Regardless of whether the Giants have Daniel Jones under center Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, Giants head coach Joe Judge said don’t expect the Giants offense to look all that much different if Colt McCoy ends up running it.
“We don’t have to change the offense,” said Judge. “We can put him in there and we can run our offense. If Colt is taking the snaps, maybe there will be a few different things that (offensive coordinator) Jason (Garrett) determines are good to run with Colt, yeah, absolutely.”
Judge and quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski stressed that the game plan is designed with the opponent in mind and how to generate optimum matchup advantages for the Giants to exploit.
“I would say that we try to prepare all our guys to be ready to play and to be ready to go and understand the game plan,” Schuplinski said.
“Maybe there'll be a little bit of extra stuff with Colt just to make sure and verify on some stuff, but he's been preparing the whole time as if he's had a play.”
Still, it’s fair to wonder about how things on the micro-level will change if McCoy, who before the season was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the 27th best backup quarterback in the league, gets the start.
The first is the deep ball. Per NextGenStats, Jones has been better than average on pass attempts of 20+ yards, mainly down the middle of the field where he has a 158.3 NFL passer rating that’s head and shoulders above the league average of 89.4.
And per PFF, Jones’s 63% adjusted completion percentage on the deep ball is the best among NFL quarterbacks with 25 or more pass attempts of 20+ yards.
The Giants have been judicious about when they take their shots down the field, otherwise preferring a quicker passing game with the ball coming out of Jones' hand a lot faster. That, in turn, has helped the offensive line in holding blocks and has resulted in success for the passing game.
Jones has averaged 2.58 seconds from when the ball is snapped to a passing attempt, the ninth fasted time among 15 quarterbacks with at least 400 dropbacks. This is down from the 2.67-second average he had in the Giants' first eight games. And over the Giants' three-game winning streak, that average has dropped down even further, to an average of 2.33 seconds.
This quicker passing game is likely to remain in place for McCoy. But whereas the Giants averaged 2.45 deep pass attempts per game with Jones under center, it would not be surprising if they don't try as many if McCoy has to play for the simple reason that he isn't widely regarded as having as strong of an arm as Jones.
Another thing that could be altered if McCoy gets the start is the number (and types) of designed runs, RPOs, and zone reads run by the Giants.
Jones is currently the Giants team leader in rushing yards with 403 on 55 carries. That facet of his game has forced defenses to account for him as a potential threat to take off with the ball in his hands, especially on a zone read. That can counter against over-aggressive defensive linemen who try to come crashing in to disrupt plays in the backfield.
"Colt is a gritty dude," Judge said. "Put the ball in his hand, put him on the edge and let him run around, throw the ball from the pocket. Run some RPOs, some zone reads--there’s not much we have to change in the offense."
Judge is also filled with confidence that McCoy can get the job done if need be.
"I have a lot of confidence in Colt. The way this guy comes to work every day and prepares, and then every chance he gets on the field to compete," Judge said.
"You get to see how competitive this guy is. He's got a lot of instincts, a lot of savvy that he draws on from his experience. He's a tough dude--he's mentally tough, he's physically tough. He's a guy that's very well respected on this team, in the locker room, and on the field."
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