume appears almost entirely based on praise from two living football legends who he has worked under: Nick Saban and Bill Belichick. Other than that, Judge served at the coordinator level for only five seasons (2015-2019).

“He’s an excellent coach,” said Belichick. “He understands the game well, works extremely hard and is a very good teacher of fundamentals. Joe picks up concepts and coaching points quickly. He is an exceptional leader and one of the best coaches I have been around. He has been responsible for coaching units comprised of nearly every player on the roster. That requires an ability to handle many moving parts, make constant adjustments and immediate decisions.”

“Joe did a fantastic job for our program early on in our tenure in Tuscaloosa,” said Saban. “He went on to have a lot of success on Bill’s staff in New England. Joe is one of the brightest young coaches in our profession, and I think he will do a tremendous job as the head coach of the New York Giants. They are getting an extremely smart football coach who is very loyal, organized and diligent about getting the job done.”

At least in the short-term, Judge won over many doubting fans during his introductory press conference, evincing a no-nonsense, take-charge attitude and a sense of urgency that seems to have been lacking in recent years. But make no mistake, Mara is taking a big risk here on an unproven commodity with virtually no track record on the offensive and defensive sides of the football.

Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett

Despite his 85-67 regular-season record as head coach and earning “coach of the year” honors in 2016, most Cowboys fans were eventually glad to see Garrett let go. That said, his temperament and overall ability is probably best suited to offensive coordinator. Hiring Garrett was a major “get” for Judge and the Giants as his very presence gives the coaching staff some much-needed gravitas. Indeed, many had expected the Giants to pursue Garrett for the head coaching vacancy. When asked about Garrett, Judge pointed to Garrett’s ability run multiple schemes, putting pressure on defenses, and being an excellent teacher.

“There were guys I worked with that I came across in my career at both Alabama and at the New England Patriots that worked with Jason through their time in Miami with him,” said Judge. “They consistently all reflected on how smart he is, how great a teacher he is and how his perspective of the game was through a different lens than most coaches. And when he sees it, he’s able to communicate it and paint that mental image to the players. And he does a fantastic job of making in-game adjustments… It’s a great system he brings with great teaching that will allow our players to go out there and play aggressively.”

  • 2020-Present: Offensive Coordinator, New York Giants
  • 2011-2019: Head Coach, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2010: Interim Head Coach, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2008-2010: Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2007: Offensive Coordinator, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2005-2006: Quarterbacks Coach, Miami Dolphins

Quarterbacks Coach Jerry Schuplinski

After serving four years as an assistant quarterbacks coach with two teams, Judge hired Schuplinski as the primary quarterbacks coach for the Giants. Schuplinski has received praise from former pupils young and old, including Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Fitzpatrick. While Schuplinski will be under pressure to develop Daniel Jones, keep in mind that Jason Garrett began his NFL career as both a quarterback and quarterback coach.

“Jerry is an incredible teacher,” said Judge. “He has done a phenomenal job of developing young quarterbacks in this league. He simplifies the game so the quarterback can play fast in terms of understanding our scheme and analyzing the opponent’s defense.”

  • 2020-Present: Quarterbacks Coach, New York Giants
  • 2019: Assistant Quarterbacks Coach, Miami Dolphins
  • 2016-2018: Assistant Quarterbacks Coach, New England Patriots
  • 2013-2015: Coaching Assistant, New England Patriots
  • 2007-2012: Linebackers/Special Teams Coach, Case Western Reserve University
  • 2002-2006: Head Coach, Trinity High School (Ohio)
  • 2000-2001: Running Backs/Special Teams Coach, John Carroll University
Running Backs Coach Burton Burns

The oldest member of the staff, the 67-year old Burns actually transitioned from legendary running backs coach at Alabama to assistant athletic director for football two years ago. Yet the coaching bug appears to still be in his veins.

“I’ve worked with Burton, so I knew first-hand the impact he has on the players he coaches,” Judge said. “He’s coached a number of great backs, he’s coached on a lot of championship teams, and he knows how to get the most out of his players. He’s tough. That’s one thing you’re going to find out about Burton right away. He’s tough. He’s hard-nosed, he coaches tough, he demands his players to play tough. But he has as deep a care for the players he coaches as anybody out there. They respond to him because they know he’s in a foxhole with them. I’m excited to have Burton here, very excited to have Burton here. I know he’s looking forward to working with the guys on the roster.”

