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Joe Judge lets Giants players pick team captains

Giants head coach Joe Judge during a scrimmage

Giants head coach Joe Judge during a scrimmage at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 3 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Joe Judge spent the weekend deciding who would make the 53-man roster. On Monday, he allowed that team to elect its representation.

One of the first orders of business for the regular-season version of the team was voting on captains, and while the results were not formally announced Judge made clear the qualities he is looking for from such office-holders.

“It’s important to me, for the head coach, to have someone who’s a voice of the team that can communicate for everyone in the locker room,” Judge said. “I stress to the players, leadership is about doing your job well, it’s about putting the team first, and it’s about being unselfish. You have to be able to bring people with you to actually be a leader, otherwise you’re just up there giving speeches and kind of rah-rahing. We preach to the players to make sure you take your time and decide who you want to represent you. It’s not a popularity contest. You’re picking people to represent you when we meet on a weekly basis with the captains.”

This year’s crew will certainly be different. For the first time in more than a decade Eli Manning and Zak DeOssie – the FDRs of Giants captaincy – won’t be among those bestowed with a “C.” The only returning captain from last year’s team is Saquon Barkley. He’s certainly a strong candidate to be re-elected.

One other possibility on offense is Sterling Shepard, the longest-tenured Giants player on the roster.

“If that’s how my team views me, then I’d be happy to take that role,” Shepard said on Monday. “But if not, I’m also happy to take a different leadership role. You’re only allowed so many guys to be captains and I understand that. Pretty much my whole career I’ve never been voted a captain but I’ve always been a leader in my own way, so that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

Notes & quotes: It remains to be seen whether Isaac Yiadom will replace DeAndre Baker as the projected starting cornerback for the Giants, but he has already replaced him in another area: on the roster. Yiadom, acquired in a trade with the Broncos last week, was issued number 27, the number Baker wore last year as a rookie and the number that is still technically issued to Baker as he sits on the commissioner’s exempt list while facing four felony armed robbery charges in Florida. Giants management indicated last week that the team is waiting for the appropriate time to release Baker from the roster altogether, a move that will likely come before the regular season opener on Monday … The Giants published their first depth chart of the season and it had Nick Gates listed as the starting center, even though Joe Judge insisted he had not yet decided on who earned that job. Gates and Spencer Pulley split reps there with the first team all training camp. “We’re still going to work on deciding that,” Judge said Monday. “We’re going to let another day go through right here. There are some things we’re going to work on today” … The three players who were claimed off waivers on Sunday, T Jackson Barton, DB Adrian Colbert and WR Damion Ratley, were in the COVID-19 protocol on Monday and not on the field with their new team. Judge said he expects all three will be available the next time the team practices come Wednesday.

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