EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – No single game or result, no matter how exhilarating or disappointing, is going to cloud Joe Judge's long-term vision for the Giants.
The second-year head coach remained resolute today after another narrow defeat, this one a 20-17 decision against the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night in Arrowhead Stadium. The high-scoring Chiefs were held to a pair of fourth-quarter field goals in the second half, but the Giants spoiled their opportunity to fly home with a big victory because of costly penalties, missed opportunities and late offensive and defensive breakdowns.
The Giants are 2-6 heading into their home game Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders. Three of the defeats were by a total of seven points.
"People ask that all the time in terms of learning to win," Judge said on a conference call today. "To me, it's about the execution for the entire 60 minutes. I talk a lot about (how) there have been certain games, last night being one, where we can't do things that eliminate our chance to have success by eliminating opportunities for ourselves or giving opportunities to the opponent. That's really what it comes down to, just playing with good fundamentals, good execution, making sure we're sound in the situations.
"As coaches, we have to put ourselves in the right call to be successful and then we go out there and we have to execute on the field. It all ties together. There's not some magic potion, there's not some motivational speech. It's about going out there and doing your job for 60 minutes to make sure you do it well."
The players share both Judge's dissatisfaction with the current record and his commitment to improving the situation in the season's second half and beyond.
"I think it's frustrating in a sense of we all want to be better," said safety Julian Love, who ended the Chiefs' first possession with a diving end zone interception, his first pick of the season. "Obviously, we want to be in a much different place than we are right now. It's really now going forward a question of kind of who's going to stay committed to the team and what our mission is."
"Obviously, our record doesn't define us as individuals. It doesn't define us as people, so that's kind of how I take it. What's my path going to be? Am I one to kind of just shy away from the challenge and shy away from people talking down on us, or am I somebody who is going to continue going forward and step up? I think that's how we all have to approach it as men, so that's kind of my mindset. Obviously, it's not where I want to be. It's not where we want to be as a team, but we're going to take the step forward together, and that's what's important."
Despite the record, Judge's core belief in his program remains strong. When he was hired 22 months ago, he promised to build a team in which Giants fans and the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area could be proud. Judge was asked if he believes he's done that 24 games into his tenure.
"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "I believe we're building towards a program that's going to be very successful for the duration of time. There's a lot of things that we're building and doing very well right now that I think we can continue to build on. There are things that we need to keep on correcting. I also talked in the (introductory) press conference about doing it the right way and that takes time. We've got to make sure that we continue working hard and taking a step forward every day, building with the right guys in this program, and making sure we continue to do the right things to give us the chance to have success.
"That doesn't rule out things we have to correct and improve on as a team, things we have to do better as coaches or players to make sure we go out there and execute and have our opportunities to have success on the field, but we're going to make sure that this team does it the right way. What I see is a team that goes out there and fights and competes for 60 minutes, comes to work every week intent on having success, and playing as a team representing this area with the method of how they play, which is tough, hard-working and sticking it out for 60 minutes. Everything I said – I don't just say things. When I say something, that's my word and that's what I'm working towards."
*An unpleasant weekly tradition this season is the review of injuries to the team's wide receivers. Kadarius Toney, who was already dealing with an ankle injury, sustained a thumb injury last night but returned to the game. Sterling Shepard (quad) and Dante Pettis (shoulder) left the game and did not return. Shepard had missed three of the previous four games with a hamstring injury.
"For K.T., I know he got stepped on," Judge said. "It looked like he had a slice in his glove, pretty good gash on his hand, but he was able to return and play. I haven't gotten anything final on that, whether that will be limiting this week or not. It seems like he came out okay (otherwise) on that.
"In terms of the other guys, they're actually still in the process of getting looked at by doctors. Like I said last night, hopefully, Shep's isn't too, too bad. I don't have a final diagnosis on that. Then, we'll see what Pettis's looks like as he comes out, as well. Should have more information on what it'll be as far as tomorrow or when we get into practice with the team to see if they're going to be limited or available at all for us."
*The Giants did not move or acquire a player before the NFL's 4 p.m. trade deadline.
"I think the decisions we made were what we thought was best for the team long-term with where we're at," Judge said. "Each trade deadline day, you get a lot of calls going around, but we talk about it all the time, today is the last day. You've had the opportunities leading up all the way through here to make any kind of roster moves or trades that you could possibly do. You get a lot of calls bouncing around from other teams inquiring about either something they maybe want or something you'd be willing to move, things of that nature. For us, we thought the decisions we made were the best for the team going forward, so we were good with just moving on with (the players that are here)."
*The Giants waived defensive back Steven Parker, who played 12 special teams snaps last night in his Giants debut. He was signed off the practice squad yesterday.
The practice squad contract of wide receiver Travis Toivonen was terminated.
View photos from the New York Giants' Week 8 matchup on Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs.