Joe Judge Assures Giants Haven't Given Up on Season
After their embarrassing showing Sunday against the 49ers, which dropped them to 0-3, it's only logical to wonder if the Giants morale has reached the point of no return.
According to head coach Joe Judge, that's not the case.
"I think we’re fine," he said. "I think the emphasis has to be for our guys on moving forward and executing, and that’s the biggest thing. We have to be better teachers and coaches, and we have to execute better on the field for 60 minutes."
Judge would know better than anyone what the temperature n the locker room is among the players and coaches. But despite his assurance that things are fine, his leadership skills will be tested in a way this week that he's never really had to deal with at any level in his career.
Judge, a former assistant under Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in New England and before that with Nick Saban at Alabama, hasn't seen many losing streaks in his coaching career that resemble the one he's led with the Giants so far in 2020.
Still, Judge is no stranger to adversity and believes that a rocky start can ultimately challenge him and his players in a constructive way.
"Those years we started off with a lot wins, we didn't always finish those years as successful as the years we started off pretty rough," Judge said.
"Sometimes early on, you really get a vision of what you are and you're identity by how you have to correct your mistakes and what you have to learn from."
"There's a lot of times you look around the meeting room and the locker room halfway through the year, and regardless of your record and it's just doom and gloom. You have to make sure you kind of bring it back to perspective and understand it's a day-by-day process as a team."
Giants fans are becoming increasingly impatient with the lack of impact that Judge's corrections are making, especially on the offensive line, a unit that essentially epitomizes the Giants' struggles as a team this year and years prior.
Despite the unit's latest offseason makeover, the Giants' offensive line has performed at the bottom for the NFL in 2020, allowing the most pressures in the NFL this season and are 27th in the league in run blocking according to Pro Football Focus.
That poor performance manifests in frustration across the position group as center Nick Gates admitted the temperature of the offensive line room is heating up as the weeks go on.
"We're p---ed off," said Gates. "We want to be better; we don't want to go out there and lose, we don't want to go out there and not run the ball.
"We put a lot of effort and a lot of work into going out there and learning the defense. It is frustrating when you go out and you can't run the ball and you can't protect well. It's just frustrating."
With 13 games left, the team still appears to be a long way off from getting to where they want to be, and the good news for Judge is that it seems to be a long way from giving up as well.
With the NFC East collectively under .500, the Giants still have considerably meaningful football games ahead of them.
For cornerback James Bradberry, one of the Giants' best performers this season, the focus is on overcoming the emotional drainage that comes with their recent loss and correcting the mistakes to improve.
"The coaches and the players do a good job of holding everyone accountable with their jobs and what they're asked to do." Bradberry said.
"Initially you're sad that you come in from a loss, but we're just moving onto the next week, moving onto the Rams and that's the main focus,"
If this team is going to prove they can correct their mistakes and they can be different from the failed teams of Giants' recent history, it will start with halting their current skid against another top-tier opponent on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Rams have already beaten the two better teams in the Giants' division with wins against the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
The Giants are less equipped than either Dallas or Philadelphia, and any shortage of motivation this week is sure to yield a loss and an 0-4 start to the season.