Joe Judge

Giants Owner John Mara On Expectations, Dave Gettleman

The Giants have lost double-digit games in four consecutive seasons. GM Dave Gettleman has presided over the last three of them. Although club co-owner John Mara did not explicitly say so, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv says it is inconceivable that Gettleman will be back in 2022 if Big Blue suffers through another losing season.

Of course, it was far from a sure thing that Gettleman would keep his job after the 2020 campaign. Even in late December, there were reports that ownership was more comfortable getting rid of Gettleman, who turned 70 in February, and bringing in a new top exec to work alongside head coach Joe Judge.

But the G-Men have traditionally given their GMs a long leash, and Gettleman has proven to be no exception. Several seasons ago, Mara knew that the team was embarking on a multi-year rebuild, and last season, he knew that a new HC with new systems and a new culture could delay that rebuild a bit. So it stands to reason that a team that favors continuity anyway would stay the course with a GM that was dealt a difficult hand.

That said, Gettleman’s personnel decisions have been a mixed bag at best. He did make some savvy pickups last offseason in cornerback James Bradberry, linebacker Blake Martinez, and defensive back Logan Ryan, and he was vindicated for his gamble on defensive lineman Leonard Williams. Those acquisitions were probably what saved his job, but like most GMs, Gettleman will ultimately be judged on if he made the right call at quarterback. And the jury is very much out on Daniel Jones, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2019 draft (though Mara did say that he thinks very highly of Jones).

Clearly, the team feels that it can compete this season, and it authorized a few significant contracts in free agency, the most notable of which was the four-year, $72MM whopper for WR Kenny Golladay. Mara admits that his hopes for his club this season are higher than they have been in recent seasons, and as a result of those expectations and the major financial commitments that were made in an effort to realize them, Gettleman is surely feeling the pressure.

When asked directly if Gettleman would be retained if 2021 turns into another disappointment, Mara said, “I’m not going to speculate that right now. Let’s just see how the season plays out.” But he also said, “I’m tired of the losing and of having the postseason press conference trying to explain what went wrong, why I think we’re making progress. It’s time for us to start winning some more.”

It would be surprising to see Judge ousted if the team struggles this year, given how much ownership and the locker room seems to like him, though Vacchino suggests it could be a possibility. But even if Judge could survive a sub-.500 finish, it seems clear that Gettleman will not.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason Garrett Expected Back As Giants OC

The Giants dropped from 18th to 31st in scoring offense last season, and Daniel Jones did not make considerable strides. But the team is not planning to make big changes to its offense.

Jason Garrett is expected to stay on as New York’s offensive coordinator, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes. Some potential turnover at this position coach level could take place, and Raanan adds assistants like tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens, QBs coach Jerry Schulplinski and wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert may take on increased responsibility. (Tolbert has interviewed for Minnesota’s OC job.) But Garrett will still run the show.

This is not especially surprising. Dave Gettleman said last month, as Garrett interviewed for the Chargers’ HC job, he was “antsy” about the prospect of losing his OC. Keeping Garrett will ensure Jones only has two play-callers in his first three seasons, though the Giants have plenty of improvements to make on offense. Saquon Barkley‘s expected re-emergence will certainly help.

Joe Judge already fired a coach Garrett brought in, ex-Cowboys O-line assistant Marc Colombo, and Raanan adds the new Giants HC’s hands-on approach with the team’s offense caused tension between he and Garrett. Last season was Garrett’s first as a full-time play-caller since 2012.

