Unless I’m reading the tea leaves incorrectly, the New York Giants appear to be screwed. While rumors run rampant from anonymous sources that “nothing has been decided” by ownership with respect to the general manager and head coaching positions, those who cover the team for a living unanimously believe that Joe Judge will return as head coach of the franchise.
I have nothing personal against the man. I want him to succeed. But he’s clearly bamboozled John Mara into believing he’s something that is not: a competent NFL head coach.
With a modicum of truth, his advocates will allege that he has been sabotaged by a poor personnel department, injuries, and Covid-related absences. “It’s not his fault! He’s not to blame!”
Bullshit. Joe Judge’s handprints have been all over this team for two years. He has been intimately involved in personnel decisions, perhaps the driving force behind many. Other teams in the NFL have had major injury and Covid-related issues to deal with but they can at least field a competitive, even playoff-caliber, product.
The Giants are averaging 15.7 points per game. More telling is that they have gotten markedly worse as the season has progressed. Since the bye week, the Giants are averaging 10.3 points per game. In the last contest, they scored three points against one of the worst teams in the NFL. In the last two years, a Joe Judge-coached football team has scored 30 points or more only once, and that was in a loss to the Cowboys where the NYG defense scored.
Last year, it was a challenge for New York to score 20 points in a game. Now, it’s a challenge to score 10. This isn’t 1931, it’s 2021. Things are not getting better. They are getting markedly worse.
All of this despite the offseason emphasis being on adding “weapons” such as WR Kenny Golladay (4-years, $72 million), TE Kyle Rudolph (2-years, $12 million), and WR Kadarius Toney (1st round). The result? These three players have ONE touchdown between them! One!
The top passing target on this team is a tight end who everyone wants gone. He “leads” the Giants with just 45 catches and three touchdowns. No wide receiver on this roster has more than one touchdown catch, in other words, the same amount of TD catches as left tackle Andrew Thomas.
Dave Gettleman may be the GM, but Joe Judge has been irrevocable in his support of Daniel Jones as the starting quarterback. He was OK with Mike Glennon as the back-up. He was OK with the state of the offensive line entering training camp. When he decided to fire Jason Garrett, he hand-picked replacement was Freddie Kitchens, who has actually been worse than Garrett. And don’t forget all of the changes he made to the offensive coaching staff in the offseason (Kitchens to senior offensive assistant, Derek Dooley coaching the TEs, two new offensive line coaches, and three more quality control coaches).
While the defensive side of the football has not been as bad, it did not get better in 2021 despite a number of free agent and draft additions that were expected to improve the unit. The Giants have fallen from 12th in yards allowed in 2020 to 20th. More damning is they have fallen from 10th in points allowed to 23rd. The failures at the end of the first half have been well documented. The pass rush has gotten worse (40 sacks in 2020 to 31 this year).
And have the special teams been noticeably different at all with special teams “guru” Joe Judge at the helm?
Joe Judge is what he is: a 10-22 head coach. His .312 winning percentage is better than Pat Shurmur’s (.281) and worse than Ben McAdoo (.464). Ray Handley won more games in two years.
So all we read now is that John Mara thinks Joe Judge is a good coach and should remain with the team another year. Some have reported what many of us have feared, that is, accepting Joe Judge as head coach of the team is a prerequisite for becoming the new general manager. Why? Where is this faith in Joe Judge coming from? It makes no sense. Nothing has gotten better and is clearly getting worse. Judge should have no political capital with this team. None.
Adding to this hot mess is that Joe Judge is beginning to go on long-winded rants defending his teetering regime. The Monday press conference after the 37-21 loss to the Chargers and the post-game press conference after the 29-3 loss to the Chicago Bears were extremely bizarre, overly-defensive, and long-winded affairs that just went on and on and on. Personally, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was almost as if Judge was trying to convince himself that he knew what he was doing. Worse, in some truly pot-calling-the-kettle-black hypocrisy, Judge took shots at Pat Shurmur and his his upcoming opponent Ron Rivera. The latter now has all the incentive in the world to humiliate Judge on Sunday.
We can see the train wreck coming, but we are helpless to prevent it. John Mara is going to keep Judge, hire a new GM mainly based on his ability to work with Judge, but then fire Judge at the end of the 2022 NFL season after the Giants finish dead last in the division again. And the Giants will be stuck with a GM who they may not have gone with had Judge not been the head coach. If John Mara can’t see this, we’re all doomed as fans of this team.
I pray that I’m wrong.
THE INJURY REPORT:
- QB Mike Glennon (wrist – out)
- RB Saquon Barkley (ankle)
- FB Cullen Gillaspia (knee – questionable)
- WR Kadarius Toney (shoulder – out)
- WR Darius Slayton (shoulder/COVID ramp up)
- WR John Ross (knee – out)
- WR Collin Johnson (hamstring – questionable)
- TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle)
- OT Andrew Thomas (shoulder)
- OT Korey Cunningham (COVID ramp up)
- OG Will Hernandez (ankle – questionable)
- DL Dexter Lawrence (personal/COVID ramp up)
- NT Austin Johnson (foot)
- NT Danny Shelton (COVID ramp up)
- LB Lorenzo Carter (illness)