Keidel: Will Giants' Joe Judge Fare Better Than Other Belichick Proteges Have?

The 38-Year-Old Will Reportedly Be New York's Next Coach

Jason Keidel
January 07, 2020 - 2:51 pm

While the Giants cruised the coaching carousel, the Panthers, Redskins and Cowboys pulled the top guys from the ride. The Giants missed out on Ron Rivera, Matt Rhule and Mike McCarthy, but that’s because they were in deep chats under dim lights with Joe Judge. 

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Yes, Joe Judge is the new head coach of the New York Giants. 

The special teams and wide receivers coach for the New England Patriots is now charged with turning this football tanker around. And Big Blue fans must wonder why the team is plucking fruit from a largely infertile Belichick coaching tree. 

Bill O'Brien has done a decent job with the Houston Texans, finally winning a playoff game during wild card weekend this year. (Mike Vrabel, who just ousted the Patriots patriarch from the playoffs, never coached under him.) After that, the holy water around the Belichick altar dries up quickly. 

Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini, Nick Saban, Josh McDaniels and Jim Schwartz all have losing records as NFL head coaches. If you want someone of more recent vintage, Matt Patricia is 9-22-1 as the current head coach of the Detroit Lions, and Brian Flores is 5-11 with a gutted Dolphins roster. O'Brien's Texans and Vrabel's Titans are expected to get smoked this weekend at Kansas City and Baltimore, respectively.

Joe Judge stands with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick before their playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 4, 2020.

We can't judge Judge on his head coaching record, because he doesn't have one. He's 38, played college ball at Mississippi State, coached under Nick Saban at Alabama, and Patriots players - most notably Julian Edelman - speak highly of him. Judge has a special teams background, which isn't a terrible thing, as John Harbaugh and Bill Cowher made their NFL bones as special teams coaches. 

Certainly, Judge has worked in a fertile, winning environment, and we can't say for sure if it's a fluke or foreboding that the majority of Bill Belichick's assistants bomb as head coaches. Indeed, this slice of cyberspace pined for McDaniels to get the Giants job. So, it must be a bit surreal for McDaniels to watch a less experienced colleague get a gig he surely would have taken. 

And this is better than the Giants pining for Jason Garrett. Reports say the Giants asked for permission to speak with the fired Cowboys coach, who is clearly smart and decent but doesn't have the coaching magnetism that drives players to run through proverbial walls. 

But you must wonder if the Giants, a signature NFL franchise in America's media vortex, should roll with a rookie. At least McDaniels took his maiden whipping as coach of the Broncos, and there's a slew of Super Bowl winners who got canned from their first NFL gigs. McDaniels also has opinions, and would push back when Gettleman leaned on him. Judge will just be grateful for the chance, and will defer to the loquacious Giants GM. It also feels like the Giants just reflexively grabbed the guy already in the room after Carolina paid Rhule.

Maybe we can't judge Joe Judge before he coaches his first NFL game, but we can judge the Giants, who are now on their fourth head coach in five years. And it feels like a team renowned for stability just jammed the panic button. 

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonKeidel