Nobody expects the New York Giants to be contenders next year, but fans want to see Joe Judge bring the franchise back to credibility.
One of the reasons there’s optimism surrounding the New York Giants is the hope that new head coach Joe Judge can help bring a winning culture to the franchise.
Judge spent the last eight seasons with the New England Patriots as a special teams coach, where he was a part of three Super Bowl championship teams. Prior to his time with the Patriots, he was a special teams assistant with Alabama from 2009-11. Judge helped the Crimson Tide win a pair of BCS National Championships.
The success he’s been a part of for the last decade is a welcoming addition for a franchise that’s gone 70-90 in the regular season over the last decade. There’s hope that spending time on coaching staffs with Nick Saban and Bill Belichick will rub off on the 38-year-old Judge.
Nobody expects him to turn a team that’s won just 12 games over the last trio of seasons into Super Bowl contenders. But ownership and fans want to see Judge at least build a winning culture and restore credibility to the franchise.
Here are four tasks Judge must complete during the upcoming season in order to do just that.
Make sure Daniel Jones shows progress in year No. 2
Daniel Jones will be entering his sophomore campaign as the clear-cut starting quarterback. Aside from wins and losses, the most important task for the Giants in 2020 is to make sure Jones improves greatly from his rookie season.
Last year, Jones showed why he was worthy of the No. 6 overall selection in the 2019 draft. His mobility gave a new dimension to the Giants offense, as he threw 24 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. DJ also showed poise in the pocket along with a significant level of toughness.
But the biggest knock on Jones was his turnover-related issues, especially the 11 lost fumbles. With that said, Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will need to make sure the young quarterback improves his ball security.
Build a respectable defense
One of the reasons for the Giants’ recent struggles is the fact that their defense has ranked near the bottom of the league. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, they finished 31st, 24th, and 25th in total defense, respectively.
Their points-allowed average also increased in each of the last three years. After giving up only 284 points in 2016, Big Blue respectively allowed 388, 412, and 451 points from 2017-19.
Judge never coached on the defensive side of the ball under Belichick. But, he’s likely familiar with his schemes and will be able to assist new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
The free-agent additions of James Bradberry and Blake Martinez certainly improve how the defense looks on paper. Now, it’s up to Judge and Graham to devise a plan to bring this group closer to the middle of the pack.
End the 13-game losing streak against the Cowboys and Eagles
The last time the Giants were victorious over the Dallas Cowboys was Dec. 11, 2016. Nov. 6 of that same year was the last time the Giants defeated the Eagles.
Since then, Philadelphia has won seven consecutive against the Giants, while Dallas has won six straight.
There’s simply no way you can contend for the playoffs if two of your divisional rivals have swept you for three seasons in a row. The best way for Judge to build a winning culture is to put a halt to this, immediately.
Play relevant games in December
One of the things late Giants owner Wellington Mara wanted from his team was for them to play meaningful games in December. Unfortunately, Big Blue’s recent seasons have essentially come to an end by Halloween. From 2017-19, New York respectively started out 1-7, 1-7, and 2-6.
The NFL has yet to reveal the full 2020 regular-season schedule, but the best way for the Giants to play meaningful games late in the campaign is to not start out slow like they’ve had in recent years.