X’s and O’s are on hold until the Giants are comfortable with all the other buttons on a keyboard.
The Giants and other teams with first-year head coaches will begin the virtual offseason program Monday, followed in one week by the rest of the NFL. Coaches and players will tune in remotely from computers and phones via meeting software, much like many businesses and schools operating under coronavirus restrictions.
“We’re going to start out with position meetings,” coach Joe Judge said Wednesday on a conference call from his Massachusetts home. “We’re going to take our time making sure that, first off, all of the players are sound and set up on how to use the software. Before we get into too much of the football, we’re going to make sure that everyone knows where to find all of the information.”
Gives new meaning to starting at square one.
Judge also will address the collective team for the first time Monday before turning it over to his three coordinators. Since he was hired Jan. 7, Judge has been allowed to engage only in non–football communication with players, some of whom have not been through the facility to meet him.
“There’s an important element of just getting to know the players,” Judge said, “and them getting to know us that has to take place.”
Old video was uploaded to team-issued iPads two weeks ago and the new playbook followed, but football is not Do-It-Yourself. The virtual offseason — like past OTAs — is voluntary and players cannot be penalized for skipping, though participation over the next four weeks could be more important than ever.
“What we’re dealing with right now is a lot of uncertainty, so we have to control what we have the ability to control,” Judge said. “As a staff right now, we want to make sure we get the installs in the way we want to and, whether our players get back to us this spring or not, they have a solid base on the knowledge of our program so when we start practicing competitively in training camp they have a good start.”
The offseason program will consist of classroom instruction and virtual workouts. Teams are permitted to send equipment valued at no more than $1,500 to players.
“There is no generation of players more prepared for this offseason than the ones we are going to deal with now,” Judge said. “They are very technologically savvy. They are going to have a lot of feedback and we are going to rely on them in terms of how we can improve our meetings.”