The NY Giants might need to depend on Colt McCoy to lead the offense past the Seattle Seahawks and to a fourth consecutive win Sunday
NY Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’ availability for Sunday’s game is very much in doubt after suffering a right hamstring injury last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, but the coaching staff must make key adjustments if Colt McCoy is forced to start in Jones’ place vs. the Seahawks.
Jones did not practice either Wednesday or Thursday, but according to multiple reports moved around more during individual drills Thursday. The Giants have until Sunday at kickoff to determine whether he’ll be able to play.
Head coach Joe Judge has been around the league for nine-plus seasons, and it is his calm, steady, and consistent approach amid adversity that has helped lift the Giants to the top of the NFC East standings amid a three-game winning streak following an 0-5 start.
It is that consistency that Judge is leaning on this week.
“We prepare all of our players every week to play the entire game,” Judge explained Thursday. “That’s really been our mentality from the start. Every practice squad player, every young guy, everyone who may be in a starting or a backup or situational role, we get everyone ready every week to do everything they may have to do.
“Colt’s been no different. He’s done a tremendous job all year. Now while he may have had limited reps in certain weeks, he’s done a great job of doing everything he can to get himself mentally and physically ready, whether that’s playing against our defense giving the other team’s look, or whether that’s standing behind Daniel as he runs plays and getting the mental reps.”
It’s easy to say that backup quarterbacks are ready to go into a game at a moment’s notice — and they need to be, that’s the reality of the position — but the challenge is that during the regular season, the starting quarterback takes nearly every first-team rep.
Unlike Judge, who had the benefit of being on a coaching staff that deployed Tom Brady with the New England Patriots, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett knows a thing or two about backup quarterbacks … Whether it is as a player, or a head coach preparing Tony Romo or Dak Prescott’s understudies with the Dallas Cowboys.
Garrett’s plan is to lean on that experience ahead of Sunday’s game.
“I think the biggest thing you try to do for a backup quarterback is just try to create a comfortable environment for him,” Garrett explained, careful to note that that does not include scaling back the offense or the playbook.
“You just have to be mindful of that and understand that he is going into a game that’s being played at full speed by guys who have been playing at that speed all throughout the year,” Garrett said. “He has to kind of catch up to that speed, if you will. I thought Colt did a really good job last week in the game getting comfortable and allowing us to function as an offense. I thought he handled himself really well. Depending on how this thing plays out this week, we’ll try to get him some work and some reps. If he does have to play in the ball game this week, hopefully he’ll be comfortable.”
The most recent past for McCoy is Sunday’s 6-of-10 passing performance in relief of Jones, helping the Giants hold on for a 19-17 victory over the Bengals.
If his number is called, McCoy says he’s ready.
“I just need to go out there execute and be myself,” McCoy told reporters this week. “Daniel has played at a really high level the last three weeks. I think that’s why it’s so frustrating for him. You could see the growth that he’s made. He’s playing at a really high level. I think for me, it’s communication. Working with wideouts, working with running backs. We’re doing a lot of stuff on the line.”
Giants wide receiver Golden Tate seemed to be a favorite target of McCoy, and if he’s back on the field Sunday in Seattle, the pair just might reprise last week’s glimpse at their potential together.
“I got some work with him over the summer in Austin and then during camp,” Tate said. “Then even during scout team throughout the year, so we definitely have had a connection. I don’t know what’s going to come of it in the future, but I think we’re all just working, trying to compete, to go out there and win and get our fourth straight win.”
That will be no easy task, but the Giants might need to bank on McCoy being up for it.