Since being hired as New York Giants head coach, Joe Judge has carefully chosen his words and to date, has refused to name a single player on his roster.
That continued at the 2020 NFL Combine on Tuesday during Judge’s pre-draft press conference when he refused to address specific players by name, including quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley.
While that’s not impossible (see: Odell Beckham Jr.), it’s also not likely. But that didn’t stop the articles from being written because — let’s just be honest here — that kind of chaos sells. And it has again.
The reality? Judge has deliberately avoided naming a single player because he’s genuine when he says everyone has a clean slate. Singling out any one player defeats the entire purpose of the message he’s trying to establish — a message that any player under contract can come in and win a starting job.
Luckily, Judge doesn’t care about those speculative articles or how the New York media is attempting to spin things.
“I’m not trying to be a with the way I answer certain questions,” Judge said Tuesday. “I want you to understand I’m always doing everything I can to protect the team. That’s important. I got to protect the players and I’ll take bullets for the coaches. I’m not going to hang anybody out to dry.
“I understand and respect the outside perspective. What’s important to me is the guys inside that building understand why I’m doing things and I have their best interest at heart. Over time they’ll understand that.”
That’s it. That’s all. There is nothing between the lines, there are no tea leaves to read and there is no secret conspiracy to move on from Jones, Barkley, Sterling Shepard or any other big-name player on the team.
Could that change with a phone call? Of course it could. General manager Dave Gettleman could also win the Mega Millions, New York Lotto, Publishers Clearing House and Jeopardy all on the same day. With his departure, Giants co-owner John Mara technically could call yours truly to take on the GM role.
None of those things are likely, but they are possible… And that’s what makes the noise about trading Jones all the more foolish. Sure, it’s possible, but it’s highly unlikely and using some throwaway lines from a press conference to push that conspiracy theory is lazy.
“I’m not going to establish any status or hierarchy within the player or position groups by spending a month talking about individuals,” Judge said. “That’s important to me.
“I haven’t worked with these guys on the field yet. That’s the ultimate test of how they really are within your program. Before I really have an expert view of what this is, I’ve got to coach the guy on the field first. I’ve got to know how he responds to me, how he responds to Jason , how he responds to Pat . I’ve got to know how they’re going to go out there and execute the schemes, how they can learn in the classroom and apply it on grass.
“There’s a lot of things we still have to find out about these guys. Look, it’s been six weeks since I’ve been on the job. Without having the players on a daily basis and getting to work with them on a daily basis there’s so much you’re going to really know these guys.”
At this point, you can either take what Judge is saying at face value or choose to believe there’s much more behind his words. Some will continue to choose the latter option simply because living in a fantasy land is fun, but that’s not the reality the Giants organization is going to experience.
Daniel Jones will be the quarterback in 2020, Saquon Barkley will be the running back, Sterling Shepard will be the wide receiver and when we look back on all this hoopla, we’re going to be wondering what it was all for (hint: clicks).