New York Giants Notebook | Pandemic Effects, Sentimental Value and More
The Atlanta Falcons became the fourth team in the NFL on top of the Titans, Chiefs, and Patriots to have personnel test positive for the virus since the season began.
For the Giants and head coach Joe Judge, the concerns from around the league have seeped into the meeting and locker room. As NFL teams continue to get more and more exposure to each other with each passing week, players from all around the league at risk continue to be put at higher risk of contracting the virus each day.
"You look at some of the other teams that have shut down," Judge said. "You're very conscious in terms of maybe teams you've had exposure to as opponents. I think you see some of the teams that have popped up after playing other teams with a case here, a case there."
The growing cases have also put a more severe sense of caution onto the Giants players, as they look to decrease the risk of infection as much as possible with the protocols that are within their power.
The Giants players knew what risk they were taking on when they all opted to play this season, and now they will be tested in their efforts to play through the season throughout the resurging pandemic.
"We chose this year at the beginning of the year that we were going to go through this, and we were going to make the necessary sacrifices and adjustments it was going to take to have a successful season," Judge said.
"There are going to be other things that come up. There is going to be something that happens locally and close by that we have to guard ourselves against. We just have to keep educating our players, educating our coaching staff and our support staff, and make sure we stay on it day by day."
The Giants' fake field against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, which initially yielded a successful touchdown pass but was called back for an illegal shift penalty against offensive tackle Cameron Fleming, hurts in more ways the one.
The touchdown would have made the difference for the Giants in a 37-34 loss, but beyond that, it was a wasted successful play that special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said probably won't be run again for a while.
McGaughey admitted that the Giants were saving the play for a critical moment and that once it was unveiled, teams might be on the lookout for it moving forward.
"Plays like that, you don't want to have very many… It's a one-and-done type of deal," McGaughey said. "You probably have to put it in the bank for about another year and a half before you can break it out. It is what it is."
"At the end of the day, we didn't get it done. That's the disappointing part of it. When you get a chance to make a play like that, you have to execute the play. That's really disappointing."
Last Sunday's game against Dallas served as a bit of a homecoming for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, the Cowboys head coach from 2010-19. During his time in Dallas, Garrett built many strong bonds with the Cowboys' players, coaches, and executives.
"I did get a chance to visit with some of the players, some of the coaches and other people in the organization, and I had great visits with those guys," Garrett said. "That was a fun experience for me."
It wasn't all positive sentimental value for Garrett and the Cowboys, however.
When Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a devastating ankle injury in the third quarter, Garrett had to see his former quarterback get carted off the field in tears.
Garrett has had a close relationship with Prescott since the quarterback entered the league as a fourth-round draft pick in 2016. If Garrett has learned anything about him, it's that he has the determination to come back from adversity.
"One thing I know about him, he's as tough as they come," Garrett said. "He's mentally tough, he's physically tough. The surgery seemed to have gone well."
Ryan Lewis Continues to Impress
Cornerback Ryan Lewis made his first Giants start last Sunday as the team's number-two boundary corner opposite James Bradberry.
Lewis' promotion to starter had less to do with the former undrafted free agent's talent and ability, but more to do with the Giants' current dire situation at cornerback that has seen Corey Ballentine Isaac Yiadom fail to grab and hang on to the starting job.
While Lewis had his good moments, his coverage late in the game ultimately doomed the Giants.
In the final minute of the game, he allowed two huge catches by Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup that set Dallas up for the game-winning field goal.
"I could have done a better job putting him in a better spot," said defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. "I don't hold it against him. It's just a competitive situation. He's a great player and he's got to get ready for this next one."
Despite allowing the catches, Lewis still projects to be the starter for the second week in a row. Graham suggested that Lewis must now turn his attention to face Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin in Week 6.
However, competition is still ongoing, and nothing is guaranteed for Lewis.
"I couldn't be prouder of how 'RyLew' played last weekend," Graham said. "We always say it's day to day with the competition, but Ryan did a good job on Sunday for us. Today will be the first real competitive day, to be honest with you.
"We'll see how it plays out. I want everybody on edge a little bit to have (them) competing for their spot. I think Ryan did a good job on Sunday."