Joe Judge didn’t speak to the media Monday. John Mara and Steve Tisch said nothing publicly about Judge.
The head coach’s job security was the question of Black Monday, and the organization oddly left it hanging in the balance deeper into the week.
They left it hanging through an afternoon meeting between Judge and the Giants’ co-owners in East Rutherford, a candid conversation about the direction of the franchise and team.
Where it stands, it appears, is that Mara and Tisch are giving Judge an opportunity to present his vision for year three, while simultaneously seeking interviews with many GM candidates who could choose to hire a different coach.
In other words, they’ve kept their options open — or remained on the fence — rather than committing either way.
Judge’s own proposed fixes undoubtedly would have to start with a complete overhaul of the offensive coaching staff, at minimum. A GM with a shared vision has to be on the wish list, too.
So it seems to be in his favor that the Giants requested an interview with Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, who goes back with Judge to the 2012 New England Patriots.
Such a quick request for a conversation without firing Judge outright means Mara and Tisch are at least willing to listen, it appears.
On the other hand, the Giants’ GM search already has cast a wide net to many candidates with no ties to Judge, including late Monday night additions Adrian Wilson (Cardinals), Adam Peters (49ers) and Ran Carthon (49ers).
And Mara’s statement that the next GM will oversee “all aspects of our football operations,” including coaching, clearly indicated Judge could be fired once a hire is made, whenever it’s made.
This is why there were assistant coaches seeking updates and clarity on Monday night, and some players were resigned to possibly not knowing Judge’s fate for “weeks.”
Because while Judge had been “business as usual” during players’ morning exit interviews, during a morning coaches’ meeting, and during a noon team meeting, no one knew for sure.
“Um, I don’t really know how to answer that,” Saquon Barkley said, shrugging his shoulders on a Zoom call, of Judge’s status.
“It wasn’t like he announced he was coming back,” safety Logan Ryan said. “Everything was just as planned.”
Judge had been self-assured enough in his team meeting to convince defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence that he’d still be his coach in 2022.
“Yeah, that’s what I believe, yeah,” Lawrence said.
But the Giants manipulated Monday’s public relations from behind the scenes rather than operating typically with Judge out front and center.
The Giants’ PR team had no advance knowledge all day of whether Judge or ownership would be talking, and if so, when. They produced last-minute knowledge of unnamed player interviews at 1 p.m., and then unexpectedly produced a long list of players at the virtual podium.
All of them had to awkwardly answer for Judge’s job security.
“I’m not sure,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said of Judge’s status. “I haven’t heard anything today to say otherwise. I love the guy, honestly. I love the way he approaches the game, and I like playing for him.”
Quarterback Daniel Jones said the players were aware Judge’s job was the topic of the day.
“You always hear the speculation and that’s part of the NFL,” Jones said. “You hear that stuff, but that’s not our job. Our job now is to get better as a team.”
The quarterback added that he has “a great relationship” with Judge and said, “I look forward to building this thing and winning more games.”
“Joe Judge is my head coach,” Lawrence added. “I love him. I appreciate every hard thing about the program and the organization he brings, the discipline he tries to teach us and the fight every week that you see on the field from us.”
Lawrence might have revealed the most about Judge’s day, though, when describing the coach’s message to the players in their noon team meeting.
He said Judge told them he was going to “try to improve us as a team and him as a coach.”
That sounds like a coach taking accountability for his own flaws and mistakes.
Undoubtedly, Judge took that accountability with him into his conversation with Mara and Tisch, along with a plan to get all of this right if he stays.
Whether that’s enough to convince the Giants’ ownership is anyone’s guess. If Judge got any clarity on that question Monday, he was the only one.
The Giants signed eight players to futures contracts on Monday: QB Brian Lewerke, LBs Trent Harris and Omari Cobb, OT Devery Hamilton, TE Jake Hausmann, DT David Moa, DE Niko Lalos and WR Travis Toivonen. All were on the practice squad at some point this season.
Source: Berkshire mont