Burns was credited with helping to develop Heisman Trophy winners Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. One has to think that the lure of coaching Saquon Barkley was a major factor in bringing Burns out of coaching retirement.

  • 2020-Present: Running Backs Coach, New York Giants
  • 2018-2019: Assistant Athletic Director for Football, University of Alabama
  • 2007-2017: Running Backs Coach, University of Alabama
  • 1999-2006: Running Backs Coach, Clemson University
  • 1994-1998: Assistant Coach, Tulane University
  • 1986-1993: Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Saint Augustine High School (New Orleans, LA)
  • 1981-1985: Assistant Coach, Southern University
  • 1980: Assistant Coach, Booker T. Washington High School (New Orleans, LA)
  • 1977-1979: Assistant Coach, Saint Augustine High School (New Orleans, LA)
Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert

One of the few coaches to survive the purge, Tolbert was hired by Pat Shurmur two years ago after serving as wide receivers coach with a number of franchises including the Cardinals, Bills, Panthers, and Broncos. From an outsider’s perspective, the major reason he was brought back appears to be the development of Darius Slayton. Others such as Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer, the latter also being with Tolbert in Denver, have not developed as hoped. Judge may have been impressed with his work with previous teams as well as the job he did with a slew of bottom tier wide receivers the Giants have had to rely on the past two seasons.

“Tyke’s a guy I knew throughout the league from going against him,” Judge said. “He’s a guy that came recommended by a lot of people that I know very personally. But ultimately, the deciding factor on Tyke is you turn his tape on, and his guys play hard, they play fundamentally sound, he’s been able to develop a number of receivers in different systems, and ultimately, the video tapes are what tells you how a guy is coaching.”

  • 2018-Present: Wide Receivers Coach, New York Giants
  • 2011-2017: Wide Receivers Coach, Denver Broncos
  • 2010: Wide Receivers Coach, Carolina Panthers
  • 2004-2009: Wide Receivers Coach, Buffalo Bills
  • 2003: Wide Receivers Coach, Arizona Cardinals
  • 2002: Tight Ends Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, University of Florida
  • 1999-2001: Wide Receivers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • 1998: Tight Ends Coach, Auburn University
  • 1995-1997: Tight Ends Coach, Northeast Louisiana University
  • 1995: Wide Receivers Coach, Ohio University
  • 1994: Graduate Assistant, Northeast Louisiana University
  • 1994: Graduate Assistant, Louisiana State University
Tight Ends Coach Freddie Kitchens

A lightening rod for many fans given his disastrous debut season as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns in 2019, Kitchens was not long ago considered a rising offensive mind in the League. Indeed, it was speculated that Judge may have considered Kitchens for the offensive coordinator spot. Kitchens has a wide array of position coaching experience, including running backs, tight ends, and quarterbacks. He also was an offensive coordinator for one season in Cleveland before becoming head coach. Kitchens replaces Lunda Wells, who now ironically is the tight ends coach for the Dallas Cowboys.

“I think any position on offense is good for Freddie,” Judge said. “He’s got a lot of experience at different positions. He’s been head coach, he’s been a coordinator, he’s been a position coach. He sees it through a lot of different perspectives. What I love about Freddie is he brings an element of toughness and discipline to his room. He brings outside the box thinking a lot of times to how he approaches the game from a game plan perspective. I think he’ll be an asset to working with our offensive coaches and developing the game plan throughout the week. But ultimately, I’ve worked with Freddie, I’ve played for Freddie, and I’ve called against Freddie, and I understand what his players are about.”

  • 2020-Present: Tight Ends Coach, New York Giants
  • 2019: Head Coach, Cleveland Browns
  • 2018: Offensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns
  • 2018: Associate Head Coach/Running Backs Coach, Cleveland Browns
  • 2017: Running Backs Coach, Arizona Cardinals
  • 2013-2016: Quarterbacks Coach, Arizona Cardinals
  • 2007-2012: Tight Ends Coach, Arizona Cardinals
  • 2006: Tight Ends Coach, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2005: Running Backs Coach, Mississippi State University
  • 2004: Tight Ends Coach, Mississippi State University
  • 2001-2003: Running Backs Coach, University of North Texas
  • 2000: Graduate Assistant, Louisiana State University
  • 1999: Running Backs/Tight Ends Coach, Glenville State College

(NFL has blocked the following video from BBI, click on link to see “Freddie Kitchens: The Most Selfless Man in the NFL”).

Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo

Most Giants fans were pining for long-time offensive line guru Bill Callahan, but Cleveland hired Callahan in late January. Judge instead chose 41-year old and relatively still green offensive line coach Marc Colombo over the more experienced Dave DeGuglielmo, who couldn’t seem to stay in one place very long. One of the primary selling points had to be Colombo’s preexisting relationship and experience with Jason Garrett in Dallas. As a player for the Cowboys, Colombo was also a favorite of then Dallas Head Coach Bill Parcells.

“Continuity is very important, especially between the offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach, that they can be on the same page starting out,” Judge said. “One of the challenges of a new staff is getting on the same page and working through some of the differences that maybe we’ve had from past experiences but making sure we’re working to one goal. I’d say with Marc, the deciding factor wasn’t his past experience with Jason. The deciding factor was he’s a tremendous coach. His body of work as you turn on the tape and watch how his guys play with technique, execution and toughness is ultimately what the deciding factor was.”

  • 2020-Present: Offensive Line Coach, New York Giants
  • 2018-2019: Offensive Line Coach, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2016-2018: Assistant Offensive Line Coach, Dallas Cowboys
Assistant Offensive Line Coach Ben Wilkerson

Wilkerson is another Pat Shurmur hire who survived the purge. He worked under unimpressive offensive line coach Hal Hunter, who was out of coaching in 2017 before Shurmur hired him and currently remains unemployed as a coach. Judge has not publicly commented on the retention of Wilkerson. He must see something in him.

  • 2018-Present: Assistant Offensive Line Coach, New York Giants
  • 2015-2017: Assistant Offensive Line Coach, Chicago Bears
  • 2014: Assistant Football and Track Coach, North Shore Senior High School (Texas)
  • 2012-2013: Offensive Line Coach, Grambling State University
  • 2011: Offensive Administrative Intern, Louisiana State University
  • 2010: Offensive Graduate Assistant, Louisiana State University
Senior Offensive Assistant Derek Dooley

Dooley is the third assistant coach on the offensive side of the football who has served as a head coach in the NFL or at a major collegiate program. He also worked with Jason Garrett in Dallas for five seasons as wide receivers coach. He also has experience as an offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, tight ends coach, running backs coach, and special teams coordinator.

  • 2020-Present: Senior Offensive Assistant, New York Giants
  • 2018-2019: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach, University of Missouri
  • 2013-2017: Wide Receivers Coach, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2010-2012: Head Coach, University of Tennessee
  • 2007-2009: Head Coach, Louisiana Tech University
  • 2005-2006: Tight Ends Coach, Miami Dolphins
  • 2004: Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach/Special Teams Coordinator, Louisiana State University
  • 2003: Running Backs Coach/Special Teams Coordinator, Louisiana State University
  • 2000-2002: Tight Ends Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Louisiana State University
  • 1997-1999: Wide Receivers Coach/Co-Recruiting Coordinator, Southern Methodist University
  • 1996: Graduate Assistant, University of Georgia

At the very least, he is quite the character (see video below).

Offensive Assistant Stephen Brown

It seems Brown was probably brought onboard due to his preexisting relationship with Jason Garrett, serving in the same role in Dallas for four seasons. Judge has not commented on Brown.

  • 2020-Present: Offensive Assistant, New York Giants
  • 2016-2019: Offensive Assistant, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2013-2014: Assistant to the Head Coach/Special Teams Assistant, Buffalo Bills
  • 2009-2012: Quality Control Coach/Director of Recruiting, Syracuse University
  • 2006-2008: Student Assistant, University of Tennessee
Offensive Quality Control Coach Bobby Blick

Blick survived both the Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur firings. However, Judge moved him from the defensive to the offensive side of the ball. Judge has not commented on Blick. Typically, quality control coaches prepare the statistical analysis as well as the initial video study of upcoming opponents several weeks in advance of playing them.

