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Reports: Giants hire Joe Judge as next head coach

Joe Judge has been named the next head coach of the New York Giants. (AP Foto/Steven Senne, archivo)

The New York Giants have hired Joe Judge as their next head coach, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Judge, 38, spent the past five seasons with the New England Patriots as their special teams coordinator (2015-2018) and wide receivers coach (2019).

But the Giants are not done making tweaks to their coaching staff just yet. ESPN’s Ed Werder revealed that the Giants have requested permission to interview ex-Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett as Judge’s offensive coordinator.

Garrett was initially slated to be a head-coaching candidate for the Giants after parting ways with the Cowboys after a decade at the helm in Dallas. It was reported in November that the 53-year-old tabbed New York as a preferred destination to continue his coaching career. 

It remains to be seen if Garrett would be willing to take a coordinator role at this time, but the interview suggests that he could make his way to the Meadowlands, after all. 

The revelation of Judge’s hiring came shortly after it was announced that Matt Rhule — the Giants’ perceived No. 1 coaching candidate — joined the Carolina Panthers on a seven-year deal. Per Schefter, talks between Judge and the Giants heated up on Monday night.

Rhule allowed the Giants to match the offer he received from the Panthers, but the Giants declined, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The hiring of Judge brings a swift end to the Giants’ coaching search, which was expected to be even more extensive with Rhule and Mike McCarthy off the market. New York was also linked with the likes of Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard, amongst others.

Judge, however, brings a pedigree of winning to the Giants’ job, which is something they haven’t necessarily had during the final years of Tom Coughlin’s reign or the abbreviated, failed stints of Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur.

Before winning three Super Bowls with the Patriots, Judge won a pair of national championships with the University of Alabama during his time as a special teams assistant from 2009-2011.

He also comes with high recommendations from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

“Belichick knew early on Joe Judge was head-coach material, meeting with him on a regular basis to go over program-building and what it takes to become a head coach,” Rapoport wrote. “Now, he’s the Giants’ coach.”

It is worth noting, however, that Judge’s efforts with New England’s wide receivers fell woefully short during the 2019 season. Tom Brady, at 42, had his worst statistical season. Judge’s wide receivers had 23 dropped passes, fifth-most in the NFL.

Now, he’ll be tasked in helping Daniel Jones take the next step in his professional development. The 22-year-old set franchise rookie records for passing yards and passing touchdowns but did so with a shorthanded and at times, underwhelming group of wide receivers.

Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate spent considerable time on the sidelines due to injury and suspensions, respectively. So did No. 1 tight end, Evan Engram.

Their absences did allow fellow rookie Darius Slayton to emerge as one of Jones’ favorite targets, which could help mute the blow of trading away a generational wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr. last season.

Should Tate, Shepard, Engram, and Slayton stay healthy and meet expectations, the Giants’ attack is a competent offensive line away from being a real threat in the NFC with Saquon Barkley featured in the backfield.

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