The apples don't fall far from Bill Belichick's coaching tree.
Many of Belichick's former New England Patriots assistants have tried to take the head coach's best practices with them to their new destinations, and New York Giants head coach Joe Judge apparently is keeping that tradition alive by lifting a page directly from the Belichick playbook.
The Giants hit the practice field Monday at training camp without names on the backs of their jerseys, a tactic Belichick long has deployed in New England. Here's Judge's explanation for removing players' names from their jerseys, via SNY.tv:
"To me, it’s important to know who the players are on the field by their body type and how they move, more so than having to see a name plate to identify your teammate.
"We should know each other as coaches and players by how we move and the way we carry ourselves."
Belichick actually used to go a step further by having Patriots players practice without jersey numbers until the NFL made practice numbers mandatory in 2016.
Belichick still reinforces a "no player is above the team" culture by giving incoming skill players non-traditional numbers -- N'Keal Harry wore No. 50 as a rookie during training camp last summer, for example -- and Judge appears intent on creating a similar culture in New York.
Few Belichick disciples have had success bringing elements of "The Patriot Way" elsewhere -- Matt Patricia has gone 9-22-1 as head coach of the Lions and drawn criticism from former Detroit players -- but Judge apparently is undeterred by history as he aims to turn the Giants around after their 4-12 campaign last season.