New York Giants: Joe Judge underrated compared to other rookie coaches?

New York Giants, Joe Judge
Sep 14, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants head coach Joe Judge walks on the field prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants brought on Joe Judge as their head coach this season, and have seen immediate improvements. For the first time in a number of years, the Giants are actually a competitive team in December and still have a chance to make the playoffs. It’s easy to take that for granted, but it hasn’t been the case recently – and under Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur, much of the discussion around this time of year has been about whether or not the Giants should clean house.

Those talks have receded this time, and it’s not just because Judge is a rookie head coach that’s still in his grace period. While there have been some problems this year, and while the Giants were forced to switch up their strategies after Saquon Barkley was taken out for the season, the team has ultimately played well enough that they could very well win the NFC East this year.

But is Judge getting enough credit for that?

Comparing Joe Judge to other coaches

Well, the Giants and Judge have gotten a decent amount of coverage from the media during this first season in Judge’s tenure, and Judge was one of the coaches listed in a recent Bleacher Report list on the top rookie coaches in the league.

It’s easy to argue, though, that Judge isn’t getting enough credit.

He was given a B grade, with both Kevin Stefanski and Ron Rivera being given higher grades. With the Browns having an 8-3 season so far, the A rating for Stefanski is understandable. But you have to question Judge being given a B while Rivera was given a B+, considering how the Giants have beaten Washington twice this year and hold the first place spot in the NFC East.

Furthermore, it looks like New York is a more stable team with Daniel Jones firmly in place as the starting quarterback and and a good setup emerging this season in the secondary. Judge’s pick for coordinator this season, Patrick Graham, has also immediately raised the level of the Giants defense and it looks like Graham may even be in contention for head coaching jobs next year.

Washington’s defense may be better, but considering the bad circumstances that Judge took over the Giants under, and the quick turnaround compared to two less successful predecessors, there’s a strong case to make that Judge has done the more impressive job so far.

But there’s still time left in the season, and to fully clear up the question, we might need to wait and see just which team makes it into the playoffs out of the NFC East.