Joe Judge: Tom Brady is Still Playing at a High Level
This time last year, New York Giants head coach Joe Judge and Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady worked under the same roof for the New England Patriots, only going their separate ways after the 2019 season ended.
But almost ten months to the day when Judge, Brady, and the Patriots were last together before having their 2019 postseason campaign spoiled by the Tennessee Titans, the two men will be on the same field again, albeit on different sidelines and for other teams when the Giants host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 2.
Thus far, Brady and Judge's fortunes have gone in different directions since leaving the Patriots. The Bucs are 5-2 with Brady at the helm, good enough for first place in the NFC South, and are currently on a two-game winning streak that has seen the Bucs offense scored 83 points during that streak.
The Giants, meanwhile, are 1-6 and in the cellar of the NFC East. They are coming off a disheartening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.
Judge, who got a chance to watch Brady lead Tampa Bay to a 45-20 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, said that the future Hall of Fame quarterback looks no different from what he recalled seeing when the two were in New England.
"This guy hasn't had much dropoff. He's playing at a very high level," Judge said.
Indeed he is. Through seven games, Brady has completed 65.7% of his pass attempts for 1,910 yards. He's thrown 18 touchdowns so far, second to Russell Wilson's league-leading 22, and has just four interceptions.
"The one thing about Tom is he's a very intelligent player, he thinks ahead of the play, he's always looking for answers," Judge said. "He's been in all the situations. This guy is fluent in football."
"He continues to be great and he's going to be a tough opponent to prepare for just as he has been all these years," said Giants safety Nate Ebner, a teammate of Brady's with the Patriots from 2012-19.
"We're going to have to prepare for not just him but also a plethora of other great players and a great team."
When Brady takes the field for the Bucs, he will do so coming off his best performance of the season as well.
Last week in a winning effort over the Las Vegas Raiders, Brady completed a season-high 73.3% of his pass attempts for 369 yards, the yardage total matching his season-high set in Week 4.
Brady also tossed four touchdowns, one less than his season-high of five in that Week 4 game against the Chargers. And in posting a passer rating of 127 in last week's game, that marked the 41st team that Brady has finished a game with a passer rating of 125.0 or better.
Judge credited Brady for teaching him a lot of intricacies about the pro game.
"I learned a lot of ball from being around him," said Judge, who in his final year with Brady and the Patriots was the team's wide receivers coach in addition to being their special teams coordinator.
"How he sees through a player's perspective, things that come up in the game and how he handles it, hearing the way he picks receiver's brains throughout practice, things he may see pre-snap.
"There are fine points in coaching, but ultimately it matters how the players see it on the field, and being able to hear it through the vision through Tom had, that was really an education in itself right there."
Now Judge will be looking to use that knowledge against Brady to somehow gain the upper hand in a game the Giants would desperately like to win.