No one cares that the Giants lost a starting quarterback and need to start a replacement, Colt McCoy, on Sunday in Seattle.
Oh, the Giants do, sure, and strategize day and night to come up with a plan of attack in which McCoy can survive and maybe thrive. The Seahawks care, no doubt, and are likely licking chops and affixing McCoy’s No.12 jersey to targets after dropping Carson Wentz six times on Monday night.
Around the league, who cares? Daniel Jones is a young ascendant player and his last 10 quarters have held promising signs that he is solving his turnover problems and developing into a more than capable winning quarterback. The fact that he’s sure to miss that next game, when faced with a strained right hamstring, sparks angst for Giants loyalists but hardly resonates deeply in every corner of the NFL. Shifts get injured so often that it’s almost a census exercise every week. Who is in? Who went out? The next man, as they say.
With Jones, the Giants’ task in what is now called Lumen Field would have been difficult. The Seahawks are 8-3 and lead the NFC West. They give up more yards and more points than Seattle defenses are used to allowing but continue to roll on the brilliance of Russell Wilson and the emergence of wide receiver DK Metcalf. Without Jones, the challenge is greater. There is no denying this. Impossible? No, not even with McCoy, a 34-year-old who made 28 starts in the NFL, but only three in the past five years.
Ahead of the season, Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 backup quarterbacks. Jameis Winston (Saints) was No. 1. Marcus Mariota (Raiders) was No. 2. Andy Dalton (Cowboys) was No. 3. Joe Flacco (Jets) No. 7. McCoy was No. 27.
Unfair? Not really. Still, the guy has a skill set, can pull out of his pocket, knows how to launch an attack, and, the Giants hope, avoids horrible mistakes. This is where Jason Garrett, the offensive coordinator, must make his money. The entire playbook will not be scrapped, but several pages designed specifically for Jones will need to be temporarily removed.
Last week McCoy was called up for the first time this season in the third quarter at Cincinnati and he admitted he was feeling a little rusty. His reversal of a swing pass read hot to Dion Lewis was proof of that. His pitch to Golden Tate for a first down and a side pass to Sterling Shepard for 13 yards on the second and 12 showed there was nothing wrong with McCoy’s arm. It is not a howitzer, but it is precise enough.
“One of the hardest parts about him in the game the other day and as a substitute in general is you don’t get a lot of reps with the first team running our system,” said Tuesday. quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski. “So he deserves the credit for coming in and being able to manage everything. I mean, it’s his job but he did it right. ”
McCoy will squat this week and practice all the representatives of the first team, operating the starting infraction instead of his usual role with the recon team. The work will do wonders for McCoy.
Will it go well? Most likely not. Should the players around McCoy pick up the pace and get past the X’s and O’s? The strong hypothesis is yes. Will all of this be enough to bother the Seahawks? The odds are stacked against her, but that doesn’t mean McCoy’s presence on the ground makes this mission impossible.
The last time a Giants starting quarterback was injured and a replacement called in was 17 years ago. Kerry Collins had a sprained ankle, and Jesse Palmer made his NFL debut on December 14, 2003 in New Orleans. The Giants lost 45-7. Palmer, excitable and sympathetic, said, “I had a blast.” The following year he was featured on “The Bachelor” and is currently a must see among some of my family as host of the “Holiday Baking” Championship “on The Food Network.
There was never a need for a replacement quarterback on the field during Eli Manning’s 16-year tenure. Jones’ sprained ankle last year as a rookie forced him to miss two games – the last two starts of Manning’s career – and that hamstring injury has Jones back on the board. It happens almost everywhere. It’s up to the Giants to make the most of a bad situation.