The judge who just became Joe Judge and Jury sentenced Jason Garrett to a long and prosperous life, somewhere outside East Rutherford, NJ. The Giants’ head coach made a mistake in bringing Garrett back for a second season, Then compounded it by not firing goodbye to their offensive coordinator at the start of the week.
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Those two mistakes ended on a perfect Tuesday, because Garrett absolutely had to go. In an age of innovative, high-end crimes, that was an assault on the senses. Garrett didn’t know how to maximize his skill-positioning players or develop Daniel Jones into a rock-solid starter before it became painfully obvious to a national TV audience, which That had become the Giants (3–7), and for man of camouflage Eli Manning, who won and called “Geez” when Jones threw his second pick in a blowout loss to the Bucs.
Allie scratched her head, and the next day the judge finally scratched the itch she had to book Garrett on the next flight out of town. The head coach screwed up, and he knows it. He’s just done his job performance and invited exams, because you get a chance to fire so many assistants before anyone can fire you.
But there is a high chance that the judges will return next season, barring a slump in these last seven games, of which about five are winnable. Frankly, I’d still bet on the assumption that the judge, at age 39, has shown enough signs that he has a chance of being good at it. I’d still roll with the pre-hire recommendation Bill Belichick told John Mara about his former New England colleague, the Giants co-owner, saying, “He’s better than the last two guys you hired. “
One reason Judge would prove to be better than Pat Shurmur and Ben McAdoo was made clear in this decision. The judge didn’t just fire Garrett. He chose the players over the coaches, while an entire league was looking to see if he would.
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“For me, when you come into coaching, it’s about the players,” Judge said in a conference call on Tuesday. “That’s how I got into this business, and the way I look at the game. It’s about the players. It’s the players’ game.”
The judge may have saved his Giants career in the long run by taking this step and saying those words. Although he said he almost never worries about outside perception and that he “wasn’t trying to make any statements in terms of players versus coaches,” his actions and answers speak for themselves.
Most NFL players watch “Monday Night Football,” and many of them watch postgame pressers. In itself, the judge blamed the coaches, and especially Garrett, for “not putting our players in a position to make plays,” without naming him. We have got a lot of good players and we have to put them in a better position to capitalize on them, that’s all. The judge actually said that if he were a player, “there would be some things I would have been disappointed with.”
The judge said he stays in office late and gets up early for the players and they are “the most important part of the team”. In NFL homes across the country, you can almost hear jaws drop to the floor. The judges graduated from Belichick and Nick Saban’s school. He was considered an extension-obsessed dictator, running his training camps like a high school coach, ruled by wind speed, laps and push-ups. Judge’s Camp was considered the game’s modern-day answer to Bayer Bryant’s Junction Boys, and players would give up on it and retire at it and preach to free agents that they should be with someone else. Must sign.
But where was that coach when he took sides against a co-worker with the likes of Kenny Gollade and Kadarius Toni around the league and inside the Giants’ ownership suite? Goladay was a $72 million free agent and Tony was a first-round pick, and the judge correctly ruled that Garrett had failed them both.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking that NFL stars and potential stars haven’t noticed, and don’t stock up on some ideas for the next time they’re available and the Giants call.
Guess they’re the legions of Joe Judge still on the phone.
Yes, the judges need to win a few games early, starting Sunday against the Eagles, who have no business ahead of the Giants in the NFC East. The Giants head coach left open the possibility that he would call plays. Either way, if his team keeps face-planting for the rest of the season, the judges will kick the next guy out the door—completely overtaken by GM Dave Gettleman.
But at least the judge has given himself a fight here. He had a choice between talent and a non-productive, longtime fraternity member, and he cleverly chose talent. Looked at his locker room. Players from around the NFL watched. And maybe someday those players will help Judge become a better head coach in New York than Jason Garrett once was in Dallas.