Mike Glennon said it was nice to be at practice on Wednesday and actually, you know, practice.
"It was great to get out there and take snaps from Billy [Price] and make calls and do all that as opposed to standing in the background watching and kind of taking mental reps," he said after the workout. "Doing actual things."
Too bad no one really noticed. Because even though Glennon was running the offense, all eyes were on the team’s true starting quarterback, Daniel Jones. He remains in the concussion protocol and was listed as a non-participant in the practice, but just about everyone on and near the field was looking for hints about his progress just three days after he was so wobbly from a helmet-to-helmet hit that he needed a cart to carry him from the playing surface at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Jones was supposed to be just an observer at practice, but there he was, in full pads and a helmet, throwing warm-up passes before the session officially began, doing running and agility drills with trainers on a side field once the workout actually commenced, and even going through his typical Wednesday routine of a post-practice summit with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
Unlike his scary departure from the field on Sunday, Jones walked off the field Wednesday smiling and chatting and with the purposeful stride of a quarterback who is thinking about playing on Sunday against the Rams. He’s also had his typical involvement in team and position meetings.
There are still plenty of hurdles to overcome and steps remaining in the NFL concussion protocol, including a green light from an independent neurologist, but coach Joe Judge said if Jones is medically cleared in time to play he could be activated on Sunday. Even if he does not practice all week.
"It would be an option," Judge said. "I would not rule that out."
It’s not a sure thing, either.
"We’re fully preparing for both quarterbacks," Judge said. "I’m going to wait on all the deadlines and when [Jones] can be on the field or not based on when he gets cleared, but right now he is moving along with the trainers and the medical process."
Jones is apparently progressing so quickly he is ahead of the information Judge is receiving. The quarterback walked out onto the practice field during Judge’s media availability, prompting a question about what he is capable of and allowed to be doing.
"He can walk," Judge smiled, noting that Jones would be limited to observing practice.
When it was pointed out to him that Jones was in pads, Judge could only squint out to see that for himself and shrug.
As for Glennon, he’s going through his own process of preparing for his first start with the Giants while knowing it might not actually happen. At least not this week.
"I’m confident in myself and confident in the guys around me," he said.
They are working toward finding that confidence in him, just in case they need to have it.
"Mike will come in and do his thing if he has to," said wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who is expected to return against the Rams after missing two games because of a hamstring injury. "I’ll spend this week getting comfortable with him . . . Put the ball somewhere where I can catch it, then it’s all good."
Glennon, who started 27 games in his first seven NFL seasons, said the game in Dallas was only the second time in his career that he’s had to jump into a game to replace an injured starter. This week, he’s the starting quarterback until told otherwise, which he said is a completely new situation for him.
"I’m here to do the best in any role that I can," Glennon said. "Whether that’s supporting Daniel, going out to play, whatever it is, I’ll do it to the best of my ability."
And if he is running the offense on Sunday like he was on Wednesday, it’s a good bet more people will be watching him a lot more closely.
There are five steps, including the final approval of an independent neurologist, that must be completed for a player to traverse the NFL’s concussion protocol, which was first implemented in 2011. Based on what he was seen doing on the field Wednesday, Daniel Jones appears to be about halfway through the process and could potentially be practicing with the team in some capacity by the end of the week.
The steps begin with rest until symptoms dissipate followed by aerobic exercise without a return of symptoms and then football-specific exercises without the return of symptoms. Jones seemed to be doing a mix of the two on Wednesday, working with trainers on the side during the Giants’ practice but also throwing passes in pre-practice warmups (which may or may not have been prescribed).
The next steps will be participating in team drills and practices while wearing a non-contact jersey — which Jones and all Giants quarterbacks wear anyway — followed by clearance for full activity from the Giants' medical staff and the outside specialist.