When the New York Giants hired head coach Joe Judge, they didnâ€™t anticipate a global pandemic would shut down all of sports and limit his exposure to the team. A few weeks after the 2020 NFL draft, Judge is finally interacting with rookies and connecting them with the rest of the roster. Judge appeared on â€œMSG 150 at homeâ€ on Monday evening, talking about the free agency and draft process and how the schedule release played into his plans.
â€œI am very pleased with how they have been working,â€Â Judge said on the show. â€œWe had our rookie minicamp last week, which was really our first exposure as an entire organization to them and them to us in terms of laying out our expectations and what weâ€™re going to demand from them. The biggest thing with these rookies is that itâ€™s far from just the Xâ€™s and Oâ€™s that are important. With these rookies, itâ€™s so much about just teaching them about the league. Teaching what it takes to be a professional, how important their bodies really are to them and how accountable they are to really maintain the shape they are in to compete.â€
The Giants were busy this off-season, signing multiple free agents to solidify their defense and drafting accordingly to boost their offensive line.
With rookies scheduled to miss minicamp and in-house activities suspended, for the time being, players will be virtually managed and expected to follow a specific set of rules and guidelines to ensure they are in full form come the pre-season.
â€œWe were looking to add just smart and tough football players. And we believe all the guys we added to the team fit that criteria right now. I think we definitely got smarter. And thatâ€™s what we were looking to identify. We didnâ€™t try to answer any one question in free agency or say weâ€™re going to address this side of the ball now, and then in the draft later,â€ said Judge. â€œWe were really looking at what fits us as a whole team. And what players we can add â€“ in the way we want to be identified as a team. And I think the guys we added really do that. They have good experience in the league.
The Giants made it a priority to allocated resources toward leaders and great locker-room guys. A major aspect of success is culture, and the Giants have struggled in that department significantly in recent years. Hopefully, their new leader in Judge can resurrect the respect the Giants have gained over the years.
As for the schedule release, excitement and energy accompanied Judge’s emotions.
â€œItâ€™s one of those things â€“ you know itâ€™s coming out, but you donâ€™t really realize until it comes out how excited you really are. Itâ€™s something more in front of you, now youâ€™re looking at who youâ€™re playing and in what sequence,â€ said Judge. â€œBut youâ€™re really starting to change the mentality of how youâ€™re thinking, in terms of mapping out the season. Youâ€™re thinking about your travel schedules, how you can map out practices. You look at long weeks, short weeks, trips across country. You start to do a lot in terms of organizing everything that goes around it.â€
The release of the schedule connects the offseason to the beginning of physical work, and Judge is ready to take on the challenge of reviving this team. With plenty of talent to work with, eliminating the in-game issues, Pat Shurmur struggled with the past two years will be a necessity for Judge in his first year as head coach.