  • 2020-Present: Offensive Quality Control Coach, New York Giants
  • 2017-2019: Defensive Assistant, New York Giants
  • 2016: Director of Player Personnel, Army
  • 2015: Special Teams Coordinator/Director of Recruiting, Samford University
  • 2014: Tight Ends/Slot Receivers Coach, Samford University
  • 2014: Special Teams Quality Control Coach, Georgia Tech
  • 2011-2013: Tight Ends/Running Backs Coach, Elon University
  • 2008-2010: Offensive Graduate Assistant, North Carolina State University
  • 2004-2007: Undergraduate Assistant, North Carolina State University
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham

The selection of Graham as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator may be the most head-scratching hire Judge made. In his only season as defensive coordinator, an admittedly undermanned Miami Dolphins defense finished 30th in yardage allowed and 32nd in points allowed. Furthermore, since Graham was still under contract, the Dolphins voluntarily allowed Graham to go to the Giants.

  • 2020-Present: Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, New York Giants
  • 2019: Defensive Coordinator, Miami Dolphins
  • 2018: Defensive Run Game Coordinator/Inside Linebackers Coach, Green Bay Packers
  • 2016-2017: Defensive Line Coach, New York Giants
  • 2014-2015: Linebackers Coach, New England Patriots
  • 2012-2013: Defensive Line Coach, New England Patriots
  • 2011: Linebackers Coach, New England Patriots
  • 2010: Defensive Assistant Coach, New England Patriots
  • 2009: Coaching Assistant, New England Patriots
  • 2009: Defensive Line Coach, University of Toledo
  • 2007-2008: Defensive Graduate Assistant, University of Notre Dame
  • 2005-2006: Tight Ends Coach, University of Richmond
  • 2004: Defensive Line Coach, University of Richmond
  • 2002-2003: Graduate Assistant, Wagner College

When asked about Graham, Judge repeats the same word: multiple. The good news about Graham is that Belichick thought enough of him to keep him around for seven years, coaching both the defensive line and linebackers. Ironically, he also served two years on Ben McAdoo’s staff in 2016 and 2017.

Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer

Spencer was not Judge’s first preference as this job was first offered to University of Mississippi Defensive Line Coach Freddie Roach, who apparently first accepted and then backed out of the job. Despite not having any pro coaching experience, Spencer appears to be a solid fallback option as “Coach Chaos” was widely respected for his work at Penn State.

“I’ve known Sean through the business,” Judge said. “The most impressive thing about Sean is the players he’s developed through his time at both Vanderbilt and Penn State, among other stops in his career. Sean has a great energy about him, he has great command within a room, his players respond to him, they play hard and they play fundamentally sound.”

  • 2020-Present: Defensive Line Coach, New York Giants
  • 2018-2019: Associate Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach, Penn State University
  • 2014-2017: Defensive Line Coach, Penn State University
  • 2011-2013: Defensive Line Coach, Vanderbilt University
  • 2009-2010: Defensive Line Coach, Bowling Green State University
  • 2007-2008: Defensive Line Coach/Special Teams Coordinator, University of Massachusetts
  • 2006: Defensive Line Coach, Hofstra University
  • 2005: Linebackers Coach, Villanova University
  • 2004: Defensive Line Coach, College of the Holy Cross
  • 2001-2003: Defensive Line Coach, University of Massachusetts
  • 2000: Defensive Line Coach, Trinity College
  • 1998-1999: Running Backs Coach, Trinity College
  • 1996-1997: Running Backs Coach, Shippensburg University
  • 1995: Running Backs/Tight Ends Coach, Wesleyan University

Outside Linebacker Coach/Senior Assistant Bret Bielema

Bielma’s career path is a bit odd and he is somewhat a controversial and “colorful” figure. As head coach, he led the Wisconsin Badgers to a 68-24 overall record and three straight Big Ten Championships. But Bielma surprisingly left Wisconsin for the head coaching position at Arkansas, where he struggled, compiling just a 29-34 record. He was fired after five seasons. Bill Belichick then hired Bielma as a consultant in 2018 and then shifted him to defensive line coach in 2019. After being the only coach Judge poached off of Belichick’s staff, Bielma interviewed for head coaching jobs at Michigan State and Colorado. However, as of now, he will be a New York Giant in 2020.

