Why the Giants’ team brawl was a positive sign ahead of the 2021 season

new york giants, joe judge

The intensity was high during the New York Giants’ first padded practice on Tuesday morning. With competitive juices flowing and the team looking to have a strong day, things boiled over during the latter portion of practice when running back Corey Clement was hit late by safety Xavier McKinney after breaking off a long run.

McKinney reportedly popped Clement and was met fiercely by tight end Evan Engram, who was then shoved by Logan Ryan, one of the team’s leaders. A full-team brawl ensued as quarterback Daniel Jones found himself at the bottom of the pile being dragged out by Center Nick Gates.

Despite head coach Joe Judge cursing out the entire team and going on a rampage, a training camp brawl is nothing to be concerned about. With professional athletes vying for starting time and roster spots, the energy can sometimes blow a cap.

“I think the biggest thing the first day in pads we’ve got to stress with our team is obviously the intensity’s up, the urgency’s up, but we’ve got to make sure we play at the prescribed tempo,” Judge said prior to practice, according to Patricia Traina of Giants Country.

The Giants want every second to count on the practice field, so wasting time with a brawl isn’t exactly in Judge’s plans.

“What we’re not looking for in team-tempo is the running back gets in a pile with defensive linemen and all of a sudden it just looks like a mosh pit and then no one else gets any work.”

Finding your young quarterback at the bottom of the pile is also a bit concerning, as injury is possible. However, everybody left the scrum unscathed but ended up running full-field sprints and doing push-ups as a punishment for their actions. Discipline is a priority for Judge, and doing so with conditioning is a positive reinforcement.

Jones spoke to the media after practice regarding the brawl, showcasing his team mentality and why he ended up in the middle of the pile.

“I’m part of the team and part of the offense,” Jones said after the practice when asked how he ended up at the bottom of the scrum. “We’re competing, so I don’t see myself separately.”

“We’ve got to do a better job of control on that and making sure we’re controlling our enthusiasm and excitement,” he said.

The passion was flowing on both offense and defense, protecting their own valiantly. When the regular season comes around, you only have each other on the football field and coming to one’s defense is a sign of camaraderie. Logan Ryan stated that his melee with Engram would be smoothed over, as they are locker room buddies and friends off the field.

In fact, I believe this situation ended up being positive, galvanizing the team further with passion and intensity. On just the first day of padded practice, the offense dominated, putting to bed some of the recent reports indicating that lackluster performance.

New York Giants: What is Saquon Barkley’s status in training camp week two?

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley entered training camp on the active/PUP list, but that won’t stop the rampant speculation about what his status for week one will be. Based on how the Giants played last season without him, it’s understandable that Barkley’s status has become an offseason fixation. And while we’re hearing many of the same things from the team, more is also emerging to indicate that Barkley is making fast progress.

For one, Barkley has been getting some work in outside of the main practices despite his status on the PUP list. While he’s not ready to put the pads on just yet, running and catching are well within the realm of Barkley’s current training. Notably, the running back was seen on Monday running a route in the background and making a leaping catch. It’s something that no doubt wouldn’t happen unless his recovery was in the advanced phase.

It’s not the only play that’s worth paying attention to. Barley has been turning heads as far back as last Thursday, and catching passes has apparently been an active part of his training schedule.

Joe Judge offers insights on Barkley’s recovery

We also have more word from Joe Judge about Barkley’s progress. But of course, Judge didn’t say anything about a return date, because the Giants are still committed to not rushing Barkley back on a specific day.

“You know what, he’s making a lot of strides for us and I don’t want to go ahead and make any predictions or anything on Saquon, but I will say that this guy’s showing progress, tangible progress every day with our medical staff, with our strength staff,” Judge said about the matter back on Monday.

He also said that the Giants are building up the intensity of Barkley’s workouts, similar to how the regular practices are getting more intense.

“But as you watch him, I know you guys are looking at him, period by period, his rehab is structured to mirror what the other players on the field are doing as much as possible,” Judge told reporters.

Will we see Barkley in week one or not?

Obviously, it’s too early to say for sure. The Giants have been very persistent in saying they don’t have a fixed date to bring the player back. However, we can make some assumptions based on what we’ve seen so far.

The workouts we’re seeing from Barkley right now with him running at high speed, doing routes, and catching passes, don’t look like the kind of workouts that would be assigned to an injured player who needs to be careful on the field.

