Put on your tin foil hat: Here are 7 conspiracy theories!
By Zack Rosenblatt from NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
As Joe Judge walked away from a group of Giants reporters at the NFL Combine on Tuesday, one of them provided the coach with a simple task: Say “Daniel.” The idea: Acknowledge the existence of Daniel Jones. Say his name for the first time, publicly.
Judge has yet to publicly even acknowledge Jones since being hired in January, and that continued at the Combine. This dates back to Jan. 8, the day he was officially hired.
At his introductory press conference a few days later, he wouldn’t answer any Jones-centric questions, saying that “I don’t want to get into any analysis of any player right now specifically.”
At the Senior Bowl, Judge also refused to talk about Jones
At Eli Manning’s retirement press conference, Judge declined to answer a question posed about how Jones’ year with Manning might’ve helped the young quarterback’s development. His response: “I’m not going to speak on anything projecting into the future. This is Eli’s day. I think it’s very important to keep the focus on Eli.”
Tuesday, Judge was given more than a few opportunities to acknowledge his new quarterback, to commit to him as the team’s starter, to even say his name.
He, respectfully, declined. Again. And again. And again
So, why won’t he talk about Jones? Why won’t he even say “Daniel” or “Jones”? Put on your tin foil hat. It’s time for some conspiracy theories (and only some of them are serious).
1. He doesn’t actually know who Daniel Jones is: The Patriots played the Giants last year, and there were hundreds of eye witnesses placing both Judge and Jones at Manning’s introductory press conference. Maybe Judge has a specific form of amnesia where he only forgets the names of his quarterbacks when asked about them? Has anyone asked him about Tom Brady lately?
2. He doesn’t like Daniel Jones as his quarterback, and the Giants aren’t committed to him long-term: It’s important to note that Pat Shurmur played a key role in both the selection of Jones and the decision to name him the starter early last season. Almost Shurmur’s entire staff was fired to make way for Judge, and general manager Dave Gettleman — also involved with picking Jones — is on the hot seat.
Judge didn’t pick Jones, so he might not be as attached to him as others in the organization. He was also given the chance to dispel this specific conspiracy theory, and chose not to completely do that, saying “I never in any way, shape or form said that.”
After a follow-up pointing out the perception of his comments, he added: “I understand and respect the outside perspective. What’s important to me is the guys inside that building understand why I’m doing things and that I have their best interests at heart.”
3. He was bullied by a guy named Daniel Jones as a kid. He doesn’t want to give up his lunch money. Not again.
4. He has his eye on a quarterback other than Daniel Jones: Old pal Tom Brady is a free agent. Maybe he fancies Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa. Or Trevor Lawrence next year. Or someone else. Or not.
5. He made a bet with Bill Belichick: “How long do you think I can go without saying my quarterback’s name?”
“Two months, tops.”
6. Maybe he REALLY likes Alex Tanney: One of the biggest points from Gettleman and Judge on Tuesday was that the Giants roster is entering 2020 with a clean slate. Judge pointed to an empty white board behind him and said “that’s our depth chart.”
Alex Tanney is the only other quarterback on the roster. Maybe 2020 will be the Year of Tanney.
7. He means what he says: “I want to be clear: I’m not trying to be deceiving,” Judge said. “But the way I answer certain questions, I want you to understand that I’m always doing what I can to protect the team. That’s important. I gotta protect the players.”
Maybe Judge’s heart is in the right place. He wants to protect his players.
But … what exactly is he protecting them from by refusing to even acknowledge the existence of a quarterback the Giants drafted sixth overall last year? It wouldn’t take analytics to understand even two simple facts about this team: 1. Jones is the team’s quarterback or 2. Saquon Barkley is the team’s running back.
Judge hasn’t spoken Barkley’s name, either.
Anyway, wouldn’t it be worse for Judge to create a perception that Jones isn’t his quarterback rather than simply accepting that he is a person that exists on the Giants?
Like it or not, Judge’s actions — or silence, rather — will spur conspiracy theories and speculation.
“I want you to understand,” Judge said. “Every one of our players is going to come here with a blank slate. I’m not going to establish any kind of status or hierarchy with the individual players or position groups by spending a month talking about individuals.”
Here’s the reality: The quarterback of the New York Giants is always going to be at the forefront of the conversation.
His name is Daniel Jones, by the way.