EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Joe Judge today applauded the arrival of the Giants' new kicker, Graham Gano, while lamenting the loss of a standout special teams player, Cody Core.
Gano officially joined the Giants early today and participated in the team's workout this afternoon. He kicked 224 regular-season field goals in 10 seasons with Washington and Carolina and played for current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and special teams coach Thomnas McGaughey when he was with the Panthers.
"We've known about Graham for a long time," Judge said. "Obviously, T-Mac and Dave have experience with him personally from back in Carolina. That goes a long way. He's someone who wasn't available early on in this process (Gano was released by the Panthers on July 30). Then when he became available, we obviously had him on our radar. It was fortunate that it worked out the way it is.
"He's a competitive guy, he's a talented guy. He obviously missed a little bit of time due to injury. I'm anxious to get him on the field and see him get going. He's a big leg guy who has experience. He hits a consistent, straight line ball with solid flight, the ball gets good lift. He's made improvement throughout his career."
Gano is 33, which Judge believes places him in the perfect age group for his position.
"I think with any specialist, kicker, punter, snapper, you really see their best ball as they get toward their 30s," Judge said. "They've had their time to really develop, to understand the league, to really understand how their body works, to structure it for the duration of a season. They understand situationally how they have to stay fresh and in the moment. Young guys may have a little bit more pop in their legs at times. Young guys may have a little bit more raw ability. But when it comes to NFL specialists, they really start peaking around those 30s ages right there. That's why a lot of them have the ability to play even in their early 40s."
Core is just 26 but will miss the entire season after tearing his Achilles tendon in practice yesterday. He was placed on injured reserve today. Core joined the Giants just prior to the start of the 2019 season and led them with eight special teams tackles (six solo). A wide receiver, Core also caught three passes.
"I hate it for him," Judge said. "You watch a guy work his butt off. You know what kind of competitor he is, what kind of player he is, how much he's invested in us and what he's done. Everything we've asked him to do, he's done 100 percent. He was great during the virtual program in the spring. He was much better, obviously, in person. You can really get a feel for the guy when you're in the same room a lot more and watching him work on the field. He made a great deal of improvement as a receiver. He's one of the top special teams players in the league.
"Listen, you hate seeing this happen to any player. That's why we have to practice the way we practice because we have to put guys in positions to play safely and keep them on the field. It's unfortunate the way it happened. Hopefully, his injury is something he can come back from full speed. I look forward to seeing this guy in the future. His personality, the way he competes, his physical ability, he's definitely the kind of guy we want to work with. Everyone on the team takes a blow when anyone has any kind of an injury. That's just the way it is. We care about each other in the locker room, we want to see everybody succeed. We'll have to go ahead and look to replace positions at all spots, but we hate it for Cody Core. We wish him well in his recovery."
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.
*After waiting months to see Daniel Jones play live, Judge has been impressed with the team's second-year starting quarterback.
"I see improvement every day," Judge said. "I see a command within the huddle where he's aware of not only what we're calling, but he knows the situation we're calling it in. I see someone who's understanding why Jason's (offensive coordinator Garrett) calling the play he is at that time and how the pieces fit. I see a lot of confidence in his eyes when he goes to the line of scrimmage. Now how that plays out, he still has a lot more ways to go to really reach his potential. But he's working every day to get there and it's enjoyable to watch."
*The Giants will hold their first intrasquad scrimmage on Friday.
"We're going to split the squad in terms of just offense vs. defense," Judge said. "We'll structure the first part almost like a normal practice with individual periods to get them loosened up, get the pads up, a little bit of seven on seven to get the blood flowing. We'll do some offense vs. defense with the pass rush. Then we'll just go ahead and turn it over to some situational things. We're going to make sure we get plenty of work in the field on early downs, some third down work, some red area work, some short yardage work. We got the goal line yesterday. If it comes up naturally in the scrimmage, we'll work it again. We're not going to look to recreate that situation on Friday.
"Then we're going to go ahead and put the ball down and just let them play it out. First-and-10 on the 25 (yard-line), let Jason call plays, let (defensive coordinator) Pat (Graham) call the defense, have T-Mac bring the special teams units, and just play it out. We'll make sure each unit gets a certain amount of plays. We'll go ahead and have certain drives that start at certain yard lines, and we'll just make sure we get the play count that we're looking for. We're going to check physically to make sure we know where our players are at before we throw them out there on Friday. We're looking to go ahead and give everyone a chance to compete and put on tape their resume."