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Tucson trip allows Giants to break out of any ruts

Head coach Joe Judge of the Giants looks

Head coach Joe Judge of the Giants looks on from the side line in the first quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 05, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Credit: Getty Images/Michael Reaves

TUCSON, Ariz. — When he first learned about the Giants’ unorthodox itinerary this week, Leonard Williams said he was "upset" and thought it was "weird."

Now that he’s here, though, the defensive lineman has embraced being in Tucson for the week between games in Miami and Los Angeles.

"It feels good being on the West Coast and being on a college campus and things like that," Williams said after a practice at the University of Arizona. "Being out here, it’s a good refresher and a little change of pace … It breaks the everyday routine."

That was just one of the reasons why Joe Judge said he planned this journey. He also wanted to keep the team in a consistent climate — not go from the warmth of Florida back to the chill of New Jersey, then to the warmth of Los Angeles, where Judge said the new SoFi Stadium acts like a "greenhouse" that raises the temperature to uncomfortable levels — and avoid the long cross-country flight to California so close to the game. They’ll leave Tucson on Saturday for Los Angeles.

As for why Tucson and not someplace else, Judge said the connections between the Giants and Arizona coaching staffs helped.

"There’s something about a college town in terms of just the atmosphere and just kind of a lighter feeling," he said. "It’s good sometimes to get the guys a break, get them back in that atmosphere, get them around some college athletes. The inter-mixing of the players sometimes in these situations is really invaluable. You see the college guys lifting in the weight room or being in the training room, our guys having the opportunity to talk to these guys and just kind of refresh themselves a little bit."

One player who was always excited about the trip is rookie running back Gary Brightwell, who played at Arizona last season. He has been the unofficial concierge for the team.

"I get a new question every second," he said of teammates peppering him for suggestions.

Their biggest query: Where can I get a decent haircut? Brightwell sends them to his guy, Glen.

Judge, though, said he has not received any dining tips from Brightwell yet.

"I’m sure that’s because he didn’t want to see me out in public," Judge said.

When it was planned, this trip was supposed to be a chance to regroup, recharge and refocus for a postseason push. With the Giants at 4-8, that’s very unlikely.

"The record is tough regardless of where we’re at," Williams said. "Whether we were back home or out here, it’s tough. Everything’s a little tougher when you’re losing. But it does make a difference being out here. I’m sure we would be having a little bit more fun and stuff like that if we were winning. The spirits would be up a little bit more."

Notes & quotes: CB Adoree’ Jackson (quad) did not participate in practice.

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