Followers of the New York Giants possibly got their first glimpse of Joe Judge flashing his Bill Belichick and Nick Saban influence on Tuesday at the NFL combine. During his press conference with the media, the first-year head coach was asked about New York's depth chart for the coming year, specifically as it relates to the quarterback position and Daniel Jones.
Upon hearing the question, Judge then simply pointed to the blank wall behind him and said, "Our depth chart's on the board right there right now. No one's got a spot."
Of course, when you take those comments at face value, you'd think that Judge is indicating that Jones, who was the No. 6 overall pick of the Giants in 2019 and started 12 games last season, was not in line to be QB1 by the time the 2020 season kicks off in September. That's a highly unlikely circumstance, and it seems all but certain that Jones will be the starter next season.
So what's Judge talking about? It appears like the coach is trying to send a message to his players that they'll essentially be judged on what they do from here on out. By talking up a certain player or positional group, that could undermine the culture Judge is trying to build in New York.
"Every one of our players is going to come here with a blank slate and be able to compete from the ground up from Day 1," he explained. "I'm not going to establish any kind of status or hierarchy within the individual players or position groups by spending a month talking about individuals. That's important to me and I want you guys to understand my reason for that. I can't tell everyone that they've got an equal slate and they show up on April 7 and I've spent a month talking about a specific player. Everyone is going to have the same opportunity on a daily basis to compete."
Judge added: "My reason for not going into individual players at this point is it's important that our players understand the only thing that is going to be relevant is how they perform on Day 1 moving forward. The past is irrelevant."
Some might then argue that this could be seen by Jones himself as the new regime not having much faith in him. To that, Judge didn't give it much credence.
"What's important to me is the guys inside that building understand why I am doing things and that I have their best interest at heart," Judge said.
It seems pretty clear that Judge not divulging that Jones will be the franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future is simply a tactic to say that nobody is above the team, which has been a mantra of Belichick's in New England and Saban's at Alabama, two of his mentors, for years. By this display on Tuesday, Judge was clearly paying attention to how those two operated and is trying to bring a similar culture back to the Giants. Whether or not it actually works is TBD.