Joe Judge is 10-19 as the Giants’ coach, but he continued to preach patience on Monday in the wake of his team’s latest setback, a not-as-close-as-it-sounds 37-21 loss to the Chargers.
Technically, his audience was reporters — and, by extension, fans — on a morning-after conference call. But it also sounded as if he was reminding ownership of the big picture and the need for more time on the job.
"Unless you have a strong foundation with your locker room, with your culture, with the way you’re developing players, you don’t have any chance to sustain anything on the field — not for any meaningful duration of time," Judge said before boarding a flight home from Southern California.
"I’ve said this from the beginning: I’m not interested in coming and having some kind of quick flash. I’m not interested in shortcuts. I’m not interested in quick fixes. I want to do this the right way, and when I took this job, I made it very, very clear that I was only going to do this if we were all committed to doing this the right way, and that’s been something that’s been very clear from ownership on down.
"I’m very happy with the support the ownership gives. Both families [the Maras and Tisches] are tremendous people to work for and I know that this team is very, very important to them. To be honest with you, it’s their family business, and football’s my family business, too.
"I take a lot of pride in what we do and the product is important to me not only in just the wins and losses, which ultimately in this business is the most important part, but it’s also how you do it and how you prepare and how you conduct yourself throughout the course of the week, how your team represents you on and off the field and how the players reflect what you’re trying to represent within that community and the city you represent."
That was near the end of a 6½-minute answer to a question asking Judge to elaborate on his contention that he is building a strong foundation no matter how ugly the games are and the won-loss record looks.
It is unclear whether the Maras and Tisches agree with him, something that will be answered after the season when they do or do not give him a third season, presumably with a new general manager in place.
Last week, after a loss to the Dolphins, Judge made a passing reference to the progress Miami coach Brian Flores is seeing in his third season. Third season. Get it?
For now, all Judge can do other than win games is insist there are sunnier days on the horizon, even if most outside observers see only darkness.
When asked if he has heard anything about his status beyond this season, he said he would never comment on anyone’s "hypothetical future," then mentioned two coaches specifically.
"You can ask me about [defensive coordinator] Pat Graham, not going to answer you," he said. "You can ask me about [defensive backs coach] Jerome Henderson, not going to answer you. You can ask me about a number of coaches, I’m not going to answer.
"I’m not going to answer about myself, either. I’m not going to speak on hypotheticals. I’m interested in building this team and moving forward. Our focus after today will shift to the Cowboys."
Nearly two full seasons into his term, Judge spoke about the importance of teaching players how to practice properly.
"That’s something that took some time, a lot longer than I thought," he said. "It’s not as simple as saying this is how this drill goes and what to do. It’s how to practice as a whole."
As Judge spoke, quarterback Daniel Jones was in New Jersey having his neck examined after missing the previous two games. "We’re waiting eagerly like you are to hear what the doctors say," Judge said, "and we’ll see where it is for this week."
Even if Jones plays, the Giants will be a significant home underdog against the first-place Cowboys on Sunday. If the Giants lose, Judge will have another round of explaining to do — to fans and to his bosses.