New York Giants coach Joe Judge defended his old-school practice of making players and coaches run for mistakes, which has been criticized by pundits and former players alike.
"Everything we do has a purpose," Judge said, via the team's official website. "We're very intent on explaining to our team why we're doing things the way we're doing them. I'm a big believer in educating our team in why we're doing things. That we're not just out there blindly winging it and trying to go ahead and force punishment. I explained the other day, when you make mistakes on the field, there are consequences. In the game, it's penalty yards. At a practice, we have to understand that there are consequences for mistakes. This isn't a punishment. It's a reminder that we have to draw our attention and be more detailed with how we approach things."
Judge's custom of making players run for practice errors has raised eyebrows at the start of training camp, causing some to consider it amateur or predict a player revolt at some point.
It's the latest instance of a Bill Belichick protégé taking the Belichickian doctrine out of New England and getting sideways glances off the bat. Belichick has the rings and success to get buy-in on some old-school practices. New coaches don't have the same luxury. The hard-nosed practices can alienate some players -- as we've seen some of in Detroit with Matt Patricia. On the flip side, some coaches, like Brian Flores in Miami, can win over players quickly.
As he begins his first training camp in New York, Judge makes certain to treat all players equally. Per the New York Daily News, the coach got after star running back Saquon Barkley during practice Tuesday.
"We coach everyone the same," the coach said. "We're trying to demand the best out of everybody and make them improve every day. We're not letting details slip. The thing I'm most impressed with is how coachable this team is. They come in every day they're looking for coaching points they want to do better. They understand it's about the message and not how the message is always delivered."
Judge is sticking to his guns with how he wants his football team to operate, nitpick all details and become a hardnosed club.
"We're trying to demand the best out of everybody and make them improve every day," he said. "We're not letting details slip. The thing I'm most impressed with is how coachable this team is. They come in here every day, they're looking for details, they're looking for coaching points, they want to improve and they want to do better. They understand it's about the message, not how the message is always delivered. We coach hard. We're very demanding. This is a tough job. We're in New York City. This is a tough place to play and coach. We have to have guys who are thick-skinned and understand we have to operate in high pressure situations. We can't go out there on the practice field and just sing Kumbaya together and think we're going to advance."
Win and any tactics perceived as unprofessional will be accepted. Lose, and Judge will be the latest Belichick disciple to struggle to instill the Patriot Way outside of Foxborough.