One of the changes on Big Blue’s staff will be replacing Dave DeGuglielmo. The veteran O-line coach is not expected back, and Raanan notes that the Giants have interviewed ex-Texans O-line coach Mike Devlin and Giants assistant O-line coach Ben Wilkerson for the job.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Giants, Love

The Eagles did not hire an offensive coordinator this offseason, though former OC Marty Mornhinweg is on Philadelphia’s staff. Doug Pederson may be amendable to adding one in 2021. The Eagles HC said he is open to giving up play-calling responsibilities. However, nothing is imminent on a play-caller change this season, Tim McManus of ESPN.com notes. Although the Eagles have seen several of their skill-position players return to action, they used their 10th offensive line configuration to open Monday night’s game. Nothing has worked particularly well for Philly as of late; the Eagles rank 28th in total offense. These issues have upset owner Jeffrey Lurie, whom McManus adds skipped the Eagles’ Week 11 game in Cleveland out of frustration. The Eagles lost their weeks-long NFC East lead Monday night and sit 3-7-1.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • While Mark Columbo‘s dismissal from his post as Giants offensive line coach seemed abrupt, issues between he and Joe Judge escalated for weeks. Judge wanting to use a rotation up front to give younger linemen more experience irked Colombo, who sought continuity, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post notes. The Giants have used guard Shane Lemieux and rookie tackle Matt Peart off the bench this season. Lemieux has since usurped left guard starter Will Hernandez, though the latter still plays in a part-time role. Judge also interrupted one of Colombo’s O-line drills at a recent practice, correcting a Nick Gates technique. Colombo took exception to Judge’s adjustment and told Gates to ignore it, Dunleavy adds. Former Patriots O-line coach Dave DeGuglielmo is now overseeing Big Blue’s O-line.
  • The Giants did not have to worry about their quarterback depth chart, from an injury perspective, for 15 years; Eli Manning never missed a game due to injury. Daniel Jones has run into a hamstring malady, however, and faces at least a one-game absence. The Giants hosted Alex Tanney on a visit and may be planning an atypical arrangement for their former backup. Their tentative blueprint appears to be for Tanney to sign but reside away from the team for precautionary reasons, in light of what transpired in Denver last week, Twitter links via ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan. Tanney was with the Giants during the 2018-19 seasons and learned Jason Garrett‘s system this offseason before being a preseason cut.
  • This may not be a set-in-stone setup just yet, though. The Giants hosted Joe Webb on a visit Tuesday. Webb, 34, has been in the NFL since 2010, operating as a special-teamer, wide receiver and backup quarterback.
  • Washington will not activate Bryce Love from injured reserve this season, according to ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter). This will mean a second straight full-season absence for Love, a standout running back at Stanford. A Heisman finalist in 2017, Love tore his ACL in his final regular-season game with the Cardinal the following season and underwent multiple knee surgeries. He returned to practice last month but will not be promoted to Washington’s active roster before his 21-day activation window closes.

Giants Fire OL Coach Marc Colombo

Despite the Giants winning two straight games and generating recent rushing production without Saquon Barkley, they will have a new offensive line coach when they return from their Week 11 bye.

The Giants fired first-year O-line coach Marc Colombo after a shouting match with Joe Judge. The incumbent O-line instructor did not react well to the team bringing in veteran assistant Dave DeGuglielmo to work alongside him (Twitter links via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan and NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo).

Colombo earned the gig this offseason, beating out DeGuglielmo and rejoining OC Jason Garrett. Colombo had previously served as the Cowboys’ O-line coach. DeGuglielmo, however, had worked with Judge in New England and was on Tom Coughlin‘s staff as assistant Giants offensive line coach from 2004-08. He will go through COVID-19 protocols before joining the Giants, who will retain assistant offensive line coach Ben Wilkerson, Duggan notes (subscription required).

This marks the second straight year DeGuglielmo will take over for an O-line coach fired months after accepting a position. The Dolphins added DeGuglelmo after firing ex-Giants line instructor Pat Flaherty in August 2019. DeGuglielmo worked with Judge with the Patriots from 2014-15, during Dante Scarnecchia‘s sabbatical.

Andrew Thomas ranks 65th among tackles, according to Pro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders slots the Giants last in adjusted line yards. A former Cowboys offensive lineman, Colombo joined Garrett’s staff in 2016 and rose to the position of offensive line coach two years later. The Cowboys promoted to Colombo during the 2018 season, upon firing Paul Alexander. Judge has recently allocated more of his time to working with the O-linemen, with Garafolo noting the first-year HC viewed that as a position group that needed his attention (video link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants May Move Training Camp

Add the Giants to the list of teams that may move their training camp site. Instead of New Jersey – one of the nation’s most hard-hit areas – head coach Joe Judge says the Giants could hold training camp at a different facility in another state (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan).