The Giants are taking a precautionary approach rather than a rushed one, but just based on what we’re seeing out of Barkley in small flashes, it looks like this is more of a safety measure than a statement that Barkley isn’t ready to play yet.

Given that there’s still time between now and the start of the regular season, with the preseason yet to happen, it does look like Barkley is on track. If he doesn’t end up playing in week one, it seems so far that it will more likely than not be due to a sudden setback and not something expected.

New York Giants get lesson in discipline under Joe Judge at training camp

new york giants, joe judge

We’ve all heard about the tough guy reputation of New York Giants head coach Joe Judge. It’s something that had produced varying reactions, ranging from respect from fans who think Judge has brought the team in line with a new direction to dismissal by some national media outlets who have called Judge a parody of himself.

That reputation flared up last season when the firing of offensive line coach Marc Colombo allegedly turned heated, and a recent on the field confrontation between Judge and Kelvin Benjamin may have reminded some of that reputation once again.

But, even if it’s controversial, there’s at least one thing that Judge’s no-nonsense style is definitely good with – building discipline. That’s manifested itself this training camp in the form of players running laps for various mistakes. And sometimes, depending on the mistake, the whole unit has to run the lap around the practice field.

We saw that happen in Monday’s practice when one player made a substitution error during a field goal block. As a result, the defense including the coaches was spotted running a lap around the field.

It’s not the only time that it happened. Former Dallas lineman Joe Looney ended up running two laps also, and expected starting center Nick Gates would end up running one quickly to avoid holding things up – the Giants aren’t the deepest team at center, and their other regular option was busy working with the second team on a different field.

All in all, the laps are a minor thing but it’s still nice to see a tangible example of the culture of hard work and improvement that many Giants players have spoken about since the arrival of Joe Judge.

After all, far from considering Judge a parody of himself, every statement from the players shows that the locker room has bought in – even when they have to run laps at practice because of this no-nonsense style.

New York Giants: Shane Lemieux “avoided worst-case scenario” injury, says HC Joe Judge

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux

The New York Giants kicked off training camp this week and on the second day of practice already had a major injury scare. Projected starting left guard Shane Lemieux was carted off of the field on the second day of practice. It was later revealed that Lemieux suffered a knee injury, though the severity of that injury was not initially revealed.

As the Giants get back at it for the third day of practice today, head coach Joe Judge spoke to the media and provided an update on Shane Lemieux’s injury status. According to Judge, the “worst-case scenario looks to have been avoided.”

The worst-case scenario would have been a season-ending injury for Lemieux. Thankfully, that has been avoided, and Giants fans will get to see Shane Lemieux suit up at some point this season. However, there is currently no timetable for Shane Lemieux’s return. Giants fans can expect to see players such as Zach Fulton and Kenny Wiggins fill in during Lemieux’s absence.

Joe Judge on Shane Lemiuex’s injury status

Joe Judge could not provide the media with too many details regarding Shane Lemieux’s injury status. But he did promise that more updates will be given in the coming days. Judge said sometime in the next “24-48 hours” the team will have a better understanding of “where he’s at.” The team cannot yet make a diagnosis on Shane.

One thing I’ll tell you about Shane, he’s kind of like a wild animal, he’d chew his leg off through a bear trap if he had to, so him not being out here kind of drives him nuts. – Joe Judge on Shane Lemieux after suffering a knee injury this week

It seems that Shane Lemieux will make a return to the practice field sooner than later. The second-year guard from Oregon was on the practice field today. Lemieux was out there, watching the whole practice today, and was seen walking off the field with his helmet on alongside Will Hernandez (Pat Leonard NYDN).

Kenny Wiggins filled in for Shane Lemieux as the starting left guard during today’s practice (Zack Rosenblatt NJ.com). According to Rosenblatt, the Giants are keen on keeping Will Hernandez at right guard.

The New York Giants caught a huge break with Shane Lemieux. The Giants are already thin on the offensive line and could not afford to lose one of their starters this early in the season. Shane Lemieux is a young hog molly who struggled as a rookie but has worked hard to improve and prepare for the 2021 season. Thankfully, this injury should not prevent Lemieux from seeing the field in the regular season.

New York Giants: Kelvin Benjamin goes at Joe Judge, Giants players defend coach

New York Giants, Joe Judge

Kelvin Benjamin had a chance to revitalize his career as a free agent signing with the New York Giants this offseason, but that’s far from how things actually turned out. The 30 year old wide receiver ended up released, and not only missed out on a chance to play this season but also caused quite a bit of drama on the way out.

It all stems from Benjamin showing up for practice on Wednesday and apparently getting into a dispute with head coach Joe Judge over his weight. The Giants required Benjamin to cut his weight down to 251 pounds, but his weight instead increased slightly since the end of minicamp. But Benjamin claims that others in the team building had previously told him that his weight was fine, and that the weight cut was an impossible request.

“I’m like: ‘I’m trying everything I can to be here. You won’t even let me on the field to show what I can do. I played receiver at 268 [pounds] and I almost had 1,000 yards [in 2016]. So why do you want me to come back at 251 at tight end?’” Benjamin told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday.

He claims that Judge just personally doesn’t like him, and that it led to the confrontation at practice and his release.

“The day before practice, he didn’t bring all of this up. I just felt like the dude didn’t like me. Mr. Gettleman knew exactly what went down. It’s crazy how they twisting the narrative about everything like it’s a joke. They make it seem like we don’t even matter,” Benjamin said about Judge. He’d also say other things, claiming that Judge’s style won’t win a Super Bowl.

It’s not the first time Judge has been criticized for his style, but some players disagree.

New York Giants defend Joe Judge

Since the incident, several New York Giants players have been active in defending their head coach.

“He’s very intense, but I feel like he prepares us each and every day for the game. That’s his motto. That’s his mindset and it helps and it works. So for us, it gets us excited for practice,” said defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.

His sentiment was echoed by cornerback James Bradberry, who has looked like one of the best corners in the league under Judge’s leadership. He spoke with the New York Daily News, and gave his take on the situation.

“It ain’t for everybody. You feel me? He’s entitled to his opinion. I definitely think Coach Judge is tough. But football is tough. There’s a lot of pressure being in our shoes, so I don’t expect him to give us our way all the time,” Bradberry stated. “A tough coach, that’s how you build structure. That’s how you build discipline.”

“It ain’t for everybody, man, ya know? It ain’t for everybody,” Bradberry would add.

It’s a sentiment that seems to follow in the footsteps of two very successful head coaches that Judge has worked under – Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Both of them have had problems with players over the years due to their strict nature, but have found tremendous success despite their style being deemed ‘not for everyone’ by many former players.

The current Giants roster, at least, seems to be all for Judge’s current style. As do the free agents who joined this offseason, many of whom specifically cited Judge as part of their reason for picking the Giants.

His style may not be for Kelvin Benjamin, but at the very least, it’s working with the group of players the Giants have now.

New York Giants: HC Joe Judge isn’t worried about Kadarius Toney’s shaky career start

new york giants, kadarius toney

The New York Giants officially kick off the 2021 season today with the start of training camp. Absent from this week’s practices, though, will be the team’s first-round draft pick from this year’s draft, Kadarius Toney. The Giants placed Toney on the reserve/COVID-19 list after the rookie receiver tested positive for the virus upon his arrival to camp last Thursday.

Fans had strong reactions to the news of Toney’s positive COVID test. Kadarius Toney has barely gotten his feet wet in the NFL and has already missed numerous practices for personal reasons and now for a positive COVID test. In his first career practice, Kadarius practiced with one cleat due to an equipment mishap. He then skipped voluntary practices before being exempt from a mandatory practice due to a private personal matter.

That being said, Kadarius Toney has barely practiced with the Giants and some fans are concerned. There are even some fans going so far as to say that Toney is a “bust” or a “bad draft pick” despite the fact that he has yet to play a down of football in the NFL. Other fans are not as worried, and neither is New York Giants head coach Joe Judge.

Joe Judge on Kadarius Toney’s shaky career start

Kadarius Toney is currently isolating and participating in meetings remotely after his positive COVID-19 test. Many questions have arisen regarding Kadarius Toney. One of the most interesting: Is he more interested in his rap career than the sport of football?

Head coach Joe Judge has an answer to that question. According to Joe Judge, Kadarius Toney “loves football.” Judge is not worried by the shaky start to Toney’s NFL career. When talking about his rookie wide receiver, Judge said Toney “goes hard when he’s practicing. He plays hard.”

“There’s a lot of guys who are talented and they have some other things outside the building that distract them when they get in the building. We haven’t seen that with him.” – Joe Judge on Kadarius Toney’s focus on football (via NY Daily News)

As for the many criticisms of Kadarius Toney, Joe Judge does not feel like the concerns are completely warranted. Judge went as far as to say that the concerns with Toney’s start to his career are being “overinflated.”

