TUCSON, Ariz. — Not many teams are "optimistic" their backup quarterback will be able to play, but not many teams are dealing with as many fluid pieces at the position as the Giants are these days.
The fact that they seem to have a better grasp on a time line for the return of Mike Glennon from a concussion than they do regarding the health and immediate future of Daniel Jones from a neck injury certainly adds to the uncertainty at the position.
So with Jones still not cleared for contact but looking otherwise unencumbered, Jake Fromm about a week into his Giants career, and a handful of other inexperienced and unappetizing possibilities on the fringes of the roster — including Clayton Thorson, who is back on the practice squad but isolated from team meetings in case he has to be their COVID emergency quarterback — the Giants are planning on having Glennon on the field for Sunday’s game against the Chargers.
The problem, of course, is that Glennon remains in the concussion protocol after disclosing symptoms following his start against the Dolphins on Sunday.
"We’re optimistic he is going to be fully cleared and play," Joe Judge said on Wednesday.
The plan for Glennon’s return, Judge indicated, was for him to go through some drills on Wednesday (he was a non-participant in the morning workout but was expected to take part in the afternoon session, which is closed to media viewing), be a limited non-contact participant on Thursday, and a full participant on Friday. After that, he’ll need to be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can return to playing status. Ideally, it would be almost the exact same path that Jones took when he returned from the concussion protocol following the Dallas game.
"We have nothing at this point that says he wouldn’t clear, but we’ll wait to see where that goes," Judge said.
Waiting and seeing seems to be a thing with the Giants quarterbacks these days, especially when it comes to their starter.
Judge said Jones flew to Los Angeles with Ronnie Barnes, the team’s senior vice president of medical services, to be examined by and get further opinions from neck specialist Dr. Robert Watkins. Jones will be tested later this week when the team travels to Los Angeles on Saturday but there is no sense he will be given a green light at that point, either.
"He still hasn’t been cleared for contact," Judge said. "There’s not an immediate time line. This can change quickly, it can change over time. There are some things [the doctors] are waiting for. When it comes to necks, backs, things of that nature, we’re not going to take any risks with our players."
Judge said he has not been told anything that would indicate Jones’ neck injury will be season-ending.
"Part of the caution right now is so we don’t create a long-term concern," Judge said.
Meanwhile, Fromm saw the majority of reps as the starting quarterback on Wednesday. It was the first time since he left Georgia that he held that role, having spent his rookie season and most of this one on the Bills’ practice squad (and not even practicing with them most of the time as their COVID insurance quarterback).
"I feel like a football player," he said after the experience. "It was fun."
So too, he said, would be making his NFL debut and possibly starting on Sunday.
Asked if he is nervous about the prospect he said: "No. I’m good … It’d be a dream come true."
He said his parents are in Georgia on standby waiting to see if they should make the trip to Los Angeles to see his first game. He also noted that by the time the game rolls around, he will have spent more time with the Giants in Tucson than he has with his new team at their complex in New Jersey.
As for his preparations — which have included Zoom-only meetings with quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, who is isolated from the team with COVID-19 — Fromm said they have been intense. He said he will sometimes be in meetings and hear an unfamiliar term and have to lean over to Jones and ask what it means. Jones will draw it out for him on his notebook.
"It’s a lot of learning," Fromm said. "It’s like preparing for a final test and you didn’t show up for any of the classes."