Joe Judge's New York Giants got blown out Sunday in Chicago by a bad Bears team, falling to 4-12 on the season with one game to play.
After being asked why fans should have faith in his guidance, the embattled coach spent 11 minutes of his postgame press conference impassionedly defending his tenure. Amid his response, Judge said plenty of former players called him to claim they missed playing for the Giants and soon-to-be free agents hoped to return.
The coach stood behind his team, believing he's on the right path to rebuilding the culture within the locker room.
"This ain't a team that's having fistfights on the sidelines," Judge said, via the official transcript. "This ain't some clown show organization or something else, OK? You talk about the foundation built, you talk about the things that -- the toughest thing to change in a team, the toughest thing to change in a club, is the way people think. You understand that? That's the toughest thing. You can get new players, you can have them in your damn locker room all you want. You have to change how people think. You change how they f---ing -- pardon my language -- believe in what you're doing. And they gotta trust the process. And that's a lot easier said than done when they're looking up right now, and you got one game left and the most games you're going to win is five this season, OK? But I guarantee you this: Those men are going to walk in on Wednesday and be ready to roll. We're going to practice hard on Wednesday, we're going to practice hard on Thursday, we're going to practice hard on Friday, OK? We're going to play for each other on the field next week.
"If we don't play well, every fan has a right to boo my ass out of the stadium. You got that? That don't bother me. I don't want it. I don't think anyone wants to get booed. But the reality is, that's all right. It's all right. They have that right."
Boo the New York fans will if the Giants struggle against the Washington Football Team in Week 18.
We could spend time taking shots at Judge or arguing that he's all mouth and no trousers. But frankly, his own record does most of the talking.
The Giants went 6-10 in Judge's first season in New York. In his second, they've regressed on the field, going to 4-12 ahead of the season finale. At best, the coach will be 11-22 in two seasons. Judge hung the team's early-season struggles on offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, firing the OC after Week 11.
Since then, Big Blue's offense has gotten worse, averaging 10.3 points per game and scoring fewer than 10 points in three of six games. Daniel Jones' injury might be an excuse, but plenty of other teams have at least been competitive with backup QBs. New York has withered.
Sunday's loss to the six-win Bears was the height of embarrassment, with Mike Glennon leading an offense that netted -10 passing yards (24 yards passing with four sacks for 34 yards). Despite being blown out, the Giants didn't even try to pass the ball for long stretches. It was as if Judge decided his club would lose, so attempted to mitigate the humiliation. It did not work.
The Joe Judge era in New York has distinct similarities to another failed Bill Belichick disciple, Matt Patricia, in Detroit. Like Judge, Patricia rubbed players wrong from the jump, alienating them with practice laps and questionable meeting tactics. Like Judge, Patricia also lashed out at the media at times and claimed throughout the process he was helping reshape the culture. The Lions held on to Patricia one offseason too long, which put the Lions in a deeper hole than they'd be otherwise.
By all reports, the Giants don't plan on parting ways with Judge after two seasons. And Judge remains confident he's stacking the right building blocks to build a winner eventually. We'll see Sunday if Big Blue fans agree.
If you're interested in reading Judge's entire soliloquy, it's below, as transcribed by the Giants official team website:
Q: Why did you have faith that you're going to get this turned out? I mean, people are just seeing -- under it now. So I guess what was your answer to that bit?