“He practices hard. So that to me is really the measuring stick of what it is. And I think there are a lot of things early in this guy’s career that are, to be honest with you, being overinflated. It hasn’t detracted from the actual football when he’s involved with us.” – Joe Judge on the start of Kadarius Toney’s career via PFT

Kadarius Toney is back in the building

After testing positive for COVID-19 last week, Kadarius Toney is now officially back in the building. Many fans and writers alike were concerned with Toney and the shaky start that he has had to his career, despite head coach Joe Judge’s trust in his rookie receiver. Now, according to Joe Judge, Kadarius Toney is back in the Giants’ facility today for the start of training camp.

Joe Judge also made it clear that the Giants will waste no time getting Kadarius Toney back in action. The Giants will not be easing him into training camp because “the most dangerous thing you can do for a player is skimp on how you practice,” says Joe Judge.

“Whether that’s conditioning to get their bodies in the right position and build up the callous in their muscles… or practicing things like live hitting and live tackling. Anything they have to do in a game we want to make sure we practice, correct, repeat and practice again.” – Joe Judge on training camp conditioning

New York Giants fans will not have to wait long to see their electric first-round draft pick on the field. Kadarius Toney will be out there for the start of training camp. Joe Judge and the New York Giants will get Kadarius Toney on the field as soon as possible. Giants training camp kicks off today as fans eagerly anticipate the start of the 2021 NFL season.

New York Giants: Joe Judge confirms long term approach with Saquon Barkley

It’s well known by now that the New York Giants aren’t rushing back Saquon Barkley. The running back’s status has been in the news for months as his recovery is closely watched by fans and the national media, but even after all this time we still don’t have a definite return date. Barkley might be back for week one, or he might sit it out. Barkley claims he doesn’t know the future outcome himself, and the team has backed up that ‘day by day’ approach.

However, we now have some more official confirmation from Joe Judge himself about what the Giants are thinking with their strategy in regards to Barkley. Judge had an interview with ESPN and shot down the idea of planning Barkley’s return around an artificial timeline.

Judge’s statements on Barkley’s recovery

“We’re thinking long term with Saquon; long term in the season, long term in his career. And by taking care of him individually, that is going to help our team long term as well. We’re going to make sure when we get him out there we can keep him out there,” Judge told ESPN.

The long term approach isn’t what some fans will want. After all, the Giants struggled rushing last season without Barkley and moved on from top backup Wayne Gallman. If they don’t get Barkley back in the number one spot right away, the Giants may very well see their early season results impacted by having to rely on an unproven stable of new backups.

But we’ve more or less heard the same story from the Giants every time the issue of Barkley’s timeline comes up. It seems that, unpopular or not, the Giants are committed to the current plan.

“And we’ve got to make sure we do the best thing for him as we go along the way and make sure we make decisions based on his body and not some artificially anticipated timeline,” Judge continued. “When he’s ready to go, that is when he’s going to be out there.”

The hope is that Barkley will be ready to face the Broncos, but that looks like less of a certainty as the offseason continues. With so many statements like this, it’s possible that the franchise is well aware of that and is focused on priming the fanbase to not be alarmed if Barkley turns out to miss the opener.

New York Giants: Logan Ryan on Joe Judge bringing him to Giants

new york giants, logan ryan

The New York Giants didn’t swing and miss when they added Logan Ryan last season in free agency. They did so following an injury to expected starter Xavier McKinney, but Ryan turned out to perform better than most would have expected from a replacement for an injured prospect.

Ryan has made himself a core part of the current group of Giants safeties, and earned himself an extension through 2023 that was signed this offseason despite some predicting him ending up elsewhere.

But what was it that brought Ryan to the Giants in the first place, after starting the offseason as a free agent that could have ended up with any team in the league? It appears that, according to Ryan himself, head coach Joe Judge played a large role in setting the Giants apart.

Ryan spoke on Good Morning Football on Wednesday, and one of the subjects was his dedication to Joe Judge.

“He allowed me to put my imprint on this young team and really allowed me to shine and show my work ethic. I just try to come in with that first one in, first one out mentality and really try to earn my stripes on this team,” Ryan said about Judge.

He claims that it was a candid conversation with Judge that led him to the Giants. And also that Judge was a coach that believed in him during a time when other teams didn’t believe in what he could do.

