The biggest game (to date) of this Giants season will take place without Jason Garrett. The team’s first-year offensive coordinator tested positive for COVID-19, and the Giants announced former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens will call plays against his old team in Week 15. The Giants converted their Thursday practice into a remote session and have announced no high-risk close contacts of Garrett have emerged. The former Cowboys HC may also miss the Giants’ Week 16 game against the Ravens. Hired as Cleveland’s running backs coach in 2018, Kitchens rose to the position of offensive coordinator that year and made the jump to become the Browns’ head coach in 2019. That ended in a one-and-done scenario, but Kitchens found his way to Joe Judge‘s staff this year.
Here is the latest on the NFL’s coronavirus front:
- In another blow to Big Blue, the team announced James Bradberry will miss Sunday night’s game. The Giants placed their top cornerback, and arguably their top player this season, on the reserve/COVID-19 list. This is not related to Garrett’s positive virus test, according to the team, which revealed Bradberry has not tested positive for the coronavirus. Bradberry came in contact with a COVID-positive person while receiving chiropractic treatment away from the Giants’ facility, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). The Giants not having Bradberry will weaken their chances of knocking off a nine-win Browns team. Pro Football Focus rates Bradberry as its No. 6 overall corner.
- Not only will the NFL not follow the other three major American professional sports by using a centralized playoff location, the league will also not mandate teams be sequestered in home-market bubbles for the postseason. Teams may still provide hotel rooms for players who choose such an arrangement, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets, but the league and the NFLPA agreed they will not force players on playoff teams to be away from their families.
- Following the unusual Dez Bryant situation that left the Ravens a man down for their Week 13 game against the Cowboys, the NFL made another adjustment to its pregame roster policy. If a player must leave the field pregame because of a positive COVID test or because he qualifies as a high-risk close contact, teams may activate a replacement, Pelissero tweets. The usual rule of teams submitting their inactives 90 minutes before games left Baltimore down a player against Dallas, after Bryant was forced to leave the field shortly before kickoff. Teams will now be able to make an emergency activation in such instances.