“There’s a lot of things (to like) about Bret,” Judge said. “I think Bret brings a great personality to the group, brings a great perspective on how he sees the game, he’s coached the front for some time, he’s coordinated defenses at a high level. Players respond to Bret in a positive way. He has a great way of teaching, he has a great way of getting the guys motivated, and he gets the most out of his players. He brings experience from the NFL, as well as college, so not only does he understand what’s going on in the league now, he understands what the players coming from college are used to and how to better translate the trends they’re going to see.”

  • 2020-Present: Outside Linebacker Coach/Senior Assistant, New York Giants
  • 2019: Defensive Line Coach, New England Patriots
  • 2018: Consultant to the Head Coach, New England Patriots
  • 2013-2017: Head Coach, University of Arkansas
  • 2006-2012: Head Coach, University of Wisconsin
  • 2004-2005: Defensive Coordinator, University of Wisconsin
  • 1996-2001: Linebackers Coach, University of Iowa
  • 1994-1995: Graduate Assistant, University of Iowa
  • 2002-2003: Co-Defensive Coordinator, Kansas State University

Inside Linebackers Coach Kevin Sherrer

Like Sean Spencer, Kevin Sherrer has never coached at the pro level. So it remains to be seen how well he will adjust to the pro game. Interestingly, he coached linebacker Lorenzo Carter at the University of Georgia.

“Kevin is just an old ball coach,” Judge said. “When I met Kevin, he was coaching at Hoover High School in Alabama. The next year, he was on the staff with us at Alabama. I’ve watched him progress through his career as defensive coordinator at South Alabama, his time in Georgia, his time in Tennessee. I think Kevin is a phenomenal football coach, and he coaches from the ground up with fundamentals, his players play sound and they play hard.”

  • 2020-Present: Inside Linebackers Coach, New York Giants
  • 2019: Special Teams Coordinator/Inside Linebackers Coach, University of Tennessee
  • 2018: Co-Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers Coach, University of Tennessee
  • 2014-2017: Outside Linebackers Coach, University of Georgia
  • 2013: Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach, University of South Alabama
  • 2010-2012: Director of Player Development, University of Alabama
  • 2007-2009: Defensive Coordinator, Hoover High School (Alabama)
  • 2005-2006: Defensive Assistant, Hoover High School (Alabama)
  • 2001-2004: Defensive Backs Coach, Spain Park High School (Alabama)
  • 1998-2000: Graduate Assistant, University of Alabama
  • 1996-1997: Assistant, Tuscaloosa County High School (Alabama)
Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson

On the surface, Henderson doesn’t seem like an overly inspiring hire as his passing game defenses in Atlanta ranked 28th, 12th, 27th, and 22nd the last four seasons. The Falcons fired him in January. Before that, he served as defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys for four seasons.

“Jerome has a great resume, he’s coached a lot of good players in a lot of good schemes,” Judge said. “I think the more you check around with Jerome, I talked to guys that he coached, the way they responded to him and the way they respected him in the room definitely said a lot about him as a coach.”

  • 2020-Present: Defensive Backs Coach, New York Giants
  • 2016-2019: Defensive Passing Game Coordinator, Atlanta Falcons
  • 2012-2015: Defensive Backs Coach, Dallas Cowboys
  • 2009-2011: Defensive Backs Coach, Cleveland Browns
  • 2008: Defensive Backs Coach, New York Jets
  • 2007: Assistant Defensive Backs Coach/Director of Player Development, New York Jets
  • 2006: Director of Player Development, New York Jets

Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Anthony Blevins

Blevins was another Pat Shurmur assistant who Judge chose to keep. However, Judge moved him from assistant special teams coach to assistant defensive backs coach. Blevins did coach defensive backs at the collegiate level.

“I’ve known Blev for some time now, and he’s coached on all three sides of the ball,” Judge said. “He brings great experience that he can contribute to a lot of different parts of developing players. One thing you learn working with the special teams is you’re learning how to develop techniques of a total player. He could easily have gone over to the offense and worked with a skilled position. He could have stayed on special teams and have been an asset. We thought right now, the best fit for Blev was to help with our defense and bring some experience he brought from the other sides of the ball and work with Jerome.”

