These giants have a chip on their shoulder pads


It was only minutes before the biggest scrum in Giants training camp in recent memory broke, before Evan Engram hit back for a jab from Jabrill Peppers on running back Corey Clement, then Logan Ryan hits Engram from behind to precipitate a crash that drew everyone, including quarterback Daniel Jones, into midfield.

Osi Umenyiora, who has seen his fair share of training camp fights during his illustrious career with the Giants, has spoken of how much he enjoys fighting on Joe Judge’s side. How the Giants embraced Judge’s personality as Umenyiora and his teammates have already embraced Tom Coughlin’s personality and turned him into Super Bowl championships in 2007 and 2011.

“Looking at the team last year, one thing I came out of was that they fought to the end,” said Umenyiora, who the judge asked to address the team after Monday’s practice, alongside former teammates Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka. Umenyiora returned to watch Tuesday’s practice. “They played with a lot of heart. They played to the end. Nowadays it’s a very difficult thing to do. It’s very easy to stop, to stop nowadays. The fact that ‘they didn’t do it [to quit] reminded me of a certain coach we played for. ”

Umenyiora, of course, was referring to the fight the Giants showed against their opponents last year, not between them, as was the case on Tuesday. But the passion was the same, and that’s why the former passing star believes this team has something special that will eventually bring the Giants back to greatness. Maybe not this year, maybe not even the next few years. But he believes it will happen.

And the dynamics of what happened on Tuesday only reinforce that belief. It’s not just the intensity of the players, it’s Judge’s furious reaction to what he saw as an unacceptable violation of that overflowing passion in unruly play that can cost them games. The judge blew his whistle furiously as the group in midfield grew, with his quarterback in the middle and at one point at the bottom of the stack.

And then Judge yelled at them, using as many curses per capita as Coughlin or Bill Parcells or any other hard-hitting school coach. He ordered them to go to the goal line at the other end of the field, gave them two minutes of gas, then made them do 30 push-ups. Then more gas. And more push-ups. As exhausted players gathered around him towards the end of their first padded training camp workout, he lambasted them for their behavior.

What he didn’t do was berate them for their competitiveness.

“The team will adopt the personality of the coach, and I feel like we have adopted the personality of Coughlin,” said Umenyiora. “From my understanding of Coach Judge, he’s that kind of person, and they played that way last year. I told the team that if they keep doing it, they would be a really good football team, as long as they have that mentality. They’re definitely in good hands. How long will it take them to get back to a Super Bowl, I don’t know. They’ve got this fight that they want. they showed up last year. You just don’t see teams fighting like that until the end. ”

Ryan referred to Umenyiora’s post-practice speech, reminding reporters that Giants’ championship teams – and the ones Ryan played for in New England under the guidance of Chef de Mission Bill Belichick – have a fire that sometimes crosses the line.

“Just like the great defensive linemen and the great linebackers and the great leaders of the past, don’t you think they had the daring about them? Don’t you think they had dirt on them? Ryan said. “I’ll take a team like this every day.”

But as Judge reminded his players, underlined with an invective mingled with curse words, you are never allowed to hurt your own team by hurting each other.

“We have to control our energy and our enthusiasm and our willingness to compete,” Jones said. “We have to be able to harness that and make it productive for what we’re trying to do.”

Would he be surprised to see this happen again as long as Judge is the coach?

“Yeah, I’d be pretty surprised,” he said.

Lesson learned, but passion intact.

Umenyiora knows. He hopes that this group can transfer this desire to another championship.



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