When your team can’t win and your team can’t score and your team is boring and the games largely take on familiar terribleness and there is scorn and derision and a festering expectation that when your team plays it will lose, there is nothing that can be said that will make it all go away.
Joe Judge can get up there after these offensively bereft debacles and recite the very best lines written by Larry David for “Curb Your Enthusiasm’’ and there will be little or no entertainment value. You cannot gloss over losing with glibness. There was no way to spin the point-production failings by the Giants in their 20-9 loss to the Dolphins. Judge is too competitive to take the easy way out, yet why did his postgame remarks sound like a head coach who is in denial, clueless or considering changing his name to Pollyanna Judge?
The Giants are 4-8, and we can all see where this is heading. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the winds are blowing. Big changes are brewing. It will take something unforeseen for general manager Dave Gettleman to return — he turns 71 in February and retirement is certainly a soft landing spot. This franchise does not know if it has its quarterback and there is a deadline coming in May, whether or not to give Daniel Jones the $21 million fifth-year option. That decision is no sure thing and comes with this caveat: The executive making this decision will most likely not be the executive who made Jones the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
This is not John Mara’s comfort zone, but a new general manager should come from outside the organization, as keeping this job in-house is probably no longer appropriate for an operation that, at 22-54, has a one-game “lead” on the Jets (21-55) for the worst record in the league since 2017.
At one point, it was speculated that the next Giants general manager would have ties to Judge, pairing up the two most important football employees for years to come. Can ownership give Judge that accommodation, given a second consecutive season as an NFC also-ran, and after hearing his reality-bending comments in Miami?
Who was Judge trying to reach with these messages of hope and encouragement? Certainly not the fans, because they are not having any of it. They sit for three hours and watch the slop their team puts out there and afterward are in no mood to hear about how pleased the man in charge is about a few plays made by players on offense who cannot score even with Waze guiding them directly into the end zone.
So, again, who was Judge messaging when he actually stood up in front of a fairly crowded interview room, with video about to be sent to everyone with an internet connection, and decided this was the way to go?
“There was a lot of things that I saw in the way we played, a lot of things that are moving in the right direction.’’
Is this a plea to co-owners Mara and Steve Tisch that Judge is keeping it together as best he can and that there are better days ahead?
This comment by Judge was perhaps the most telling of all. He made sure to let everyone know where Dolphins coach Brian Flores is, as far as his coaching timeline.
“You know, Brian’s done a really good job,’’ Judge said. “Right now, he’s in Year 3. He’s got a lot more things moving in terms of the flow of the organization.’’
Yeah, Flores is in Year 3. It takes time, Judge is saying. Judge is in Year 2. He needs more time. He hopes his owners feel the same way.
There is a big difference here. Flores overachieved in his second year and the Dolphins finished 10-6. Judge has 10 wins in his first 28 games. Judge knows he will not be able to stand on his two-year record.
The fire he insists he shows his team after all these losses is doused by the time he gets behind the microphone.
“Look, I approach my comments publicly very differently than when I talk to the team behind closed doors,’’ Judge said Monday. “In terms of publicly, I’m not going to be a guy who sits out there and singles out players, that’s just not my style. I’m just not gonna do that. That’s something I’ve believed in from being a player and working under other coaches.’’
That’s fine. He does not have to do that. Ownership cares more about how the head coach deals with the players than how he handles the outside world. Although some real talk to the rest of us wouldn’t hurt.