Giants’ Xavier McKinney takes subtle shot at Joe Judge’s coaching style

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The New York Giants went from having one of the more disciplinary head coaches in the NFL to one of the more relaxed ones in Brian Daboll. Former HC Joe Judge focused on discipline and preparation, which ultimately failed the team miserably in the hopes of rebuilding over the past two seasons.

There were some notable positives, but poor roster construction hurt the team. Ultimately, Judge was always set up to fail, with general manager Dave Gettleman still making big decisions on the back-end. However, ownership has taken a whole new route with Joe Schoen and Daboll, formerly of the Buffalo Bills.

The early feedback from players regarding Daboll’s style is far different. Third-year safety Xavier McKinney specifically noted how player-friendly Daboll is and the conversation that goes with refining specific strategies and plans. Communication is a big part of team building and chemistry, something that Daboll prides himself on.

“The communication part of it, it’s not so uptight, how it was before,’’ McKinney said on the New York Post’s “Blue Rush’’ podcast. “You can be yourself, you can be you. When we come in here, we always come in here to work but it’s just fun, everybody being who they are and we’re having fun with it.’’

McKinney made it known that Daboll allows players to be themselves, whereas they had to follow strict rules and disciplinary measures before. Clearly, that overworked players physically and mentally over the past two seasons, and McKinney has already begun curating a positive relationship with the former Bills offensive coordinator.

“He’s been great,’’ McKinney said. “The communication has been fantastic. Him asking us, ‘What’s too much? What’s too little? What more do we need to do? What do we need to cut down on?’ Just him being transparent with us and having that line of communication always open.

Daboll has prioritized asking players what they would do differently and strategies to implement moving forward. In his third season, McKinney has a few ideas of what to change moving forward, and that may include axing the excessive lap running.

Recently, McKinney had a casual conversation with the Giants’ new head coach while he was smoking a cigar, showcasing a totally different mentality compared to Judge.

“He was smoking a cigar and we just had a conversation, he just asked me how the week was going, I told him good,’’ McKinney said. “Just stuff like that has been great, it’s been refreshing to know he’s really for the players and he wants to see us be successful and actually help us in whatever way we need.’’

Many Bills players in the past have noted their extraordinary relationship with Daboll, specifically Isaiah McKenzie and Stefon Diggs. Both players have said great things about their former offensive coordinator and what he brings to the table.

It is quite interesting that the Giants went with the polar opposite of their previous head coach, but so far, so good when looking at the player’s feedback.