For the first time since the players began arriving for training camp in mid-July, the Giants are hitting the road.
They’re going to Chicago on Saturday for their first trip in the time of coronavirus, and while it is a relatively short flight and a quick stayover it is requiring a lot more planning and coordination than just about any road game in recent Giants history. Not since they played in London in 2017 has an itinerary been so microscopically planned.
"It’s a little bit more in terms of just fitting the schedule to make sure with the testing, the boarding the busses, getting on the plane, that’s really kind of the small things that factor in," Joe Judge said on Thursday. "I think our guys are used to just traveling for football games, whether it be college or previous years in the NFL. Right now it’s . . . busing, planes, how you get your food on the plane, little things like that that people don’t always calculate."
There’s even some biology involved.
"One of the factors that I’m going to have to talk to the team about is we’re obviously wearing masks on the plane," Judge said. "Anytime you have a mask on, it slows down your hydration. Also when you’re on the plane, you naturally dehydrate from the air pressure and the way it affects the cells and the moisture in your cells. We need to make sure we do a really good job with hydrating on the plane, even though we have masks on. We have to be conscious of that."
Most of the rules of the road are set by the NFL, so the Giants have little to do but enforce them. They include a near lockdown in the team hotel, limits on who goes where, and even a strict headcount on the number of team staffers who can attend the contest.
While this is the team’s first actual trip, Judge said having a Monday night home game in Week 1 helped set expectations for the team.
"We had to stay in a hotel due to protocols the entire day on Monday," Judge said. "That actually simulated a little bit of a road trip feel for us because once we came here for meetings, that kind of simulated the travel part of it. We’re in the hotel all night together doing meetings and hanging out. Then the next day, we’re there together doing walkthroughs. Really the home game last week kind of prepped us a little bit for the away week because of the new rules."
While the experience will be new, Judge said he does not expect any severe obstacles that will affect the team’s play.
"I love these early games," he said. "I like waking up on the road and just getting up and going to play, getting out there and going to see the opponent. I think we’re going to be fine on that."
Notes & quotes: Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said he would like to see Dion Lewis return more kickoffs after taking a touchback on all of his chances Monday night. "We talked about that," McGaughey said. "You just want to make sure everything gets off and running and it’s just the game management part of it, being smart in how we’re handling it." . . . WR Golden Tate (hamstring) was limited in practice on Thursday. So too was LB Carter Coughlin (hamstring) and DB Adrian Colbert (quad).