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Mike Lupica: Julius Randle had a bad week, Joe Judge had another bad season

Julius Randle made way too much noise this week about Knicks fans making too much noise, mostly when they’re booing him or his teammates. The irony of Randle doing this in a place — Madison Square Garden — famous for the noise it makes, at least when the Knicks are going good, was probably lost on Randle in the heat of a hothead moment. It was a dumb thing Randle did, giving his fans the thumbs-down gesture, maybe because he thought that went so well for the Mets last summer.

Randle acted like a hothead. But he is a hothead who at least has put some points on the board in the big city, especially last season when he was the MVP of his team, and one of the most valuable players in the league and brought the Knicks back.

So he had a bad week, didn’t act like a grownup in the process. So he’ll get over it and so will Knicks fans. They sort of need each other. Randle finally wised up on Friday and apologized.

It is different with Joe Judge, as young a head coach as he is, and someone who has put hardly any points on the board in his time coaching the Giants.

Judge is supposed to be the grownup in the room but acted the opposite of that last Sunday in Chicago with an 11-minute rant that was as tone deaf a soliloquy as any we have gotten from any coach or manager in town lately. In the process, he embarrassed himself and the Giants. It was as if the embarrassment that is the Giants season had finally and officially spilled into his postgame press conference.

The only thing he did not do was hold up a sign that read, “Please. Don’t. Fire. Me.”

By now you have likely read or heard some of the highlights of Judge’s loopy and self-serving performance. Here are just a few, which inspired ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky, one of the savviest NFL commentators at that network, nicknaming Judge “Timmy Tough Nuts”:

— “I can tell you we’re got more players here who are going to be free agents next year, all right, they’re coming in my office every day begging me to come back. I know that. I know that. I know players that we coached last year still calling me twice a week telling me how much they wish they were still here even though they’re getting paid more somewhere else. OK? So I know we’ve got the right foundational pieces right there.”

— “This ain’t a team that’s having fistfights on the sidelines. This ain’t some clown-show organization.”

— “A few years ago, before I came here, when I came here and I sat down with all the players, and I wanted to know what it was like in here and what we had to change, from their mouths — to a man, every player looked me in the eye and said, ‘Joe, it’s not a team, they don’t play hard, we’re out of the playoffs, everybody quit, everybody tapped, they stopped showing up to captains meetings,’ all that stuff. Right? They tapped out.”

So much of this, of course, is a preposterous version of things.

Judge wants the world to believe that even though his team is now 10-22 since he replaced Pat Shurmur practically has players wanting to come to MetLife Stadium and play for him, and for the Giants, for free. He wants you to believe that his 4-12 team is somehow superior to the Washington Football Team, the one against which the Giants mercifully conclude their season on Sunday, because his players didn’t have a hothead moment of their own this season and get into it on the sideline, the way a couple of Ron Rivera’s players did.

Judge wants you to believe that Shurmur’s Giants — his won-loss record was one game worse than Judge’s after 22 games — quit on him even as they were winning two of their last three before John Mara and Steve Tisch fired Shurmur. By the way? We were told when they hired Shurmur that he was replacing Ben McAdoo, another MetLife boy wonder, because they needed a grownup in the room. Compared to what we saw from Judge last weekend, Shurmur was more of a grownup during his Giants tenure than Father Time.

There are two reasons you hear for bringing Judge back next year. One is that the Giants just can’t bring themselves to fire another coach after just two seasons. I’m sorry, but who passed that law? The other is that this isn’t all Judge’s fault. No one that I know, certainly no passionate Giants fan I know, has ever suggested that this is all Judge’s fault. Is he responsible for this kind of losing? He’s not. But he sure hasn’t done anything this season to stop it.

