Giants’ Joe Judge Heavily Criticized in Outlandish Take

Giants releasing Kelvin Benjamin

Getty Head coach Joe Judge of the New York Giants during the first half against the Los Angeles Rams.

It’s fair to say many had their doubts on the New York Giants‘ decision to hand their head coaching reigns over to a little-known special teams assistant last offseason.

However, fast forward some 17 months later, and very few questions linger in regard to whether or not Joe Judge is the man for the job in East Rutherford — that is aside from a few stragglers who refuse to get on board. You can likely group NBC Sports’ Patrick Daugherty into that category.

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Joe Judge Labeled a ‘Parody,’ Nearly Bottoms Out in Coach Rankings

Daugherty recently compiled a list of the NFL’s top-25 NFL head coaches (excluding first-year coaches), of which Judge checked in at No. 23. The three-time Super Bowl Champion, fresh off a 6-10 record and a near playoff berth in his first season as a head coach, was trailed on the list only by Denver Broncos’ Vic Fangio and Cincinnati Bengals’ Zac Taylor.

In his write-up, the NBC Sports columnist took his fair share of shots at Judge along the way, even referring to the Giants coach as a “parody” at one point. Have a look:

Joe Judge began his Giants career with bits. No names on jerseys, etc. It made him an easy punchline for a slumping organization. Things started off equally poorly during the regular season, where Judge’s squad produced 0-5 and 1-7 records. The second half was much better, with the G-Men closing 5-3 and coming within a Nate Sudfeld cameo of winning their pathetic division. With offense exploding league wide, the Giants were a rare bulwark for the other side of the ball, surrendering 94 fewer points than the year prior. That was the ninth best mark in football after three seasons of finishing 23rd or worse. The problem was Judge’s offense, which showed zero second-year improvement under erratic starter Daniel Jones. The front office is throwing weapons at the issue, but it will fall to Judge to make lemonade out of Jones’ lemons. Judge can sometimes feel like a “football guy” parody — he took the Sudfeld thing just a little too personally — though he has successfully toed the line of instilling a hard-nosed attitude while keeping his players’ respect. There’s a chance 2020 was Judge’s ceiling. The fact it wasn’t the floor campaign so many were expecting was a surprising, encouraging development.

In Defense of Judge

To be frank, this take is a bit bizarre. No one is ready to crown Judge the next Bill Belichick, or even the next Tom Coughlin after just one season. Yet, to downplay the promise he put forth seems unjust. In all honesty, It’s difficult to even muster up a rebuttal to such a left-field take, but Giants Wire’s Dan Benton may have hit the nail on the head with his breakdown of the piece.

Ironically, this take reads like a parody but we assure you, it’s not The Onion or any of its counterparts. This is a legitimate take on one of the NFL’s best young head coaches.

A lot of Daugherty’s shots at Judge actually seemed to be just as much, if not more, directed towards quarterback Daniel Jones. Yet, it’s not as if Judge has ever been labeled an offensive guru. In fact, he’s served just one season as an offensive coach over his 16-year coaching career (Patriots wide receiver coach – 2019). Not to mention, Jones was learning a new offensive scheme under first-year coordinator Jason Garrett in 2020. On top of that, he was stripped of top playmaker Saquon Barkley for the majority of the season, while Sterling Shepard — Jones’ top receiver at the time — spent a stint on injured reserve, missing a quarter of the year.

We’ll be the first to admit that Jones clearly needs to take a massive step forward in year three, but there were undoubtedly other factors at play this past season. As for Judge’s “football guy” persona, he was thrust into a situation where he was taking over a team with just one playoff appearance to their name since 2011. Is he hard-nosed and a bit college-like? Sure. But the Giants needed a change in culture, and it’s become fairly evident that he’s helped instill a new winning vibe in East Rutherford — one that the players are clearly buying into.

“He’s a tough coach, man,” Shepard said of Judge on The Oklahoma Breakdown podcast. “He’s a tough coach, but that’s what we needed. For the previous two coaches, we didn’t do any conditioning or anything like that. But I will say last year was my first year of really having a conditioning — it kind of felt like Oklahoma all over again.”

“You know what? It was honestly good for us,” Shepard continued. “We would get into the fourth quarter and guys would be wheezing and we were like, nothing happened. So he’s getting us into shape, but it’s all for good.”


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