The Judge has officially entered his new Giant chamber — and he’s bringing things back to basics.
The New York Giants introduced Joe Judge as their newest head coach — the 21st in franchise history — on Thursday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
After successful stints in varying assisting roles with the University of Alabama and the New England Patriots, Judge will bring on a winning pedigree to try and turn things around for the bottom-feeding Giants.
During his first day on the job, the 38-year-old didn’t mince words — nor did he promise a secret formula to revolutionize the game of football.
If the Giants are going to be successful under Judge, they’re going to go back to basics.
“What I’m about is an old-school, physical mentality,” Judge said. “We’ll play fast, we’ll play downhill, we’ll play aggressive. We’ll punch you in the nose for 60 minutes, we’ll play every play like it has a history and a life of its own with a relentless competitive attitude. We will play fundamentally sound. We will not beat ourselves. That is our mission right here.”
“You cannot get by with some kind of magic scheme or new gimmick or thinking that you reinvented the wheel,” he added. “The same things win football games that have always won football games. That’s fundamentals.”
Giants owner John Mara could not have picked much more of a straight shooter as he sang Judge’s praises.
“This was perhaps the best coach interview I’ve ever been a part of,” Mara said. “Joe is someone who has been on our radar in the last couple of years. When a coach works under Nick Saban and then finds his way onto [Patriots head coach] Bill Belichick’s staff, that’s something you take note of.”
But Judge made it very clear that he has a lot of work to do before properly assessing how to get the Giants out of the three-year doldrums that has seen Big Blue go a combined 12-36 under Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur.
“I have an outsider’s view of this team. I’ve competed against the Giants, I’ve studied this team from the outside looking in to prepare for this job and opportunity, but I have to make myself fluent in the language within the building,” Judge said. “I have to study the players, I have to evaluate the current coaching staff and have to give everybody a fair evaluation to make sure we make the right decisions.”
While Judge is expected to run a tight ship in the Meadowlands, he also made it clear that he will be a players-first coach:
I’m about caring for the players in the locker room. Let’s not forget that there is a human element to this game. Let’s not think that in professional sports, paying a paycheck to somebody makes it absent of empathy. We need to make sure that we take care of the players in our locker room, that we treat them the right way, that we teach them the correct techniques, and that we put them in the right situation to be successful.”
Speaking of his potential coaching staff, Judge provided an update on the steps that were going to be taken to determine who will work around him.
“I do not have a staff in place. Yes, I have some names in mind, but we will talk to everybody,” he explained. “We will take our time. My priority is to put the right men around these players… I want good people… I don’t want any alternative agendas.”
Judge and his coaching staff will be inheriting some promising pieces despite the Giants’ extended struggles. Daniel Jones could develop into the next great franchise quarterback while running back Saquon Barkley is one of the most electrifying talents in the league.
New York’s newest coach, however, opted not to analyze his new star players. Instead, he focused on the fans:
I want the people who pay their hard-earned money and the neighborhoods of New York, North Jersey, South Jersey, to come to our games and know that the players on the field play with the same attitude they wake up with every morning: That is blue-collar, hard work, in your face. We’re not going to back down from anybody. We’re going to come to work every day and grind it out the way that they do in their jobs every day. And they can invest their money in our program knowing it’s worthwhile. They put a Giants uniform on, they put a Giants hat or jersey on, that it’s not just representing the 53 on the field, but it’s representing their neighborhoods, their communities, and their families with the values they’ve instilled in their children.”