You know, we talk inside a lot. Okay? And I don't ever ask for patience from anybody. Let's get that clear right now. All right? And the fans have every right to have an opinion. That's why they're fans. They have every right. You buy a ticket, come to the stadium, you have every right to boo me going out of the stadium. That's the way it is. That's what we sign up for, right? And it's New York. It's supposed to be a tough place to be. Certain cities in this country, they don't even know if their teams playing today. All right? So you sign up for a job in a city like New York, you expect to have this. I never shied away from that. I ain't worried about that at all. When we talk internally, you look at a lot of things moving in the right direction and you know the targets of what you have to improve going forward. The important things is we know the direct targets of what you have to prove. And, no, I'm not going to go individually into these today. But we know the direct targets of what you got to hit. All right, and you look at what you got to make in a short turn to go ahead and make a quick turnaround to build the things you've done well. Right? And I say that all the time. There's things we've done well, we got to build on them, right? So we look at overall what we're doing, there's a number of things going in the right direction that we know that are foundational things, things you got to put in place for the team to have success, on and off the field. On and off the field. Okay? The important thing is when you have those direct targets, you got to find a way to minimize the things, okay, that you struggle with and you work your hardest to go ahead and make you give yourself and your team a chance for success by trying to take certain aspects away from the game so it can't expose you as a weakness. Okay, and you got to play to the strengths as much as possible. All right? There's certain aspects and things that, you know, see on tape from around the league. And I talk to the guys all the time. Look, this is about being a team and making sure you don't waste any opportunities. We're not sitting here being preachy. But I'm not going to tell you pointblank what I tell them. You guys always want to know what the hell we talk about all the time, I'll tell you pointblank what it is. All right, when the guys come to work on Wednesday, okay, and they bust their butt for you, and turn around on Thursday, and they're all committed doing extras in position units, doing extras individually to get their body right, they're doing everything going forward, okay, and they go out there and practice with good energy, good enthusiasm, and you know you're in the right position right there, okay, you know you got that aspect going right there. I talk to the players all the time, guys. I talk to them very openly and transparently. We don't even know have captains because a majority of our captains are no longer playing for the remainder of the season, so we do a leadership meeting now. I look at the guys at the end of the day and say, Guys, hey, listen, this is your time to talk to me, you speak for the team. You tell me what's going on. You tell me, How's the team? How's the beat of the team? What do I got to be aware of? What's something I don't know? Because everyone always tells me what I want to hear, right? So I ask someone just individually, I ask a player, they're going to tell me whatever I want to hear. I ask a coach the same type of thing. All right, I got to have a group of players who are going to look me in the eye, and they know I can tell Joe what exactly the hell is going on. So I got that core group of guys, right? You know, you look them in the eye and you ask one guy, he's the first one to speak up, I'm not going to individuals, they can talk amongst their selves later on. But, you know, we had one guy say, I've never been in playoff contention, I never knew what it was like to be in a position where you're actually playing games not to be in the playoffs or improve seeding or whatever it may be or get into playoffs. You know, didn't what to expect and when we were officially eliminated it was almost an expectation of that player of how is everyone going to react? Kind of getting ready to come in to himself and get everyone rally the team a little bit. Okay? And that other player spoke up and said that they've never been in playoff contention period. They weren't present with us last year throughout the remainder of the season for a certain reason, to even be in it last year as a player on the stretch. But both guys had the same response, though. Everybody on the team is locked in. Everyone on the team comes in to work. Everybody comes in every week and is committed to doing it the right way and playing together as a team. Okay? There's a lot of teams right now that are out of playoff contention. Okay, whether it's golf clubs in the locker room, or people planning vacations outside of it. All right, there's a lot of finger pointing and blaming and shouting. All that type of stuff, right, all that stuff. You know what we have in our building, any of that. We don't got any of that. Any of that. Our guys know we have one more week this year to be this team. They know we have one more week this year to be this team. And they expect me to show up and give every ounce of football that I got in me this next week. You got that? They're getting everything out of me. But I expect the same in return. And I just told them that a second ago. That's what I expect. The expectation here is I expect every ounce of football you got inside of you. Okay? And there's things we have in line right now, there's thing we have in place where certain units are playing and certain players are playing and we got some foundational, core guys. We know the culture is strong. I'm going to tell you's right now. You guys always ask me about off the field stuff and why the hell is it so important to have culture, so I'm going to tell you right now, all right? A few years ago before I came here, when I came here and I sat down with all the players, I wanted to know what it was like in here, what we had to change from their mouths, all right, to a man every player looked me in the eye and said, Joe, it's not a team, they don't play hard, we're out of playoffs, everybody quit, everybody tapped, they stopped showing up to captains meetings, all that stuff. Right? They tapped out. Okay? I've been a part of teams in other places. And I'm not trying to make this place anywhere else I've been. But lessons I've learned: Let me tell you something right now, all right, in 2018, I was a part of a team who halfway through the season, all right, we were all pretty convinced we were getting fired. We didn't think we were going to make the playoffs, had no concept of anything was coming, we just showed up and kept improving to work week after week. And on the outside, we were we all terrible. But we didn't care about that any of that noise on the outside. We didn't care about it at all. What do you care about on the inside, what are you doing? They showed up, they fought, they worked. We were improving as a team and put things together, and make a run and, you know, ended up winning the championship. But the thing I really learned that year was, the importance of the culture inside, how important and valuable that is. Because I was part of more talented teams that came up short and lost games down the stretch. Much more talented, all right? But the one thing that really was solidified, in my mind, in my DNA that year in '18, was the fact that it's so much more important and how strong you are inside. Because no team goes through a smooth season. No team goes through a smooth season. So if you can go the junk we're going through right now, okay, as a team team, if you can go through the tough times we're going through right now as a team, all right, and have the defense take the field every single time ready to play, every time, all right, there's a lot of people that want to say, Hey, guys, you picked off the ball, they ran down the end zone, you guys are down big, right? So we can turn around and say, Yeah, get your butts back on the bench, we're down, we're not celebrating. You know what, though, they play every play with enthusiasm, every play with energy. Every play with each other. I want them to celebrate that. I want to see that energy and passion. That's how they practice every day. Okay? I want to see them play that way as well. That last fourth down they stopped them on, that's two games in a row where the game was over, we're out, it's done. Vegas is already paying out people. Like, that's done. All right? But that's two fourth downs in a row, two weeks in a row, that I'm sitting there and watching our defense finish the way they got to finish. Fourth down, stop them, shooting the gap and stopping them, a good wall going on the opposite side to stop the run. Hate dropping back into coverage and making that play right there on that little kind of Tebow walk, cat pass, or whatever the hell you want to call it right there. All right? So this ain't a team that's having fistfights on the sidelines. This ain't some clown show organization or something else. You talk about the foundation built, you talk about the things that -- the toughest thing to change in a team, the toughest thing to change in a club is the way people think. You understand that? That's the toughest thing. You can get new players, you can't get out of your damn locker room all you want, you got to change how people thinking. You got to change how they -- pardon my -- how they believe in what you're doing. And then you got to trust the process. And that's a lot easier said than done, when they're looking up right now and you got one game left and the most games you're going to win is five this season. But I guarantee you this, those men are going to walk in on Wednesday and be ready to roll. We're going to practice hard on Wednesday, we're going to practice hard on Thursday, and we're going to practice hard on Friday. Okay? And we're going to play for each other on the field next week. If we don't play well, every fan has the right to boo my ass out of the stadium. You got that? That don't bother me. I don't think anyone wants to get booed. Okay? But the reality is that's all right. That's all right. They have that right. So the fans are -- and we go back to the first fart part, the fans are every bit right to ask what you're asking. 100 percent. Okay? 100 percent. And I get about a dozen e-mails a day, all right, six of which ask me exactly what you're asking, the other six offer full support the other way. Okay? To me, both are great. Both are great. Okay? Both are great. If you think I sit on back and and say what we're doing is good enough? No. It's not. But I know this, I know the first time I ever talked to you guys in front of the mic, what the hell did I talk about? Foundation, right? Talking about building from the ground up, building the right thing. Okay. Now, you guys ain't been in the building for two years now with this coach, right, but I'll tell you right now, all right, if you're in the damn building, you walk on through our locker room, you ain't seeing that crap you saw before. All right? You ain't seeing guys planning vacations, you ain't seeing golf clubs in front of players' locker. You ain't seeing that stuff. Okay? You ain't seeing it. All right, and that's not because of some high school program because we're cracking the whip. It's because our guys understand how to play together as a team and understand the process how we're going through. So I can go through a whole Xs and Os evaluation, I can go through a roster evaluation, I do it every day myself. I go through all that stuff. But in terms of the next step to take, I can tell you right now, okay, I know we're a whole lot closer where we're going than further away. I can tell you that right now. I can tell you we got more players here who are going to be free agents next year, all right, who are in my office every day begging to come back. Okay? I know that. Where player who we coached last year that still calling me twice a week talking about how much they wish they were still here and they're getting paid more somewhere else. Okay? So I know we've got the right foundational pieces there. I know we have some players in key positions who are guys that you can build with and keep carrying on. All right? I know we got the right temperament. I know we got the right culture in terms of teaching the players. Okay, which is why I don't come up here and try to assassinate some player because I think it's going to save my ass. Okay? Because behind closed doors, we shut those doors, I can tell every player, to a man, look them in the eye and tell him exactly what the hell he screwed up, exactly how it's got to get fixed, I got to tell him to hold him as accountable as can be. Because I ain't going to sit up here like some other cowards sitting behind the mic and put his players on blast. Okay? That's it. I signed up to be the head coach here. Whatever bull gets fired, they got fired for me. You got that? It's got to go through me to get to them. And that's the way it is. But, look, I'm not asking you to be patient. Trust me, guys. I'm not the most patient guy myself. I'm committed. I'm committed. All right? But I'm not the most patient guy myself. All right? But I am proud of the way these guys continue to fight and the effort they play with, all right, and the way they grind it out. Okay? But, again, the toughest thing to turn over in a program, the toughest to change is how people think, okay, how they think. And we got guys that are wired the right way. Okay, they're wired the right way.