After OL Will Hernandez tested positive for COVID-19 early Thursday morning, the Giants sent him home and quarantined seven additional players and two coaches. Although the move was necessary, it left an "interesting challenge" for OC Jason Garrett with his OL now depleted.
With only four lineman available, Garrett turned to 6-6, 263 lb TE Eric Tomlinson to line up at right tackle during Thursday's practice.
"I don't know that we've every been out on a practice field where you try to function with four offensive lineman, a couple of young guys playing, guys playing out of position and then Eric Tomlinson playing right tackle for you," Garrett said Friday. "But I thought those guys handled it really, really well.
"I thought those young guys benefited from the reps and handled themselves well. Hats off to Eric for being able to jump in there. He's a good football player, he's a smart guy, tough guy. Handled the work well and allowed up to function. I thought we got something out of yesterday's work."
The Giants announced that all their close contact players tested negative and would return to the team's facility Friday, but Garrett said he needed to get into a worst case scenario headspace and prepare in case anyone else tested positive and wouldn't be able to practice or potentially play Monday's game against Tampa Bay.
"As a football coach, you're always thinking of contingency plans for any situation, and I think all of us, inside of football and outside of football, in 2020 are having to think about contingency situations," Garrett said. "So yesterday was an up close look at it for us as a coaching staff, and again I thought our players responded well to it.
"But you're always going through those what-if situations, and you're probably doing it more so now just because of the situation everybody's in around the world with COVID. So you try to make sure you dot all the i's and cross all the t's...we've talked about different situations, threw out different hypotheticals and would say "how would we respond to this?" The thing you don't want to do is chase ghosts all over the place and spend all your time on stuff that, the likelihood of it happening isn't very high."
But with the guys indeed returning Friday, Garrett said he's "really excited to get the rest of the group back."
"It helps the flow of practice...getting these guys back, putting their pads on, getting the chance to go through a typical Thursday practice will certainly help us for Monday night," he added.