  • 2020-Present: Assistant Defensive Backs Coach, New York Giants
  • 2018-2019: Assistant Special Teams Coach, New York Giants
  • 2013-2017: Coaching Assistant/Special Teams, Arizona Cardinals
  • 2012: Cornerbacks Coach, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 2011: Special Teams Coach/Cornerbacks Coach, Tennessee State University
  • 2009-2010: Cornerbacks Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Tennessee State University
  • 2008: Cornerbacks Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, University of Tennessee-Martin
  • 2005-2007: Graduate Assistant, Mississippi State University
  • 2003-2004: Defensive Backs/Running Backs Coach, Meadow Creek High School (Georgia)
Defensive Assistant Jody Wright

Judge has not publicly commented on Wright, who will serve as a defensive assistant.

  • 2020-Present: Defensive Assistant, New York Giants
  • 2019: Offensive Assistant, Cleveland Browns
  • 2018: Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 2015-2017: Director of Player Personnel, University of Alabama
  • 2014: Running Backs Coach, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 2013: Passing Game Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach, Jacksonville State University
  • 2010-2012: Graduate Assistant/Offensive Analyst, University of Alabama
  • 2009: Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations, Mississippi State University
  • 2006-2008: Graduate Assistant, Mississippi State University
  • 2005: Volunteer Coach, Mississippi State University
  • 2002-2004: Student Assistant Coach, Jacksonville State University
    Defensive Quality Control Coach Mike Treier

    Judge also has not commented on Treier, who will serve as defensive quality control coach. Typically, quality control coaches prepare the statistical analysis as well as the initial video study of upcoming opponents several weeks in advance of playing them.

    • 2020-Present: Defensive Quality Control Coach, New York Giants
    • 2019: Safeties Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Marshall University
    • 2018: Defensive Backs Coach, Marshall University
    • 2017: Defensive Analyst, Marshall University
    • 2016: Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach, University of Tennessee at Martin
    • 2014-2015: Graduate Assistant, Marshall University
    Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey

    McGaughey deservingly survived the latest coaching purge as his special teams performed decently the past two years.

    “I’ve known T-Mac from going against him as well as being in the business and I have a good relationship with him professionally and personally,” Judge said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person. He gets the most out of his players. I’ve competed against him and I knew it was always going to be tough sledding in the game there. From the perspective of having to go against him, you understand you don’t want to get him out of the building; you want to hold onto guys like that. They’re definitely key assets. He and Tom Quinn do an outstanding job of working together, coaching the players in techniques and coming up with schemes for game plans that allow them to apply pressure on the opponents.”

    • 2018-Present: Special Teams Coordinator, New York Giants
    • 2017: Special Teams Coordinator, Carolina Panthers
    • 2016: Assistant Special Teams Coach, Carolina Panthers
    • 2015: Special Teams Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
    • 2014: Special Teams Coordinator, New York Jets
    • 2011-2013: Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Assistant, Louisiana State University
    • 2007-2010: Assistant Special Teams Coordinator, New York Giants
    • 2005-2006: Assistant Special Teams Coordinator, Denver Broncos
    • 2004: Special Teams Coordinator/Cornerbacks Coach, University of Houston
    • 2003: Special Teams Coordinator, University of Houston
    • 2002: Special Teams Intern, Kansas City Chiefs
    • 2002: Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach, Scottish Claymores (NFLE)
    • 2001: Pro Scouting Assistant, Houston Texans
    • 2001: Minority Intern, Kansas City Chiefs
    • 1998-2001: Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach, Willowridge High School (Houston, TX)
    • 1998: Graduate Assistant, University of Houston

    Assistant Special Teams Coach Tom Quinn

    Quinn must have been reincarnated from a cat because he definitely has nine lives. Quinn miraculously not only has survived Tom Coughlin, Ben McAdoo, and Pat Shurmur, but some dreadful special teams units during his tenure as special teams coordinator for a decade with the team.

    “The experience is important, but the success is more important,” Judge said. “(McGaughey and Quinn have) been doing it at a high success rate for a long time. The fact that they had a relationship working together already, I had a relationship with both guys from going against them and have known them within the profession for some time now. T-Mac and Tom do a tremendous job. I love the way they relate to the players, I love the way they coach their guys. You know when you go against their units that they’re going to be sound and they’re going to play hard, and that’s critical. I have a lot of respect for both of them.”

