The New York Giants went through a two-hour padded practice on Thursday as they continue to prep for their Sept. 14 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here are some takeaways from the day.
Patrick Graham’s audition
Judge was asked if he could get a handle on what kind of team he had, and said it was “entirely too soon.” As he talked, he ended up circling around to talking about Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and the job he did last season getting improvement from the Miami Dolphins throughout the season.
That ended up being a pretty good insight into why Judge wanted to get Graham away from Miami to run his defense.
“I had the opportunity last year when Pat Graham was defensive coordinator at Miami. We played them in Week 2, we go down to Miami, they really weren’t much of a team. They came up to our place (New England) in Week 17 and beat our buts. They were a much better, much-improved team.
“That’s why I have a lot of confidence in what Pat’s doing out there. I’ve seen his guys in live action. I’ve seen him play with practice squad players and get them to a level of being NFL, on the field, game day players and beat us, and that’s important to me.
“To me it’s not where you are right now, it’s where are you building towards. Where’s this progress going?”
Judge: Evan Engram “very, very talented”
Talent has never been an issue for Giants tight end Evan Engram. Staying healthy has been the problem. How good can he be if he can play a full season?
“To me it’s a question of can this guy reach his potential based on the way he’s working, and I think this guy can,” Judge said. “This guy’s got a high ceiling. He’s very, very talented. A lot of guys have a lot of talent and aren’t as open to coaching. What I see from Evan is he’s very in tune, he’s very intelligent, he’s very deliberate about how he works and what he’s focusing on in each period. He listens to everything you say and he tries to apply every technique as detailed as he can. That’s critically important.”
Judge said Engram has “a high motor ... a large gas tank” to work through practice.
“I tell him I love watching you practice. Let’s not disappoint me out there today.”
Judge on undrafted free agents
Every NFL head coach will tell you that it doesn’t matter how a player got to his team — drafted, undrafted, whatever it doesn’t impact how plays and who doesn’t. That, honestly, is not always true.
Where does Judge stand on that question?
“I just know we have a high value for anybody who comes in every day and produces. That’s what we’re looking for, it’s a production business,” Judge said.
“I don’t care where you’re drafted, undrafted, where you came from, rookie, vet, it really doesn’t matter to me. It truly doesn’t. At the end of the day we’re going to put the best 11 on the field.”
We’ve heard GM Dave Gettleman say in the past that everything you do sends a message to the locker room. Judge said something similar in regards to making roster and playing time decisions.
“On the outside that seems tough to believe at times. At the end of the day I’ve gotta look 53 guys in the eye and I’ve gotta tell them all I gave them the best chance to be successful. You can’t lie to those guys in the locker room, those guys know who the best players are,” Judge said.
“If you force somebody in just because of where they were drafted or how much you signed him for you’ve got 52 other guys staring at you knowing that you’re lying to them, that you’re not giving them the best chance.”
Wide receiver update
The Giants don’t seem concerned that no one believes they have a true No. 1 wide receiver.
“I think we’re all capable of making plays. I think the only thing that’s important, when it all boils down, is that can you trust the guy to make a play. I think we have three guys that are able to do that,” Sterling hepard said. “Another guy who you forgot to mention is Evan Engram. He’s basically a wide receiver playing the tight end position. I think we have a lot of guys who can make plays. I don’t think we’re focused on putting a number on any of us.”
New Giants kicker Graham Gano on his 63-yard field goal to beat the Giants back in 2018: "It's probably best that I don't talk about that much around here." pic.twitter.com/OIyQLjZfMv— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) August 20, 2020
Media and practice schedule
Friday, Aug. 21
10:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. – Practice
1:15 p.m. – Head Coach Joe Judge Available
1:25 p.m. – Player Interviews
Saturday, Aug. 22
Players’ Day Off