The New York Giants have officially found their head coach. No, they did not land Matt Rhule, as all fans hoped and expected them to. Instead, the Giants went with a much different candidate- Joe Judge from the New England Patriots.
The Joe Judge hiring came as a massive surprise to many fans and reporters alike. Rhule was expected to be the Giants’ top choice, followed by the likes of Josh McDaniels and Eric Bienemy. However, the Giants must not have given out accurate information since it is now being reported that they were working on a deal with Judge last night before even meeting with Matt Rhule (Adam Schefter).
This is a shocking hire. The Giants did have the opportunity to match Matt Rhule’s contract offer, but they declined (Ian Rapoport). Instead, the Giants hired Joe Judge, the New England Patriots special times/wide receivers coach whom they interviewed just yesterday. As one of the lesser-known names in the pool of candidates, Giants fans will need to read up on Joe Judge and get to know the man that is replacing Pat Shurmur.
A Ringing Endorsement From Bill Belichick
According to Tom Rock of Newsday, the Giants did call Bill Belichick about their vacant head coach position. However, they were not calling Bill to lure the 67-year-old legend back to New Jersey. Instead, they were calling for Bill’s opinion on prospective 38-year-old candidate Joe Judge. As Tom Rock states, “Bill gave a glowing recommendation to the Giants on Joe Judge.”
Bill Belichick recognized early on what he had in Joe Judge. He knew that Judge was head coach-material. According to Ian Rapoport, Belichick met with Joe Judge “on a regular basis to go over program-building and what it takes to become a head coach.” Albert Breer points out that Belichick likely had this in mind when increasing Judge’s role and making him the wide receivers coach.
A Top Coordinator
All football fans know that the New England Patriots have been among the top teams in the NFL for the last twenty years. The Patriots accomplish this with strong attention to detail and consistently efficient football in all three phases of the game.
Joe Judge was promoted to be the Patriots’ special teams coordinator in 2015 after serving as a special teams assistant from 2012 to 2014. Since this promotion, New England has had the most consistent special teams unit in the NFL. The unit has ranked in the top ten every year since:
Patriots special teams grade ranks w/ Joe Judge
2019: 7th pic.twitter.com/sAogKHdEVQ
— PFF (@PFF) January 7, 2020
Joe Judge was working two jobs this season, remaining the Patriots’ special teams coach and expanding his priorities as the wide receivers coach. 2019 was Judge’s first year serving as a wide receivers coach. New England’s receiving corps faced much criticism this season, but ultimately, the lack of talent was the reason for the group’s ineptitude.
Regardless of how the Patriots’ wide receivers performed this year, it is still worth noting the amount of time required to work two major coaching jobs. Judge had a huge role in New England, and the Giants’ hiring will leave two holes in the Patriots’ coaching staff.
Learned From And Respected By The Best
Ask your friends: who is the best NFL head coach of all time? They will say, Bill Belichick. Then ask them, who is the best college football head coach of all time? They will say, Nick Saban. Now, what two coaches did Joe Judge learn from? Bill Belichick and Nick Saban.
During his last ten years of coaching under Belichick and Saban, Joe Judge has learned what it takes to be a champion. Judge has won three Super Bowls (XLIX, LI, LIII) and two BCS National Championships (2009, 2011). Being part of two of the greatest coaching staffs in the world, at both the professional and collegiate level, says a lot about the respect that Joe Judge garners.
Judge not only garners the respect of his coaching peers, but he has earned the respect of his players, too. According to Art Stapleton, players in New England “raved about Judge’s attention to detail and his intensity.” This should be music to Giants fans’ ears after they’ve dealt with two head coaches that lacked these traits for the past four years.
But What About His Coaching Staff?
One last thing to note with Joe Judge (and this could be a positive or a negative) is the uncertainty surrounding his coaching staff. It was initially reported that the Giants were considering former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett for their offensive coordinator position. However, that report has been debunked. Joe Judge will get to pick his own staff, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.
Still, it is hard to make any guesses as to whom Judge might bring onto his staff in other key positions, such as offensive/defensive coordinator and offensive line coach. But for a young and inexperienced first-time head coach, getting the right pieces around him will be crucial.
Joe Judge is a well-respected coach that has learned from the best head coaches in all of football. This is a risky, forward-thinking hiring by the New York Giants, taking a chance on a first-time head coach. But if Joe Judge can successfully install the Patriot Way in New Jersey and get an adequate coaching staff around him, the Giants will reap the rewards of their progressive decision.