Joe Judge shrugs off criticism of having players run after practice mistakes

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First-year Giants coach Joe Judge is making players run in response to mistakes made at practice. Judge is taking some heat for that.

Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe said, for example, “This isn’t going to end well.”

Likewise, former NFL receiver Brandon Stokley, who played for the Broncos in 2009 when Josh McDaniels arrived as head coach, called the situation “Josh McDaniels 2.0.”

On Tuesday, Judge responded to the external criticism.

Everything we do has a purpose,” Judge said. “And we’re very intent on explaining to our team why we’re doing things we’re doing. I’m a big believer in educating our team in why we’re doing things. That we’re not just blindly out there winging it, trying to go ahead and enforce punishment. I explained the other day, when you make mistakes on the field, there’s consequences. In the game, it’s penalty yards. At practice, we have to understand there’s consequences for mistakes. This isn’t a punishment. It’s a reminder that we have to draw our attention and be more detailed in how we approach things.”

But consequences and punishment are basically the same thing. Punishment has various purposes; Judge is punishing those who make mistakes in order to deter the players who have made the mistakes and others who witness the aftermath of a mistake from doing something similar in the future.

Whatever the label, the goal is to get players to not make mistakes during games, in order to avoid the punishment/consequences that apply in that context: Penalties. And that’s one of the things Patriots coach Bill Belichick, a Joe Judge mentor, feels strongly about. Penalty yards provide free field-position advantages for the opposing team, and Belichick has no interest in giving the opponent that kind of an edge.

So Belichick, as Simms mentioned on Tuesday’s PFT Live based on his time in New England as a non-player, does those kinds of things. Belichick’s success lets him get away with it.

And this is one of the reasons why former Belichick assistants often struggle when they leave. Unless and until they win, the hard-ass (is it hyphened?) approach won’t necessarily be embraced, especially by a locker room full of players who aren’t accustomed to those tactics, which explains why they performed poorly enough that the last coach was fired, creating the opening for the Belichick assistant.

Win and they’ll buy in. Lose and they’ll grumble. And the media will, too; especially if/when the hard-ass tactics become manifested in the way they are treated.

Plenty of former Belichick assistants may not even realize they’re doing anything different. It’s just what they’ve witnessed during their time with Belichick, so it’s what they’ve absorbed. It’s critical, however, that they understand that it can become an all-in bet that requires a winning hand sooner than later, or the coach risks first losing his team and then losing his job.

13 responses to “Joe Judge shrugs off criticism of having players run after practice mistakes

  1. Oh please it’s called discipline! All players and coaches are held accountable like real men should be.

  2. Much of Belichick’s success is benefited from winning the Super Bowl early, in his second year. When you have a Lombardi in your trophy case, it’s much easier to enforce the rules and making players to buy in. His disciples never learned that aspect of leadership and when you don’t have any skin on the wall and play hard-ass, players tend to tune you out.

  3. Oh my GOD a little extra running during an NFL pratice. What is the world coming to?

  4. So Shannon Sharpe is telling us that players hate to face the result of their mistakes?

    Bummer. Last Time I checked, that’s how you improve. Remember your mistake.
    Hate your mistake.
    Don’t fall for the same crap again.

    It’s a way of REMINDING AND INGRAINING that Vers memory of the mistake you made. You won’t remember 150 bucks deducted from your monthly 80.000+ $ paycheck… But you WILL remember that gawdawful lap @90°F in August.

  5. Bill Belichick is a smart guy, but he never won without Tom Brady. He was smart in Cleveland too, but he wasn’t winning, and he got fired. The coach with the best QB always looks the smartest. Now Andy Reid is the smartest coach. Pretty soon the Bengals coach is going to be smart, and whoever drafts Trevor Lawrence is going to have a really smart coach. Not picking on Belichick. This gas been going on forever. Michael Jordan’s coach was smarter than everyone too. I’ll bet Jack Nicklaus had a very smart golf coach.

  6. I remember there was ‘outrage’ in Detroit when Matt Patricia did someone similar.

    I am not going to whine about “entitled millennials” or whatever but I just don’t get it. Maybe I am old school but I thought that is how you are supposed to coach, whether it is extra push ups or extra laps.

    And yes… “hard-ass” (as used in this context) should be hyphened.

  7. You aren’t supposed to like being punished or suffering consequences. I don’t think sitting in the corner or no ice cream would work. Maybe cutting a complainer would provide an attitude adjustment.

  8. Please, it’s not a punishment and football isn’t a democracy. How should a player who makes an error that would result in a penalty be treated in practice? I understand that players don’t have the right to say they don’t like a situation, pack their bags and play elsewhere. Trent Williams sat for over a year trying that approach and he’s an elite player. But breaking bad habits not only are important to the team but also to a players career.

    I know under Belichick that policy is equally applied. I assume the same for Judge. If an NFL player gets hurt feelings for being called out in practice how will he react when the same miscue decides a game, the ref calls out his number, and the tv announcers tell the viewers he just lost the game?

  9. What was Shannon Sharpe’s view of the two-a-day “hard-ass” practices back in his day? It’s nuts to think that taking a run after a mistake would turn a team against its coach.

    In Foxborough it was always high amusement when players — or the entire offense plus the coaches on that side — had to take a lap. Fans watching camp would cheer/jeer loudly as they ran by their part of the bleachers. It’s all in the attitude — as long as the ‘stars’ are subject to the same discipline too.

  10. then again sharpe is a clown, a supremely physically gifted clown on the field, and a well compensated clown on tv, but a clown none-the-less. his opinion means nothing to judge.

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