“I am really grateful for those times last year vying for a job and telling people what I can do, but all I really needed was the respect from one coach and that honesty. I’ll run through a wall for [Judge],” Ryan continued.

Joe Judge a major influence on Giants free agency

If it wasn’t clear already, it should be even more clear right now that Joe Judge is a big part of the moves the Giants make during free agency.

Many have suspected since his rookie season that Dave Gettleman is being made to compromise more in his role as general manager, and interviews like this with players seem to support the theory. It’s not Gettleman’s name that keeps coming up with free agents, but Judge’s.

Considering this, it’s hard to argue that Judge doesn’t have a big influence on the direction the Giants take in free agency these days. It’s something that seems like a positive, given the team’s better acquisitions over the past couple of years while Judge has been at the helm.

New York Giants: Another ridiculous Joe Judge take from the national media

New York Giants, Joe Judge

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge made some big waves after taking over the position, but not everyone around the league gets his impact on the organization just yet. This offseason, there seems to be an increase in national media outlets taking a look at what’s going on with the Giants and assuming that Judge is more poser than real. Particularly, his ‘football guy’ persona has been brought up in multiple articles by now as something that’s more laughable than meaningful.

The latest of those articles comes from CBS Sports, where Cody Benjamin ranked Judge in the lower portion of the league’s head coaches and alleged that Judge’s tough mentality is an act – and one that, according to him, borders on silliness.

26. Joe Judge (Giants)

Season: 2nd with Giants and as HC
Career record: 6-10 (.375)
Playoff record: N/A

Sometimes his no-nonsense tough-guy act borders on silliness, like when he condemned the Eagles for refusing to get his own team into the playoffs. But the disciplinary spunk had the G-Men flashing surprise confidence throughout 2020. The question is whether he’s got what it takes to shepherd offensive growth, either with Daniel Jones at QB or someone else.

Is Judge actually overrated?

The take is somewhat understandable for someone that hasn’t paid attention to the Giants in depth – but those following the team more closely, of course, will be familiar with the visible changes that happened after Judge took over.

The Giants seemed like they were set to continue on the path of being a perennial loser before they made their most recent coaching change. The team had regressed under Ben McAdoo and shown little to no improvement under Pat Shurmur, leaving the Giants selecting high in the draft each year but not quite in a position to actually stay competitive deep into the season.

It’s true that Judge did arrive at a time when the Giants were willing to make more aggressive moves to get better, but his influence on upping the level of play from the team’s existing talent can’t be understated.

From the outside looking in, others might claim Judge is simply putting on an act. But without his presence – tough guy persona and all – it’s doubtful that there would be this much hope around the team going into next season.

With a better roster to work with this year, this may finally be the point when Judge gets the respect from around the league that didn’t come when the Giants hired him or after his rookie season in charge.

New York Giants: Blake Martinez has glowing praise for Joe Judge

New York Giants, Blake Martinez

Going into their second season under Joe Judge, the New York Giants are one of the most intriguing teams in the NFL. After all, they almost made the playoffs last season despite a terrible early season and they remained in the mix for the entire year. There’s a certain allure around their head coach, not just because of his prestigious background working with some of the biggest names in the sport but also because the Giants showed more fight than they have in years during his first season in charge.

Headed into the second year, the sentiment is understandably positive around Judge. That begins with the players, and defensive captain Blake Martinez will be the first one to speak up in support of the head coach.

Martinez did just that when interviewed by the New York Post. He was asked about several of his teammates and offered his takes on them, but the questions also came around to the topic of Judge.

“Whether it’s a coach or a player, he’s gonna make sure he’s getting the best out of everybody,” Martinez said. “His number one thing is he believes that every single person could be even better than what people expect. There’s a lot of people out there that would pat us on the back last year. But all of us as a team know we’re competitors and we want to be playing further into January and continuing our season… There’s no complacency anywhere at any point, any tier of this team, and it starts with him and all the way down.”

It just goes to show the sentiment is good right now around the Giants despite the team coming off another season where they ended up with a top 10 draft pick. That, hopefully, won’t be the case this time around.

If the Giants do make a dark horse run to a better record and potentially the playoffs, we can be sure the leadership of Joe Judge will be heavily involved in that outcome. And, likely, more high level play from Martinez at linebacker.

He competed for the top spot in tackles last season despite not getting as much credit as many other linebackers. This season, that top spot may be his if his performance is similar.