EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – With his contributions throwing, running, and catching the ball, Daniel Jones was seemingly a one-man band at times against the Carolina Panthers.
The Giants entered the game knowing they would have to rely heavily on Jones because a significant collection of offensive talent was not in uniform. Running back Saquon Barkley and wide receivers Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, and Kadarius Toney were all inactive, and left tackle Andrew Thomas was placed on injured reserve last week. The Giants needed Jones to assert himself and he did with 203 passing yards and one touchdown, 30 rushing yards before two late kneel-downs, and even a 16-yard reception, the first by a Giants quarterback in 20 years.
Judge was asked on a conference call Monday if Jones "elevated some of the lesser-known players around him." And while Judge was impressed with his quarterback's multiple contributions, he insisted the Giants' entire ensemble was responsible for the impressive 25-3 victory in MetLife Stadium.
"I'd say all the players on our team came to play yesterday," Judge said. "I know what you're asking and what you're kind of getting at there, but we had starters yesterday. We had 11 people starting on offense, we had 11 people starting on defense and that's who we're concerned about getting prepared every week. Every player we bring to the game, we expect to play. We coach every player, we develop every player, everyone's expected to come in and produce and execute on Sunday.
"In terms of whoever's available, we want everybody to be available. The reality is that sometimes that doesn't happen, that's just the nature of the National Football League. Whoever we have up, we're going to go out and we expect to compete, and we expect to have success. Obviously, did Daniel play well yesterday? He did. Did a lot of things that facilitated the offense and helped a lot of players have success. I think a lot of the success came from the way all the players around him played, as well."
Judge also pushed back on the notion that the best quarterbacks are more likely than others to elevate their teammates.
"I think any player in any position makes guys around them better," Judge said. "The quarterback's obviously no exception. I think when you're playing good football, that gives other guys around you an opportunity to have success. When you're not playing well, it puts more stress on the man next to you, so to me that's why you have to rely on all 11 to do their job.
"Obviously, the quarterback and his position touches the ball every play, he's the guy the offense runs through. Obviously, he has to play well for anyone to have success. You can't have success just on the quarterback, everyone else needs to play well, as well. You have to protect him, you have to run the ball effectively, you have to get open, the skill players have to catch the ball. Simply put, you can definitely elevate the level of play of the people around you by playing well yourself."
*Players placed on injured reserve during the season must miss a minimum of three games. The Giants kept Barkley (ankle) and Golladay (knee) on their roster, hoping they could return to the field before then. Both players were hurt in Dallas on Oct. 10 and have missed two games. The coming week will determine if they can play next Monday night in Kansas City.
"I think a large part of that is going to have to do with this being a longer week," Judge said. "Really, I think Wednesday is going to be the day of moving these guys around to see what they really look like. There's not going to be an immediate press to put them on the field today or tomorrow at this point to kind of see what they're doing to give us an immediate projection. We'll be on the field as a team Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in one way or another, but in terms of really going for those players that are coming off the injury list, Wednesday will be more of a day of moving them around to give them an early week preview of it, so it gives us an extra day on the front end to see where they're at.
"But I don't have any final answer on anyone who's going to be up or down this week at this point just based on we have extra time and some guys got nicked and banged up in the game, so sometimes that plays a big factor in it. With the guys that are coming off injury, those guys have been making consistent progress, so I'm optimistic with how they've been working, but we'll see where their bodies are at moving through this week."
*Judge said he had no update on safety Jabrill Peppers, who left the game in the second half with ankle and knee injuries.
"I know he's with the doctors as we speak and they're kind of on that backend of Monday check-ins with the doctors after going and getting X-rays and MRIs like a lot of our players do, so we'll see how he comes out of that," Judge said. "We're obviously hopeful to get him as soon as possible. I know the game means a lot to Pep. He's a tremendous leader on this team and brings a lot to us in terms of production and just leadership on the field."
*The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. eastern time. The Giants must decide if they will be buyers, sellers, a combination of both or simply stay as they are.
"It's definitely the time of year everyone starts making a lot of phone calls," Judge said. "There's been potential and opportunities for trades going in, coming out, however, it's been the entire time since the season has been going, so sometimes people manufacture too much at the trade deadline. I know a lot of teams kind of rush to make final moves. We'll obviously talk about a number of phone calls that we'll be getting throughout the week, but I wouldn't say we're absolutely anticipating doing anything. Would say those conversations will run from now through the remainder of the week."
The Giants are 2-5 but making a move to help their immediate prospects isn't out of the question. Like all coaches, Judge operates day-to-day and week-to-week. But he also keeps his focus on the big picture.
"I always think long-term," Judge said. "Sometimes, long-term can come in a move you can make immediately at this point, but I'm always thinking long-term. I've said this from the beginning, I'm not about taking shortcuts into anything. I've made it very clear in terms of my vision of the team and where I want to build it. It's being built for long-term success. I have a lot of faith in the people we have in this program right now, but ultimately my vision always goes long-term. I'm always looking at – just for everyone listening, I'm always looking at not only what our depth chart is now, but what does it look like at the end of this year, beginning of next year, what does it look like two years from now? Whether you're going through free agency, trades, draft, whatever it may be, to me, you're always looking down the road in terms of not where you are immediately, but where do you have to get to. That's my perspective on that."
*The Giants re-signed tight end Jake Hausmann to their practice squad. Hausmann was on the practice squad from Sept. 1 until he was released last Tuesday when the Giants made a series of roster moves. He originally joined the Giants as a waiver claim on Aug. 7, a day after his release by the Detroit Lions.
View photos from the New York Giants' 25-3 victory over the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium.