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Volume 26 No. 229
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Giants Hiring Joe Judge Shows Franchise's Willingness To Change

Judge is known around the league as a fiery coach who is not afraid to ruffle feathers with players
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Judge is known around the league as a fiery coach who is not afraid to ruffle feathers with players
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Judge is known around the league as a fiery coach who is not afraid to ruffle feathers with players
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Giants are hiring Patriots special teams coordinator and WR coach Joe Judge as their new head coach, and while it is a "gutsy move" by the organization's front office, it "at least shows they are open to significant change," according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. There is "no doubt" Giants President & CEO John Mara and Chair & Exec VP Steve Tisch are "conducting risky business these days." They have "seen their marquee franchise lose some of its luster with so much losing." Raanan: "Admittedly the blame starts with them." But the Judge hire is "proof the Giants entered this process with an open mind and were willing to stray from some of their previous ways that landed them in this undesirable position in the first place." Judge is "known as a fiery coach who isn't afraid to ruffle feathers with players," and that "might be exactly what the Giants need" (ESPN.com, 1/7).

TAKING A CHANCE: In Newark, Steve Politi writes Mara is "taking a huge risk with this hire, and he is doing so at a time when he cannot afford to make another bad decision for this rudderless franchise." Judge "might become the next Bill Parcells," but he also "might be the latest branch off the [Bill] Belichick coaching tree to snap in spectacular fashion." Mara is "crossing his fingers that it's the former, not the latter" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/8). In N.Y., Steve Serby writes the Judge hire is a "gamble for a franchise that can not afford a third straight mistake." For "better or for worse, the Giants went with their gut." Or were "forced to go with their gut, however it played out for them." Either way, it is "difficult to trust that they got this one right" (N.Y. POST, 1/8).

POWER TRIP: In N.Y., Bill Pennington writes it is "not clear" whether Judge will be "granted any added off-field duties with the Giants." Mara last week speaking alongside Tisch "conceded that he would consider altering the power dynamic within the organization" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/8). In N.Y., Pat Leonard writes Giants Senior VP & GM Dave Gettleman now "appears to be in full control of personnel once again." That is, unless the Giants "intend to let a special teams coach ... run their NFL Drafts and free agency" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/8). 

SWINGING FOR THE FENCES: On Long Island, Bob Glauber writes describing the Judge hire as an "out-of-the-box decision isn't really fair." It is "more like a head-scratching, mind-blowing, out-of-this-universe move." For years, the Giants "had been regarded as the gold standard of NFL franchises." But that "feels so long ago now." The Giants are "taking a leap of faith that Judge can transform himself into a reasonable facsimile of his mentor, a gamble that may take years to pay off" (NEWSDAY, 1/8). In DC, Mark Maske writes the Giants hiring Judge "certainly is not a star-chasing move," it is "outside the box" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/8). The MMQB's Albert Breer wrote the Giants took a "big swing at a dark-horse hire" (SI.com, 1/7).

DISORGANIZED PROCESS? In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes under the header, "Giants' Messy Path To Joe Judge Escalates Leadership Concerns." Gettleman said of interest in reuniting with Ron Rivera, with whom he worked while at the Panthers, prior to Rivera joining the Redskins, "I just know before we could turn around, the deal was done." That concession "certainly provided a troubling characterization of the organization being a step slow." The past 48 hours "only hammered that point home." By "every indication, the Giants saw Baylor's Matt Rhule as their clear-cut choice," only for him to sign a seven-year deal to coach the Panthers (N.Y. POST, 1/8). In Newark, Matt Lombardo writes it may be "too early" to judge the Giants' decision, but it "feels like a process that ultimately rushed to its conclusion" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/8). SiriusXM's Chris "Mad Dog" Russo on his radio show yesterday said that he has "no sympathy" for Mara when it "comes to the Giants' finances for paying coaches." Russo: "I'm going to worry about John Mara because he's gotta pay Matt Rhule $60 million because the guy in Carolina paid it. Tough, if he's the guy, pay it. Well, that's not the way Giants do business. Well, screw that" (N.Y. POST, 1/8).

QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED: On Long Island, Tom Rock writes the Giants hired Judge because they "wanted a leader" and "wanted a head coach, which is something they have not had since they parted ways with Tom Coughlin" (NEWSDAY, 1/8). In New Jersey, Art Stapleton writes one of the "most loyal fan bases in the entire NFL has lost faith, at least a significant part of it judging by social media reaction and stadium interaction." The Giants "need to be aware of this and not defiant that the perception of where they are is not a media creation." Whether it is "fantasy or reality doesn't matter -- they need to answer for it, and Judge will find himself at the center of that" (Bergen RECORD, 1/8). SNY’s Marc Malusis, "There is a severe lack of trust in the brain trust of the Giants of getting this coaching hire correct.” Malusis: "For a stable franchise they’ve shown great signs of instability over the last five, six years.” SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano said if the Judge hire “doesn’t work out,” Gettleman will “be the first to go (because) the next move would have to be clean house of everybody" (“Loud Mouths,” SNY, 1/7).