The Giants practiced in MetLife Stadium on Wednesday to work on their communication skills on the field and between the coaches.
Everything seemed to come through loud and clear.
Perhaps a bit too loud and clear.
Voices of the coaches on the sidelines and even the players as they were at the line of scrimmage making adjustments and checks echoed through the mostly empty building. It was a quick aural glimpse of what gamedays might sound like this season… and what teams may have to do to keep it down a bit if they want to disguise their plays.
Linebacker Kyler Fackrell said he was able to pick up the offensive calls in the huddle as well as pre-snap directions during the workout. Sitting in the stands, they were also audible. In a game, that could be a huge advantage for any team that wants to listen.
“I think it’ll go both ways because sometimes the defense gives calls that may tip things off as well,” Fackrell said. “But yeah, I think that’s definitely something that we’re going to have to adjust to, the whole league is going to have to adjust to, as far as doing more hand signals or just doing whatever you can in the huddle beforehand to kind of communicate it so that you don’t give anything away.”
Judge admitted it is something he has considered.
“There’s different ways of camouflaging what you’re doing,” he said. “Having multiple words that mean one thing and everyone being on the same page with that vocabulary. Being smart about when you raise your voice and scream across the field. Using silent counts, using signals. There’s different ways you can go ahead and account for that.”
Wednesday was just a walk-through for the players, but the coaches were functioning at top speed and top volume.
“The exercise was to build the communication from the booth down to the field, from me to the coordinators and position coaches, and making sure we just get a feel for talking to each other,” Joe Judge said. “That’s something we can’t take for granted. If we had done this on gameday the first time, we would find out the hard way that there are certain levels of communication we have to really practice as a coaching staff.”
They’ll have another crack at it on Friday when the team holds its Blue-White scrimmage back at MetLife Stadium. For that event, unlike Wednesday’s, the team will incorporate all of the elements of what will be a typical regular season game in the early stages of this season. That will mean some artificial crowd noise that might help to damper the voices on the field.
“That will be our first sample as coaches and players of exactly how loud that’s going to be,” Judge said. “The NFL Operations (staff) will be over here, we had a meeting on that this morning, in terms of how we’re going to set it up. We are going to simulate everything for the game as it will be on September 14, with a few exceptions obviously. It’s going to be as close to a game as possible.
“After that,” he said, “I’ll have a lot more answers in terms of what that noise in the stadium is actually like.”
And he’ll know whether he’ll have to learn to do something he’s probably never done as a coach on the sideline in his life: Whisper.
Jokes from Joe
Judge took a bit of a public beating for suggesting that quarterback Daniel Jones take a more private one. Judge said on Tuesday night that he would consider having his starting quarterback hit in practices to prepare him for the upcoming season, a tactic that drew eye rolls and questions from the football-watching world. On Wednesday, he played along with the narrative that he would be reckless with Jones’ health.
“I have the strength staff downstairs right now putting bars of soap in socks and we’re just going to take him out back and just wail on him for a while,” Judge joked.
At least it seemed he was joking. Yeah, he was probably joking.
“With a quarterback, you have to be smart about the contact,” Judge said. “Will we put him into a live tackling drill? No. Is it something we’re going to bang around a little bit with a pad, calculated time and pads and make sure his body at least feels some pressure on it? Yes. Is there a time you’re going to kind of bear hug him a little bit, let him feel the grabs? Yeah. These are things you naturally have to do to get a player’s body ready. It’s as important for the players to be contacted and be tackled to prepare for the game. You can’t get yourself ready mentally to be hit full speed, your body has to learn how to absorb that hit. It has to learn how to adjust accordingly. You have to learn the feeling you get of going to the ground. That’s just something natural.”
So Jones may get a few whacks at some point before he faces the Steelers in two and a half weeks.
“We’re not going to be foolish with what we do with any of our quarterbacks, we’re not going to make them live in practice,” Judge said. “But we may set up a drill here or there to let them feel a little bit of the stress they’re going to feel within the pocket, making sure we do it at the right tempo that they’re not going to be at risk of injury.”