Joe Judge Takeaways from Giants OTAs, including Daniel Jones' growth in system

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Joe Judge fist pounds Daniel Jones
Joe Judge fist pounds Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones is one of many young, early first round quarterbacks in the NFL who has to learn multiple systems within his first few years in the league, that's just how things go when you join a team that was bad enough to get such a high pick.

Jones, who was taken No. 6 overall in 2019, had to learn his second system in as many years last season after Joe Judge took over the reins of the team from Pat Shurmur in 2020.

But Judge is still the Giants' head coach -- deservedly so, after nearly leading the Giants to the playoffs and providing a clear culture change to their locker room.

So Jones gets to continue working under Judge and is showing some clear improvements in his grasp of the system -- something Judge noted during his availability at Giants OTAs on Friday.

"I think his overall understanding and command is really becoming where we wants it to be, and you saw that last year as he grew within it," Judge said over a Zoom call with the media. "You know, he didn't have the opportunity last year to have a spring, to have a true training camp to go out there. Going with the same terminology, the same language this year, that slows it down a little bit for any player. In terms of being in the huddle, his command's always really been great.

"I think the biggest thing right now for any quarterback, including Daniel, is just getting on the same page as all the players and getting the timing down. This time of year really for those guys is crucial, just to be able to go out there and throw routes and get some timing. Everybody's a little bit different."

No one empties the tank like Evan Engram

Engram's 2020 season was a mixed bag of solid plays, a number of key drops in big moments that left Giants fans with a bad taste in their mouths, and a surprising Pro Bowl nod that just about no one saw coming.

Questions about his hands and mental aspects of the game arose after a few of those drops, but none of them seem to bother Judge, who said Engram is one of the hardest working players on the field in practice each and every day they go out there.

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) carries a deep pass down the sideline in the first quarter of the NFL Week 12 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) carries a deep pass down the sideline in the first quarter of the NFL Week 12 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020.

"Confidence comes from practice and execution, and I'm telling you, when you watch us practice and you watch No. 88 on the field, no one empties the tank like this guy," Judge said on Engram. "I mean this guy goes hard every day. We've got to tell him to tone it down more than pick up his pace ... This guy works on the details, he takes coaching very well, he's mentally tough, he's a physically tough dude, takes care of his body great to stay on the field.

"I think the dependability for teammates is when they know you're working your hardest every day and you're doing everything you can to help the team, then you know you put everything into it. And when something falls short on the field from any player, they can trust the guy's putting in the work and the preparation. At that point, we have to help the guy improve.

"But I'm very pleased with the way he works, he's a fun guy to have in the program, he's great in the locker room, he's a leader on our team, he's a productive player for us. I enjoy coaching him every single day."

Judge pleased with the rookie group

It's still early -- still no pads being worn in practice -- but things seem to be going well so far for the rookie class at practice.

"I'm really pleased with the way they work," Judge said. "I think with rookies what you see a lot of times is you see a level of improvement week-by-week more so than the vets, because they're so young. It's kinda like watching a bunch of pups grow up. ...You've got to remember, these guys are walking down the hallway and are just trying to remember everyone's face and names. So when you start plugging it all together and moving fast and forward, these guys it slows down for them every week.

"When you get these guys from the draft into rookie minicamp, they've been so far removed from football training, It's that combine training, it's that personal trainer kinda 'let's go at your own pace.' You have to get back into team football where you're moving at a higher intensity with a higher volume and you're moving in more team drills. ...I'm excited to see these guys when the pads fully come on and see them really go full speed."