What are the odds?
What are the chances that two high school teammates back in Philadelphia will quickly advance through the ranks and become young head coaches in the NFL in the same year?
It happened to Joe Judge and Kevin Stefanski, both 38, and on Sunday their teams will face each other as the Giants take on the Browns at MetLife Stadium.
They were freshmen together at St. Joseph’s Prep, both quarterbacks. The Judge family’s financial situation changed after Judge’s father was injured and Joe transferred to Lansdale Catholic High School in the suburbs of Philly.
“It’s really cool,” Stefanski said on Wednesday. “I’ve been following Joe and his career. To see what he’s been able to do in college and in New England – won three Super Bowls above that – it’s just excellent. a good man. I know his family, a solid, solid family. I know his father passed away a few years ago. Just solid people, so not surprised where Joe is today. “
Stefanski is the son of Ed Stefanski, the former 76ers general manager who was also a member of the Nets front office in the early 2000s. He almost came to the Giants in 2018 because newly hired head coach Pat Shurmur wanted to take Stefanski away from the Vikings and make him the Giants offensive coordinator. The Vikings blocked the move.
Stefanski at St. Joseph’s was teammates on the varsity team with Jimmy Judge, Joe’s older brother.
“As you know, Joe is a great man,” Stefanski said. His father was a big man. His brother was a big squeeze for us. Just a very physical, strong player. I know he had a great career there at Lansdale Catholic. He was not surprisingly a tough player, and I think you see how he coaches and that’s who Joe is. “
Freddie Kitchens, the Giants ‘tight coaches, lasted one season as the Browns’ head coach. He went 6-10 in 2019, with Odell Beckham Jr. played all 16 games. When the two teams came together for a mega deal, the Giants pushed for the safety of Jabrill Peppers – a Browns 2017 first-round draft pick. Kitchens was the offensive coordinator in 2018 when Peppers was in Cleveland.
Asked about his view of the business, Kitchens said: “My opinions are just my opinions. But I’m glad we have Pep here. ”
LB Blake Martinez missed practice time last week with a back problem and was able to play 74 of 79 defensive snaps in the loss against the Cardinals. That heavy workload wasn’t debilitating for Martinez, as he was a full-fledged participant in Wednesday’s full-pad workout.
“I think he has little bumps and bruises like everyone else,” Judge said. “When I get out of the game, I think it’s all positive. ”
G Kevin Zeitler (shoulder) was limited in practice. Rookie CB Darnay Holmes (knee) did not train; he worked on the side with sneakers. Holmes missed last week’s game.
DB Adrian Colbert was assigned to return to practice from the injured reserve. If he can get back into games, Colbert will play a role on special teams. He could take the roster position opened Monday when DB Brandon Williams was disbanded.