Blue Notes | What's Ahead for the Giants, Leaders Wanted and More
The Giants are 32 days away from kicking off their 2020 season and the Joe Judge era.
As they grind toward that dual milestone, the team entered Phase 2 of training camp in which they were on the field for 90 minutes running drills in separate groups of offensive and defensive players.
"We can't come together and do anything competitive against each other, but it's an opportunity to get on the field and run football drills at full speed," Judge said during a video conference. "Get the guys out and work on timing and the execution and fundamentals of our scheme."
For Judge, Wednesday was the first day that he was able to look on the field and see all 80 players on the team's current roster, the realization that he's a head coach setting in.
Amid an offseason plagued by the restrictions of COVID-19 and its subsequent quarantine, Judge and his staff have stressed the importance of following protocol to protect each other's health and ensure that the team would get the opportunity to hit the practice field together.
Following those safety measures have paid off. So far, the Giants appear to be keeping COVID-19 at bay.
"If you like football, you truly love being on the field of the players," Judge said. "Being on the field with the players, interacting with them as a coach, getting to feel their energy on the field, that's what's fun.
"From the start of stretching there we keep it moving, to the end of practice with conditioning, you know it's just a great opportunity to be on the field with the guys, they get a feel for us, we get a feel for them. Meetings are necessary to make sure to know what we do on the field, but practice is what it's all about."
Judge says that the Giants are ramping up toward Phase 3 activities that will begin Friday.
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In Search of Leaders
With one of the NFL's youngest rosters in 2020, Judge and his coaching staff are not inheriting many pre-established leaders on the team. Judge expects the next few weeks of camp to result in leadership emerging among the Giants' position groups.
"All of our players are working on establishing leadership within their own groups," Judge said.
"That will emerge more and more as training camp goes on. It all starts with doing your job well and putting the team first and that's really what leaders have to do."
One player that Judge praised as a leader is 27-year-old cornerback James Bradberry. Bradberry is a newcomer to the Giants after signing a three-year, $43.5 million contract this offseason.
"He comes to work every day with a purpose. He's attentive in the meetings. He takes diligent care of his body off the field," Judge said. "You can tell he's learned through his time in the league how to prepare himself for a season."
One young player that the Giants will be counting on to develop into a leader this season is second-year quarterback Daniel Jones.
Jones has undoubtedly taken a leader's initiative this offseason by adding bulk to his frame through an intense training routine. For Jones, putting on muscle is a move that should boost every aspect of his game.
However, Jones's decision to improve his physical form was not on Giants' coaches' instruction.
"That's not even a conversation we ever had," Judge said of Jones' offseason strength training in which he gained nearly ten pounds of muscle. "When you look at any player from their rookie year to year two, bodies change.
"When you get to the NFL and your body is your career. Guys learn how to really maximize what they have and that comes with nutrition, that comes with training. Obviously, [Jones] is a guy that, during the pandemic, didn't take any time off, he really used it to his advantage to do whatever he could do."
With College Football on Hiatus, How Will Giants Adapt?
While Judge and his team have placed their focus on training camp and preparation for the upcoming season, a topic outside of the NFL will still weigh on the Giants and the football world at large.
That would be scouting future talent. Thanks to several college football conferences across the country choosing to push back their 2020 seasons to the spring, preparing for next year's NFL draft will come with a new set of unprecedented challenges.
However, Judge says that he and the personnel department have had conversations preparing for this outcome throughout the summer.
"They've been talking throughout the summer anticipating that some colleges may not have football and obviously that's come to fruition at this point," Judge said.
"We're going to have to rely heavily on tape which is ultimately the best scouting is seeing what they do on the field. The disadvantage of that is you're not going to see their most recent year of film."
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