New York Giants news: Jason Garrett tests positive for COVID-19, Freddie Kitchens to call plays

With New York Giants play-caller Jason Garrett out for Week 15 due to a positive COVID-19 test, Freddie Kitchens will take over against the Cleveland Browns.

By Matt Fitzgerald
Oct 18, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; The New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett talks with his players prior to their game against the Washington Football Team at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, and tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens will serve as play-caller for Week 15’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

Garrett has helped the Giants stay competitive in 2020 and also brought about some promising development from young quarterback Daniel Jones. The hope is Garrett is able to make a full recovery and return soon as New York pursues an NFC East division title.

New York Giants news: Jason Garrett out for Week 15 vs. Browns

SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan shared the statement the Giants released regarding Garrett’s unfortunate situation, which led the team to meet remotely and call off practice:

Garrett was dismissed as Dallas Cowboys head coach after a lengthy tenure, only to go to a divisional rival. After a 0-5 start, Garrett has been instrumental in helping Jones cut back on turnovers. Combined with a strong defensive effort from the G-Men, it’s led to a swift turnaround under first-year coach Joe Judge.

Now, there’s no need to trivialize or downplay Garrett’s positive COVID-19 test, but there is a notable rematch afoot that’s impossible to ignore in light of how New York is handling his absence.

Related: NFL Power Rankings – Cleveland Browns rise, Chicago Bears plummet after free agency

New York Giants news: The Freddie Kitchens revenge subplot

New York Giants tap Freddie Kitchens as interim OC vs. Browns
Dec 22, 2019; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Kitchens was the Browns’ head coach last season and only lasted one year. Completely in over his head in leading an uber-talented team, Kitchens was fired after posting a 6-10 record. Now, Cleveland is 9-4 in 2020, and Kitchens had to take a much lower role than he previously had.

Although it’s an entirely new Browns coaching staff led by Kevin Stefanski, there’s at least some inside knowledge Kitchens has about Cleveland’s current personnel. As was evident in Monday Night Football‘s 47-42 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Browns don’t have much of a defense to speak of.

Another fascinating dimension to this contest is the fact that Jones may not be healthy enough to play, as he was limited in Wednesday’s practice with hamstring and ankle injuries. That means Colt McCoy could make his second start for the Giants at quarterback. Once upon a time, McCoy was drafted in the third round by Cleveland and never really got a chance to succeed.

Could Kitchens and McCoy combine to spoil a very winnable game for the Browns, who need every “W” they can get to keep pace in the AFC playoff race? Or, will Cleveland take some hate out on the shorthanded G-Men in Week 15, further setting them back in their bid to take the NFC East crown?

The Browns figure to be heavy favorites for Sunday night’s showdown, yet if these scrappy Giants have proven anything thus far in the Judge era, it’s best not to count them out.