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Building camaraderie, and other takeaways from Joe Judge’s videoconference

Coach covers wide range of topics

New York Giants Introduce New Head Coach Joe Judge Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

We have already discussed how the New York Giants are mapping out scenarios in the event they are forced to move training camp out of their East Rutherford, N.J. home base. Here are some other takeaways from head coach Joe Judge’s videoconference with New York media on Tuesday.

Virtual camaraderie

Coaches like to talk about how this time of year, when workouts are voluntary for players, is important for team-building. That’s especially true with a new head coach and staff. In the world of COVID-19 with everything currently done remotely, how is that happening for the Giants?

“I think a lot of the things we’re trying to build within the culture right now are showing up based on the circumstances that we have allotted to us and how hard the players are working. That’s really what we’re looking to build, is that culture of everyone doing whatever it takes to be successful. Right now, we’re seeing that across the board with our players,” Judge said.

“As far as building camaraderie with them, probably the best part of the day is when you can click on the Zoom and everyone has their screens unmuted and you just hear the guys talking across. That’s probably the best part. It took about a week for everybody to get comfortable enough to do that. I think they kind of realize, as coaches, we’re laughing listening to them talk and then they got a little bit more comfortable and really started breaking it down. It’s fun seeing all of the personalities really emerge and the connections.”

Making an impression

It isn’t the same as being in the facility together, but Judge said you can form impressions via virtual meetings.

“I’ve made this clear to our players. Everybody is always making an impression. I can’t sign on with the team and stumble through a team talk and show shoddy film and have technology that doesn’t work, and have them think ‘Ok, this guy is going to be ok. He knows what he’s doing.’ We’re always creating an impression. We’re always forming an opinion of ourselves. But along with that, let’s not get confused. We’re not going to evaluate a football team based purely on how they are on a computer. We can go down to Circuit City and find a great football team on a computer. But we want to make sure right now that, look, we’re just trying to give the players an opportunity to learn our material, to learn our systems, to get a head start going into training camp.”

Games without fans

There is, obviously, the possibility that at least some games this season will have to be played without fans in attendance.

“I don’t think anyone wants to play in front of empty stadiums. The fans are a huge part of this game. Playing in front of stadiums, that’s where the juice and the energy comes from on a weekly basis. ... Truly, we want the fans there. It would be a different atmosphere. We prepare for whatever, but the fans are a huge part of this game and we definitely want them there.”

“A lot of respect” for Markus Golden

The Giants took the unusual step of placing an unrestricted free agent tender on Golden, meaning his rights would exclusively belong to the Giants should he not sign with another team before July 22.

“I have spoken with Markus. I have a lot of respect for him as a player. He’s a great person, he’s a hard worker. He’s a productive player so we have a lot of respect for him. He’s definitely someone that I have spoken to in terms of possibly adding to the roster,” Judge said.

“We thought that it [the tag] was a situation when it came up and was available to us, it was something we could use. We have an interest in Markus, we’ve talked to him. We are going through the procedure right now. We’re going to let it play out a little bit and see where everything shakes out.”

A hairy situation

Judge, like most of us, is dealing with lockdown-created hair issues. He took the matter into his own hands recently.

“I got some clippers and I experimented on my back deck. It took a little while longer than a normal haircut,” Judge said. “To be honest with you, I kind of have that quarantined hair falling off of my ears for a little bit. My wife cut my youngest son’s hair and it looks like he got in a fight with a broken bottle.”