New York Giants Notebook | Helping Hands, The Joe Judge Expert and More
The Giants are still in the process of figuring out "how to win." Yes, the team does have one win this season, courtesy of a questionable decision by Washington head coach Ron Rivera. Still, time and time again, the Giants typically exercise their mastery of losing in dramatic fashion.
Head coach Joe Judge acknowledges his team's need to finish games, something they haven't yet. Even in their only win of the season, the Giants gave up a late-touchdown that could have tied the game.
"Learning how to win to me is more about learning how to execute for 60 minutes consistently throughout the game," Judge said. "Really, it's the sum of what you do throughout the game that leads to the totals right there.
"We have to clean up some mistakes that have put us behind in the past. Look, we have to maximize every chance we get out on the field."
Still, Judge has confidence in the players on the roster, and more importantly, he sees the confidence they have in each other.
The Giants have been competitive in five of their six losses this season, with four of them coming down to just one possession. For Judge and the Giants, it is merely a matter of continuing that progress while maintaining the team's fighting attitude that they've displayed in the first half of the season, and the wins will come.
"I don't see the obstacle with believing they can win," Judge said. "I see these guys have confidence in each other as a team by the way they work on a daily basis and attack each game.
"I love the way they play for the man next to them. I'm very proud of this group. But at the same time, we have to improve as a group by cleaning up some mistakes. We have to do a better job coaching, and we have to execute for 60 minutes on the field."
Cornerback James Bradberry has established himself as a veteran leader for the Giants, but not just on defense.
In the midst of his first season in New York, Bradberry stood up for his offensive teammate tight end Evan Engram following the Giants' loss to the Eagles last Thursday.
Engram, who dropped a late pass that would have essentially iced a win for the Giants, became the team's scapegoat for defeat among fans and the media. But Bradberry publicly defended Engram and understands where he is coming from, admitting that he's made mistakes throughout the season as well.
"I've been there before," Bradberry said. "I missed out on plays here and there in my career over the past four years. You have to fight back. You have to keep your head in the game, keep that confidence within you.
"There were several plays throughout that Philadelphia game that we should have made on defense that we let go. The game should have never been in that position in the first place."
Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin is expected to miss Monday night's game, meaning the Giants' secondary will have to account for one less explosive weapon on the Tampa Bay offense.
However, there are still plenty of other explosive weapons the team will have to anticipate.
Second-year wide receiver Scotty Miller, a sixth-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2019, and fifth-round rookie Tyler Johnson will get their opportunities to fill in for Godwin come Monday.
Bradberry knows better than to sleep on either of them and is ensuring that the defense knows what they're up against with Tampa Bay's two young backups.
"I've seen Scotty Miller quite a bit on tape," Bradberry said. "Athletic, fast guy. He can take the top off a defense, so you definitely have to be on the lookout for him."
However, the main priority for Bradberry will be Tampa's top wideout Mike Evans, a player Bradberry has plenty of experience with.
During Bradberry's first four NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers, he faced Evans eight times. That rivalry is set to be renewed Monday night.
Evans, at 6-foot-5, has traditionally had the height advantage over the 6-foot-1 Bradberry, meaning that the veteran cornerback will have to play tight physical man-to-man coverage against his former NFC South foe.
"I feel like Mike Evans is the same guy that he was a year ago, two years ago," Bradberry said. "Big, physical guy, plays well through press coverage because he's a strong, physical guy. He's 6-5, 230 (pounds), I think, 220, long arms.
"I think his best attribute is he's able to go up there and attack the ball at the highest point. Just an elite receiver overall. A lot of it is just mental recall from the past experiences when I played him when it comes to pressing him, when he gives his release off the line, stuff like that."
The Joe Judge Expert
Safety and special teams captain Nate Ebner has spent his entire career with Judge, dating back to their shared time in New England starting in 2012.
However, being on a losing team is new for both Ebner and Judge. The Patriots were perennial Super Bowl contenders and seemingly always the frontrunners to land the top seed in the AFC.
Now, Ebner and Judge find themselves at the bottom of the NFC, an uncomfortable adjustment but not one that has changed their approach to their jobs, and they are focused on breaking out of their current slump.
"He's doing what he's always done, whether it's been the outcome that you hope for or the outcome you don't hope for," Ebner said of Judge. "It gets back to work the next week and put your head to the grindstone and get after it.
"That's all we can do to impact our futures. Whether we have won every game to this point or lost every game to this point, that's all we can do going forward. Joe's done that and he's instilled that in the team. It's what we expect from our leader. He's been great with that."