New York Giants: Joe Judge Earns Surprising Praise From Cowherd

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The decision for the New York Giants to hire Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge as their next head coach has been met with mixed reactions, and one of the big challenges for Judge will be winning over doubters who don’t believe he has the right credentials to take the job – one of those doubters early on was talk show host Colin Cowherd, who was among the first to criticize the move.

Like many, however, Cowherd has seemingly reconsidered after taking a look at the resume that Judge brings to the team, which while it doesn’t include time as an offensive or defensive coordinator, has seen him work under two of the greatest head coaches in the sport – Bill Belichick at the pro level and Nick Saban at the college level.

The Patriots haven’t always produced good head coaches from their staff but praise from both Belichick and Saban is hard to ignore and others in the league have started to reverse the Patriots curse in recent years, such as Mike Vrabel, who recently beat his former head coach Belichick in the playoffs.

It seems Judge’s time under Belichick has helped change the mind of Cowherd, who had some different things to say more recently about Judge.

“There are some late bloomers, but most exceptional people separate very early and you can spot them very early. Judge is in his 30s and it’s very possible that Dave Gettleman saw what Bill Belichick and Nick Saban did,” said Cowherd.

He continued by listing other examples of young head coaches who have been spotted quickly and went on to succeed. “Belichick kept giving him more assignments, and Saban kept elevating him. Sean McVay, like Judge, was also a quarterback in high school and got a job at 30 years old in Los Angeles. Kyle Shanahan was 37, Mike Tomlin and Bill Cowher were not even 35 yet…”

Those sentiments are largely why the fanbase is willing to give Judge a chance despite the Giants making a risky move after a few seasons that have already put the fans through enough losing. Yes, the team is taking a risk… But after that losing period, few can complain about the Giants drawing from the recommendations of some of the best minds in the game when looking for their next head coach.

Judge aims to bring discipline, structure and a winning culture to the Giants

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The 2019 New York Giants lacked leadership, direction and structure. They played with little discipline, got outmaneuvered, outscored and outcoached almost weekly.

The 2020 New York Giants are going to be a far cry from that according to incoming head coach Joe Judge.

Speaking at his introductory press conference at MetLife Stadium on Thursday, Judge stood tall and confident at the podium, confident in his words and tone as he outlined what he expects to accomplish here with the Giants, a franchise that has posted losing records in six of the past seven seasons.

For those wondering who he is and what he stands for, Judge made it clear in his opening statement.

“Now, there is a question out there that I’m sure a lot of people are asking, and that’s number one – who am I? Well, maybe I can explain that a little bit better, but instead of saying, ‘Who am I,’ by telling you what’s relevant in this conversation with being the coach of the New York Giants— what I’m about.

 

What I’m about is an old school physical mentality. We’re going to put a product on the field that the people of this city and region are going to be proud of because this team will represent this area. We will play fast, we will play downhill, we will play aggressive. We will punch you in the nose for 60 minutes, we will play every play like it has a history and a life of its own, with a relentless, competitive attitude.

 

We will play fundamentally sound, we will not beat ourselves. That is our mission right here.”

Judge swept Giant fans off their feet on social media. This was the anti-Pat Shurmur and the opposite of Ben McAdoo. And he was believable. Judge said the team would resemble the fan base, a hard-working bunch with a blue collar mentality. He stressed that every player would be coached and every coach will teach. This will finally be a team and hard work and dedication to the task at hand will be the mantra.

“You cannot get by with some kind of magic scheme or new gimmick or think you’ve reinvented the wheel,” he said. “The same things win football games that have always won football games. It’s fundamentals.”

With the young team general manager Dave Gettleman has assembled, that is just what the fans wanted. to hear. Under Shurmur the Giants seemed lethargic at times with no sense of direction or urgency. That all changed on Thursday.

“We’re going to start by showing up on time, by having a plan, for executing that plan,” he said with poise and assurance. “It’s going to be fundamentals. I’ll tell you this right now, and I’m sure it’s going to come up somewhere along the line—I’m not going to be the offensive coordinator, the defensive coordinator, or the special teams coordinator. I’ll work with all three sides of the ball. But, the primary focus I’m going to have as the head coach is I’m going to make sure we are fundamentally sound, we are situationally aware, and that we play with a relentless effort.”

 

New York Giants: Three Offensive Coordinator Candidates For Joe Judge’s Staff

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants introduced Joe Judge today as the franchise’s nineteenth head coach. Judge was a darkhorse candidate that ended up blowing the Giants away during his interview and securing the coveted job. Since then, Joe Judge has been working on assembling his coaching staff behind the scenes.

