The New York Giants took a big risk by hiring Joe Judge, a 38-year old, former special teams coordinator that has never once been a head coach at any level.
Throughout his first few months as head coach of the Giants, Judge has made it a point to make sure all of his players know they are on an equal playing surface. The head coach has refused to mention his players by their names, as Judge is contingent on having all his players earn their spot first.
According to New York Daily News reporter Pat Leonard, it would not be surprising if Judge’s style became a problem for some of Big Blue’s biggest stars, including Saquon Barkley.
“Don’t take for granted that Saquon might not react,” Leonard told the Redskins Talk podcast. “He might accept it. But when push comes to shove, you could see Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard — I’m not calling these guys divas — I’m just saying Odell [Beckham Jr.] is not the only one who would chafe. There are still guys on this roster who could chafe.”
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Beckham is obviously a sore subject that highlights the Giants’ recent front office troubles maintaining a solid relationship with their stars. The wide receiver’s dismay towards GM Dave Gettleman was well known, and the Giants shipped Beckham to the Browns last March less than seven months after he signed a five-year extension.
While Judge may truly make his players earn their spot, Barkley should — and likely will — be an exception. The Penn State product is without a doubt the team’s top offensive weapon entering the season. It’s only been two years since New York invested the No. 2 overall pick in him, and he’s been one of the league’s best running backs ever since.
But for those players that do take issue with Judge’s style, Leonard doesn’t see them lasting too long with the Giants.
“They won’t be on the roster if they chafe,” he continued.
So, why is Judge attempting to use this old school, ‘nothing is given, everything is earned’ coaching style?
“He believes everyone is going to earn their spot,” Leonard said. “At the same time, he is going to have his player’s backs. Part of that is he wants his players to know when they go on the field they’re all battling as a team.”
While it’s easy to be skeptical of the hiring of Judge, Leonard believes the Giants are happy with their choice.
“So far, the Giants are happy with how organized Judge has been and how he really has a contingency plan for everything,” he said.
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