Joe Judge hasn’t forgotten everything he learned under Bill Belichick and Nick Saban.
But this isn’t the team he promised New York.
Show us that team, and show it to us now, before it’s too late.
Going 6-10 as a rookie head coach during a pandemic with a team that hadn’t learned how to win earned Judge a honeymoon here in the northeast corridor.
But now, if the honeymoon isn’t over, it’s on the brink.
Giants brass hasn’t wavered in the belief they have the right head coach and the right quarterback.
The problem is, if you have the right head coach and the right quarterback, there isn’t supposed to be a 0 under the W column and a 3 under the L column.
Especially when the powers-that-be filled glaring needs and closed the existing talent gap during what general manager Dave Gettleman called a roster-building season.
Judge has more of his guys this season than he did in 2020. The Joe Judge Giant, as detailed by him the day he was introduced: tough, smart, fundamentally sound.
Where are they? Who are they?
Who hijacked the Joe Judge Giants?
After the final three years under Tom Coughlin (19-29), the two years under Ben McAdoo (13-15) and the two years under Pat Shurmur (9-23), Giants fans desperately want to continue to believe in Joe Judge.
A blue-collar team that represents the hardworking people of this area isn’t all that Giants fans deserve. That, in and of itself, is not why Judge was signed to a five-year contract. It’s an admirable quality for a team, but somebody used to remind us all the time that there are no medals for trying.
“Close isn’t good enough,” Judge said earlier in the week. “We’re not playing horseshoes and hand grenades. We have to have results. We understand that. It’s a production business, and we’re going every week for success, and success in this league is winning, right?”
Judge, to this point has had universal buy-in from his players. But it is important for him to teach his team how not to lose, and sooner rather than later.
He is the first CEO since Coughlin. He knows football. He knows people. He is a good judge of character. He does not ride the emotional roller coaster from one day to the next. He is a teacher. He hasn’t blinked, and no one expects that he will any time soon.
Whatever is preventing his team from finishing, it is his job to solve it. Whatever is causing the self-inflicted wounds, it is his job to apply the Band-Aid.
Not tomorrow. Today.
There is still time to change the narrative.
Judge can’t do anything about the first three weeks: Jones’ red-zone fumble. … Dexter Lawrence’s offsides on the missed Dustin Hopkins field goal. … Adoree’ Jackson’s dropped interception in the end zone. The Giants should have beaten the Washington Football Team. They should have beaten the Falcons. They should be 2-1. They are not.
Judge does everything in his power to keep the outside noise from penetrating the facility. But you’d have to be a Giant monk not to know that the reviews have not been anything but scathing.
He can start the season over on Sunday with an upset of the Saints. It would be the kind of win that can jump-start a season.
It won’t be easy. A deafening atmosphere with a fan base affected by another damaging hurricane and a quality team that rallies alongside it.
“This team takes a lot of pride in representing their hometown,” Judge told the Giants’ website.
It is again time for his team to do the same for its hometown.
Judge will need embattled offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to call himself a daring game against Saints coach Sean Payton. Garrett won’t have Sterling Shepard or Darius Slayton. He won’t have excuses not to instruct Jones to get the ball to Kadarius Toney in space, or Kenny Golladay down the field, or a healthier Saquon Barkley early and often, and be the dual threat for the Giants that Taysom Hill can be for the Saints.
Judge and the personnel department made this offensive-line bed they’ve been sleeping in, and have been forced to scramble on the fly to import reinforcements from other teams. Sorry, but there is no crying in football. The best head coaches figure it out and find a way.
Remember those training camp T-shirts with “Fight” on the front? It’s time for the Fighting Joe Judges to fight for their season. Just because this is Week 4 doesn’t mean Judge can’t make it Round 1 of a 14-round fight. A knockout can change everything. It’s Joe Time.
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