EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Joe Judge confirmed that the Giants are scheduled to hold joint training camp practices in August with the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots. The workouts will take place before the Giants face those teams in preseason games.
"I am a big fan of them," Judge said. "I think it's a great time in training camp to break the monotony, to get some competition against a friendly opponent."
The Giants will work with the Browns at their camp in Berea, Ohio and play them in their second preseason game, on Sunday, Aug. 22 at 1 p.m. in FirstEnergy Stadium. The following week, they will practice with New England, most likely at the Patriots' practice area behind Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The teams will square off in the preseason finale in MetLife Stadium on Aug. 29 at 6 p.m.
Those workouts will be a homecoming for Judge, who was a Patriots assistant coach under Bill Belichick from 2012-19. Judge is also friendly with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski.
"With both programs, the Browns and the Patriots, I've got great relationships with both coaches, known them both for a sustained period of time," Judge said. "In all of our conversations, I think one of the things you try to find in this are not only teams that are going to schematically help you with some of the things you are going to see throughout the season but most importantly you want to make sure you go out there and have a good, quality practice. The guys are going to compete. You want to make sure you keep it between the lines, the guys are not doing anything dirty, outside the whistle. So, it's important you know the coaches and what kind of program you are going against. I think it's great for the team, it helps you get exposure to different schemes you may not see from your own team in training camp outside having to draw cards or scout teams."
Judge said practicing with another team can help decrease the physical demands on the players late in camp.
"It is actually a way to take something off your players at a certain time." Judge said. "You kind of ramp them up and build them the first few weeks of training camp and then when you go ahead and do a cooperative practice with another team, you've got to figure it's no longer the offense is always going, the defense is always going. When our offense is on the field, our defense is on the sideline resting, making adjustments, talking to the coaches and then vice versa, so actually, it breaks it up for them a little."
It might seem strange for the Giants to hit the road for practices in two consecutive weeks, particularly with the Patriots game being played in New Jersey. But with the NFL introducing a schedule that includes 17 regular season and three preseason games, AFC teams such as the Patriots will have just one home game in August.
Judge presented the reasoning why "the plan right now" is to practice in Foxborough.
"The thought process is it's a opportunity to get our team on the road through training camp, stay together," he said. "But also with the change in the preseason schedule, both organizations thought it would be a good idea to exchange a little bit year by year and that way the fans would have two exposures to really deal with each team. We've got two home games this year. We're fortunate. New England has got the one. Next year it will flip. This will give us an opportunity, especially when we have fans, for our fans to see us exposed against another opponent."
*Judge's news conference was his final interaction with the Giants' beat reporters until training camp opens July 27. The Giants will have two OTAs this week before the players and coaches begin their pre-camp break. Judge was asked what message he will deliver to the players.
"There are going to be a lot of things we talk about today logistically, getting ready for camp," Judge said. "Generally speaking, we are going to talk to the team about training, being in shape, making the right decisions off the field. There are a lot of resources for us in this building and it is important for us to stay connected throughout the summer. When they need something, we are always available. Generally, that's the message. We will meet individually with our players by position and find out what their plans for the summer are. We will close out with summer goals, training camp goals. This won't be the last time we see everybody. We'll still have OTAs next week on Monday and Tuesday and we will be able to meet extensively with some of the guys here as well."
*Tight end Kyle Rudolph, a free agent acquisition who had offseason foot surgery, was on the field today, standing stationary while catching passes from Daniel Jones. Linebackers Cam Brown and Ryan Anderson were again absent from the field.
"All three of those guys are working on different things right now," Judge said. "Kyle is making progress every day and this guy works really, really hard. You can tell he's a vet. He has a lot of experience. He knows his body very well. He's in there and he's opening up the door with the coaches every morning bright and early. He's an early morning guy. But Kyle has done a great job for us in terms of classes and everything he can do and he's done a great job right now with our medical staff doing everything to get ready to get back on the field as soon as he can.
"We'll see what kind of ground he makes up the next few weeks leading up to training camp. But like all our players, we won't put him on the field until we know he's fully ready to go out there and play 100 percent."
Judge was non-committal when asked about a timeline for the return of the three players and whether they could have long-term issues.
"I can't really answer that question right now until we see what the next four or five weeks bring for us with these guys," Judge said. "We will see the progress they make. They all have their own individual issues. Kyle obviously had the off-season surgery and we have to check with the doctors where they feel he is at a certain point. In terms of the rehab and where he's going to be, we have to make sure they can build the conditioning and football movement and not just be pain free and make sure he's structurally safe."
*Wide receiver Kadarius Toney, the Giants' first-round draft choice, was excused from practice for a family emergency. Judge gave the rookie a favorable early review.
"He's getting better every day," Judge said. "One thing we are trying to build in is position flexibility with him and he's handling that well right now from a mental standpoint. Like all of our players, the more we get them on the field, football movements and the conditioning improves, the better he will play. He did enough stuff yesterday that we can build on. There are things we had to correct and make sure that we can help him do it more efficiently going forward, but I'm pleased with the progress he made."
The Giants take the field at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for Day 2 of minicamp