EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – New York Giants safety Logan Ryan left the field on Wednesday with wide receiver Darius Slayton flanked to his right.
“Defense and offense. We’re friends now,” Ryan said with a smile the day after he was in the middle of a team-wide offensive-versus-defense melee.
It has now become a punchline, the brawl at the Giants training camp on Tuesday and the consequences that followed. Coach Joe Judge ordered two 200-yard sprints (goal line to goal line to goal line) and pushups for the team.
These are the “consequences” that exist in Judge’s program. Not that his players have a problem with that.
“No, not at all,” said Sterling Shepard, Giants wide receiver. “It’s kind of a standard that we’ve set here in this building and as a team, and I think the guys have bought in and know what to expect when you step out on the field and play under a guy like Coach Judge.
“If you don’t like it, feel free to go. But that’s how we do it here, and everyone stands by it, and I’m for it. “
These are the words of the Giants’ second-round draft pick in 2016 and the longest-serving Giants. If he doesn’t have a problem with running laps and sprints as a penalty, how can younger, less savvy players mind?
If Ryan, who has won two Super Bowls and done similar things in New England, is on board with that approach, how can the rest of the defensive backcourt he leads not be? If team captains Daniel Jones and Blake Martinez feel the same way, isn’t it just natural for it to trickle into the locker room?
“Look, folks, it’s not my first time running laps in practice, not the first time I’ve been punished in practice,” Ryan said immediately after the incident. “I’ve been coached by some pretty tough coaches in my career and I don’t think Joe is reinventing the wheel by doing laps for penalties or gasser. You just have to be more disciplined.”
Player after player had Judge’s back. This does not seem to fully understand some former players and executives who deride running and pushups. Yes, it can backfire, but only if there is no full buy-in. Right now it seems to have Richter.
“If you do something that harms the team, especially during the game, it will provoke a penalty, which will have ramifications,” said Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry, another even-tempered and respected voice in New York’s locker room. “I just saw [it] because that was our consequence. “
Richter said before and said again Wednesday that he’s a bit old-fashioned. This also includes being tough with your team when necessary. But don’t let that fool you: it’s calculated. Everything is done with a specific purpose in mind, from the way he wants the players to do fumbles to the way they dress for training.
“Look, the result of something like this in a game is going to be 15-yard penalties, exclusions from the game, and fines specifically for players and coaches,” said Richter. “So for anything you do, we have to understand that there are consequences. We have to understand that it is our job to put ourselves in a position to win football matches.”
“Lessons have to be learned and we have to move forward as a team and not repeat the mistake.”
Richter called it a teaching moment. Only this time the lessons were for the entire team and not individualized as on most days.
“In terms of fights, my policy was to get guys and get them out of practice. So that’s what happened. It got the whole team involved. I got the whole team out of practice,” Judge said. “We had more ball in front of us. We still had two training phases. We had to achieve something. Those were things that took away our opportunity to prepare and robbed the players.” [of] Reps to compete. “
Point taken. There was a game in practice on Wednesday when running back Corey Clement came into secondary and Xavier McKinney safely avoided taking the free kick in a non-attacking exercise. It was exactly what McKinney hadn’t done the day before when he pounded Clement and the brawl started.
Clement immediately wiped it off and said the locker room was back to normal when they went in.
“It’s football,” said Clement on Tuesday of the hit.