For a franchise that prides itself on tradition and is perhaps overly obsessed with optics, the Giants’ performance in their season’s penultimate game last Sunday was a stain on their brand.
It’s not just that they lost 29-3 to the 6-10 Chicago Bears, being thoroughly outplayed by another of the NFL’s storied franchises that has also had issues stringing together winning seasons over the past decade, the Giants were demonstrably inept and non-competitive.
Their fifth consecutive losing season, and eighth in the last nine years, is an alarming indictment of a wide swath of the organization, starting with the ownership. But Sunday’s listless outing falls directly at the feet of Joe Judge, who after the defeat delivered an 11 minute diatribe that was at times indecipherable, unbearable and from a psychoanalytic viewpoint classic projection of guilt.
The 40-year-old Judge, now in his second season as the Giants head coach, will take his 4-12 team into their final game of this season versus the 6-10 Washington Football Team at MetLife Stadium in front of a rightfully aggravated and distrustful home crowd with a two-year record of 10-22.
“You buy a ticket to come in the stadium, you have every right to boo me going into the stadium. That’s the way it is. That’s what we sign up for, right?” ranted Judge. “So you sign up for a job, you say you like New York, you expect to have this. I don’t shy away from that. I don’t worry about that at all. But when you talk internally, you look at a lot of things moving in the right direction.”
Given that Giants third-year quarterback Daniel Jones remains suspect as the team’s long-term answer at the position in a quarterback-centric league, Judge’s assessment that the program is making progress is acutely peculiar and troubling. Jones will end this season having played in only 11 of the Giants’ 17 games due to injury. The 24-year-old has passed for just 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
“I talk to the players all the time, guys. I talk to them very openly and transparently, all right? We don’t have captain meetings anymore because the majority of our captains are no longer playing this late in the season,” disclosed the former New England Patriots special teams coordinator.
“So we do a leadership meeting now, all right? I looked at the guys the other day in the eye and said, ‘Listen: This is your time to talk to me. You speak for the team. You tell me what’s going on. You tell me: How’s the beat of the team? What do I gotta do and where? What’s something I don’t know?’
“Because everyone always tells me what I want to hear, right? So when I ask someone individually, I ask a player, they’re going to tell me whatever I want to hear. I ask a coach, the same type of thing. I have a group of players that are going to look me in the eye and they know: I can tell Joe exactly what the hell is going on. I’ve got that core group of guys right there, all right.”
What the hell is going on is the Giants have not been able to reverse a losing trend for 10 years. Judge logically won’t be afforded more time beyond next season to develop a successful formula.