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Ideally, Judge says the Giants would keep things as-is, but they’re exploring all of their options and working on multiple plans. They’re far from alone in that: the Cowboys, 49ers, Chargers, and Rams are all set to run their practices in California, and they may have to pivot to another part of the country after Los Angeles County extended its sheltering orders for another three months.

Our opps [operations] department is doing a great job right now mapping out a lot of different scenarios in terms of if, for some reason, we have to relocate,” Judge said. “They’re making connections around the area and around the country as to whatever we may need to do. We’re waiting on directions from the league in terms of making decisions on that,” Judge said (via Newsday).

Judge knew he’d be in for a completely new experience when he signed on to be the Giants’ head coach this year, but he couldn’t have anticipated a situation like this. As he eases into his new role, he’ll have help from offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who spent nearly ten years running his own practices as the Cowboys’ head coach.

In other Giants news, Judge says the team is thinking about re-signing edge rusher Markus Golden. Previously, a reunion was viewed as unlikely at best.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants More Open To Trading Down?

As he enters his eighth season as a GM, Dave Gettleman has a strange streak going. Neither the Panthers nor Giants have traded down during a draft. But with the Giants possessing several big needs after a third straight woeful season, their third-year GM appears more open to the prospect of moving down to collect additional assets.

While no discussions have taken place yet, Gettleman sounds amenable to trading down, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. The arrival of longtime Patriots assistant Joe Judge and an organizational desire to shift philosophies have contributed to the team’s newfound interest in potentially moving back in Round 1, Vacchiano adds.

After the Giants’ 2016 playoff season — the franchise’s lone postseason berth since Super Bowl XLVI — they have gone 12-36. Save for maybe defensive line, the team has needs at every defensive position while also lacking a young talent at either offensive tackle spot.

Judge observed Bill Belichick execute trade-down maneuvers annually, and Vacchiano adds the Giants’ new HC will have supporters in the building to move back from the team’s No. 4 overall slot. This marks the third straight year the Giants have held a top-six pick. The franchise has not traded down in the first round since the Ernie Accorsi regime, when the team slid down seven spots in 2006 and selected Matthias Kiwanuka.

Another reason the Giants will consider moving down: quarterback-seeking teams’ interest in Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert, sources informed Vacchiano. The Dolphins have let it be known they are committed to taking a quarterback, and they have been linked to moving up from their No. 5 spot to do so. The Lions also do not appear in the quarterback market, so they could put their No. 3 pick for sale as well. The Chargers pick at No. 6; they are moving on from Philip Rivers. At No. 7, the Panthers may be leaning in that direction with Cam Newton. The Giants figure to have options if they decide to sell their top choice.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Haskins, Giants

New Redskins coach Ron Rivera has insisted he wants to have a quarterback competition, and that nothing will be handed to second-year incumbent Dwayne Haskins. Haskins doesn’t have any problem with that, and he said as much to reporters during a recent community event. “That’s cool,” Haskins said of Rivera’s remarks, via Peter Hailey of NBC Sports. “I’m just going to have to work hard and eventually take it over. Just do your best to be accountable for what you have to do and be ready to go.” That’s obviously the type of attitude that his new coaching staff will like to hear.

