When the New York Giants take the field on Monday night, the uniforms may look the same, but the identity of the team will be entirely different.
After four years of failed coaches and failed seasons, the Giants will welcome first-time head coach Joe Judge into the fray, and he’s determined to return the organization to its former glory.
“We’re working to build a tough, smart, fundamentally sound football team,” Judge told reporters this week. “That’s where our emphasis is going to lie and that’s where we’re going to consistently work towards getting to. These guys have been working hard. There’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of urgency in what we’re preparing to do, and we’re going to go out there and work to make the area proud.”
Given the many pitfalls that have faced the Giants this offseason, one would think an increased level of patience would be warranted. But that’s not Judge’s style — he’s not big into excuse-making.
“There’s not a lot of time for patience, but there’s always an emphasis on development,” Judge said, specifically addressing the revamped offensive line. “That’s the expectation for every player on our team.”
That message has gotten through to both the players and coaches loud and clear.
“He’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever been around,” defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said of Judge. “He’s organized, he’s smart, he’s tough on his players, demanding, he knows football.”
“It’s been such a great experience for me. I’ve learned more football in the last six months probably than I have learned in the last 10 years. This guy has been outstanding. I can’t wait to see him grow as a coach. I know I’ve said that before, but I can’t reiterate enough, he’s been awesome,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said.
This all sounds good, but will it translate to the field? The Giants get no buffer period as they open the 2020 regular season against the extremely dangerous Pittsburgh Steelers, who are also a physical and fundamentally sound football team.
A loss wouldn’t be the most difficult pill to swallow, but Giants fans need to see what Judge & Co. have been preaching in action. If they can keep it close and play mistake-free football, the level of optimism surrounding the team will rise substantially.