Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe took to Twitter Monday to criticize New York Giants coach Joe Judge for having players run laps after egregious practice mistakes.
“This isn’t going to end well,” Sharpe predicted.
As we wrote on Monday, there were four occasions during practice on Monday when players were sent trotting off for a lap.
“There are consequences on the field for making mistakes,” Judge said in his post-practice videoconference. “In a game, it’ll cost you five, 10, or 15 yards. In practice, there needs to be consequences so we learn how to deal with our mistakes.”
The Giants team Judge has been tasked with resurrecting has won 12 games in three seasons. They have made the playoffs once in eight seasons, and gotten buried in the only playoff game they participated in. The last two seasons, in particular, featured game after game where Giants’ losses piled up into a blur of familiar mistakes.
I’m certain being banished to lap purgatory ticks off a professional athlete. With a team that has been as bas as the Giants have been for as long as they have been, that can’t be a bad thing.
Why shouldn’t Alex Tanney and Wayne Gallman run a lap after botching the simple act of executing a handoff, something they have probably been doing since they were little kids?
Why shouldn’t an entire unit run a lap after messing up a play? Isn’t one of the things about being a team that mistakes by one or two players have consequences for everyone?
Why shouldn’t professional cornerbacks, after an embarrassing string of awful-looking holding penalties, be greeted by an F-bomb filled tirade telling them, basically, to do their jobs the way they were taught?
This stuff won’t work forever. It will have to soften at some point. Especially if it doesn’t lead to victories. I think everyone, Judge included, has to understand that.
Tom Coughlin learned that. Players hated his rules and his dictatorial ways the first few seasons, but there was a point to what he was driving home. That professionalism and accountability were important parts of being a good teammate. We know he eventually lightened up somewhat. I think at some point Judge will, as well.
The Giants, though, have been an NFL doormat for most of the last decade. As Judge has said several times, this is not an established team. No one should feel comfortable. Judge and his staff are simply, and sometimes harshly, driving home the point that they expect better. If it takes laps and F-bombs to drive home the point that “every little detail” matters, as offensive line coach Marc Colombo said the other day then so be it.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, the longest-tenured Giant, has seen a lot of losing in four NFL seasons.
“It’s going to take everybody to buy in if we want to be the team that we said that we wanted to be. I think we have to buy into what Coach Judge has in store for us,” Shepard said. “If that’s what he has in store for us, running laps for mistakes, just don’t make mistakes.”