Daniel Jones did not step on the practice field on Wednesday, bringing Colt McCoy one step closer to being the Giants’ starting quarterback on Sunday.
Jones, sidelined with a hamstring strain he suffered in the win over the Bengals, said he was in the training room "doing treatment and certain exercises just to try to help it heal" while the rest of the squad was going through their drills and installations outside.
Earlier in the day, Joe Judge had expressed some optimism that Jones might be able to join them in the workout, possibly even take a few reps with the first-team offense. "We’ll kind of see what he’s able to do, and that will really help us plan out more (Thursday) and Friday going forward," Judge said.
With him able to do, well, nothing at all, it all but shuts the door on him returning for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.
"I certainly want to play and want to be out there and I’m doing everything I can to get out there," Jones said. "How I recover depends on what I do day-to-day and that’s where my focus is . . . My approach has always been to try to get back as soon as possible."
With Jones tending to his hamstring and that process, Wednesday was the first time McCoy was able to grab the reins of the first-team offense in a practice since a smattering of snaps in training camp. He took the majority of the snaps – Judge said practice squad quarterback Clayton Thorson got some work in that capacity as well – and began to make his imprint on the gameplan and the schemes.
"I just need to go out there and execute and just be myself," McCoy said. "For me it’s communication, working with wideouts, working with running backs, we’re doing a lot of stuff on the line. Who knows what we’ll do this week but I’ll just be prepared. That’s the name of the game. That’s why the Giants brought me here. That’s the expectation is if your number is called, whether it’s quarterback, receiver, on defense, you have to step up."
McCoy, 34, has been in the NFL since 2010, so he has plenty of experience to draw from. But he has started just one game since 2018 and only three since 2014. McCoy admitted that because he was hurt last season, recovering from a leg fracture, 2019 "felt like many years." He also said he felt "rusty" when he came in to relieve Jones on Sunday.
The other part of McCoy’s career is that it has not been very successful. He left Texas as one of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history but in the NFL he’s posted a record of 7-21 as a starter. Part of that is because he has played for some very bad teams in Cleveland and Washington.
McCoy said he does not think of himself as a liability. "You can’t look at yourself that way," he said. Nor does he dwell on the misery he has gone through with other teams. "I choose to look forward and not look backward," he said. "A lot of the things that have happened to me in the past have been good learning experiences, there are a lot of valuable things I can take from my career so far."
Judge said McCoy has a lot of the same qualities as Jones.
"You can see how competitive this guy is," he said of McCoy. "He’s got a lot of instincts, a lot of savvy. He draws from his experience. He’s a tough dude, he’s mentally tough, he’s physically tough. He’s a guy that’s very well respected on this team, in the locker room and on the field. The guys really like Colt, they rally around him just like they do Daniel."
Judge added that when it comes to quarterbacks, one of the characteristics he looks for is huddle presence.
"I always talk about how you want a quarterback who is going to step in the huddle with 10 sets of eyes looking at him knowing this guy is going to give them the answer," Judge said. "I think Colt is that guy."
It sure seems like he will be on Sunday.