Giants quarterback Daniel Jones before being replaced by quarterback Colt...

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones before being replaced by quarterback Colt McCoy in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 13. Credit: Getty Images / Mike Stobe

Joe Judge has caught grief – some of the first in his short tenure as head coach of the Giants – for his plan to play Daniel Jones on Sunday against the Browns even if the quarterback has the same limitations which hampered him and the entire offense in the previous week’s loss to the Cardinals.

The reason for the objections is that no one wants to see that sputtering style of play with Jones unable to avoid pressures or create gains as a runner, especially not in a game that may be so important in the race for the NFC East title as it winds down to its final weeks.

With the playoffs on the line, it would be a shame to have the entire team hamstrung by Jones’ hamstring.

The reality of the situation is that it probably won’t be the case that Jones plays with those same confinements to his game, some of which were physical barriers and others imposed by him and the coaching staff. He’ll have had one more week of rehab and recovery on the muscle by the time he faces the Browns, one more week to build confidence and knowledge in what he can and can’t do. Assuming he has no setbacks or other significant injuries – which would change the equation Judge presented and likely force the team to turn to backup Colt McCoy – Jones’ condition should improve.

As quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski said of his star pupil’s prognosis on Tuesday: "I hope it gets better."

That’s the game plan. Hope it gets better.

Because no, the Giants cannot be successful with the Jones who played against the Cardinals, and they know it. Asked if Jones essentially playing on one leg was the cliched equivalent of having him play with one arm tied behind his back, Schuplinski agreed.

"That’s probably fair, to an extent," he said. "[Moving with the football] is one of the better things he does, that’s what makes him who he is. I can think of a couple of plays off the top of my head where he kind of broke out and got out and you could tell he wanted to run but he had to be a little bit smart with it. He threw one away and did what he had to do. Yeah, he was certainly limited."

Not all of that was because he physically could not do it. Some of it was that he was prevented from doing it.

"He was trying to be smart with himself and we were trying to be smart too with not opening up too much on that," Schuplinski said of the rollouts, read-options and other elements of the game that were scrapped, not to mention the instinctive plays that never materialized. "It probably was a little bit of him being smart and also us telling him: ‘Let’s not go too crazy. Don’t go too far and open this up. Let’s take what you can and move on and try to throw it away if you have to.'"

Assuming Jones’ condition is improved by Sunday, those restrictions certainly will be eased.

"We’re looking at it as we want him to play, he wants to play, but we’ve also got to be smart with him," Schuplinski said. "We felt like it was a situation [last week] where the risk was OK enough that he could go out there and play and not re-injure it that bad. Certainly, he had to be limited in what he did. But we’ll re-evaluate it again this week and see where he is [Wednesday] in practice."

Added Schuplinski: "I’m assuming this process is going to be pretty constant moving forward."

As long as the healing is, too, then having Jones on the field will be the right call to make.

Notes & quotes: The Giants watched Monday night’s thrilling 47-42 game between the Browns and Ravens with great interest since it featured their next two opponents. Inside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer said he was texting with defensive captain Blake Martinez during the game. "He’d tell me something about [the Browns], he was like, ‘Yeah, this is Minnesota all over again,’" Sherrer said on Tuesday. Martinez faced Kevin Stefanski’s offense in Minnesota when he played in Green Bay. "[Martinez] does have some history with it, and I said, ‘Well, go get your notes out’" . . . Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence said he was entertained by the game, and enjoys most high-scoring games like that. "Only when it’s not against our defense," he said.

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