Written by Ali Jawad
On Tuesday the New York Giants officially hired former Patriots special teams coordinator and WR coach Joe Judge as the 19th head coach in team history. This, of course, comes after the Giants fired Pat Shurmur a week and a half ago and interviewed multiple candidates for the job including Baylor’s Matt Rhule who many considered the Giants top option now the head coach of the Panthers. As of now, there are some mixed feelings about the hiring of Judge. While this move settles in let’s get to know the newest head coach of the Giants.
Judge currently 38 years old is a graduate of Mississippi State where he played quarterback for the Bulldogs from 2000-2004. He would go on to join the coaching staff from 2005-2007 as a graduate assistant and would then have stops at Birmingham Southern (LBs coach) 2008, Alabama (special teams assistant) 2009-2011, and lastly the New England Patriots from 2012-2019 as special teams assistant, and later on special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach. His career resume does include 3 super bowl titles and 2 national championships.
It’s very rare that we see a special teams coach rise to the occasion as a coordinator let alone a head coach most notable ones have been John Harbaugh who was a special teams coach and defensive backs coach under Andy Reid in Philadelphia, and of course, Bill Belichick who before taking over as defensive coordinator of the Giants was the special teams coach. During his time in New England as special teams coordinator from 2015-2019 Judges units have graded out within the top 10 by PFF ranking 8th, 1st, 10th, 5th, and 7th all in order. Patriots long time Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater mentioned that “he is very intense and that he is hyper attention to detail.” Slater really praised his former coach for how well he would prepare his guys to play on Sundays.
Judge will have the opportunity to pick his own staff for next season which was an issue under Pat Shurmur as his former defensive coordinator James Betcher struggled to get his unit going, and offensive coordinator Mike Shula seemed like a guy who was there for support. With Judge, we will see the offensive coordinator of his choice call out the plays as well as serve as the whisperer to Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. Judge will also hope to find a defensive coordinator who can better develop and scheme around a unit that is one of the youngest in the league.
The Giants decision was final when they decided to call up the best source possible Bill Belichick who strongly gave his recommendation to the team to hire Judge for the gig. NFL Network's Ian Rapport mentioned in his latest take that Belichick had been training Judge to be a future head coach. Not only has he worked under Belichick, but he also coached under Alabama’s Nick Saban. Any coach who has worked under those 2 will definitely receive attention for a new opening.
While this hire may seem to be a split with a lot of fans and media always remember Ed Reed wasn’t on board when the Ravens hired John Harbaugh, and neither was Lawrence Taylor when Bill Parcells named a young special teams coach in Belichick his defensive coordinator.