Joe Judge has rare traits that he’ll bring to the New York Giants. He won’t fail like other Bill Belichick assistant-turned-head coaches.
A new era of New York Giants football is set to kick off in 2020. Eli Manning is no longer the quarterback, Saquon Barkley is now the face of the franchise, and former New England Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge is the new head coach.
The Giants hired Judge back in January in a move that shocked much of the football world.
Simply speaking, not many people knew the 38-year-old. But once he spoke in his introductory press conference on Jan. 9, he quickly won over the New York fan base.
Judge preached a desire to play hard-nosed football, teach fundamentals, and bring in players who carry high football IQ’s. This attitude helped prove Judge is far different from some of the other Bill Belichick assistants from New England who became head coaches.
Since Belichick took over as Patriots head coach in 2000, seven of his former assistant coaches ended up leading an NFL staff.
Of those seven, four are currently in head coaching roles. Bill O’Brien is entering a Belichick-assistant record seventh year with the Houston Texans. Matt Patricia is entering his third year in Detroit while certainly on the hot seat. Brian Flores is entering year No. 2 with the Miami Dolphins and Judge is entering year No. 1 in New York.
The only Patriot assistants under Belichick to reach the postseason are Eric Mangini and O’Brien, but their combined playoff record is just 2-5 with no conference championship appearances.
The odds are stacked up against Judge. But luckily, he’s much different than those to earn head coaching gigs before him.
Several of Belichick’s former assistants let the power of becoming a head coach get to their heads.
Josh McDaniels, who was hired by the Broncos in 2009 after serving as Belichick’s offensive coordinator, was the face of several controversies while in Denver.
He earned a reputation as someone who’s arrogant when he wildly pumped his fist alone after Denver defeated the Patriots in his first season.
Cameras also caught McDaniels having several meltdowns on the Broncos sideline. After less than two seasons of non-playoff football, Denver fired him. He eventually found his way back to New England.
Others simply haven’t built the proper staff around them to succeed. In Detroit, Patricia’s coaching staff consists of zero former head coaches despite the fact Patricia himself is in his inaugural head coaching role.
As a result, game-management struggles have been obvious. A Lions team that started the 2019 season 2-0-1 ended up finishing 3-12-1.
Judge has already proven two things: the power won’t overcome his mindset and he knows how to put together the correct staff.
In every media session since taking over the head coaching duties, Judge has been consistently tough while also showing respect. He’s portrayed his tough-nosed attitude and desire to bring a winning culture through fundamentals. Never once has Judge waivered, bickered, or looked rattled when speaking to the media.
As far as the staff is concerned, he brought in Jason Garrett, who holds nearly a decade of head coaching experience, to be the offensive coordinator. Judge also hired Freddie Kitchens to be the tight ends coach and Bret Bielema to be the outside linebackers coach. The former was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2019 while the latter underwent two separate head coaching tenures at the collegiate level from 2006-17.
Unlike other Belichick assistants, it seems like Judge is taking after his former boss.
Judge has preached “punching opponents in the nose” and playing smart since his arrival in New York. This is reflective of Belichick, who’s all about toughness and having a higher football IQ than the opposition.
Many of Belichick’s former assistants possessed one glaring trait, and it’s that they worked as the six-time champion’s offensive or defensive coordinator. Judge was basically a no-name special teams wiz who earned the Giants job due to his attitude and intelligence.
At the end of the day, all of this contributes to why you should expect Judge to greatly succeed in East Rutherford.