A few names have come up in the rumor mill for Judge’s offensive coordinator position. In this article, I will break down the top three offensive coordinator candidates that have come up in association with Joe Judge.

Freddie Kitchens

News broke Thursday morning that Joe Judge is expected to reach out to former Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens to discuss a job within the Giants’ coaching staff (via Jordan Raanan of ESPN). The two worked together at Mississippi State in 2005 when Kitchens served as the program’s running backs coach.

A brief anecdotal story from Joe Judge regarding a swing set the new Giants head coach built for Freddie’s children led some to connect the dots on a potential reunion in New Jersey. Since then, the speculators have been proven right as reports have indicated that Kitchens is being considered for a job on Joe Judge’s staff.

It has not been confirmed what job Kitchens is being considered for, but the offensive coordinator job is a possible fit. Freddie Kitchens was fired this offseason after serving as head coach of the Cleveland Browns for one season. The browns underperformed at 6-10, leading to the rookie head coach’s firing after one season. Before his promotion as head coach, Kitchens was the Browns’ offensive coordinator in 2018.

Freddie Kitchens received much credit for the quick development of quarterback Baker Mayfield in his rookie season. In 2018, Mayfield was the runner up for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award after breaking the rookie touchdown pass record with 27 total.

Jay Gruden

Another former head coach, Jay Gruden was fired this past season by the Washington Redskins. Gruden is one of the NFL’s brightest offensive minds, and Joe Judge could benefit from Gruden’s experience. Gruden was head coach of the Redskins from 2014 to 2019.

Jay Gruden has an interesting connection to the New York Giants. It was reported in October that Gruden never wanted the Redskins to draft quarterback Dwayne Haskins (via Bleacher Report). Instead, Gruden wanted Daniel Jones, the Giants’ first-round quarterback. Judge could use Daniel Jones to lure Gruden onto his coaching staff.

Jay Gruden is a former quarterback who got into coaching. He has worked as an offensive coordinator and as a head coach. Gruden is an experienced coach that has overseen the development of numerous young quarterbacks. He helped turn Robert Griffin III into an electric dual-threat during his rookie season in 2012. He also developed Andy Dalton into the Bengals’ starter as they went to the playoffs three straight years together.

Jason Garrett

The Dallas Cowboys, like the Redskins and Giants, fired their head coach this season. Jason Garrett had served as Dallas’s head coach from 2011 to 2019. The Giants expressed interest in Garrett as head coach before striking a deal with Joe Judge. But if they like what they see from Garret schematically, he could receive consideration as the team’s offensive coordinator. 

Jason Garrett has had a top ten offense seven times in the past thirteen years, and only three seasons with an offense ranked worse than the fifteenth. The Giants could see Garrett as a potential upgrade on offense. He has an excellent track record with quarterbacks, turning to unknowns into competent starters.

Dak Prescott was a fourth-round pick in 2016. Garrett developed Dak into a Pro Bowl talent. Before Prescott, the Cowboys’ quarterback was Tony RomoTony Romo was an undrafted free agent that was expected to be- at best- a career backup. Romo’s career began in 2003, long before Jason Garrett was with the Cowboys. But it was not until Garrett became the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator that Romo made himself a household name.

In 2007, the Cowboys hired Jason Garrett as their offensive coordinator. Dallas went 13-3 that season as Romo threw a career-best 36 touchdown passes. This was a significant improvement over the 19 touchdowns Romo recorded in 2006. From then on, Garrett continued to have consistent success on offense as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Jason Garrett’s offensive success and head coaching experience make him the top candidate for the Giants’ offensive coordinator job. He also has an excellent track record developing young quarterbacks, which would be hugely beneficial for Daniel Jones and the Giants.

Giants CEO John Mara ‘Excited’ About What Joe Judge Brings to Big Blue

New York Giants, John Mara

The New York Giants had a number of qualified candidates apply for their head coaching vacancy these past two weeks, but it was obvious today that New England Patriots assistant Joe Judge was the man for the job.

The Giants’ brass is smitten with Judge and can’t stop heaping praise upon him. We got our first taste of Judge today at his introductory press conference and were nearly as impressed as one could be, considering this is his first head coaching job on any level.

Giants CEO John Mara was very candid about his feelings for Judge and what he can bring to the dormant Giants.

