Joe Judge and the New York Giants are leading the NFC East. It’s time to consider him a member of the Coach of the Year conversation.
How does one define the Coach of the Year? How does a team that’s built to win and should be successful always takes home the hardware? Sometimes, the names that no one remembers find more success than those established.
Enter Joe Judge, the dark horse for Coach of the Year. Then again, dark horse and front-runner sure sound the same.
It was less than 10 months ago that John shocked the NFL world by hiring the former Patriots’ Special teams coordinator. To that, more people didn’t question his knowledge of the sport, but rather him.
Seriously, who is this guy?
“Now, there is a question out there that I’m sure a lot of people are asking, and that’s number one – who am I?” Judge said at his introductory press conference, according to the New York Giants team’s website.
Fourteen weeks into his first season and fans of Big Blue are seeing exactly who Judge is. Between his unorthodox practices and trust in Jason Garrett leading an offense, he built in the Belichick mode.
He’s a winner. He’s a player’s coach. More than all that, he has the Giants in the right direction, a first in what feels like over a decade.
Judge’s work has transcended the Giants’ club
Yes, New York still sits under .500 (5-7), but it’s not about how you start, rather how you finish.
The 38-year-old Judge saw his tenure begin with an 0-5 implosion. He lost his best player in Saquon Barkley in Week 2 to a torn ACL. More than anything, the offense managed to score more than 20 points once in a 37-34 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
At that point, most locker rooms would call it a season. Instead, Judge took the lumps of coal and pressed together the workings of a diamond in the rough.
Tough love can go far. It goes further with a ferocious defense.
Since Week 5, the unit has been playing their best ball, posting one of the league’s best run defenses and allowing opponents to average 96.7 yards per game.
The cream of the crop came Sunday in Seattle. The Seahawks were blindsided by the Giants’ defense, forcing two turnovers by once leading MVP Russell Wilson. And with backup wonder Colt McCoy, the offense tallied 290 yards and two scores to pull off the 17-12 upset.
That’s because of Judge and nothing else.
One look at the Giants’ misfit roster and one would wonder how anyone could win behind the offensive line and with an average secondary? That comes down to coaching, something the Giants have hit out of the Meadowlands and into Yankees Stadium.
Kevin Stefanski has the Browns sitting with their first winning record in over a decade. Brian Flores has turned Miami’s defense into one of the league’s best and is winning with a rookie quarterback. Mike Tomlin took the Steelers to an 11-0 start despite average offensive play.
All are deserving of consideration. So is Judge at this point. If the Giants keep winning, they’ll make it to the postseason for the first time since 2016.
The verdict says that’s worth a vote or two.