Building the right staff is critical for a head coach, especially one in his first year.
Joe Judge, who is in the lead role for the first time of his career, did not want to delve into specific names yet. However, he laid out a clear vision.
"Before anything, if you're going to work in an organization, you're a good person," he said during his introductory press conference. "I don't want any alternative agendas, I'm making that clear right now. There is not going to be a coach in our organization who has nothing but the best interest in the players at hand and isn't going to come to work every day and put their butt on the line for the guys who are going to work hard for them."
Judge provided other glimpses into his staffing philosophy. Here's what we know:
He wants teachers, not salesmen
Bill Belichick didn't give him a magic wand. Nick Saban didn't whisper the secret to his success in his ear. Rather, during his time on the staffs of two of the most accomplished coaches in the NFL and college ranks, Judge learned the importance of reinforcing fundamentals on a daily basis. Judge wants his coaches to do the same.
"I don't want someone who looks fancy in front of the screen that can say it with a lot of different sales lines," he said. "I want teachers. I want old-school people who can get to our players and give them the mental image of what it's supposed to look like. I want them to demonstrate on a daily basis the work ethic of what it's going to take to do it successfully day in and day out. Because over the course of six months of this season, it takes day in and day out to be successful. The margins of error in this league are too small. You cannot get by with some kind of magic scheme or new gimmick or think you've reinvented the wheel."
Need someone to develop Daniel Jones
During the interview process, the Giants wanted to find a program builder more than a quarterback whisperer. Still, Judge inherits a player who broke every franchise rookie record for the position.
"Obviously, you want somebody who's good at developing quarterbacks, and I'm confident that [Judge is] going to be able to find somebody like that," team president John Mara said. "This is still an attractive job and I think people will want to come here to coach Dan."
Must be flexible with schemes and personnel
Taking a page from Belichick, Judge wants his schemes to be week to week. Sometimes there will be games when the Giants throw 50 times; other weeks, they might run it 50 times. Not only will the offense, defense and special teams be tailored to the upcoming opponent, but the schemes will fit the players' strengths.
"What I learned from Coach Belichick was real simple -- be flexible within your personnel," Judge said. "Don't try to shove round pegs into square holes. Figure out what you have. Let them play to their strengths. Don't sit in a meeting and tell me what you don't have in a player. Don't tell me they can't do certain things, tell me what they can do and then we'll figure out as coaches, because that's our job, how we can use that. That's our responsibility. Everybody has something they can do. How many castoffs do you see around the league in the NFL on another team that everyone says, 'Wow, how'd they get that out of them?' Maybe they just weren't closing their eyes to what they could do. We have to, as a coaching staff when we get assembled, we have to make sure we're sitting down, we're patient with our players, we fully evaluate them, we find out what they can do to be an asset, and that we're not foolish enough to not use them."
On the one-year anniversary, view photos of Joe Judge's first day after being named head coach of the New York Giants.
Ability to blend analytics with teaching
Analytics is a buzzword across all sports, but it's not entirely new. Coaches have been using data for years to find trends in opponents. More and more, though, staffs have branches of people who don't wear whistles around their necks to work. They study everything from on-field tactics to injury prevention.
"I think if you use that along with teaching as well -- now, it's easier for us as coaches because we can tangibly see the outcome on Sundays and then see our final record at the end of the year. We can reflect back and find those trends," Judge said. "On a daily basis, you have to just kind of self-scout through practice as to what you're doing, maybe it's the loads you're giving your team throughout practice, how you might have to push that forward, trim it back. If there's a certain area you're deficient in, why are you deficient, what can we adjust in order to correct that?"
Belichick (and Bill Parcells) always preferred a small coaching staff
Belichick has said on the record “less is more” when it comes to staffs. He would "rather have fewer people doing more work than more people doing a little more work." He learned that in part during his time under Bill Parcells, who didn't want his message to be distorted. We will see if Judge takes a similar approach.
Like his evaluation of players, Judge does not want to rush the hiring process, which also includes the possibility of retaining coaches from the previous regime. Meanwhile, 20 teams – and their coaches – are in the second week of their offseason. Four more joined them after Wild Card Weekend, and there will be four more after this Sunday.
"I'm not going to talk about any staff hires right now," Judge said Thursday. "I'm just talking about the type of guys we're looking for, and as the staff starts to settle and we get the coordinators in place, we'll release that, and as the rest of the staff comes together, we'll release that as well."