For Giants fans who have grown frustrated by a 1-5 record and what surely looks like another lost season, Joe Judge has a message for you.
"This is definitely going to get better," Judge said late Monday afternoon on a conference call with reporters. "I don’t know what kind of guarantee they want, [but] I can assure everyone out there as a Giants fan,and they want to know when it’s going to turn [around], I can tell them we’re working tirelessly to make sure we get this thing turned in the right direction, not just for short-term results, but for long-term success."
And there you have it. The embattled second-year coach, who is off to a 1-5 start for a second straight year and is coming off back-to-back blowout losses to the Cowboys on the road and the Rams at home, vows to straighten this team out and to bring some dignity back to MetLife Stadium.
That was the easy part – talking about it.
The more revealing words, however, came after Sunday’s humiliating 38-11 loss to the Rams, who dominated the home team in the latest example of just how far the Giants have fallen. After what seemed to be a potentially season-saving overtime win in New Orleans just two weeks earlier, injuries and ineptitude have followed to put the Giants perilously close to being out of the playoff hunt already.
After the Rams pummeled them, the fact that Judge and his players insisted that there is no locker room dissension despite recent losses is neither a surprise nor a disappointment.
The fact that this talk is happening in the middle of October?
Well, that was both a surprise AND a disappointment.
And a sign of just how bad things have gotten with a team that harbored playoff hopes in early September, only to see those hopes close to being extinguished six excruciatingly frustrating weeks later.
"In terms of the motivation of the team, I’m just telling you right now, we don’t have a room full of guys looking around and wondering," Judge said after Sunday’s loss in a windowless interview room adjacent to the Giants’ locker room. "We don’t have a room full of guys waiting for next year. We don’t have a room full of guys who are waiting for someone to show up and save us. The only ones who can make an impact and change what we’re doing are all the men in that room – the coaches, the players, that’s it."
He vowed they weren’t ready to "start tapping out now … I don’t quit things. These players don’t quit things."
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who chided fans for booing a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since the 2016 season, insists the Giants are not coming apart from within. Same with safety Logan Ryan, who was still in uniform long after the game when he addressed reporters. Same with wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who acknowledged some teams of the recent past did just that – imploded from within.
Judge likened his team’s situation to being in a submarine, where the only people who can plug the holes are those inside. It’s an appropriate analogy, only the S.S. Big Blue is close to hitting the ocean floor. If they can scratch out a home win on Sunday against the Panthers, who have lost three straight after a 3-0 start, then they can at least plug one of the leaks. But they have already taken on heavy amounts of water, and it’s doubtful they can make their submarine completely seaworthy any time soon.
As he said in guaranteeing a turnaround, he can’t give a firm timetable. But from what we’ve seen so far, things may not get better until the year 2022.
Judge insists the coaches and the players are the only ones capable of fixing things, and he's right. Unfortunately, those coaches and the players don’t look up to the job at the moment.
Judge can only hope things will improve in the coming weeks. But unless and until that happens, the Giants can expect more outrage from a fan base that has
simply had enough.