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What would the Giants do if Joe Judge tested positive for COVID-19?

The Eagles are dealing with this now as Doug Pederson has tested positive

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
Bret Bielema
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson is in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, and running backs coach/assistant head coach Duce Staley will lead the Eagles in Pederson’s absence.

That begs the question, what would the New York Giants do if head coach Joe Judge were to contract the virus and have to quarantine away from the team for a couple of weeks? Particularly during the regular season?

Judge said on Friday that the Giants “have succession plans for the coaching staff,” but did not elaborate on what those are.

“To be honest with you, my plan as the head coach as we go through training camp is not only evaluating players, but also evaluating the coaches in terms of interaction. It has to be the total chemistry of how a game day would operate,” Judge said. “We started talking back in the spring in terms of if any one coach, myself included, couldn’t come to work that day for any period of time, how would we address meetings, practice on the field, the game. We have to make sure we have a plan.”

The Giants have options

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images and Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The most obvious might be to elevate offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. With 10 seasons at the helm of the Dallas Cowboys, Garrett has more NFL head-coaching experience than anyone on the Giants’ staff. Let’s not turn this into a debate on Garrett’s coaching acumen while running the Cowboys. His experience, though, means being in charge temporarily would not overwhelm him.

Is that, though, the best move? Garrett is running the offense and calling the plays. Could he do both? Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur struggled with the dual roles for the Giants.

If you elevate Garrett, perhaps he has to turn over play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski or tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens, a former offensive coordinator and head coach.

What about temporarily elevating Kitchens? He flopped in a single season as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, but he has the respect of and a previous working relationship with Judge. Putting Kitchens in the top spot temporarily would allow Garrett to continue focusing on the offense, thus necessitating only one change.

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham? He has the title assistant head coach, which probably makes him a candidate. Graham has never been a head coach, and similar to Garrett it begs the question of how the defensive game-planning and play-calling would function.

Having outside linebackers coach/senior defensive assistant Bret Bielema run the show short-term might make sense. Bielema compiled a 97-58 record in stints at Wisconsin and Arkansas, both big-time NCAA football programs. He’s no stranger to having to make game-day decisions, and again elevating a position coach would not disrupt the offensive or defensive game-planning or play-calling.

Senior offensive assistant Derek Dooley is probably a long shot. Dooley is a three-time college head coach. The thing about elevating Dooley that might be attractive is that it could be the least disruptive move for the rest of the staff. Dooley’s role appears to be more consulting/oversight and isn’t tied to a position, so no particular group would be impacted.

Special teams coach Thomas McGaughey might be a wild-card. Judge, obviously, comes from a special teams background. McGaughey is a four-time special teams coordinator who has been around the NFL since 2002. As Judge has pointed out a number of times, the special teams coach is the single assistant coach who works and communicates constantly with the entire roster. McGaughey might make sense, especially with an experienced special teams coordinator like Tom Quinn also on the Giants’ staff.