Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 11-05-20

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.


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 the No-Wins?).

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.

Thursday, 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 our job.

"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.

Such 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 burst.

"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.

"Joe 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."

"I 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.

"Yeah, 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.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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