Giants head coach Joe Judge knew what he was getting into when he signed on to lead this franchise.
Win and get all the credit. Lose, and be prepared to be swung at from all angles.
But to his credit, Judge isn't about to sugarcoat or make excuses from his team's 1-5 performance in a year that was supposed to see them make a legitimate playoff run after upgrading the talent on both sides of the ball.
The Giants, however, haven't done that. Other than for their game against the New Orleans Saints, they just haven't looked good at all for the 60 minutes per week necessary to play winning football.
Judge said that's on him.
"I’m the head coach. It’s my responsibility, point blank,” he said on Thursday. “Every player on this field, every position group, it all comes down to me. The fish stinks from the head down.”
It certainly does, but Judge just seems more determined than ever before to get this figured out.
"I think the beauty of Joe is this, it’s how we learn – consistency," said assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who has grown close to Judge during their time working together.
"The emotional consistency, the stamina, the emotional stamina to be the same every day. I think Joe – that’s why he’s a good leader. Whether we win, lose, whatever, Joe’s going to correct us and there’s a standard he has. If we won by three touchdowns or lost by three touchdowns, Joe is consistent in terms of how he’s handling, trying to improve the football team as we move through the season."
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Judge prides himself on trying to be as prepared as possible both individually and in terms of having the team prepared, which he said helps alleviate the pressure.
“To me the only time you feel any kind of pressure or nerves is when you’re unprepared. If you’re prepared and you go through the tasks and the process at hand and you’re consistent with it, then you go in with confidence. That’s what we preach to our guys,” he said.
Unfortunately, something is getting lost along the way. It also hasn't helped that the team has been decimated by injuries, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
But don't expect Judge to make any excuses for what's otherwise been a disappointing 1-5 start to a season that, barring a miraculous turnaround, appears to be headed nowhere once again.
“I’ve been taught that by great guys that I’ve worked for and played for,” Judge said. “There are no excuses, no exceptions. You demand it of your coaches to make sure players are playing the right way. You demand it of the players to know what to do and go out there and do it.
“We’re always talking about keeping the target small. Think about what you’re really aiming for right there. Right now a lot of people want to talk about weeks before this and weeks after this. This is the only game we can do anything about right now.”
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