Rivera specifically shouted out Alex Smith recently and indicated he could even be back with the team in 2020, although that still seems pretty unlikely. By all accounts, Haskins will almost certainly be under center for the Redskins in Week 1 even though the staff plans to make him earn it. Haskins took over for Case Keenum midway through last season, and was up and down like most rookies. The Ohio State product struggled early on, but started to play a lot better in his last couple of games.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • The Giants traded for Leonard Williams at the deadline even though they weren’t headed to the playoffs and he was set to be a free agent, putting a lot of pressure on them to extend him. To that end, the team is “intent” on re-signing him this offseason, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. However, he isn’t going to come cheaply. Vacchiano thinks the defensive lineman will be seeking a contract worth around $15MM annually. The sixth overall pick back in 2015, Williams has always been high on talent but a bit underwhelming on the field. He made the Pro Bowl in 2016, but has been more up and down since then. Still only 25, he should still be entering the prime of his career. New York gave up third and fifth round picks for him.
  • Speaking of the Giants, new head coach Joe Judge put together an interesting inaugural staff with some notable hires. Speaking recently, Judge dished on his thought process when bringing his staff together, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. “To me, it’s a big trust factor with the guys I have on the staff,’’ Judge said. “I have a personal relationship with a lot of these guys, professional relationships with nearly all of them.” There are a number of high profile coaches on the staff, including recently fired Browns and Cowboys head coaches Freddie Kitchens and Jason Garrett. Despite that, the rookie head coach insisted that he didn’t hire them because of their experience leading teams. “I didn’t set out to hire anyone with former head coaching experience,’’ Judge said. “That ended up being a plus of what different guys brought to their area.” On Kitchens specifically he said “what I love about Freddie is he brings an element of toughness and discipline to his room. He brings outside-the-box thinking a lot of times to how he approaches the game from a game-plan perspective.’’

Position Coaches: Gilbride, Flaherty, Lupoi, Tolbert

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is beginning to fill out the position coaching spots in Carolina. Kevin M. Gilbride will be in charge of the team’s tight ends and Pat Flaherty is expected to be named the team’s offensive line coach, per Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. Gilbride has extensive experience as a tight ends coach, serving in the position with the Giants from 2014-17 and with the Bears from 2018 until he was fired last month.

The Panthers will be the fifth NFL organization to hire Flaherty as an offensive line coach. Flaherty worked as the offensive line coach from 2004-2015 with the Giants followed by a one-year stint with the 49ers, a two-year stint with the Jaguars, and a a short period with the Dolphins in 2019. While Flaherty brings a long line of experience, he was fired in Miami prior to the end of training camp after struggling to implement the team’s scheme.

  • The Falcons have named Browns defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi as the team’s defensive line coach and run game coordinator, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Lupoi was a collegiate defensive lineman at Cal, where he began his coaching career in 2008. After a stint with the University of Washington as the defensive line coach, he joined the staff at Alabama, eventually becoming the team’s defensive coordinator in 2018. Lupoi moved to the professional coaching ranks for the first time when he joined Freddie Kitchens‘ staff prior to this season.
  • Giants new head coach Joe Judge will not be making changes to the entire coaching staff. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, reports that Judge is expected to retain wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. While New York struggled in many areas this season, the receiving corp showed impressive depth. Tolbert was credited with helping late-round pick, Darius Slayton, become a legitimate receiving option.

Giants Request Permission To Interview Dolphins DC

New Giants head coach Joe Judge continues working to fill out his staff. New York has requested permission to interview Dolphins defensive coordinator Patrick Graham for the same position, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network. Garafolo adds that the request is expected to be granted.

Generally, teams are hesitant to allow their coaches to interview with other teams unless it is for a clear promotion. However, Judge worked with Graham and current Dolphins head coach Brian Flores with the Patriots, which may make Miami more willing to make an exception. Graham not only shares a history with Judge, but also worked with the Giants from 2016-17, serving as the team’s defensive line coach from 2016-17.

On the surface, it would seem like a surprise for a coach on a 5-11 team to be receiving outside interest, but entering the season many wondered if the Dolphins would manage to win any games. Miami clearly entered the season with a tank in mind, making minimal free agent additions last offseason and trading the team’s best offensive lineman (Laremy Tunsil), defensive back (Minkah Fitzpatrick), and wide receiver (Kenny Stills) early in the season. While the Dolphins are by no means a legitimate contender, they finished the season winning three of their final five games, including wins against the Eagles and Patriots.

Since Judge was relatively unknown before the Giants announced his hiring this week, little is known about the people he might target to fill out his staff. At least to start, it appears he will continue to look to the Bill Belichick coaching tree.