Giants’ Joe Judge channeling some of what Barry Trotz did to turn the Islanders around

New York Giants, Joe Judge
Oct 4, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New York Giants head coach Joe Judge on the sidelines during the second half against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t look now, but the New York football  Giants have crawled out of the abyss and are sitting in first place in the NFC East.

Hats off to Joe Judge and the tremendous job he’s done so far to get things turned around and get all his guys to buy in.

But where have we seen this quick transformation before?

Look no further than when Barry Trotz took over behind the bench for the Islanders. From the moment he arrived, the entire atmosphere around the franchise had changed.

The culture — most overused but important word in sports. Accountability. Attitude. Standards. All of it felt different.

More than all of those things: he instilled belief in his players. That’s what Judge is doing in bunches.

“I think the beginning of the season is when the team and the guys and the coaches proved to each other what type of team we really have,” DE Leonard Williams has said. “It’s easier to be happy and see the good things when you are winning, but I feel like we all see the good things in each other and what we have, even when we were losing. That just helped continue to build our confidence in each other and build on what we have working here. Eventually, it turns into a snowball and it keeps building up. I feel like we have a real culture here.”

The G-Men have now won four games in a row and just pulled off their biggest triumph in over four years, a 17-12 win in Seattle this past Sunday.

Even more impressive than that victory, they’ve done it with stout defense — a Trotz specialty. They’ve also gotten the job done without superstar running back Saquon Barkley, who’s been absent after he suffered a season-ending injury in week 2 against Chicago and their franchise QB Daniel Jones for the better part of the last two games.

Doesn’t that storyline sound familiar? Albeit not as much anger.

But in all seriousness, Judge is showing what happens when you have guys all buying into the same program. The kind of program where it’s team over individual. The kind of program that leads to success. The kind of program that bears similarities to Trotz’s which now has gotten the Islanders two consecutive playoff appearances and within two games of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Judge didn’t roll into the Giants’ gig with the same resume as Trotz; the latter had just won a title the previous season, his first. But Judge did come down from the coaching tree of all trees, Bill Belichick’s. That does amount to something, but not everything.

Judge is definitely building something his way  in East Rutherford and it’s starting to show.

The Giants haven’t won anything just yet, but they are in a position now where their future looks brighter than it has in a long time. Joe Judge deserves a ton of credit for it.

Time will tell if Judge’s Giants follow the same trajectory as Trotz’s Isles, but he’s got them back to winning and people feeling proud about the franchise once again.

And he’s accomplished that by channeling his inner Barry Trotz.




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