Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls
up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
IT SEEMS TO BE EASY FOR JUDGE TO CONCENTRATE
ON THE PRESENT AND NOT CONSIDER
By Dave Klein
It's difficult to attach any real significance to a game played by a team with
a 1-7 record against a team with a record of 0-8, which will take place Sunday
when the Giants travel to Washington to play the No-Names (or do we call them
But not for head coach
Joe Judge, to whom every day is a new one, to whom every game is a critical one
and to whom no detail will ever be left unattended.
when he virtually addressed the media, that mind-set came up big. "I need to improve,
every coach on the staff needs to improve, every player needs to improve. That's
"On a daily basis, we have
to be better than we were the day before. There are no exceptions, no matter what
the record is, what point you are in your career. That never stops. Improvement
has to be the constant. But the reason I talk about the coaches is because, yeah,
we're all held accountable. We're all responsible for how our players are playing,
how our units are playing and how our team is playing. That's our job. We're measured
by the results on the field. Every coach is held accountable like every player
is held accountable. And it starts with me."
But there are exceptions, which is when it becomes the job of a tough, hard, extremely
disciplined leader to find a path to a settlement.
was the case Tuesday night involving starting safety Ryan Logan, who was leaving
the stadium at approximately 1 a.m. when his wife, Ashley, called. "She had flown
down to Florida [where they live] to vote," he said, "and when she called it was
easy to tell that something was wrong.
"She was telling me about some pain she had in her stomach," said Ryan. "She wanted
to sleep it off. She was in extreme pain, but she said she'd wait until the morning.
I talked to one of our trainers about the symptoms. He said, ‘No, she needs to
go to the ER.' She did go to the ER, and they ended up catching (an) ectopic pregnancy,
where the egg was in the wrong place in her fallopian tube and it was about to
"She ended up going into emergency
surgery. They saved her and prevented what could have been worse. That was a trainer
on our team, Justin Maher, telling my wife to go to the ER and he could have saved
her life or saved a lot of internal bleeding there. That's the type of organization
we have here. My kids are okay, my wife is recovering well, she's okay."
Ryan was just as gratified with Judge's response to his family's situation later
in the day as he was with Maher's initial reaction.
said, ‘If you need to fly to Florida, don't worry about football,'" Ryan said.
"That's who Joe is as a man and as a coach. I know we care about X's and O's and
winning and losing, but there are really good people here. That's why I came here.
There are really good trainers here, there are really a lot of people behind the
scenes that are working really hard for us to get wins.
"I'll do everything to play for a coach like that," said the eight-year veteran
from Rutgers, "and to play for an organization like this because if that wasn't
the case, I don't know if my wife would be here today. Honestly, I'm extremely
grateful for this organization and for Joe, and for everyone to understand that
there are things bigger than football, especially this year."
think you need to keep things in perspective," Judge said. "A guy may come to
you and you say, ‘Hey look, we can't miss practice or a game for that.' There
are other things that are real life critical. You have to have relationships with
your players that you understand what makes them tick, and they have to have a
relationship with you to understand that you have their best interests at heart."
Judge has several more immediate problems this week. He must decide on his offensive
line, and in truth the two rookie tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart, played
exceptional games against Tampa Bay last Monday night. Will he start Peart over
Cameron Fleming? He should, of course, but that is dicey at the moment.
In fact, the entire line as it was constituted Monday night played well, including
rookie Shane Lemieux (replacing virus-positive guard Will Hernandez), veteran
Kevin Zeitler at the other guard and center Nick Gates, a three-year veteran who
never played that position before this season.
I've seen this line take a step forward every week" he said. "I thought they did
a good job the other night, I thought they all played a good game, played a tough
game. There were obviously plays where you have to correct technique or maybe
it's just an assignment or communication thing. That's always going to happen.
"We're always striving for the perfect game, but within that, we're all perfectionists
so we're always going to find something to pick on and make sure we tweak and
improve. "That being said, Thomas has been playing with great effort every game.
He's been doing a really good job and just putting the team first and doing everything
we ask him to do."
It is entirely possible
that Judge is overseeing the construction of a quality offensive line, big and
young and talented. But does that mean to disregard the nightmare of the 2020
season? Yeah, it just might, if the long-term results are worthwhile.
Oh, and if it helps quarterback Daniel Jones from throwing more and more interceptions.
EXTRA POINTS - Wide receiver Golden Tate, who loudly protested his lack of receiving
assignments Monday night and who, after catching a touchdown pass (his only reception
of the night) posed in front of a TV camera and yelled "throw me the damned ball,"
was kept away from practice Wednesday. Judge would not say whether it was a punitive
measure - asked if the situation was "resolved," all Judge would say is "yes."
The Giants were awarded WR Dante Pettis (6-1, 195) on waivers from San Francisco.
… He is a three-year veteran from the University of Washington whose resume includes
12 starts, participation in 28 games, 38 receptions for 576 yards and seven touchdowns.
And he returns punts and kickoff, too.
Judge: "He has a level of talent, we'd like to see him in the building and give
him a chance to get out there and work, but he won't be available for a couple
of days until he goes through the (COVID-19 and team physical) protocols."
Washington is favored by 2-˝ points, proving that even a winless team can be considered
capable of beating the Giants.
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