Joe Judge said many things during his introductory press conference on Thursday that should have struck a chord with Giants fans.
These were my main takeaways from his press conference.
Joe Judge has a teaching background. It is clear he has a firm understanding of how he wants to teach players on how to play football the right way. He spoke in depth about how different people learn different ways (through lectures, visually, or by actively doing it) and that his position coaches, who are responsible for much of the teaching in the classroom and on the field, will have to customize their teaching method to reach every single player in their position group. This type of thinking comes directly from his background in education and should help reach all the players on the roster.
2. Not Just Knowing, But Understanding
It's one thing for players to know what they are supposed to do, but Judge talked about how he learned from Nick Saban that it is far more important for them to understand why and how it is supposed to look when properly executed. He believes it is much easier for players to make adjustments over the course of the game and in the heat of the moment if they understand the concepts behind what they are doing and why they are doing it against a specific opponent or scheme.
3. Alignment in Vision
Judge stressed that no matter how much the game has changed, winning is still dependent on the execution of basic fundamentals, like blocking and tackling. It reminded me of Dave Gettleman's three basic tenants of winning football: run the ball, stop the run, and rush the passer. During a radio interview with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on WFAN, he stressed physical teams need to run the ball, stop the run and cover kicks. Their approach to the game seems very similar on the surface, which should make their collaboration to fill the roster with smart and tough football players run smoothly. He told Roberts and Benigno that Gettleman will have the final word on the 53-man roster, but they would work together in putting it together.
4. Practicing What You Play
With an emphasis on the fundamentals, such as tackling, Judge said he planned to do live tackling in practice. He stressed that safely practicing the techniques for proper tackling will not only make the players better at it on gameday, but also make the game safer for them. He spoke about how he wants the team to reflect the blue collar attitude of the area, which should tell fans that he has every intention of making sure his team wins the battle up front on both sides of the ball.
5. Be Flexible with Personnel
Judge was clear that he believes that football is a player's game. He talked about needing to understand what each player on the roster is capable of and specifically mentioned athletic traits like power, arm length, short area quickness, and straight away speed. Once he understands what each player is physically capable of doing, then he can best utilize them on the football field. Bill Belichick taught him that it is far more important to know what a player can do rather than what he can't, so coaches can utilize the player in a specific role that accentuates his strengths. He also stressed that not being a play-caller on either side of the ball will allow him to work with the entire team and connect with players on an individual basis to see what makes them tick.
6. Shifting Schemes
Joe Judge was careful not to specify what kind of scheme he wanted to play on either side of the ball until he had a chance to take a deeper look at the personnel on the roster. He will not only fit his schemes to his players, but also to his opponents each week. One week his team might play a 4-3, and the next a 3-4 if it gives them an advantage against a specific opponent. He stressed it is important to put pressure on opponents to prepare for multiple things, and adjust game plans on a weekly basis. This kind of approach requires smart and versatile players to make those kinds of adjustments week to week. This is not going to be a "system" team on either side of the ball. This is the same way many analysts have described Bill Belichick's approach in New England.
View photos of new head coach Joe Judge as he arrives with his family and tours the Giants facility