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Joe Judge Makes Giants Players Run Laps for Mistakes as the World Gasps in Horror

Frank Franklin II. Shutterstock Images.

Transcript from the Giants official page of Joe Judge's Zoom call with reporters:

Q: What is with the guys running laps, including the coaches? I saw some guys doing it individually as well.

A: There are consequences on the field for making mistakes. In a game, it'll cost you five, 10, or 15 yards. In practice, there needs to be consequences so we learn how to deal with our mistakes. …

Q: I noticed there were no names on the backs of the jerseys. Is there anything behind that?

A: No, we know who they are.

Q: But you had to take them off, right? Why not have names on the back of the jerseys?

A: I never commented on jersey names when I got here anyway. To be honest with you, I've been places where we've gone an entire offseason without numbers. To me, it's important to know who the players are on the field across from you by their body type and how they move, more so than having to see a nameplate to identify your teammate. We should know each other as coaches and players by how we move and the way we carry ourselves. When a quarterback gets under center, I expect him to know, is that a safety in the box or a Will linebacker? I expect them to know, is that a sized defensive end on the outside or is that an outside linebacker walked up? The numbers and name stuff, we'll do that on game day. Right now, we have numbers just to meet the rules laid out by the league. But to be honest with you, the identification of who the players are, we should be better than that as coaches and players by knowing our teammates.

This is just incredible. An NFL coach operating like this in 2020. Punishing mental and physical mistakes with laps? Instilling discipline? Holding players and coaches accountable? Removing names from practice jerseys to force everyone to learn who one another is?

Has this ever been tried before? Is it allowed under league rules? Or even the law? This sounds like something the NFLPA needs to look into. If not the Department of Labor, OSHA, the UN or Amnesty International, because I'm pretty sure these acts meet the definition of torture under international law. 

And I'm not alone. 

USA Today - The drill sergeant routine might be more effective if you can point to the six rings you’ve won like Belichick is able to do. But when you’re a rookie coach with ZERO wins on your resume, it’s a surefire way to lose the locker room in a hurry. Whatever benefit you might get from making players (and coaches) run laps for mistakes and taking names off the back of jerseys will likely be negated by the resentment those moves build up. When these tactics don’t lead to more wins, it will only accelerate the process that eventually ends with Judge being fired and returning his safe haven in New England.

Oh, right. This has been done before. Thanks for the reminder, USA Today. I'd almost forgotten where Judge learned this.

Steven Senne. Shutterstock Images.

The funniest part of the reaction to this is this notion of "Well Belichick can get away with it because he's won six Super Bowls. Joe Judge hasn't." They said the same thing when Josh McDaniels in Denver and they've been saying it for two years under Matt Patricia in Detroit. Like Belichick waited until 2019 before he started holding his team accountable for their actions. And from 2000-18 he just got by on charm and asking nicely. 

It's non-stop hilarious to me when these downtrodden franchises hire one of Belichick's disciples and then are appalled when he tries to do things in the way that got him hired in the first place. If the previous coach's way of not disciplining mental errors and putting name tags on the back of 80 jerseys in camp worked, you wouldn't have made a coaching change. More to the point, Belichick has been doing it this way since the Mr. Kraft led him down out of Mt. Olympus to dispense his wisdom and justice to the mortals. As a quick history lesson, in his very first meeting in Foxboro in 2000, Belichick began talking when Andy Katzenmoyer, a former first round pick, came walking in and took a seat. Belichick just stared at him before finally saying, "Who in the hell do you think you are? Get your ass outta here! I'll talk to you after the meeting." It was what parenting experts call "a teachable moment." And if there were Hall of Fame tight ends and columnists predicting his demise because he wasn't being deferential enough to his star players, I must've missed it.

Anyway, poor Joe Judge. He, like McDaniels and Patricia, has his work cut out for him trying to change the culture of a franchise that is happier losing with a fun coach than winning with someone who expects and demands as much out of everyone as he does from himself. Good luck with that.