Giants rookie head coach Joe Judge has come in guns blazing to his first training camp, flouting the common sense methods most coaches follow in the preseason in order to endear themselves to players and, more importantly, keep them healthy.
It started with him making players and coaches run laps if they made a mistake and continued when he extended a practice for an additional half an hour because he wasn't pleased with the performance of his team. But while those decisions raised some eyebrows, his latest idea might blow minds. Specifically, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones' mind if he's not careful.
For some unknown reason, Judge floated the idea of taking away Jones' red jersey following practice yesterday. A symbol to defenders that you are NOT TO HIT THE QUARTERBACK IN PRACTICE, the red jersey has long been worn by every signal-caller in the NFL for obvious reasons. Judge believes the reason to take it off is just as obvious. Here's what he said.
""With quarterbacks, you want to be calculated with how you start banging them around.""
Hey Joe, news flash, it is literally impossible to be calculated in how a real hit is going to unfold in football. The quarterback being hit could duck, or juke, or spin, or any number of other scenarios that put their head, legs, and arm at risk. The same is true for the defender. In the split-second they have to make a hit, they could lead with their head, or crack someone in an unprotected area or accidentally slip and fall right into the quarterback's knee. Even in controlled tackling drills, which Judge is considering, any hit to the head could result in a concussion or any accident could result in an injury. Is that what you want for the guy the franchise spent the No. 6 pick on in 2019?
With no preseason games to get your bell lightly rung, the idea of getting a player ready for live hitting is somewhat understandable. Better in practice for the first time than in a game, I assume is the thinking. However, putting your presumptive franchise quarterback in any harmful situation seems stupid no matter how disciplined the player doing the hitting is. Just look at what happened to Browns running back Nick Chubb in practice earlier this week. Someone lightly popped him and he got a concussion. It happens that easily in football.
Here's more from Judge on how he envisions things going down.
""I don't think we're going to throw him into any Royal Rumbles or anything like that. But at some point, we'll pop his pads a little bit in a controlled environment. Maybe that's with a young guy who understands kind of hitting him a little bit.""
Judge is an old-school coach who rules with an iron fist. That much is clear based on his early practices and decision making. But this seems like a situation where he's overthinking things and being too smart for his own good.
There are many other, seasoned, more qualified coaches in the NFL than Judge, who was coaching special teams for the Patriots this time last year and has no background in coaching quarterbacks or offense. If some of them, any of them, even one of them were considering the idea of popping their quarterback's pads a little, maybe Judge would have a leg to stand on. But they aren't. No one is. No one ever would. Because hitting the quarterback in practice is stupid. That's why they made the red jerseys in the first place.
Only Joe Judge is considering/willing to roll the dice with his quarterback's health all in the name of preparation.