Joe Judge Explains Why He Likes Practicing in the Elements

Patricia Traina

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these Giants from their detailed oriented practices.

That creed, modified from the U.S. Postal Service's commitment to delivering the mail regardless of the elements, is precisely what Giants head coach Joe Judge has implemented as part of his quest to cover every last detail in getting his team ready for game day.

"Any chance you get the opportunity to work in weather, you have to use it to your advantage, whether it's wind snow, rain, hard sun, whatever it may be," Judge said Friday. "You may not get this opportunity again, and the next time we see rain may be in a game on Sunday. So we always use every situation we have to prepare ourselves."

The only time Judge has made use of the team's indoor field house facility has been when lightning has been detected in the area. But even then, when it's been deemed safe to return outdoors, Judge and the Giants have gone right back outside to practice in the elements.

Friday, the team went through practice outdoors despite a steady and heavy rain in the northern New Jersey area. Judge viewed it as an opportunity to work on some different fundamentals that a usually dry field might not offer.

"Today's a great opportunity for us to work on fundamentals on wet grass. Do [the players] have their feet under them? Ball security as ball handlers, quarterbacks, and receivers--making sure we're sharp on that. Defensive players, making sure we get our cleats in the ground and we don't slip and slide all over the place."

But working in the elements comes a certain degree of risk. One wrong step could mean a hamstring strain, a joint injury, or maybe even something worse. So how does Judge balance the risks with the rewards that come from working in the elements?

"Coaches and players need to go out and be prepared for practice," he said. "That includes warming up our bodies correctly. It means playing with our feet under us. It means having the right equipment on. So the right cleats to match the weather conditions and the grass and the surface that we're on."

Judge's thinking on the matter isn't that wacky, not if one considers that the game of football is played in just about every element except lightning. And already he has proven that he's leaving no small detail uncovered in getting the Giants ready to play smart and fundamentally sound football.  

"Look, it's football," Judge said. "We're going to go outside, whatever [the weather] is, and use all the elements to our advantage every time we can." 

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