Joe Judge is convinced that his New York Giants are moving in the right direction despite everything on the field suggesting that the franchise is moving in reverse… down a hill… that’s iced over… without brakes.
Week 17 provided another embarrassing display against the lowly Chicago Bears — a 29-3 beatdown that featured a Mike Glennon-led offense post -10 passing yards on its way to a season-worst 151 total yards gained at Soldier Field.
Remarkably enough, the 4-12 Giants’ offense continues to find ways to eclipse their previous ghastly performances week after week while showing zero evidence of a pulse in terms of contending.
During this current five-game losing streak, the Giants have lost by an average of 18.4 points while the offense has posted a pitiful average of 9.8 points per game.
Three of those five losses saw the offense fail to score a touchdown in showings that would not have been much better with Daniel Jones under center. After all, the Giants averaged just 18.3 points per game while the injured No. 1 quarterback was under center for 11 games this season. That would rank 27th out of 32 teams this season.
Instead, their 15.7 points per game rank 31st in the league.
Yet there was Judge following another putrid showing going on an 11-minute dialogue about how, somehow, the Giants are “moving in the right direction” — which exhibited the overall gall of the second-year head coach.
“In terms of that next step to take, I know we’re a whole lot closer than we are further away. I can tell you that right now,” Judge said. “I can tell you we have more players here who are going to be free agents next year who are in my office begging to come back. Or players that we coached last year that still call me twice a week to talk about how much they wish they were still here even though they’re getting paid more somewhere else.”
If that is actually happening, it’s quite puzzling. One would figure a franchise that has lost double-digit games in each of its last five seasons, posted losing records in eight of the previous nine years and has allowed an inept general manager in Dave Gettleman to wreak havoc on its ranks for the last four isn’t necessarily an intriguing destination.
But there was Judge on Sunday evening, speaking to how progress is being made and seen internally — which might be why such mystifying reports surfaced a few weeks ago stating that co-owner John Mara was ready to retain Judge for the 2022 season despite a 10-22 career record.
In the head coach’s typical fashion, though, he wouldn’t provide any tangible evidence as to the “foundational” progress that he’s preached — citing COVID as the barrier that has kept us from viewing such perceived baby steps.
“You guys haven’t been in the building the last two years now because of this COVID s—. I’ll tell you right now: If you’re in the damn building, you’re walking through that locker room, you’re not seeing that crap you saw before,” Judge said. “You’re not seeing guys planning vacations, you’re not seeing golf clubs in front of players’ lockers. We’re not doing that. That’s not because of some high school program where we’re cracking whip. That’s because guys know how to play as a team.
“I know we have the right foundational pieces in. I know we have the right temperament. I know we have the right culture in terms of teaching players, which is why I don’t come up here and try to assassinate a player because I think he’s going to save my a—.
“Behind closed doors, I can tell every player and tell him exactly what he screwed up on, exactly what he missed and I’ll hold him as accountable as can be. I’m not going to sit up here like some other cowards sitting behind a microphone and put his players on blast.”
The overwhelming avalanche of losses is continuing, though, which is what matters most to a fan base that already has to contend with overpriced tickets and nightmare parking accommodations.
An embarrassing product on the field won’t give fans too many incentives to make the trek to MetLife Stadium for the season finale on Sunday against the Washington Football Team. Those who will come out will likely air their grievances toward Judge and his team — something that the head coach admitted the fans have “every right” to do given how this season has gone.
So Judge can tell the fan base all he’d like about things potentially looking up sooner rather than later. But the product on the field and leadership exhibited by Mara suggests the complete opposite.
And we all know how cheap talk is.