“I’m just excited about what he brings to the table here. He has a certain poise and presence about him. You guys have pointed out the last couple of years that I’ve had a lot of experience interviewing coach candidates. I’m just telling you, that’s the best interview I’ve ever been a part of right now for a lot of different reasons. When you train under Nick Saban and then you end up on Bill Belichick’s staff, that’s something you take notice of. He’s obviously had great training, a great background. He’s used to winning, he knows what winning looks like, and we’re excited to have him here.”

Mara was asked what moment during Judge’s interview on Monday sold him on the 38 year-old Pennsylvania native.

“I would say it was a little more than halfway through. To be honest with you, I went into the interview not really expecting all that much, just because I didn’t really know him. I certainly knew of him. But the more we went on, the more impressive he became. When we finished, I looked at Dave and Kevin, and we were ecstatic. We said, ‘This is our guy. This has got to be our guy.’ He just had a certain poise. He didn’t have any notes with him. He just was so confident and poised, and had such great knowledge about how to build a winning program. What they did in New England, what they’ve done at Alabama, the people he’s been around, his beliefs, his philosophies. He checked all of the boxes for us.”

Judge has a daunting task in front of him. The Giants are mired in another “wilderness” period and have to learn how to win as a team again.  Judge outlined his vision for the Giants in emphatic fashion. He’s a take-charge guy who will instill discipline and order to a team that has lacked precision and focus under their prior two head coaches, Pat Shurmur and Ben McAdoo.

“He has a big task. He’s 38 years old and he’s never been a head coach, so yeah, it is going to be a daunting task,” added Mars. “But everything we know about him and everything he showed in our interview with him tells us that he’s ready for it.”

Mara also said that he felt Judge was “somebody that could be a leader” and “someone who had poise and a presence about him, somebody who was a teacher, and somebody who knows what a winning program is supposed to look like.”

Many of these Giants don’t know what that looks like. Hopefully they will find out soon.

New York Giants: Joe Judge oozes confidence in first press conference, check out some quotes

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants seems to be in good hands with new head coach, Joe Judge, who learned under Bill Belichick and Nick Saban during his career in New England and Alabama.

Not only is Judge bringing extreme knowledge to the Giants, but he’s bringing his own sense of style and value.

Joe Judge: “What I learned from Coach Belichick is real simple: Be flexible with your personnel. Don’t try to shove square pegs in a round hole. Figure out what you have.”

“What I’m about is an old school, physical mentality. We’ll punch you in the nose for 60 minutes, we’ll play every play like its a history in the life of its own”

“We will punch you in the nose for 60 minutes, we will play every play like it has a history and a life of its own.” – Joe Judge is ready to lead the Giants to the promised land

It seems as if Judge and GM Dave Gettleman connected on their old school mentality, which features stopping the run and being tough. Judge’s attention to detail has been well noted in recent reports, but his focus on building out fundamentals is essential to his plan.

One of the more inspiring quotes from the initial presser was his pledge to bring the fans back into the team and the proud tradition the Giants’ organization has always had.

“I’m going to do everything in my power every day to make sure the people of this city and this area turn on the TV or sit in the stadium seats and are proud to say we’re their New York Giants”

Giants to Retain Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey

Incoming New York Giants head coach Joe Judge is making some wise choices even before being introduced to the media and fans. Several sources are reporting that Judge, quite the special teams guru himself, is retaining Thomas McGaughey as the special team coordinator.

McGaughey was clearly the best of the three coordinators on Pat Shurmur’s staff.

From the NY Post:

McGaughey was one of the most effective assistants on Shurmur’s staff, as his units on special teams consistently performed at a high level. He also is a popular presence in the building, which is why he has survived major coaching upheaval. He was an assistant special teams coach for Tom Coughlin from 2007 to 2010 and ran the special teams for the Jets, 49ers and Panthers before returning to the Giants in 2018 to work under Shurmur.

 

The Giants in 2019 finished in the top five in kickoff return average and kickoff coverage and in the top 10 in net punting average.

It was likely suggested to Judge he keep McGaughey by general manager Dave Gettleman, who has a long association with McGaughey both here with the Giants and down in Carolina.

New York Giants HC Joe Judge to speak with Freddie Kitchens about offensive coordinator job

New York Giants, Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants hiring Joe Judge to be their head coach moving forward was undoubtedly a surprise, but the idea that Freddie Kitchens, former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, could end up as the offensive coordinator for Big Blue, well, that’s another shot in the dark.

