So what will Joe Judge’s Giants look like when they take the field for the first time in September?
That depends on whom they’re playing.
Judge said he wants to be diverse enough that his team can pass 50 times a game if that’s what is called for or run 50 times if it’s needed in a certain situation. He wants to be able to employ a three-man front when that’s required, a four-man front when necessary.
“Our philosophy is going to be to put pressure on the opponent to prepare for multiple things,” Judge said. “Within that, we have to have personnel versatility and we have to have flexibility schematically to make sure that whoever we play, we adjust our game plan to maximize our strengths against their weaknesses.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s pretty much how the Patriots have been able to win six Super Bowls in the past two decades.
“You think about New England and just think about the last Super Bowl,” Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said. “They’re not doing anything wide open, so what do they do? They’re on the 6-yard line and they come out in 22 [two running backs, two tight ends] personnel. Then they use play-action and they use motion and they make 22 look like 11 [one running back, one tight end]. That’s what it’s about. Working with what you have.”
It also means that the Giants won’t necessarily be looking for certain types of players anymore. Just players.
“We’re going to play whatever is best for our team and our personnel,” Judge said. “I’m used to looking at players in terms of what they bring to the team as a whole . . . The best players will play. I don’t care if you were drafted, I don’t care if you are an undrafted free agent, I don’t care if you are old or young or whatever you are. You want to be on the field? Be the best player. Show you can handle the job and we’re going to put you out there.”
That opens plenty of doors when it comes to coordinators, too. The Giants aren’t going to limit themselves to a West Coast coordinator or a press coverage coach.
Judge said he has not yet decided on a staff, but there are plenty of names floating about with whom he has worked in the past, including former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens and recently relieved Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh for the offense.
Defensively, Judge may want to pluck someone who has a similar background in New England, and Pepper Johnson could be a candidate. A source said Judge already has decided to retain Thomas McGaughey as the special teams coordinator.
“We will talk to everybody and we will take our time,” Judge said of assembling his staff without regard to scheme. “My priority is to put the right men around these players so that they can come to work every day and be coached hard and be taught. I want good people.”
Notes & quotes: Judge refused to make any comments regarding the nucleus of the team he takes over, sidestepping several questions about Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. “I have an outsiders’ perspective,” he said. “I don’t want to sit here and give you expert analysis without having done due diligence and homework, to sit down and thoroughly investigate each one of these players . . . Every player on our roster has talent and every player on our roster will compete for what they get.”