Daniel Jones was itching to take the field this past Sunday. Yet, it was New York Giants head coach Joe Judge who ultimately opted against trotting out his hobbled 23-year-old perceived franchise signal-caller. Veteran Colt McCoy stepped in and stepped up in place of Jones, helping the G-Men hand the Seattle Seahawks their first home loss of the season, while simultaneously inching closer to an NFC East title.
Now, with an off week under his belt and a crucial NFC bout with the Arizona Cardinals on deck, signs are pointing towards the Giants getting their quarterback in time for a late-season playoff push.
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Daniel Jones Reportedly Expected to Play This Week
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan has reported that barring a setback, the Giants expect Jones to be under center come Sunday:
“Barring a setback, Jones is expected back from a hamstring injury this week when the Giants host the Arizona Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, Fox), according to a source close to the quarterback,” per Raanan. “That’s big for the NFC East leading Giants (5-7) with the Washington Football Team (5-7) breathing down their necks.”
As Raanan touched on, the Giants aren’t the only team in the division making waves. The Washington Football Team has rallied off three consecutive victories, including a major upset of the then-undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers this past Monday night. New York and Washington each own a record of 5-7 with four more weeks remaining in the regular season. The Giants own the tiebreaker over Washington as they’ve defeated them on two occasions this year.
In terms of what Jones could expect in his projected return to the lineup this week, the Giants will take on an Arizona team that has been spiraling, dropping three games in a row. Over that three-game skid, the Cardinals defense has allowed an average of 28.6 ppg, eighth-most in the NFL during that span.
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Jones Must Prove to Coach Judge ‘That He Can Defend Himself’
While Jones appears on track to play this week, he “will need to pass through some checkpoints,” per Raanan. Checkpoints of which include proving to the higher-ups, namely coach Judge, that he’s ready to go.
Judge notably made the call on Jones’ status a week ago as a way to “protect him [Jones] from himself.”
“Look, I had to make the decision [Sunday at Seattle] to go ahead and hold him out. He was a little disappointed because he’s a competitive guy,” Judge said of Jones. “But we have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to get on the field. We’ll see how he looks in there, and we’ll make the best decision for him going forward.”
“I had to kind of protect him from himself [Sunday],” Judge said following the victory over Seattle. “I didn’t want to put him in a position where I wasn’t 100% certain that he couldn’t defend himself on every single play.”
The added rehab time looks to have added confidence in Jones from Judge’s perspective, although the coach, who typically keeps player injuries close to his chest, has yet to commit to a decision on Jones’ status either way.
“We’re going to give him every opportunity to go on the practice field this week and show that he can defend himself on the field properly,” Judge said. “If that’s the case, then we obviously want him to play. But we’re going to make sure we do the right thing by him.”
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