Kitchens boasted a solid offense in 2018 before Baker Mayfield degraded in front of our eyes. Credit his demise to the offensive line or the curse of Odell Beckham Jr., but Kitchens has proven he can be a capable offensive play-caller. Again, he suffered a similar fate as Pat Shurmur did — too many responsibilities.

Jordan Raanan reported that Judge would speak with Kitchens, and I don’t necessarily hate this move. There’s no guarantee he will be selected to feature as the OC, but speaking with different options is never a bad idea.

Kitchens and Judge worked together while at Mississippi State, where they curated a connection. Bringing in coaches that are familiar with the head coach’s personality and attention to detail is a positive thing. This could be a solid grab for the Giants and Judge if they don’t land Jason Garrett or Jay Gruden.

New York Giants: Why Joe Judge Won the Head Coaching Job

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants’ head coaching search has come to an end. After firing Pat Shurmur on the 30th of last month, the Giants found their guy. That guy is New England Patriots Special Teams Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach, Joe Judge. Judge, an assistant coach of the Patriots for eight seasons, will look to get the struggling Giants back on track. With Baylor HC Matt Rhule garnering most of the attention of the media, Judge went unnoticed during the search. He interviewed with the Giants on Monday, and later that evening the two parties began working towards a deal. With all of the speculation around Rhule joining the Giants, it is easy to be confused why Judge ended up getting the job. Here’s why Joe Judge will be the 21st coach in franchise history:

Why Joe Judge Won the Job:

His experience with Saban/Belichick

Judge’s first major coaching job came at Alabama, where he was special teams assistant for multiple years. During those years, he worked alongside one of the greatest coaches in the history of college football – Nick Saban. While Saban did struggle a bit at being an NFL coach, his approach to the game is still admired by all. Before he was even 30 years old, Judge was being exposed to one of the greatest coaches the game has ever seen.

In 2012, Judge made the jump to the NFL. He started out as a special teams assistant for the Patriots, and after the team’s victory in Super Bowl XLIX, Judge was upgraded to Special Teams Coordinator. Since 2015, Judge has helped orchestrate one of the best special teams units in the entire NFL. In 2019, he became the Wide Receivers Coach of the team.

Throughout all of his time in New England, Judge gained more and more respect from the greatest coach in NFL history – Bil Belichick. But Judge didn’t just work alongside Belichick, he was taught how to be an excellent coach. Belichick has been Judge’s biggest mentor, something that the Giants obviously found attractive.

The success of other special teams coordinators

While all head coach obviously has to start somewhere, very few of them come from special teams. Usually, a coach will have experience as an offensive/defensive coordinator or have had success as a head coach at the college level. But there are a number of coaches who have made the leap from special teams and found success. The most recent being Ravens HC John Harbaugh.

Harbaugh, who coached the Ravens to an NFL-best 14-2 record, was hired as the team’s head coach in 2008. Since then, Harbaugh has been one of the most successful head coaches in the NFL. He has won the AFC North four times, reached the playoffs eight times, and won a Lombardi trophy in 2012. The other most successful former special teams coordinator? Only Judge’s former workmate – Belichick.

What makes special teams coach’s so unique is their view on the game. Offensive and defensive coordinators only work with their side of the ball, and rarely interact with the players from the other side. Special teams coordinators, on the other hand, work with everyone. They put in arguably more time and effort than anyone besides the head coach himself.

The Matt Rhule situation

When Matt Rhule signed his seven-year, $60 million deal with the Panthers before even interviewing with the Giants, most assumed he was trying to avoid New York as a whole. But later reports said that Rhule called the Giants after receiving his offer, and gave the team the chance to match it. The Giants declined, showing that they were more than content with hiring Judge. They had their chance to get the guy they reportedly wanted, but they decided to go in a different direction. Was it the right decision? Well, we will have to wait and find out.

New York Giants: Look at these glowing reviews from Joe Judge’s peers

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants seemingly hired New England Patriots’ special team’s coordinator and wide receiver coach on a whip, or rather a calculated decision analyzed to the highest degree by Dave Gettleman computer junkies.

Judge has a stellar resume, packed full of Super Bowl rings and Nation Championships, not to mention the knowledge bestowed upon him by the liked of Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Judge has been through the merry-go-round a time or two, and now it’s his time to step into the spotlight.

