Joe Judge did not speak to the media on Monday. John Mara and Steve Tisch said nothing about Judge in public.
The head coach’s job security was a Black Monday issue, and the organization oddly let it be on the line deeper into the week.
They left it hanging during an afternoon meeting between Judge and the Giants co-owners in East Rutherford, a candid conversation about the direction of the franchise and the team.
Where it stands, it seems, is that Mara and Tisch are giving Judge the opportunity to present his vision for the third year, while simultaneously looking for interviews with many GM candidates who may choose to hire another coach.
In other words, they’ve kept their options open — or stuck on the fence — rather than committing either way.
Judge’s own proposed solutions should no doubt begin with a complete overhaul of the offensive coaching staff, at the very least. A GM with a shared vision should also be on the wish list.
So it seems to his advantage that the Giants requested an interview with Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, who will be returning to the 2012 New England Patriots with Judge.
Such a quick request for a conversation without dismissing Judge outright means that at least Mara and Tisch are willing to listen, it seems.
On the other hand, the Giants’ GM quest has already created a wide net for many candidates unrelated to Judge, including late additions Adrian Wilson (Cardinals), Adam Peters (49ers), and Ran Carthon (49ers) Monday night.
And Mara’s statement that the next GM will oversee “all aspects of our football business,” including coaching, made it clear that Judge could be fired once a hire is made, whenever it is made.
This is why on Monday night there were assistant coaches looking for updates and clarity, and some players resigned because they may not have known Judge’s fate for “weeks”.
Because while Judge had been “business as usual” in morning conversations with players, in a morning meeting with the coaches, and in an afternoon team meeting, no one knew for sure.
“Um, I don’t really know how to answer that,” Saquon Barkley said, shrugging during a Zoom call, about Judge’s status.
“It wasn’t like he announced he was coming back,” said safety Logan Ryan. “Everything was exactly as planned.”
Judge had been confident enough during his team meeting to convince defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence that he would still be his coach in 2022.
“Yes, that’s what I believe, yes,” Lawrence said.
But the Giants manipulated Monday’s public relations from behind the scenes instead of working normally with Judge front and center.
The Giants’ PR team had no inside information all day on whether Judge or property would talk, and if so, when. They produced last minute knowledge of anonymous player interviews at 1pm and then unexpectedly produced a long list of players on the virtual stage.
They were all clumsily responsible for Judge’s job security.
“I’m not sure,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said of Judge’s status. ‘I haven’t heard anything else today. I love that man, honestly. I like the way he approaches the game and I like playing for him.”
Quarterback Daniel Jones said the players knew Judge’s job was the topic of the day.
“You always hear the speculation and that’s part of the NFL,” Jones said. “You hear things like that, but that’s not our job. Our job now is to get better as a team.”
The quarterback added that he has “a great relationship” with Judge, saying, “I’m looking forward to building this thing and winning more games.”
“Joe Judge is my head coach,” Lawrence added. “I love him. I appreciate every hard thing about the program and the organization he brings, the discipline he tries to teach us and the struggle you see on the pitch from us every week.”
Lawrence may have revealed most of the judge’s day when he described the coach’s message to the players during their afternoon team meeting.
He said Judge told them he would try to “improve us as a team and him as a coach.”
That sounds like a coach taking responsibility for his own flaws and mistakes.
No doubt Judge took that responsibility into consideration in his conversation with Mara and Tisch, along with a plan to get this all right if he stays.
Whether that’s enough to convince the Giants’ ownership is a mystery. If Judge got clarity on that question Monday, he was the only one.
The Giants signed eight players to futures contracts on Monday: QB Brian Lewerke, LB’s Trent Harris and Omari Cobb, OT Devery Hamilton, TE Jake Hausmann, DT David Moa, DE Niko Lalos and WR Travis Toivonen. All were once part of the exhibition squad this season.