A is for ... Adams: Former New York Jets All-Pro safety Jamal Adams is healthy and wreaking havoc for the Seattle Seahawks. Adams blitzes more than an safety in the league, roughly 22 percent of the snaps, and leads Seattle with 6.5 sacks.
“This guy is a headache for whoever he plays against right there,” said Giants coach Joe Judge. “Whether it’s making plays on tipped balls in coverage or being a rusher, both off the edge or coming off forward to stop a run in the box down low, this guy poses a number of problems you have to really account for.”
B is for ... Barkley: No, Saquon Barkley did not make a miraculous recovery that would allow him to play this weekend. He did, however, speak to media this week for the first time since his surgery to repair his torn right ACL. Barkley sounded upbeat about his recovery, and it was good to hear from him.
C is for ... Colt: Veteran backup quarterback Colt McCoy is likely to make his first start of the season on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will try to create a “comfortable environment” for McCoy if he is playing.
“I think the biggest thing you try to do for a backup quarterback is just try to create a comfortable environment for him,” Garrett said in his press conference with the media Thursday. “That’s what you’re trying to do every week for your starting quarterback. I thought Colt did a really good job last week in the game getting comfortable and allowing us to function as an offense. If he does have to play in the ball game this week, hopefully he’ll be comfortable. You look for things in his past he’s comfortable with. With you or with somebody else. Just so when that ball is snapped, it’s all internalized in him. He’s just going out there and playing football.”
Garrett said he will “customize” the offense, but not limit it.
“There’s nothing mentally or physically that Colt is not capable of doing,” Garrett said. “There’s a lot of plays in football. Let’s run the ones that our quarterback likes to run and they’re comfortable running. You’re always trying to do that regardless of who’s playing. You’re probably a little bit more sensitive to that with a backup quarterback who hasn’t had the backlog of reps that the other guys have had. I just think you’re trying to customize it. I don’t think you’re cutting it down in any way.”
Our Mark Schofield took a look at what that customized offense might look like.
D is for Daniel: It looks pretty clear that Daniel Jones is not going to play Sunday. The Giants’ quarterback is listed as “doubtful,” which means a 75 percent chance he won’t play. Judge has insisted that the Giants won’t make a final decision until they see how Jones handles the flight to Seattle, but it seems highly unlikely Jones would play. He hasn’t moved around enough this week to make anyone think it would be safe for him to do so. The smart play for the Giants is to get him as healthy as possible for the final quarter of the season.
E is for ... Empty: Lumen Field in Seattle, where the 12th man historically gives the Seahawks an advantage unlike any other home field in the NFL, will be devoid of fans because of COVID-19. Despite playing in an empty stadium all season, Seattle is 5-0 at home.
“That is a great place to play. It has a great fan base, it has great energy in that stadium, they do a tremendous job. I think the one thing that really stands out about their team without the fans is they still bring a lot of natural juice themselves,” Judge said. “Look, our message to our players is always, hey listen, when we’re on the road, it’s up to us to stand together and bring our own energy. We’re still the only 11 on the field and the same team in the locker room together. We have to go out there and we have to bring our own energy. Obviously, they’re going to have a lot of energy, they always do.”
F is for ... Fackrell: With Kyler Fackrell (calf) having gone on IR this week, the Giants have lost the top four edge defenders they started the season with. Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines are on iR. Markus Golden was traded to the Arizona Cardinals.
G is for ... Go routes: The Giants are going to see a bunch of them from DK Metcalf on Sunday.
“That’s pretty much where all his yardage comes from, on the deep throws, the nine routes. If you take that away from him, the explosive plays, I think you will do a pretty good job against him,” said James Bradberry.
H is for ... Hernandez: It was interesting to me that Will Hernandez did not start last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Let’s see if the Giants continue to ride with Shane Lemieux starting and playing more snaps than the more experienced Hernandez.
I is for ... Itinerary: The Giants will follow the same travel schedule this weekend that they used when they went to Los Angeles to face the Rams earlier this season. They will leave Saturday, stay over Sunday night in Seattle and return on Monday.
“What we found last time that helped more than anything, instead of taking kind of almost that red eye type of flight coming back. You are worn down, you’re tired. You get a short night of sleep Sunday into Monday. You’re tired on Monday, and it catches up to you on Tuesday. All of the sudden, by the time you hit Thursday, you get that reciprocal wear and tear on your body where it sets you back a little bit,” Judge said. “We saw with this, getting a good night’s sleep on Sunday, waking up fresh on Monday. Everyone got home by call it 8 o’clock. We’re actually going to get home a little bit earlier this time, we’re going to leave a little earlier. We’ll get everyone home, get a good night’s sleep. Wake up fresh on Tuesday and get rolling forward. It worked out well for us last time, so we’re going to use the same schedule for the most part.”
J is for ... Jabrill: Jabrill Peppers has been increasingly impactful for the Giants defense. The team’s defensive backs coach, Jerome Henderson, said he has been trying to get the excitable Peppers to slow down.
“The thing for me with Jabrill is, at times, getting him to slow down,” Henderson said. “He is very aggressive and he’s one that you’re never going to have to go push into a fight. As a matter of fact, it’s often the opposite of that. With me, it’s just, ‘Let it happen, Jabrill, and now go. See it clean first and now go.’ I’ve tried to get him to play with more patience, more poise and that is a daily struggle with Jabrill because he’s so ‘Go get ‘em. Go get ‘em and then I’ll figure it out after I got ‘em.’ And I’m like, ‘No, let’s slow down. Let’s make sure we’re going to get the right guy, the right thing in the right way and now go.’ I think he’s playing at a very high level right now.”
