When Joe Judge coached physical education to kindergarten students, he learned it’s necessary to have a full plan that covers 60 minutes.
“If I let any detail in that plan go to waste, it was going to be chaos,” Judge told reporters Thursday. “I had kids dancing on the windowsills, I had kids peeing themselves, I had kids doing everything.”
He realized he had to find a way to keep his students busy and resonate with them, and he takes that same approach as a coach. Judge, the Patriots’ former special teams/wide receivers coach, spoke in his introductory press conference as the head coach of the New York Giants about what he’s learned throughout his life.
Judge believes there’s a way to get through to every student, whether it’s a kindergartener or a superstar. He said he plans to hold his players accountable and give them everything he expects in return.
“You have to find out how every player ticks,” he said.
He spoke about Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, his approach as a coach, why he feels prepared for the role, and much more. Here’s a closer look:
Bill Belichick taught him to be flexible.
Judge said the main lesson he took away from Belichick is to figure out what you have and let your players play to their strengths.
“Don’t try to shove round pegs into square holes,” Judge said.
He said the focus shouldn’t revolve around dwelling on what they can’t do, but rather figuring out what they can do and maximizing that talent. The goal is to not let someone go and see them excel on another team. Essentially, find a way to make it work.
Judge said he learned from Alabama coach Nick Saban that everyone in the room needs to understand what they have to do, how it should look, the steps to get there, and why that task is important.
He said there wasn’t a day when he didn’t come home with a full, new education after learning from Belichick and Saban.
“I knew every day that there were coaches out there that would pay thousands of dollars to sit in a staff meeting and just hear the wisdom they were saying on a daily basis,” Judge said. “I’d like to think I wasn’t foolish enough to squander that.”
He wants Giants fans to be proud to support their team.
One common theme in Judge’s remarks was that he wants his team to embody the city and the region.
“I want this team to reflect this area,” he said.
He wants a blue-collar, in-your-face group that doesn’t back down. Judge said the margin of error in the NFL is so small that every detail and every nuance matters.
The goal is to play clean, mistake-free, relentless football and get fans to buy in and enjoy the product as much as possible.
“I’m going to do everything in my power, every day, to make sure the people of this city and this area turn on the TV or sit in the stadium seats and are proud to say that that we’re their New York Giants,” he said.
‼️ ATTN GIANTS FANS ‼️
Your new head coach has a message for you: pic.twitter.com/f0fiel72Sc
— New York Giants (@Giants) January 9, 2020
He called the opportunity intriguing and humbling.
Judge made it clear he never explicitly told Belichick he wanted to one day be a head coach. He didn’t walk around advertising it, and it wasn’t as though he had the specific goal of being a head coach at this exact time.
More so, it was that the opportunity was too perfect in his eyes to pass up.
“There’s not 32 great programs in this league,” Judge said. “The truth is, the Giants are one of the top, and that’s what makes this job intriguing.”
He said he was in his office in Foxborough working when he got the offer. Once he got past the initial wave of excitement, he quickly realized he had people counting on him, and he knew it was time to get to work.
“You don’t build the Empire State Building by washing the windows,” Judge said. “You build it with the foundation and work it on up.”
His family is excited about the news.
Judge said his 14-year-old son stays on top of everything and is ready for his father’s new role.
“He’s already looking to make GM moves and stuff,” Judge said.
His 11-year-old was “kind of speechless” when he found out in school, and his daughter is pleased that her gymnastics meet that’s coincidentally in Manhattan in a few weeks will take place in her new home. His youngest child is simply excited, even though she doesn’t understand the full scope of the situation quite yet.
*finds nearest brick wall to run through* pic.twitter.com/WWBuvPZwex
— New York Giants (@Giants) January 9, 2020
He believes his experience will prepare him well.
Judge didn’t want to address specific players on the roster, but he did say that he won’t be the offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, or special teams coach. He plans to work diligently with all three sides of the ball.
When he first got to New England, he said his role was heavy on personnel. As a special teams coach, he had to know every player inside and out.
Before every draft, he studied every player as an athlete and brainstormed ways to make them the most effective. He plans to use that same holistic approach in this expanded role.
“It’s kind of like when you’re hungry, you go to the fridge, and your dad says figure out a way to make a sandwich,” Judge said. “You know what’s in there, but you’ve got to find a way. You’ve got to eat, right? I’ve got to know what everybody does so I can put those ingredients together and get the most out of them.”