What he was really saying last Sunday in Chicago, more than anything else, was what the Marx Brothers famously said one time in “Duck Soup” (which, incidentally, is a pretty good description of what we’ve seen from the Giants this season):

“Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

It is not even in dispute that the large share of the blame for this duck-soup of a season is placed at the office door — but not his office for much longer — of general manager Dave Gettleman. This is the kind of general managing the Giants were getting in the ‘70s, when fans were famously hiring a plane featuring this message — “15 Years of Lousy Football — We’ve Had Enough” to fly over Giants Stadium.

But it does not absolve the coach of responsibility, even with all of the injuries the Giants have had this season, including the one that finished off quarterback Daniel Jones over a month ago. And it does not change the perception that Judge seems over his head, or out of his depth, despite the fact that ownership clearly convinced itself that it was hiring a Bill Belichick on training wheels because Judge had coached special teams in New England.

There was even a point last Sunday when Judge weirdly referenced the ‘18 Patriots (who ended up winning the Super Bowl), part of his theme that those of us on the outside just never have any sense of what’s going on inside. This was after his suggestion that all those Patriots coaches were worried about getting fired that year:

“On the outside, we were all terrible.”

Huh?

On what planet did people think that they were “all” terrible? On what planet did the whole coaching staff think they all might be fired from a team that did end up going 11-5 and beating the Rams in the Super Bowl? But Joe Judge was on the inside. He’s on the inside now, and who are we gonna believe, him or our own eyes?

What are John Mara and Steve Tisch gonna believe next week? Their coach?

Or their own eyes?

SALEH SHOULD OWN 4TH-DOWN MISTAKE, A-ROD IS NO PEYTON (OR ELI) & RAFA SLAMS NOVAXX …

Robert Saleh didn’t do any ranting last Sunday after the Jets blew that game to Touchdown Tom and the Bucs.

But he didn’t do much good for himself, either, essentially throwing his offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur under the bus, after Zach Wilson got stuffed on that 4th-and-a-long-2 when a first down puts away a victory that would have made the Jets season.

Please remember that the Jets did that coming out of a timeout.

So we’re clear?

Saleh was on the headset, same as Adam Gase was when the Jets were in that bonehead defense that produced a Hail Mary victory for the Raiders a few years ago.

Saleh’s the head coach.

What was stopping him from giving his rookie quarterback the right instructions?

I love the idea that ESPN now believes that Alex Rodriguez can be part of the kind of ManningCast that we got this season from Peyton and Eli.

Right.

Got it.

One big difference:

People like Peyton and Eli.

This from the great Rafa Nadal about Novaxx Djokovic’s circumstances in Melbourne:

“If he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem. He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.”

And this from Rafa, too:

“From my point of view, that’s the only thing that I can say is I believe in what the people who know about medicine say, and if the people say that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine. That’s my point of view. I went through the COVID. I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don’t have any problem to play here.”

You know who I hope gets his 21st major at the Australian Open?

Him.

Now Laura Ingraham is mad at Australia for the way they’re treating Djokovic.

What, does she think there needs to be an insurrection about it, or something?

Here is what really happened with Antonio Brown and the Bucs this week:

Nobody found any high ground.

But everybody sure did establish nuanced legal positions.

Both sides.

After Brown did the most famous in-game strip-tease since Michael Ontkean in “Slap Shot.”

Incidentally?

It’s starting to sound as if Antonio and Touchdown Tom might be on their way to couples counseling.

It’s been well established that Aaron Rodgers, once he gets talking, can be a long day.

But he’s the MVP of the NFL this season.

By, like, a lot.

Continue to pray for my friend Dick Vitale, one of the best people I know, one of the kindest, one of the most generous.

And someone who came along at the same time John Madden did, as my pal Bob Ryan keeps pointing out, and changed college basketball on television the way Mr. Madden changed pro football on television.

And you know something?

College basketball needed growing a lot more.

And got it from the great Dickie V.


James Patterson’s first novel with Mike Lupica, The Horsewoman, is on sale Monday.


Source: Berkshire mont

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