K is for ... Kicking game: Giants special teams coach Thomas McGaughey said this week that the team’s performance in kick coverage against Cincinnati last Sunday was the worst of his coaching career. the Giants gave up a 103-yard kickoff return, got fooled on a fake punt and nearly gave up a game-losing punt return in the final minute.
“We have to get better, and that’s the bottom line. I can go in there [meetings] and raise hell and throw stuff across the room, but it’s not going to change what happened. Moving forward, we have to be better. Technically, we have to be better. Schematically, we have to be better,” McGaughey said.
L is for ... Lockett: With all of the hullabaloo around Metcalf, it’s easy to forget that Seattle wide receiver Tyler Lockett is also a really good player. Lockett already has 70 receptions this season.
“You just wish they had one really fast good receiver. They have two,” said Giants defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson. You’re always weighing how do you handle them both and how do you keep them both in front of you. How do you commit resources in the back end to take care of those guys? A lot of your answers are stressed when you add the quarterback running around.
“If my beard wasn’t gray it’ll be grayer by the end of the week, until this thing’s over.”
M is for Metcalf: “Big monster.” “Rare guy.” “Unique talent.” These are all ways Giants coaches described Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound receiver who rans a 4.33 40-yard dash. Here is our in-depth look at ‘The Metcalf Monster.’
N is for ... Niko: After an NFL debut that include an interception in nine snaps and a shoutout from NBA superstar LeBron James, undrafted free agent defensive lineman Niko Lalos has gotten quite a bit of attention.
“I don’t think much rattles Niko. From LeBron James tweets to interceptions he just kinda handles everything in stride. He’s just that kinda kid, takes it for what it is. I don’t think there is going to be any moment that gets too big. I wasn’t surprised to see him be around a play,” said outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema.
“There’s very few guys that would be able to turn and flip and make the athletic play he made to just lay out and get his hands underneath it. He’s a skilled athlete. You weren’t surprised when he made the play.”
Lalos was again elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game.
O is for ... Oshane: Oshane Ximines had surgery this week to repair his torn rotator cuff.
Oshane Ximines had his rotator cuff surgery. Speedy recovery to the Giants’ edge rusher pic.twitter.com/po0JHWOCMt— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) December 2, 2020
P is for ... Peart: Rookie offensive tackle Matt Peart is off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. With the Giants wanting to get back to a rotation along the offensive line it will be interesting to see how many snaps Peart plays on Sunday.
Q is for ... Shaquill and Shaquem: The brothers Griffin both play for the Seahawks. How cool is that?
R is for ... Running game: The Giants have run for more than 100 yards in seven of their last eight games. Without Daniel Jones, they are going to need that running game against the Seahawks. Of course, Jones is the team’s leading rusher and has been a big part of that success.
S is for ... ‘Snacks’: Former Giant Damon Harrison is now a part-time player for the Seahawks, who added ‘Snacks’ midseason hoping to boost one of the league’s worst defenses.
T is for ... Tanney: Alex Tanney is through the COVID-19 protocol and now on the Giants’ practice squad. Man, what a great life! Tanney gets paid for being a quarterback who never actually has to play quarterback.
U is for ... Unusual: This has been the most unusual NFL season I have ever written about. There was nothing more unusual than seeing Judge, a former Mississippi State player and coach, dressed in Ole Miss attire Friday after losing a bet to Evan Engram. I can’t imagine many NFL head coaches would have gone to a videoconference that way.
Mississippi State alum Coach Judge decked out in Ole Miss gear after losing a rivalry bet with Evan Engram pic.twitter.com/e4vI9WKp9q— New York Giants (@Giants) December 4, 2020
V is for ... Virus: The Giants enter Sunday’s game with no players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, aside from Davonta Freeman, who is already on IR. That, though, doesn’t mean the coronavirus isn’t impacting the way they practice or set their roster. Joe Webb, a “Swiss Army knife,” who can play quarterback, running back, wide receiver, return kickoffs and play on coverage teams, could be added to the roster on Monday. Judge also admitted on Friday that the Giants have begun keeping some practice squad players away from the team as a precaution.
“We’re doing everything we can. While it’s frustrating for coaches and players not to have everybody here for every meeting, every practice. We’re working through Zoom, we’re having individual period practice after the majority of the team leaves for the guys who are on that quarantine list if you would. We’re doing everything we can to keep progressing and developing every player on the team,” Judge said.
W is for Wilson: It only took them nine years, but the Seahawks have finally taken the shackles off quarterback Russell Wilson. As a result, Seattle is third in the league in scoring at 31.0 points per game.
X is for ... Xavier: Rookie second-round pick Xavier McKinney played only 5 snaps last Sunday in his NFL debut as he returned from a fractured foot.
‘He’s doing a good job. We just have to be careful. His first game last week and now he’s got an opportunity this week. We’ll see if the role increases,” said defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
Y is for ... Yiadom: I know, I come back to Isaac Yiadom all the time when I get to this point. Thing is, this week there is a good reason. Yiadom has pretty much solidified the Giants’ No. 2 cornerback spot.
“He’s growing every week. He’s gaining more confidence in his play and becoming absolutely more familiar with the defense. You can just see him growing every week,” defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said this week.
“You definitely feel comfortable with Ike out there at this point.”
Z is for ... Anything but Zeitler: I’ve got nothing here. Come up with something of your own.