With no previous head-coaching experience at any level, there were a number of questions when the Giants hired former Patriots special teams/wide receivers coach Joe Judge.
Not only that, but many wondered how the intense coach would fit in New York and handle its media. But, when it came to his opening press conference on Thursday, Judge knocked it out of the park.
The 38-year-old was intense, but came across as very impressive and had the attention of the entire room for the entire roughly 30 minute press conference that included a Q&A portion with the media.
Judge said the Giants would get back to fundamentals and be a no nonsense organization.
"It’s blue collar, it’s hard work, it’s in your face. We’re not going to back down to anybody," he said.
Judge said after interviewing Monday, he was in his Gillette Stadium office Tuesday morning when he was offered the job by Giants co-owner John Mara.
Another theme of the press conference was Judge committing to being himself, and not trying to be like any of the coaches he's worked under like Bill Belichick and Nick Saban.
“I’m going to be honest with you, the only advice I really sought from (Belichick) in terms of this opportunity — he told me, ‘Just be yourself,’ ” Judge said. “And that’s all I know how to be. I think one of the things people ask me a lot is, ‘You worked for Coach Saban and Coach Belichick. What makes you different?’ Look, I’m myself. I’m going to be myself every time. If I’m anything else, everybody’s going to see straight through it. And if you lie to the team, you’re going to lose the team immediately.
"So I’m going to always be myself. And that’s a little bit different than other people, and that’s fine. I’m not trying to emulate anyone I’ve ever worked for. I’m trying to take what I’ve learned from them, match it with my own belief structure and do it with my own personality.”
As for what he learned most from Belichick? Getting the most out of players.
“What I learned from coach Belichick was real simple: Be flexible within your personnel,” Judge said. “Don’t try to shove round pegs into square holes. Figure out what you have. Let them play to their strengths. Don’t sit in a meeting and tell me what you don’t have in a player. Don’t tell me they can’t do a certain thing. Tell me what they can do and then we’ll figure out as coaches, because that’s our job, how we can use that. That’s our responsibility. Everybody has something they can do.
“How may castoffs do you see around the league that end up on another team and everyone says, ‘Wow, how’d they get that out of him?’ Maybe they were just closing their eyes to what they could do. As a coaching staff when we get assembled, we have to make sure we’re sitting down, we’re patient with our players, we fully evaluate them, we find out what they can do to be an asset, and then we’re not foolish enough to not use that.”
Judge had been with the Patriots since 2012.