Joe Judge Explains Why He Called an Audible on the Roster Size

Patricia Traina

If we’ve learned nothing else about Joe Judge, it’s that he’s not afraid to call an audible if circumstances warrant.

Such was the case with his decision regarding the training camp roster size. Initially, Judge planned to carry a full 90-man squad, which he would have had to trim to 80 by August 16.

But in doing so, Judge wouldn’t have been able to work all the players together t the same time during the ramp-up phase, which includes some walk-through activities. The rookie and first-year players would have had to work in one group and the veterans in another.

Last weekend, Judge decided to trim the roster to 80 (plus running back Sandro Platgummer, for whom the Giants have a roster exemption since he came to the team via the Pathway Program).

So why the audible? 

“It was what was best for us to be able to evaluate everybody as a whole and really build a progression,” Judge said.

The decision to move to 80 men, while not fair to those who were cut, is the better one for the Giants. This team will have a fair number of rookies and first-year players mixing in on offense and defense in both starting and key reserve roles. 

Had Judge stuck with the 90-man roster plan, Andrew Thomas, who projects to be a starter on the offensive line, wouldn’t have been permitted to work with the rest of the linemen until the roster was trimmed to 80.

“ [A 90-man roster] presents some logistical issues for you, both facilities-wise and how you can map out coordinating different players working with each other,” Judge said. 

“We wanted to make sure that we gave everyone a chance to get out there on the field and really take a look at them and work.”

Still, there was no mistaking a tinge of regret in his voice over having to end the hopes and dreams of 10 players before they got a chance to get started. 

“Look, ultimately I wish we could have gone with 90 the entire way through in a traditional camp,” Judge said. “That’s not the rules in place right now.”

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