Physical and confounding to many, Joe Judge’s training camp practices have drawn puzzlement and denouncement. That’s unlikely to change after Tuesday, when the rookie head coach let it be known he’s contemplating having fresh-faced franchise quarterback Daniel Jones practice without the usual red jersey in the hopes that a few hits better get the QB ready for the rigors of the season.
Questioned and criticized for his perceived old-school ways along the lines of taking names off jerseys, thunderous tirades and punishing players and assistant coaches by having them run laps, Judge has been your father’s football coach in many respects; turning the clock back to the ways of the disciplinarian.
Now, he is apparently considering stripping away the time-honored tradition/precaution of the quarterback practicing in a red jersey. Less than three full weeks from the season opener, Judge wants Jones to get battle-tested.
“You know, we’ve talked about it,” Judge told reporters Tuesday, via team transcript, when asked if he’d thought about taking away the red jersey. “With quarterbacks, you want to be calculated with how you start banging them around.”
With quarterbacks, most coaches want to be ridiculously cautious with making sure you never bang them around in practice.
Red jerseys have long been donned by quarterbacks because they mean stop, don’t ever hit these guys, they’re far too important to risk injury.
One of the more dangerous aspects of football has long been hitting a quarterback in practice, accidentally or not. Dangerous not for the quarterback, but the overzealous defensive teammate who’s going to get absolutely torched verbally by his coach and given a very physical receipt by the offensive linemen.
Despite that history, Judge is considering taking the red off in the hopes of getting his second-year quarterback ready for the physical challenges of the season because there has been no preseason in which to get a couple licks out of the way. And nevermind that Jones is coming off a season in which he was sacked 38 times in 13 games.
“I don’t think we’re going to throw him into any Royal Rumbles or anything like that,” Judge said, giving a little free advertisement to WWE’s signature January pay-per-view. “But at some point, we’ll pop his pads a little bit in a controlled environment. Maybe that’s with a young guy who understands kind of hitting him a little bit.”
Judge didn’t give any particular timeline (though likely the sooner the better to heal up from possible injury).
“I’m not in a hurry to go ahead and just beat the hell out of him,” Judge said. “But at some point, we’ll prepare his body for what he may take in the first game.”
There is resolution in realizing Judge isn’t hurrying to get his quarterback beat up, but this is very much another puzzling development emanating from Judge’s first camp.
It remains to be seen if Big Blue’s rookie coach will actually take the red jersey off the No. 6 pick of the 2019 draft. If he does and Jones comes away injured, prepare for chaos in Gotham.
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