Because it fits a narrative no one, not even yours truly, really wants to let go of some media joker at Joe Judge’s introductory press conference will probably ask new head coach Joe Judge where he got his suit.
Seriously, as long as it fits better than Ben McAdoo’s did four years ago, no one will care.
All anyone really cares about is whether or not the job of head coach of the New York Giants suits Judge better than it did McAdoo or Pat Shurmur. Neither of them were up to the task, which is why has been appointed as the Giants’ third full-time head coach (not counting Steve Spagnuolo’s four games as the interim boss in 2017) in five years.
With that backdrop, there will be some serious questions Judge will hopefully have reasonable answers for when he meets the press at 2 p.m. ET in the EY Coaches Club at MetLife Stadium.
Here are some of the things we expect Judge to be asked about as he makes his first impression on New York/New Jersey media and a hopeful Giants’ fan base.
Why should we believe he is ready?
Judge just turned 38 years old on New Year’s Eve. The only NFL head coaches who are younger are Sean McVay (33) of the Los Angeles Rams and Zac Taylor (36) of the Cincinnati Bengals. Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins turns 39 next month.
Unless the Cleveland Browns hire a newbie for their vacancy, the only remaining NFL head-coaching job, Judge will enter next season as the only NFL head coach who has never been a head coach. Anywhere.
Matt Rhule, hired by the Carolina Panthers after many expected him to land the job Judge was granted, is also 0-0 as an NFL head coach. Rhule, though, has seven years of head-coaching experience between Temple and Baylor.
So, why is Judge ready for this job?
Yes, he was trained by Nick Saban and Bill Belichick. Yes, he wowed Giants’ ownership with John Mara calling him “as impressive a candidate as I have interviewed.” Yes, Belichick called him “an exceptional leader and one of the best coaches I have been around.”
Yes, we want to believe the Giants have finally gotten it right after twice failing to find an adequate successor for Tom Coughlin. Yes, we want Judge to be the guy who can finally get the Giants pointed back on a winning path.
Let’s hope his first impression gives us the idea that he can be that guy.
Is he in “full-bloom love” with Daniel Jones?
Well, maybe that isn’t the exact question media members — including yours truly — will want to ask. Still, the most important player relationship Judge will have to foster is the one with the second-year quarterback upon whom the hopes of the franchise rest.
What does he think of the young quarterback and how will he go about building that relationship and trying to further Jones’ development?
Those are things we would really like to know.
“The mission is clear, to win games.”
That was a Judge quote from the press release the Giants issued announcing his hire. So, the question is how long is that going to take? Can the Giants do it right away?
The Giants have gone 12-36 over the past three seasons. When Pat Shurmur was head coach, GM Dave Gettleman — refusing to use the “rebuild” word — insisted the Giants could win while building.
That didn’t happen, and Gettleman has admitted he ended up being wrong about that.
No one should be expecting a miracle turnaround. Say, something like the Giants winning as many games in 2020 as they won the last three seasons combined. Still, the losing has grown tiresome.
Judge said in the Giants’ press release that there is a process to winning. Does Judge see this team, with the young core built over the past couple of seasons, as ready to take a step forward with good coaching and the right additions via free agency and the draft? Or, does his process include once again tearing down the roster and starting over?
What about working with Gettleman?
The Giants’ GM has been so much the focus of conversation during the coaching search. Were there really candidates who wouldn’t take the job because of his presence? Would he cede some personnel authority to the new head coach?
The question for Judge isn’t really about whether he’s happy with the GM. He took the job. The question is really have the lines of authority in the Giants’ organization changed at all? Does he have any personnel authority that the Giants haven’t traditionally granted to the head coach? Perhaps final say over the 53-man roster?
Honestly, as the Giants have said it really has to be a collaboration. The GM has to get the coaching staff players who fit what the staff wants to do, and Judge has to trust that the front office will be able to do that.
What about his coaching staff?
Judge isn’t going to tell us who will be on it, or even who he is considering. That’s for us to speculate about.
What we should be curious about is what is he looking for? Does he want someone on staff with previous head-coaching experience at the NFL or college level? Does he want offensive or defensive coordinators who run specific schemes? What makes a good position coach? Would he consider keeping any members of Shurmur’s staff?
As I said above, it’s really first impression day for Judge. Whether or not he “wins the press conference” isn’t really important when it comes to whether or not he will ultimately be the right coach for the Giants.
We certainly aren’t going to know by the end of the day on Thursday whether Judge will succeed or fail. Giants fans need hope, though. They need something to feel optimistic about, something to look forward to.
Let’s hope we come out of first impression day feeling like Judge has delivered on that score.