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‘Things I think:’ Joe Judge’s future, Justin Herbert, more

Is Judge coaching for his job over the season’s final five weeks?

New York Giants v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

I have consistently said that I believe Joe Judge is likely to survive this season and be the head coach of the New York Giants in 2022, regardless of who the general manager is. Giants ownership desperately wants him to succeed. They want to be right about the outside the box gamble they took in hiring him, and they desperately want to get off the merry-go-round of replacing head coaches and starting over every two years.

Sunday, after another miserable game filled with poor offense, questionable in-game decision-making and visible sideline dysfunction, was the first time I truly wondered if Judge is going to survive to see that third season as Giants head coach.

Something I said recently was that Judge simply needs to show the John Mara and Steve Tisch enough good things, enough progress, to allow them to make the decision they clearly want to make. To keep him for a third season.

That does not appear to be happening. Sunday was filled most of the same things that have haunted the Giants all season.

Poor offense. The Jason Garrett excuse is gone. Now, the Giants have the ‘Daniel Jones is hurt’ excuse. That still doesn’t excuse the ineptitude we saw Sunday, especially since Mike Glennon is the backup quarterback the Giants chose.

Dysfunction that led to unnecessary timeouts and penalties. That has happened all season. It has happened for two years. It’s a bad look for a coach who preaches discipline and preparedness 28 games into his tenure.

Lack of aggression. Judge preaches aggression, yet he coaches the game passively. I have consistently been critical of his uber-conservative nature on fourth down. Judge says punting and playing to the defense is a form of aggression, but it really isn’t. It is passivity, it is waiting and hoping something will happen later. It is playing to keep games close rather than trying to take control of them.

Coaches, including Judge, always tell you their job is to put players in position to succeed. The analytics will tell you that Judge’s conservative approach is consistently making it harder on his players to do just that.

Another thing Judge likes to say is “adapt or die.”

He has five games left to show that he can adapt and grow as a coach, that he can fix some of what has gone wrong, or his time as Giants’ coach might be in danger of dying.

Unfortunately.

Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals
Justin Herbert
Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Re-visiting Justin Herbert and the Giants

The Giants will likely end up starting newly-acquired third-stringer Jake Fromm at quarterback this week. How different would the 4-8 Giants’ fortunes be if the quarterback on the other side, Justin Herbert, was a Giant?

The Giants scouted Oregon, where Herbert was starring for the Ducks, heavily in 2018. It was reported during the draft process that the Giants scouted Oregon at least six times. Gettleman scouted Herbert personally during the season, something he did not do with Daniel Jones until the Senior Bowl.

Well-connected NFL Draft analyst Tony Pauline wrote last season about Gettleman’s love for Herbert.

Watching Justin Herbert do so well has got to be killing Gettleman — that was the quarterback he wanted in 2019, but Herbert went back to Oregon for his senior season.

Had Herbert not decided to go back to Oregon for one more season, he probably would have been available for the Giants at No. 6 in the 2019 NFL Draft. The 2018 season was the only time at Oregon that Herbert completed less than 60 percent of his passes (59.4) and he threw eight interceptions that season, the worst in his four years as a Duck.

The Giants — I think rightly — believed that the time had come for them to put an Eli Manning replacement in place. It would appear that they pivoted to Jones, who reminded them so much of the player they were looking to replace.

Ultimately, they determined that to secure Jones they were going to have to use that No. 6 overall pick. Gettleman has said they knew Jones would not be there at No. 17, the Giants’ second pick in the first round.

Some have said the Giants, having not had the opportunity to select Herbert in 2019, should have waited a year and gone after him in 2020. In the end, that might have worked out because the Giants had the No. 4 overall pick and Herbert went No. 6 to the Los Angeles Chargers.

In defense of Gettleman and the Giants, waiting and hoping is a bad strategy — kind of like refusing to go for first down over and over on fourth-and-short in the opponent’s territory. There is no way the Giants could have known they would have the fourth overall pick in 2020, and no way they could have guaranteed Herbert would be available to them a year later.

The proverb “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” applies here. They took Jones because he was right there for them, and they felt the time was right to select a quarterback. Could they have gambled and waited? Sure, but then they may ended up not able to land either guy.

Still, Gettleman also admitted how difficult it was for him to pass on Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen when he selected Jones. How different might the Giants be with Herbert throwing passes and Allen, who has 18.5 sacks in 36 NFL games, terrorizing quarterbacks?

Random thoughts

  • If Fromm ends up playing Sunday, at least that will be something interesting to watch. Unless we find out quickly that Fromm is Nathan Peterman, who debuted for the Buffalo Bills in 2017 by throwing five interceptions in 14 passes.
  • Like everyone else, I would love to see Matt Peart play right tackle the rest of the way. If he’s in good enough physical condition, I wouldn’t mind seeing Isaiah Wilson play right guard, either. I don’t expect either thing to happen.
  • I thought it was interesting to see Jarren Williams, second-year defensive back out of UAlbany, get extended playing time on Sunday against Miami. Williams played a surprising 25 snaps.
  • I thought Jabrill Peppers’ tweet was curious, but I’m not sure who it was aimed at. Here is what Peppers tweeted:

“Just because you’ve been bumped up to first chair in the orchestra, doesn’t mean you can compose a symphony.”

Is that aimed at Judge? Mike Glennon? Freddie Kitchens? Did it have nothing to do with the Giants? Wish I knew.

I thought it was a blast watching the New England Patriots win a game on Monday night in which quarterback Mac Jones threw only three passes. Leave it to Bill Belichick to even try that.