Joe Judge said his reaction to players who get into fights at practice is simple, and it mirrors the repercussions that often take place in games. He removes them from the field.
So when just about all of the Giants' 90-man roster took part in Tuesday’s training camp brawl, Judge’s rules and ramifications were unchanged.
"It involved the entire team so I threw the entire team out of practice," he said on Wednesday, his first public comments since the first padded practice devolved into a melee. "We had more ball to go. We had two more periods left in practice. We had things we had to accomplish. Those were things that robbed us of an opportunity to keep preparing and robbed other players of reps to go compete. We ended practice at that point and went ahead and got our conditioning in."
They certainly did, as Judge lined them up for goal line to goal line runs and had them count off pushups in between his scorching them with a verbal flamethrower.
It was Judge’s reaction to the fight that seemed to be more an anomaly in the current state of the NFL than the brawl itself. Dust-ups happen in every camp with every team. Running and pushups as punishment probably comes off as a little high-schoolish, a little collegiate, to many observers. It was almost as if the Giants used a time machine to travel back to an era when coaches were more concerned with their tyrannical skills above their analytical skills.
Judge has no problem agreeing with that.
"I’m a little bit old-school in what I believe," Judge said. "The one thing I really learned from the great coaches I've had the opportunity to play or coach under is that they really reaffirmed everything I learned young in the game as a player. That it’s really about fundamentals and foundation. It’s about discipline and it’s about culture. So in terms of the ‘modern day,’ I know a lot of people have different ways of doing things, but I know there is a proven way that works and we’re going to stick to the base fundamentals."
That may not play well in the universe of hot takes and instant critiques, and there have been plenty of teams in the past that have splintered under such tactics, but in the Giants locker room it appears to be an accepted — and maybe appreciated — way of life.
"That’s the standard that we’ve set in this building and on this team and I think guys have bought in," wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. "If you don’t like it, then you’re welcome to leave. But that’s the way we do things around here and everyone is standing by it. I’m all for it."
Judge would not say whether there will be any further punishments. He insisted there are no issues in the locker room. He said no one was hurt in the scrum, including quarterback Daniel Jones who wound up precariously pinned beneath the pileup at one point. He said the situation escalated, as those who saw it recognized, with a "violation" of "tempo" in practice — a hit on running back Corey Clement by safety Xavier McKinney — that led to first words between Evan Engram and Jabrill Peppers, then shoving, then a blindside hit on Engram by Logan Ryan, and finally mayhem.
"The reason it happened is insignificant," Judge said. "Every time we teach our team what is or is not acceptable, we always bring it back to football and we always bring it back to the parameters of the game . . . Real simple, that would have been a penalty in a game and I have a problem with penalties. If it was a penalty, we have an issue with it."