Giants Open Virtual Off-season Monday
Monday, April 20 marked the first day of a new era--and no, not just the Joe Judge era as Giants head coach.
The start of Monday's off-season program also marked an era in which, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL teams will need to conduct their off-season programs remotely while stay-at-home orders and social distancing remains in place across the country.
The first part of the virtual program will consist of three consecutive weeks of classroom instruction, workouts and non-football educational programs using videoconferencing technology.
Teams with a new head coach will be permitted to hold an extra voluntary veteran camp, with the virtual period ending no later than May 15.
For the Giants, Judge, their rookie head coach, Monday, he said, is going to be a busy day in terms of getting players acclimated to the technology they'll be using and this new and unprecedented way of life.
"We’re going to start with position meetings," Judge said. "Monday is going to be a lot like a first day back in the building, you know, through a regular spring program.
"We want to spend some time with position coaches, we want to make sure the coordinators get a chance to address their room, and I’ll have a chance to talk to the team for the first time. So, before we get into all of the X’s and O’s of football, there’s an important element of just getting to know the players and them getting to know us that has to take place."
While Judge would prefer to have everyone in the building, he noted that he's confident the team will be able to accomplish most of what it needs to, outside of the on-field work, for the time being, thanks to the generation of players he has.
"One thing I’ll tell you that I’m very confident in is when we start dealing with the players, there’s no generation that’s been more prepared for this offseason than the ones we’re going to deal with now," Judge said.
"They are very technologically savvy; they are going to have a lot of feedback that we’re going to get from them that we’re going to rely on in terms of how we can improve our meetings, to do what helps them. So, everybody has adjusted."
While on the surface, it looks as though the Giants and Judge are at a disadvantage given the newness of the staff--and of Judge in particular--he doesn't see it that way.
"I think the advantage goes to whoever is best prepared from this point forward,” he said.
“I don’t think any established program is at an advantage over anybody else. It’s how you can find a way to communicate with your players and deliver a message.
"Whether you’ve been in the program for years or not, everyone has changes to their system, everybody has changes to what they’re going to be doing in the offseason. They’re going to have the same challenges of communicating to their players.”
Judge also tried to put things into perspective, noting that while the conditions aren't ideal, the Giants don't have it quite as bad as some might.
"I think if the worst thing we’re dealing with right now, to be honest with you, is working out of our basement, we’ve got it pretty good," he said.
"Look, there’s a lot of people out there right now who don’t have jobs to go to with this situation, there’s police, fire department, there are nurses who leave their house every day, who leave their family behind and they are putting themselves out there to protect us.
"So, I think there are people we have to acknowledge with the right perspective who have it a lot tougher than a bunch of football coaches just trying to function to get ready for an offseason and a draft."