    • 2018-Present: Assistant Special Teams Coach, New York Giants
    • 2007-2017: Special Teams Coordinator, New York Giants
    • 2006: Assistant Special Teams Coach, New York Giants
    • 2004-2005: Special Teams/Outside Linebackers Coach, Stanford University
    • 2002-2003: Special Teams/Tight Ends Coach, Stanford University
    • 1999-2001: Special Teams/Linebackers/Tight Ends Coach, San Jose State University
    • 1996-1998: Defensive Coordinator, College of the Holy Cross
    • 1995: Defensive Coordinator, Boston University
    • 1992-1994: Special Teams Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, James Madison University
    • 1991: Linebackers Coach, Davidson College
    Assistant Coach – Special Projects and Situations Amos Jones

    Amos was the last coach Judge hired. His title is a new one for the New York Giants franchise.

    “Amos is someone I’ve known for quite some time,” Judge said. “I have a high trust factor with him. He’s definitely somebody who has worked consistently throughout his career with a number of organizations dealing with situations. He’s got an eye for all sides of the ball. He’ll help with a lot of special projects that will come up throughout the season with evaluation of ourselves and our opponents… Amos brings a wealth of experience to our team.”

    • 2020-Present: Assistant Coach – Special Projects and Situations, New York Giants
    • 2019: Assistant Special Teams Coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • 2018: Special Teams Coordinator, Cleveland Browns
    • 2013-2017: Special Teams Coordinator, Arizona Cardinals
    • 2012: Special Teams Coordinator, Pittsburgh Steelers
    • 2007-2011: Assistant Special Teams Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers
    • 2006: Outside Linebackers Coach, Mississippi State University
    • 2004-2005: Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach, Mississippi State University
    • 2003: Tight Ends/Special Teams Coach, James Madison University
    • 1999-2002: Running Backs/Special Teams Coach, University of Cincinnati
    • 1998: Assistant Coach, East St. John High School (Louisiana)
    • 1997: Assistant Coach, BC Lions
    • 1995-1996: Linebackers Coach, Tulane University
    • 1993-1994: Assistant Coach, Eau Gallie High School (Florida)
    • 1992: Kicking Game Coach, University of Pittsburgh
    • 1990-1991: Special Teams Coach, University of Alabama
    • 1989: Assistant Coach, Shades Valley High School (Alabama)
    • 1986-1988: Defensive Line Coach, Temple University
    • 1983-1985: Tight Ends Coach, Temple University
    • 1981-1982: Graduate Assistant, University of Alabama
    Feb 252020
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    Joe Judge, New York Giants (February 25, 2020)

    Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

    New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana on Tuesday.

    New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana on Tuesday.

    The Giants have cut tight ends Scott Simonson and Isaiah Searight, both of whom were scheduled to become free agents in a few weeks.

    Simonson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2014 NFL Draft. Simonson spent time with the Raiders (2014-2015) and Carolina Panthers (2015-2017) before signing with the Giants in June 2018. He had his best season with the Giants in 2018, paying in all 16 games with four starts, finishing with nine catches for 86 yards and one touchdown. The Giants placed Simonson on Injured Reserve in August 2019 with an ankle injury, cut him from Injured Reserve in September, and re-signed him to the 53-man roster in November. He was placed on Injured Reserve again in late December with a concussion. He played in five games in 2019 with one start, catching just two passes for 11 yards.

    The Giants waived/injured Searight in August 2019 with a hip injury and then placed him on Injured Reserve. Searight originally signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2019 NFL Draft as an undrafted rookie free agent but was waived/injured in May with a hamstring injury. The Giants then signed him in July.

    The Daily News is reporting that the Giants have hired Amos Jones as an advisory assistant to Head Coach Joe Judge. The 60-year old Jones has coached at the high school, college, and pro levels since 1981, his most recent experience serving as a special teams coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2007-2012), Arizona Cardinals (2013-2017), Cleveland Browns (2018), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019).

    REPORT – GIANTS FIRE TWO SCOUTS… is reporting that the Giants have fired two of their area scouts, Ryan Jones and Donnie Etheridge. Jone had been with the team since 2000 and Etheridge since 2001.