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Giants not trying to become Patriots 2.0: Joe Judge

Joe Judge is taking the Giants on an adult business trip, not a class field trip.

The second-year head coach will spend zero minutes this week flashing the three Super Bowl rings he won as an assistant with the Patriots and preaching about how the team across the line of scrimmage during Wednesday and Thursday joint practices is part of a dynasty he wants to replicate with the Giants. If his players seek exposure to greatness, the lobby of Giants headquarters is home to four Lombardi trophies — two won at the Patriots’ expense.

“I’m very careful a lot of times to make sure everyone in this organization knows I’m not trying to make this team anything but the New York Giants,” Judge said. “I’m not trying to recreate anywhere I’ve ever been. I’m not trying to emulate or imitate any other program. This is the New York Giants. We’re going to do it with our players. We’re going to do it with our personality. We’re going to do it the way we think is best for us every day.”

After the joint practices at One Patriots Place, the teams will shift to 1 MetLife Stadium Drive in East Rutherford for the final regular-season tuneup Sunday. No other address matters.

Joe Judge
Getty Images

“This isn’t some kind of trip down Memory Lane,” Judge said. “I wouldn’t take the team up there for any kind of personal reasons. The only thing that’s important to me is the New York Giants, and this week is about trying to help the Giants get better.”

So many of Bill Belichick’s protégés failed as head coaches by trying to build programs as Patriots West or Patriots South. But the Giants have an extra 35 years of history on the Patriots, and Judge reinforces it with the guests he invites to address the team — connected to the franchise and not his personal past — and the specific exhibits highlighted Saturday on a team visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I don’t try to get too much into places I’ve been before,” Judge said. “I draw things from every experience I’ve had … and try to put them in my own personality and belief structure. Obviously there is a great deal of football I learned in New England, a great deal of success and memories I have. That’s for later down the line to sit back and reflect on. That’s not something right now that’s very important to me.”

The Giants and Patriots have met 29 times in the preseason, including every year since 2005 with the exception of last year’s COVID-19-caused cancellation. They held joint practices in 2001. So, this partnership isn’t new, but it’s likely here to stay as long as Judge and Belichick patrol the sidelines with a mutual trust to create a competitive-but-safe environment and discuss making joint practices “an annual event.”

Joe Judge with Bill Belichick in 2018.
Joe Judge with Bill Belichick in 2018.
AP

“I have a great deal of respect for everything that coach Belichick has done up there, for the players who are still up there who played for me, for the staff members I worked alongside,” Judge said. “But right now my priority and my loyalty is toward the New York Giants. I can’t make that more clear to every player, coach and fan.”

The format of practice should feel familiar to the Giants. It’s one of the things Judge brought with him from eight seasons under Belichick.

“Part of the emphasis of working against New England this time of year,” Judge said, “is really making sure we have the opportunity to go through a lot of situations that elsewise you might not get in a competitive situation because they don’t come up every preseason.”

Both joint practices will be open to fans, so Judge will give a geography lesson so players are not surprised to see Giants gear in the stands.

“The history that’s relevant [this week] is reflecting back on some of the games and the rivalries with the Patriots in recent years, understanding how predominantly the Giants were the team for all of New England until the Patriots came into existence,” Judge said. “There is a lot of history the Giants share in New England that I think is more important for our players to understand instead of every personal anecdote.”

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