When Joe Judge coaches his first NFL game on Monday night, the New York Giants head coach will be looking across the new MetLife Stadium turf at a man who helped him along the way.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Judge on Wednesday revealed some details about a relationship with Tomlin that began when Judge was a GA at Mississippi State and Tomlin was defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach for what he’s done for me personally in my career in giving me an opportunity as a young coach to tag along at times, impart on me some of his experiences that have helped me develop in my own career,” Judge said.
Judge met Tomlin through his work for Amos Jones, then a position coach at Mississippi State and now as assistant for Judge with the Giants.
“I got to meet him simply by answering phones when i was GA’ing for Amos Jones,” Judge said. “He’s call Amos sometimes and Amos would say ‘hey grab that phone and talk to Mike for a minute,’ so I got to meet him briefly through the phone.”
Said he “immediately became a Steelers fan” when Tomlin got the Pittsburgh job in 2007.
“I was able to visit them early in his tenure at Pittsburgh when I was a GA. There were times at the Combine he allowed me to be a fly on the wall, sit in there and have dinner on his check. I’m very appreciative of that. He was always very open for a conversation, very open to share some advice.”
Monday night we find out if Tomlin ends up regretting any of the advice he passed along.
On Dexter Lawrence ...
A Pittsburgh writer asked about the big defensive tackle.
“He’s a tremendous worker. He’s got a great energy and urgency on the field. He’s always got a big smile, but you can’t confuse that smile for being soft. This guy brings a lot of heat to the field.”
On the Steelers’ identity ...
“What’s made them good over time is their ability to do what they want to do. That’s play a physical brand of football, to run the ball effectively, to throw the ball when they have to throw the ball and create explosive plays.”
On dealing with Pittsburgh’s defensive front ...
“This defensive line we’re going to see this week is obviously the measuring stick for talent and success. They’ve done tremendous things on the field. You can’t talk about the top defenses in the league without talking about Pittsburgh year in and year out.
“They’ve got a ton of talent on that defensive front, they use it very effectively, they can play with scheme but they don’t really need it. They just have to get off on the ball and play to their physical strengths.”
On the element of surprise with no preseason ...
“I’d say the only advantage is going to be the team that comes out there and plays physically and sound on Monday night. No matter what you’ve done in the past, no matter what you put together it’s all going to come down when that ball’s kickoff to who the most physical team on the field is.”
On not micro-managing games ...
“I’m not here to call the offensive and defensive plays, and T-Mac and Tom (Quinn) are going to do the special teams. Obviously I’m involved with all sides of the ball, I’m very involved with the day to day operation. I’m very involved with how the game’s going to unfold. I want to be informed of how the game’s going to be called and I also have opinions.
“When we get to game time I’m going to let our coaches coach and our players play. I’ll obviously be involved in all sides of the ball, but I’m not going to micro-manage. I hired good people, we brought ‘em good players, we’ve gotta let them do what they do.”
On Daniel Jones’ “big personality” ...
“I think the things sometimes people may miss on Daniel is he’s quiet natured at times because he’s not just out there spouting out. He’s not a quiet guy. Daniel, you get him going, you get him in the huddle, you get him around the guys, Daniel’s got a big personality. He’s a great dude.”