Darius Slayton had exactly the same reaction as almost everyone else when he heard the Giants new head coach was going to be Joe Judge.
"Yeah, I had not heard of him prior to the Giants hiring him," Slayton told SNY in an interview on Thursday. "But you know he's coming from a really good organization. Everybody I've heard speak about him has glowing things to say about him, so I'm sure he'll be a good guy for the job."
Like everyone else, the Giants' 23-year-old receiver is expected to take a leap of faith when it comes to his new, 38-year-old head coach - and Slayton is eager to do it heading into his second season. Speaking by phone from Los Angeles, where he was attending the Panini Rookie Closeout at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, he said he hasn't met or spoken to Judge yet, but he did listen to a little bit of his introductory press conference last week.
Slayton's big takeaway: The Giants are going to be one tough team.
"I know he talked about giving us a more physical identity as a team," Slayton said. "I think it's definitely good. I think often times in football the most physical team ends up winning the game. He's the head coach, so whatever he sees fit to get the job done, I look forward to."
One of the things Judge said was that he believed the best way to prepare for the season was with physical, full-pad practices with live tackling - at least as much as NFL rules will allow. There likely will be some players who won't be looking forward to that.
Slayton is definitely not one of them.
"Yeah, I played in the SEC, man," he said. "It ain't a 7-on-7 league down there, you know what I'm saying? I'm not foreign to that kind of football."
Slayton sounded very upbeat about his new coach and his football future, as he prepared to talk to some of the Collegiate Bowl participants about transitioning to the pros - and signing rookie cards that will be inserted into the remaining 2019 Panini card sets. But Slayton admitted "it's kind of crazy" that he'll be on to his second head coach and second offensive coordinator in his second NFL season. There's definitely a bit of uncertainty considering that under Pat Shurmur Slayton had a terrific rookie year. He made nine starts and caught 48 passes for 740 yards and eight touchdowns.
He expects things to be even better in 2020, both personally and for the Giants who finished 4-12 last year.
"We have a lot of young talent," Slayton said. "Most importantly we have a young, really talented quarterback (in Daniel Jones), which these days is probably one of the best things to have.
"So I definitely wouldn't consider us rebuilding. Even if you look at our core from last year, we had Sterling (Shepard), Saquon (Barkley) and Evan Engram, Dan, myself, Golden (Tate). I think that core right there maybe played a total of two games together (none, actually). So it's just a matter of getting everyone on field at same time and we have a chance to be very, very good."