At the start of the season, Giants head coach Joe Judge didn't plan to have members of the practice squad remain isolated from the rest of the team in the event the COVID-19 affected a position group case with the Denver Broncos last weekend.
Now with the stakes as high as ever, Judge seems to be leaning toward a change of heart.
"Obviously, what happened with the Broncos this week, I think every team in the league had similar conversations," Judge said.
"Considering in the future, not only just the quarterback position but several key positions throughout the team, is it worth keeping those guys isolated and having them Zoom in for the meetings? That's definitely something we're discussing right now."
But if Judge were to go in that direction, he might not want to go all the way.
"At some point, they have to be in an individual period standing next to each other, throwing balls, catching balls," he said. "They have to be in a team setting where it’s 11 on 11. You can only do so much for so long, but everything that we can do we are doing.
Emerald City Travel
The Giants' trip to Seattle, Washington--the Emerald City--will see the team mirror its travel itinerary from its Week 4 jaunt to Los Angeles to face the Rams.
To recap, the Giants left for the West Coast early on Saturday morning instead of Saturday afternoon. They then held a walkthrough at a local high school field and finished the day with meetings.
Instead of flying home after the game, Judge kept the team out on the West Coast to get the proper rest. On Monday, they flew home around lunchtime Pacific Standard Time, arriving back on the East Coast by the early evening.
"We talked to the captains and some of the older players when we got back from L.A," Judge said. "I wanted immediate feedback on what they thought about it. The immediate feedback tied into also the next week. It really is a week-long process."
For Judge, this travel schedule also serves as a strategy to ensure that players get the optimal amount of rest and stay in their typical sleep schedules.
"What we found last time that helped more than anything, instead of taking kind of almost that red-eye type of flight coming back," Judge said. "You are worn down. You're tired. You get a short night of sleep Sunday into Monday. You're tired on Monday, and it catches up to you on Tuesday. By the time you hit Thursday, you get that reciprocal wear and tear on your body where it sets you back a little bit.
"We're actually going to get home a little bit earlier this time, we're going to leave a little earlier. We'll get everyone home, get a good night's sleep. Wake up fresh on Tuesday and get rolling forward. It worked out well for us last time, so we're going to use the same schedule for the most part."
A Tough Cookie Ahead
Speaking of Seattle, the Seahawks will be the first team in a four-game stretch the Giants will face with a winning record.
The Seahawks boast an MVP candidate in quarterback Russell Wilson and one of the most potent overall offenses in the NFL, averaging 400 total yards and 31.8 points per game this season entering its Week 12 game against the Eagles.
The Giants' defense, which has been the team's undenounced strength so far this year, will have its work cut out for it.
"My main concern is the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson and the threat they pose. Obviously, his resume speaks for itself," said safety Jabrill Peppers.
"He's having a hell of a year. A lot of guys are starting to emerge for him. He has a lot of weapons over there. We definitely have to be on our p's and q's. Play sound, discipline football and go up there and do what we do."
As with all challenges, the game is also a significant opportunity for the Giants. It is their chance to earn a signature win for Judge and establish itself as not just a contender in the NFC East but a legitimate playoff challenger trending in the right direction as an organization.
"I just think we have to beat whoever we play," Peppers said. "We don't really care about the record. Whoever we see that Sunday or whenever the gameday is, that's our mindset. Try to go in there and play the best ball we can."
Besides not having anything definite on the status of quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring), Judge seemed equally uncertain about the status of outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell, who suffered a calf injury last week.
"Fackrell has the lower leg injury right there. We’re going to wait and see how he looks also later in the week," he said. "Again, this first day up, everyone is sore, everyone is tight. We’ll see how it looks come Wednesday and Thursday."
As for special teams ace Nate Ebner, Judge said, "Ebner looks like he’s going to rebound pretty fast. One thing being around Nate for a long time is he’s kind of like the girl who has eight kids and can tell you she’s pregnant before she’s taken a test. He kind of knows what’s going on with his body."
Judge added, "Walking off at halftime, he was able to kind of relay to me what the injury was kind of similar to and what he was thinking about it. Sure enough, that’s exactly what was confirmed by the doctors. I’ve been around that guy for a long time. He’ll do everything he can to get back this Sunday."
(Additional reporting by Patricia Traina.)
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