Joe Judge will be going up against a familiar face in Tom Brady next Monday.
Once co-workers; now opponents.
Giants head coach Joe Judge and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady found great success alongside one another in Foxborough. The pair of individuals won a trio of Super Bowls together during Judge’s tenure as the Patriots special teams assistant/coordinator (2012-19).
But things change; people move on.
The second-year head coach and future Hall of Fame quarterback now reside in places of employment outside of Boston and will be facing each other for the second time in two years next Monday night.
Few people have earned the privilege of working alongside the GOAT as much as Judge did and seeing first-hand what truly stands out about the seven-time champion.
For Judge, a crucial mental quality of Brady’s is something he recognizes.
“The thing Tom’s always been very committed to when you just watch him on tape…he is so committed to being patient within the game plan…Tom stays so committed to just moving the sticks very, very patiently on you,” Judge explained to the media prior to Wednesday’s practice. “He’ll hand it off. He’ll hit the screen. He’ll hit a checkdown and then when you give him the opportunity to push it down the field, he’ll take it.”
“He’s moving as well now as ever,” Big Blue’s head coach added. “He throws as accurate a ball as there’s ever been in this league. He gets the ball out of his hands extremely fast. He knows where to go. He diagnoses the defense. He throws a very catchable ball, too.”
One of the ways to defeat Brady is to take advantage of his playmakers. You can’t overpower his knowledge of the game; you must instead resort to limiting the effectiveness of his supporting cast.
“Tom’s extremely intelligent and he’s seen it all. He’s going to figure it out,” Judge said. “That’s one thing right there. The thing is you’re not going to trick the guy…You can’t make it about one player. He’s obviously a great, great player, but we’ve got to line up and we have to play the players on the field, and we have to play our guys with good execution for 60 minutes. That’s really what the focus has to be. In terms of trying to make this a one-on-one game versus Tom and trying to fool him, the reality is that’s not going to happen.”
The convenient layer to this entire situation, at least for the Giants, is the recent success of Big Blue’s defensive unit. After New York allowed 44 and 38 points respectively in Weeks 5 and 6, the team let up 13 average points from Weeks 7-9.
This combines nicely with Big Blue’s extended period of rest — the Week 10 bye fell right before Buccaneers week, providing the Giants with further time to prepare for the defending Super Bowl champs and their legendary quarterback.
Brady will undoubtedly have a chip on his shoulder, however. The Bucs have lost two consecutive games, with the latest defeat coming against Washington this past Sunday.
Tom hasn’t lost three straight regular-season matchups since 2002, meaning the odds of notching a victory in the Sunshine State aren’t exactly in the Giants’ favor.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY