By Joe Judge’s early standards, this was a mountain of praise.
It became a running joke during his first four months as coach of the Giants that Judge had not mentioned any player by name in his first dozen or so interviews. He broke the seal on his lips after the first round of the draft by referencing Daniel Jones, and now he finally offered some real insight into the second-year quarterback.
“I love working with this guy every day,” Judge said Thursday on CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney” program. “He has a fire that burns in him. He brings other guys along with him. He knows what you are going to teach before you teach it in terms of being prepared on material. He sets the tone for the room.”
The Giants are in their second week of virtual coach-player meetings, the first opportunity Judge has had to talk Xs and Os with players. True to his word from the start, Judge said he would not comment on individual players until he began coaching them.
“I’m very excited about working with Daniel,” Judge said. “I love his toughness and competitiveness. Those shine through right away.
“I want to be fair to Daniel right now and let him have the opportunity to learn the offense he’s working in right now, that he’s never taken a snap in. And let him progress at his rate and develop his career over the course of time that’s going to go ahead and meet the expectations we set internally.”
Judge and Jones met in January, before the NFL shut down all 32 team facilities due to the coronavirus. Jones returned home to Charlotte, N.C.
“We had a lot of conversations,” Judge said. “Sitting down with him and talking about his philosophy and where we want to go and what his goals are in his career, I’m glad he’s on our team. Let’s put it that way.”
Judge also discussed the fact Bill Belichick’s disciples typically have not fared well as NFL head coaches, often because they try to replicate Belichick’s hard-line style before building his résumé.
Other highlights of the interview included:
Judge has been impressed with how players studied playbooks and film received this month. He is excited by the youth and developmental opportunities with the roster.
“The thing that has flashed out so far is there a lot of guys working hard and demonstrating that they know the material,” he said, “and they are ready on a day-to-day basis with their teammates to communicate and they’ve mastered the installs put in front of them already. You can’t lead if you can’t be effective at your job.”
“I’m going to be myself. I’m not going to try to be anybody else,” said Judge, who also worked under Nick Saban. “If I try to be anybody else, it’s going to be disingenuous and it’s going to fail. If you lie to the team, you lose them right away.”
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“As far as imitating somebody else, that’s never been my style. Probably one of the [reasons] I’ve gotten along with the coaches I’ve worked with in the past is my personality, while it meshed, was opposite in a lot of ways to the way they presented things to the team and we kind of complemented each other.”
Judge, who was raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, said he loves competing in hostile environments. What will the first trip home to Eagles territory be like?
“I’ve got a brother and cousins who will be the first ones [in the stands] throwing batteries,” Judge said.
The Giants signed two undrafted rookies — outside linebacker Dana Levine (Temple) and tight end John Rysen (Simon Fraser, Canada) — and cut defensive lineman Kevin Wilkins to get to the roster maximum of 90 players.
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