New York Giants head coach Joe Judge served as the special teams coordinator under Bill Belichick from 2015-19. And on Thursday night, it was his special teams unit that cost the team its second loss of the season.
Trailing the Giants by two points with just seconds remaining, Washington Football Team kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 48-yard field goal. But, an offsides penalty on New York defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence gave him another shot to win the game — this time from five yards closer.
Hopkins drilled the kick, bringing the final score to 30-29.
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith believes that Judge, as a special teams expert, is at blame for the loss.
“If you’re a special teams guy and you lose a game on the last play of the game because of a special teams error, I’m gonna look at you!” he said on Friday’s episode of First Take.
.@stephenasmith says the Giants’ loss is on Joe Judge.
“If you’re a special teams guy and you lose a game on the last play of the game because of a special teams error, I’m gonna look at you!” pic.twitter.com/NCySXJdO2P
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 17, 2021
Smith claimed that Lawrence’s mistake stemmed from a lack of discipline instilled by the second-year Giants head coach. Earlier this offseason though, Judge made waves around the NFL when he forced his players to run laps after penalties during training camp practices — clearly putting forth an effort to cut down on self-inflicted problems.
Tim Tebow, today’s First Take guest debater, argued that at a certain point, it’s on the players to execute.
Whether the blame lies with Judge, Lawrence or somewhere else entirely, the Giants are 0-2 to start the season for the fifth year in a row.
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