EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 09: Joe Judge talks to the media after he was introduced as the new head coach of the New York Giants during a news conference at MetLife Stadium on January 9, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge discusses some of the challenges he’s facing, from DeAndre Baker to COVID-19.

Jason Leach

When Joe Judge took the New York Giants head coaching job in January, he couldn’t have fathomed the challenges he would face before his team had its first practice.

First and foremost, he and the rest of us are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to that fact, Judge hasn’t had rookie camp, minicamp, or optional team activities to begin building a winning culture. In short, he hasn’t had a chance to start preparing his team for this new era of Giants football.

In addition, Judge has had to deal with the arrest of two of his players—cornerback DeAndre Baker and kicker Aldrick Rosas. Baker is on the Commissioner’s Exempt list and Rosas was recently released.

More recently, starting left tackle Nate Solder decided to opt-out of the 2020 season as his son has an ongoing battle with cancer, and Solder himself had his own bout with cancer.

Judge may have had the most challenging start to a head coaching career in NFL history. But he has taken these challenges head-on and is staying focused on the upcoming season.

On Friday, Judge spoke with the media, and here are the main takeaways from that press conference.

The Giants are moving on from DeAndre Baker

As of right now, it doesn’t seem like DeAndre Baker will play for the Giants again. Things can change, but it appears as if Judge and the Giants are moving forward without him. Here’s Judge’s response when being asked about Baker:

“He’s not on our 90-man roster. Currently, he’s on the exempt list, so I’ll let the league deal with that issue. I’m not going to comment on any ongoing legal investigation. In terms of our depth chart, the entire team is really at the same point. Everyone has to come in and compete at ground zero and build their way up.”

The Giants will have scrimmages and intrasquad games to prepare for the season

One of the looming questions for the Giants is how Judge will prepare his team physically for the upcoming season without preseason games:

“We have to do a good job of structuring training camp in that we’re able to evaluate the players first and make sure we make the right decisions while we form this roster. You can’t do that without playing full speed football, and you can’t have a safe team who’s ready to play on September 14th without having some full speed football, whether it’s a situation of intrasquad scrimmaging or intrasquad games. We’ll also develop the coaching staff as well through intrapractice communication and then within the scrimmages and intrasquad games.”

Judge is making no excuses for the current conditions

Despite being a rookie coach and having to deal with everything we mentioned above, Judge isn’t giving himself or his team a pass. He still expects the Giants to be competitive in 2020. Here’s how he feels about the challenges he and his team are facing:

“There are unknowns in every season going in. This year is no different, it just has a different element that we haven’t dealt with before. As we go, we’ll see how things change and how they shake out. Right now, we are looking to go ahead and build the strongest team we can.”

The Giants will likely have their first padded practice around the middle of August. We’ll know much more about what the Giants will look like when we finally see them on the practice field.

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