Giants head coach Joe Judge has made adjusting on the fly into an art form this season thanks to him always being several steps ahead and n having backup plans on top of backup plans in the event the COVID-19 virus were to force any changes.
All that planning has left the Giants going to tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens as their play-caller against the Cleveland Browns Sunday night after offensive coordinator Jason Garrett tested positive for the virus.
“We've actually had a number of coaches call plays in practice, both for their own development, as well as for our development as a team to make sure that we have people in place to call these,” Judge said.
“We make sure that we talk continuously throughout the week, not only what we're calling, but why we're calling it, so we understand situationally how the game plan has to unfold on the grass, why we're in certain situations, certain calls. We don't want to play Battleship football where we're just calling plays and hoping we hit something.”
If there’s one thing this latest curveball has thrown at the Giants that Judge may not be able to overcome, it’s the status of ailing starting quarterback Daniel Jones.
Judge had planned to use the week of practice to evaluate Jones’s mobility as the quarterback deals with a right hamstring strain and a left ankle sprain, the latter injury suffered last weekend.
But with losing one day of practice, Judge is hoping that the extra time Jones gets to rest physically combined with the treatment he was able to get earlier in the day will help.
“I was encouraged with how he moved around yesterday in practice--how he threw the ball, how he was in the pocket," Judge said. “That being said, we'll have to see him in really a faster tempo (Friday). I'd say obviously with two injuries, it's a little bit different situation than it was just last week, but he’s making progress.”
With a practice day lost, Judge said he’s planning to run a hybrid practice that will combine some of what they were supposed to do Thursday with their usual Friday installs.
And should anything else should pop up unexpectedly, Judge will be ready to adapt on the fly.
“I think we always make an emphasis on thriving and adversity,” he said. “As I said, a few weeks ago, it's ‘adapt or die.’ Something happens, we just keep moving on. And what's important right now is that we get all the players prepared to play Sunday night.”