The New York Giants had two joint practices with the New England Patriots last week, and after everyone, the Giants went to condition by running on the slope behind the Gillette Stadium practice field.
This is a move normally reserved for coach Bill Belichick’s Patriots, yet on Wednesday and Thursday maybe somebody had subbed out the Patriots and supplanted them with coach Joe Judge’s players in blue.
This can be traced to Judge having worked under Belichick for eight seasons. They appear to run comparable, however scarcely indistinguishable, programs.
Judge as a matter of fact has taken coaching tips and ideas from Belichick – the same way he has done from each coach he has at any point worked for, including Belichick’s close friend Nick Saban at Alabama.
The likenesses were clear consistently, particularly when the teams went up against one another in drills.
“Will the layout and format of practice look familiar?” Judge said before the joint sessions. “There are some familiar drills that we do, we’ll actually do competitively against them, that you’ve seen us do in early parts of practice. … Is this going to look identical or a carbon copy? Absolutely not. Are there similarities from any coach who comes from a different program? Yeah, there’s always something you can trace back and say that looks very familiar.”
This is the blessing – and a curse – that accompanies being a Belichick supporter. Judge had the chance to gain from one of the best football coaches ever, and that assisted him with having his chance at being a head coach. It additionally prompts the inescapable comparisons with previous Belichick colleagues -, for example, Josh McDaniels when he was with the Denver Broncos, Eric Mangini with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, Matt Patricia with the Detroit Lions, and Romeo Crennel with the Browns and Kansas City Chiefs – who didn’t meet expectations as head coaches.
Judge’s hard training camp, which included running laps for mistakes and daily conditioning sprints, joined with the unexpected retirements of offensive linemen Zach Fulton and Joe Looney and linebacker Todd Davis, have made him an obvious target for analysis.
Previous Giants offensive lineman and current NFL expert Geoff Schwartz are among a few previous players who have investigated Judge’s methodology. Last year, Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe was additionally critical of the coach, saying of Judge committing the team run laps for errors: “This isn’t going to end well.” Retired offensive lineman Jeff Allen tolled in this year with: “The New England way outside of New England is toxic.”
Maybe this will be an annual summer ritual, even though previous Giants greats, for example, Phil Simms have firmly shot back against the narrative.
Not that Judge appears to care.
“I can’t control what people say,” Judge said. “I do what I think is best to get our team ready for the season and make them safe individually to play.”
It’s reasonable he’s doing things as he would prefer.
Judge is audaciously certain and ready to adjust the program to his personal taste. For example, the Giants haven’t played their starters much, if at all on account of quarterback Daniel Jones, in preseason activity, something Belichick often does. Judge additionally has made a special effort to rest players (including receiver Kenny Golladay, who is managing a hamstring injury) and use additional caution with the people who have been beaten up this mid-year.
“Joe is himself. I’ve known Joe for a lot of years, and Joe is himself — how he talks, what he believes in, his lifestyle, how he grew up,” said former Patriots and current Giants defensive back Logan Ryan. “He’s really hard-nosed and blue-collar, and he shows that.
“I don’t think he’s faking that. I don’t think he’s taking that from another man. I think that’s really who he is.”
For Judge, everything’s tied in with getting this Giants association on the right track. He believes last season’s 6-10 campaign was a triumph since he had the option to impart the culture and program he wants.
Presently the expectation is that having that culture and program will assist the Giants with reproducing what the Patriots have done as far as championship results.
“I followed this program for a long time. And you see the culture he’s trying to instill here,” said Giants tight end Kyle Rudolph, who played under Belichick disciple Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. “We have a really young team. It’s a team that needs to learn how to win. He says it all the time, ‘You can’t start winning until you stop losing.’ You see that day in and day out. The way he pushes us on our fundamentals, on our technique, and, to me, it’s the first time I’ve had a head coach that is not a defensive coordinator. It’s a head coach that is in charge of the entire team.”
At last, it doesn’t make any difference whether Judge’s program is a facsimile of Belichick’s the length of it produces triumphs.