Jerry Schuplinski said he didn’t notice when Daniel Jones initially hurt his right hamstring on a 7-yard run last Sunday against the Bengals. When the quarterback handed the ball off on the next play and was limping, that was when he became aware there was something wrong. And when Jones could barely push off his back leg to make a throw on the pass after that, well . . .
"I screamed out: ‘Get loose!’ " the quarterbacks coach recalled on Tuesday.
By that time, though, Colt McCoy had already made his way to the bench to grab a football and start warming up.
"The life of a backup," Schuplinski said, "is that they don’t need you until they need you, but when they need you they really need you."
The Giants will likely be in that last stage of need on Sunday. While Jones still has the rest of the week to rehab and heal from his injury in time to face the Seahawks this week, the team is preparing for life without their starting quarterback. That means getting McCoy up to speed on leading the team in a game that pits two teams that are in first place in their respective divisions . . . even though Seattle (8-3) has twice as many wins as the Giants (4-7).
Overall, though, Schuplinski said not much will change.
"We’re sort of creatures of habit in what we do," he said. "I would say we try to prepare all of our guys to be ready to play and ready to go and understand the game plan. We hold all of our meetings together, there is not a whole lot of individual one-on-one time. Maybe there will be a little bit of extra stuff with Colt just to make sure and verify some stuff, but he’s been preparing the whole time as if he’s going to play. He just doesn’t get as many reps in practice. I don’t imagine it will change that much to be honest in terms of the daily schedule and our meetings and all that kind of stuff."
Besides, it’s not like the Giants are going from a veteran starter to an inexperienced backup. It’s actually the complete opposite.
"He’s seen a lot of football, he’s been around a lot of football," Schuplinski said. "Maybe it is a little bit easier just because he is experienced doing it, but we’ll just plug forward like we normally do."
While the rest of the world may be eye-rolling, wringing their hands, or overtly laughing at the prospect of McCoy playing depending on their perspective toward the Giants, those on the team have expressed nothing but confidence in the 34-year-old who has not won a start since 2014. Much of that comes from their having seen what no one else has for quite a while.
That would be Colt McCoy.
Because of the lack of preseason games, no public training camps, and limited media availabilities at practices, McCoy has been generally shrouded in secrecy this season. When he was on the field in camp, he looked sharp. There were times when he seemed to be outplaying Jones.
"He was good," Schuplinski said. "He had a good training camp. We were excited about that."
They’ve also watched McCoy practice as the scout-team quarterback each week.
"He has some tricks that he likes to throw at us, whether it’s his no-look passes or looking off the safety, throwing it back side," safety Jabrill Peppers said.
That doesn’t sound like the McCoy who was known more as a game manager than a Patrick Mahomes-like magician.
"It’s a lot easier to do that on the show team where there are not as many consequences as there are in a game," Schuplinski said. "But yeah, he does have that ability. He sees the field pretty well, he knows what he is looking for. Probably one of his biggest strengths is he can recognize coverages and get the ball out quickly to where he wants it to go, and sometimes that includes looking people off. He does a good job with that."
Will we see that Sunday?
Said Schuplinski: "He may have a little fun, bring a little extra on the show team, but he’ll be pretty dialed in, I think, if he has to go in there and play."
That’s the McCoy the Giants will need. Really need.