New York Giants Notebook | Judge's Family Dilemma and More
Joe Judge's first "Eagles Week" as Giants head coach is not coming in normal circumstances, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has limited attendance at Lincoln Financial Field for Thursday night's game.
This isn't a bad thing for the Giants, as the Philly faithful have traditionally never been very kind to the visiting Giants and go the extra mile to amp up the home-field advantage through relentless methods whenever Big Blue is in town.
Attendance will be limited to 7,500, and Judge himself will be making an effort to ensure that a handful of those attendees come in with a rooting interest in the Giants.
Judge, a Philadelphia native, has made an effort to get some of his local family members into the stadium, as Thursday will mark his first game as a head coach in his hometown.
"I have a large number of cousins who have requested as early back as in the summer when the schedule was out," Judge said. My wife and kids, I'll see if they can make it. The kids have school on Friday, so we'll see how they're going to manage that.
"They've gone to school plenty of times tired making games, it's something they don't like to miss. The opportunity that it's such a close game and the opportunity that it's the first game they are going to be available to go with fans."
Judge, who admittedly comes from a family of Eagles fans, will also look to strictly enforce that anyone who comes on his behalf will be dressed accordingly.
"My only rule is anybody who shows up that I either grew up with or have blood ties with, they have to wear blue," Judge said. "I respect their love for the Eagles from being in the town, but hey, look man, you ain't showing up cheering against my kids' Christmas. You better come out in some blue cheering for us."
The 2020 Election
With the 2020 election just two weeks away, and with many ballots around the country already being cast, Judge has made it a priority to remind his players to vote.
"I'm not a very political person to begin with. The one thing I voiced to the team and they voiced to each other and different teams have echoed, there's nothing more American than voting," Judge said.
"I don't care who you vote for. You have an opinion, you have a right to exercise it, get out there and use it."
"You can sit there and talk and whine and complain about what is going on, but in our system, this democracy, you do have a voice. You have a right, you have an opportunity to use it, so don't complain about it."
This year has seen a greater degree of involvement by NFL figures and the league to engage in activism and promote social justice in their communities and the country as a whole.
The Giants have been no exception, as they've been working in their local communities in New York and New Jersey to engage with public figures, raise awareness and improve race relations through the #TogetherBlue initiative.
Thursday night feature a duel between two quarterbacks with similar narratives and circumstances heading into Week 7.
Daniel Jones will take on Carson Wentz each boast one of the lowest passer ratings in the NFL, and have become the scapegoat for their teams' respective struggles on offense.
Judge believes that the two quarterbacks have similar profiles and playstyles as tall, athletic, and multidimensional passers.
"I think you could draw some parallels in terms of they're both guys with good size, they're both guys that have the ability to run with the ball in their hands and extend plays," Judge said.
"Both of these guys make a lot of big throws down the field when they get outside the pocket, and they can really extend it and let the receivers get open. There are definitely parallels you could draw with them."
Injuries have also played into the struggles among the two quarterbacks. Jones hasn't had the luxury of leaning on star running back Saquon Barkley or veteran wide receiver Sterling Shepard since they each went down in Week 2.
Meanwhile, Wentz is on one of the most injured teams in the NFL at the moment, as his offense will be without four of its five starting offensive linemen, its top two tight ends, its top three wide receivers, and its star running back in Miles Sanders.
Even worse for Wentz is that his defense has also been hampered by injuries, which should present some interesting opportunities for Jones to put together an improved performance in Week 7.
"I think you can see a little bit different game plan week to week depending on who's out there for them. For the most part, they want to do what they do and stick to that. We'll certainly factor that into the game plan," Jones said of the Eagles' injuries.
"Having awareness for the personnel and what their strengths and weaknesses are as players, what their tendencies are. Then understanding how that fits into the scheme and what they want to do on defense, what coverages they play in, what fronts and pressures they play."
Even at 1-5, the Giants are still playing for a chance at a division title at this point in the season. They are currently just one game out of first place by the Dallas Cowboys 38-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.
Still, the Giants are in no position to assume they have a seat at the table in the NFC East title conversation yet, as they've yet to break out of a pair of dreadful losing streaks to two of their division rivals.
The Giants have lost their last 14 games against the Eagles and Cowboys, the two teams expected to be the top contenders for first place throughout the season.
"Our goal right now is to prepare for this year's Eagles team," Judge said. "This is a different team than it was in the past. We're a more improved team than we were in Week 1 and we're an improved team than we were seven days ago. Our only focus right now is getting ready for Philly."
But this year's Giants team is out to distinguish itself from the those that have been bullied by Dallas and Philadelphia in years past. While they did drop their Week 5 contest to Dallas, they have an opportunity to at least break out of that slump on Thursday and gain ground in the division race.
"I know we lost 11 of the last 12 or whatever it may be. That has no significance to this one," said veteran cornerback Logan Ryan. "Streaks all come to an end. I remember when I got to Tennessee, there was not one good streak ever.
"We lost this many to Indy and never beat Andrew Luck and never beat this (Team), and then we're in the AFC Championship. I really don't care. It's going to come down to me and Carson Wentz and the Giants and the Eagles and everyone else out there who's playing in the game."
The Giants could notch a division win against the Washington Football Team last Sunday and still have three more divisional matchups leading up to their bye week in Week 11.
It will be a stretch that is sure to present challenges for the Giants as they look to make improvements as a team and an opportunity to make a statement about where they belong in the division moving forward.
"All these divisional games are big, and I think guys understand that," Jones said.
"Guys have an awareness as to where the division is and the standings. But like you said, we're focused on this week. We're focused on this game and it being a big divisional game. It's important for that reason. Guys are locked into that and excited to get out there."