Thus far, the Giants have rarely used their indoor field house to practice, even in the worst weather conditions, such as the big snowstorm that dumped up to a foot on the northern New Hersey area.
There’s a reason for that, and it’s not just the fact that head coach Joe Judge believes in practicing in the elements.
That reason, Judge revealed, is that most of the indoor field house has been converted into meeting space to allow the players and coaches to spread out throughout the day to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines.
What the Giants have been doing when the weather outside has been ugly, and the grass fields at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center have been unusable is working out on the MetLife Stadium field, which is usually kept covered when it's not in use and which, of course, is an artificial surface.
Making Up for Lost Time
With the Giants losing a day of on-field work Thursday, head coach Joe Judge has adjusted the team’s practice schedule.
“Our plan right now is to kind of have a hybrid day (Thursday) where it’s a little bit mixed with a Thursday and a Friday of what we need to get on the field,” Judge said.
“Saturday morning, we’ll make sure we come in, we’ll be on the field for a walkthrough for about an hour. We’ll kind of treat this the same way we would like the Philly game on Thursday night, where we had walkthroughs throughout the week for about an hour at a time on the grass. What we’ll be able to do is come in Saturday night at the hotel is review a little bit of tape. Have some night before meetings.”
With kickoff scheduled for Sunday night, the Giants will also get in a little extra time on Sunday morning.
“On Sunday morning, because you have the extra time, we can do what we call the hotel walkthrough. That’s offense walking through the play sheet,” Judge said. “Defense walking through some adjustments, talking through some variables that may come up in the game. This game being flexed really gave us some extra time to really build in.”
How the Giants Have Been Controlling Crowds Within Their Building
One of the challenges of an NFL team is controlling the flow of foot traffic through the building and into the locker room, but Judge gave some insight into how he’s structured the daily schedules to ensure the Giants don’t run into any clusters.
“We do a good job anytime we have any kind of a walkthrough on our feet, we’re masked and with those clear shields over top for extra protection. We make sure that we just keep our distance throughout the day,” he said.
“We segment time when players are available to use the locker room. We make sure we structure meetings that there’s an even flow of guys that go into the cafeteria to grab food. We keep small groups in the weight room. We make sure we monitor who’s in the training room at all times. We just make sure we don’t overpopulate areas.”
The Giants haven’t exactly been able to avoid the COVID-19 virus—they’ve had guard Will Hernandez, receiver Dante Pettis, tackle Matt Peart, tight end Kaden Smith, and kicker Graham Gano test positive for the virus since the season began.
But they also haven’t found themselves with a widescale outbreak similar to what Baltimore and Tennessee experienced this year, thanks in part to the players and coaches’ diligence in following protocols and Judge’s flexibility in structuring schedules.
“One thing we’ve been told continuously throughout this whole process from the league is it’s all about spacing and avoiding crowds, and we’ve made an emphasis this entire year on doing that. Whether it’s in the meetings, we make sure that everything is set up accordingly.
“Throughout practice, we’re constantly moving around and keeping guys spread out. The players that are not involved with that play at that time that may be out, we make sure the position groups are spread out and watching. We just try to keep everybody moving as much as continuously possible to avoid these longstanding contacts.”
Joe Webb Update
With things looking very doubtful for starting quarterback Daniel Jones to play Sunday, the expectation is that Colt McCoy will get the start and be backed up by Clayton Thorsen, who will be elevated off the practice squad.
But what about Joe Webb, whom the Giants signed a few weeks ago to their practice squad? Head coach Joe Judge said that given Webb’s experience at quarterback, he would be in the mix if the Giants needed depth and felt like he was the best solution.
“I think his experience in the past of playing quarterback would kind of put him in that category. He’s meeting right now in three different meeting rooms. Two on offense and special teams. He’s a guy that’s got some versatility. We’ll use Joe wherever available,” Judge said.
However, Judge admitted that Webb hasn’t’ been getting many reps at quarterback this week in practice given the situation.
“We’re trying to manage reps between Daniel, Colt and Thorson. There hasn’t been a lot right now for Webb. That would probably be strictly more of an emergency role. There have been some other guys on our roster we worked throughout training camp and the season that may fit that emergency role a little bit better because of their knowledge of the offense and their experience here in what we would do with that emergency quarterback package,” Judge said.
Presumably, he was speaking about Alex Tanney, the Giants’ emergency COVID-19 quarterback, and who has had his involvement with the team limited to just video conference meetings.