Here’s a look at what New York Giants HC Joe Judge’s peers said about him:

“Joe has done an outstanding job. He’s an excellent coach. He understands the game well, works extremely hard and is a very good teacher of fundamentals. Joe picks up concepts and coaching points quickly. He is an exceptional leader and one of the best coaches I have been around. He has been responsible for coaching units comprised of nearly every player on the roster. That requires an ability to handle many moving parts, make constant adjustments and immediate decisions. I appreciate Joe’s many contributions to our staff and team and wish him well.” – Bill Belichick

“Joe did a fantastic job for our program early on in our tenure in Tuscaloosa. He went on to have a lot of success on Bill’s (Belichick) staff in New England. Joe is one of the brightest young coaches in our profession, and I think he will do a tremendous job as the head coach of the New York Giants. They are getting an extremely smart football coach who is very loyal, organized and diligent about getting the job done. We wish Joe and his entire family the best of luck with the Giants.” – Nick Saban

“It has been a real joy working with Joe over the past eight years. Joe’s commitment, work ethic and love for the game are incredible. His intelligence and knowledge of the game set him apart. We have shared many personal and professional mountaintop experiences together. I’m thankful for the time he coached me and know that without his contributions my personal NFL experience would not have been the same. I wish him nothing but the best moving forward. He will always have a fan in me.” – Matthew Slater

“Joe is a coach I have a lot of respect for after working alongside him for seven seasons. He has great attention to detail and leaves no stone unturned in his preparation. His units were always well-coached and among the best in the league. I wish him success in New York.” – Brian Flores

“Joe and I worked together for three years when he was an assistant at Alabama. He was high energy, had great attention to detail, and was always wanting to learn more about all aspects of the game. He’s been recognized for a while as an up and coming coach and I think the Giants are a great fit for him and he’s a great fit for the Giants.” – Kirby Smart

The similarity between all of the quotes boils down to preparation and his attention to detail. Head coach Pat Shurmur lacked in this category, as his team often looked confused and undisciplined on the field. Shurmur also faltered in his in-game decisions — time management, personnel, etc.

Judge will bring stability that the Giants haven’t had in quite some time, and he will establish a proper culture to build around.

New York Giants: Matt Rhule Says Agent Handled Negotiations With Giants

New York Giants considering Matt Rhule for head coach.

Joe Judge came from behind to win the race to become the next  head coach of the New York Giants – in perhaps a quicker resolution than many expected. There was a lot of talk about how the Giants should interview Matt Rhule and consider him as one of the top options for their head coaching job, but that didn’t materialize according to what Rhule has said about taking the Carolina job.

He’s said that Carolina was the only team that he spoke to – they would, of course, win the competition to make Rhule their head coach.

His agent handled the talks with the Giants, who were set to interview Rhule in addition to the Panthers… But the Giants chose not to fight for Rhule and instead went with Joe Judge, who had impressed the front office in his own interview.

Was it the right move to let Rhule go to the Panthers without as much as pushing for an interview, especially with Rhule reportedly having a somewhat favorable stance towards joining the Giants?

That depends on how you look at it, mostly. There is a chance that the Giants will stay in their current spot while the Panthers turn around under the leadership of Rhule, who himself was a popular candidate because of his history turning programs around at the college level, but on the other hand Rhule might not have been what the Giants were looking for in the first place.

It’s important to remember that Rhule still only has a few of experience as the head coach at a major college, and the jump between mid-major colleges and the NFL is huge. In all likelihood, the Giants just preferred the head coaching candidate with a vision that impressed them and more NFL experience to back it up.

That’s not to say that Judge has the best credentials of any candidate himself, coming from the background of a special teams coordinator and transitioning right into being a head coach without coordinating the offense or the defense first, but Judge has earned high praise from two of the greatest head coaches of all time and that’s definitely worth something.

“Joe can probably coach any position on the field. He does an excellent job of teaching players. He thinks quickly and the game comes easy to him. He understands concepts, adjustments and fundamental technique,” Bill Belichick told Patriots Wire.

Nick Saban, the legendary head coach at Alabama, also had similar sentiments. “Joe is one of the brightest young coaches in our profession, and I think he will do a tremendous job as the head coach of the New York Giants. They are getting an extremely smart football coach who is very loyal, organized and diligent about getting the job done,” Saban said.

Will the Giants regret not meeting with Rhule face to face and only handling negotiations through his agent? Possibly, but it’s still too early to tell, and there’s no reason to believe right now that the Giants don’t have a bright future ahead of them with Judge. We can only see how both head coaches perform before determining if the Giants “missed out” this offseason.