Joe Judge Has Giants Restart Practice After Sluggish Beginning
Everything Giants head coach Joe Judge has done from the moment he walked into the door has been for a reason, and that is to get the Giants franchise back on the winning track.
So when Judge abruptly stopped the team’s practice Thursday to gather the players and coaches into a huddle where he was said to have loudly expressed his unhappiness with what he saw, some onlookers were surprised, especially when Judge made the team start over.
In retrospect, there shouldn’t have been any surprise given Judge's reaction. This is a head coach that, throughout training camp, sent players on penalty laps when they made mental errors that ruined plays or would have resulted in penalties.
As he explained it, the reason was there were repercussions for such screwups in games, be they turnovers or penalty yards, and he wanted his team to understand that such mistakes wouldn’t be tolerated.
This is also a head coach who has been meticulously detailed orientated to the point of being anal about the littlest things because not doing so can make it ridiculously easy for such screwups to snowball into one big avalanche that knocks a team off-track.
But stopping a practice session?
“I love it,” said running back Saquon Barkley, one of the Giants team captains. “That’s something we know we’re going to focus on, that everything we do is going to have a purpose behind it. Coach didn’t like how we started off, so we started over.”
Having a team start a practice over is rare, especially when there are time limitations on how long a team practices. But Judge’s point, that is that come game day, there are no mulligans for lack of energy and urgency in getting done what needs to be done, was received.
“It was really cool how everybody took it in a positive way,” said linebacker Blake Martinez. “It wasn’t like, ‘Ah, here we go,’ or ‘Why are we doing this?’ It was more like, ‘Hey, what do need to do to fix it to get this right?’”
Barkley likes the way the team responded.
“On Monday there won’t be no restart, so we have to find a way to have that energy and have that purpose from the beginning,” he said. “It shouldn’t take a restart for that to happen, but if that was the case, then it was a challenge that coach presented us with and I believe we responded the right way as a team.”
Martinez agreed, especially given the stakes being so high for a Giants team looking to change the narrative on how it is perceived.
“I think we all understand how big this first week is to set a statement for ourselves as a team on what we want to be throughout the season.”