October 12, 2020 | 11:02pm
So, what are the Giants?
It says right there in the NFL standings what they are, as far as how many wins and how many losses they have this season. As in, none in the left column and five in the right.
But what are they, in terms of how they feel about themselves, how they feel about being 0-5, what they think about failing to capitalize three times this season when the game was in the balance in the final minute? What were the emotions coursing through the 2020 Giants on Sunday night as they traveled back from Texas on the wrong end of an agonizing 37-34 loss to the Cowboys?
“Definitely disappointed,’’ tight end Evan Engram said Monday. “Definitely pissed off. We fought our butts off and didn’t come off on the winning end. Yeah, we’re pissed off and we’re hungry. We’re gonna get right back to work and try to get one.’’
Getting one has proven to be beyond the capability of a team that has lost every one of ’em. If they do not get one in Week 6, against Washington, well, it remains to be seen when or if the Giants will ever get one.
Joe Judge has steered clear of many things in his first season as a head coach. He does not criticize his players for public consumption. After games, he does not address this play or that play, this call or that call. Another fumble by Daniel Jones? Judge says, “My eyes are not always directly on Daniel the entire time.’’ A missed tackle by a defensive player? A dropped pass? Judge defers, saying he will reserve judgment until after he reviews the film.
A day later, Judge almost always defers again, saying he is moving on from that game, looking ahead to preparation to the next one. He falls back on generalities. Of course, Judge is not getting paid to entertain during these postgame sessions.
Judge after the loss to the Cowboys was asked if he sees any progress, and if so, does that matter much, or at all, considering the Giants are 0-5?
“Well, that’s all that really matters, to be honest with you, the progress that we’re making right now,’’ Judge said. “The record will come in time. Obviously, we’re not happy about losses, that’s not what we do here, but I’ve seen a lot of progress on all fronts and all units.’’
Judge inherited a mess, but this does not mean there is some different scale for the 2020 Giants, as far as how a team is evaluated.
A day later, Judge was again asked about progress versus results.
“My message to the team is always pretty blunt and simple,’’ he said. “To me it’s about evidence on the tape and what we have to correct and what we’re doing well and what we have to build on. I’m not a rainbows-and-sunshine guy, I’m also not a browbeat and rub-your-nose-in-it type of guy either. It’s ‘This is what it is, understand what we’re doing good that we can build on, understand what we have to do to correct and clean up.’ To me, that’s the best way for guys to respond. Just show them visual evidence what we’re improving on and what we have to clean up and they understand going forward what we have to work on.’’
That the Giants are 12-41 since the start of the 2017 season is not on Judge. He cannot be blamed for the sins of others.
The fan base wants to embrace Judge, and the losing triggers a social distancing that has nothing to do with this miserable pandemic. What makes Judge different and why should the loyalists believe in him? Those who love the Giants adore beating the Cowboys. Judge came close, but what good is that?
“I’m always proud of the way the guys come to work every day and compete,’’ Judge said. “We have a tough team, we have a good mindset team. That being said, this is a production business. Our guys understand we’re going out there to play games to win games. That’s what the fans deserve and that’s what we’re working to do.’’