An analysis of the positives and negatives from New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones’s first two preseason games.
Daniel Jones has played just around a half a game of football thus far in the preseason. In the first game, he only played one drive. He was able to showcase his talents in the second game through the entire first half with the exception of one possession. And in that combined half a game, he’s completed 16 of 19 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns.
The stats look good but don’t forget, the second game (11-for-14, 161 yards, and one score) was against the Chicago Bears backups. Not to mention, Jones lost two fumbles in that matchup as well.
He has a lot more to learn, that’s for sure. But right now, there’s definitely been both positives and negatives from his play up to this point. We’re here to give you an analysis of those ups and downs from the rookie New York Giants quarterback.
Let’s start with the Week 1 preseason game.
Week 1: Giants vs. New York Jets (Thurs, Aug. 8); Won 31-22
All ups in this game, not really any negatives to discuss. He did indeed go 5-for-5 for 67 yards and a touchdown, so not much wrong with his play in this exhibition matchup.
1. 1st & 10 from the NYG 35; 11-yard gain (pass to wide receiver Golden Tate)
A simple play-action play; Jones fakes it to running back Wayne Gallman and zips it to Golden Tate, the slot receiver on the left side, who’s running a slant pattern towards the middle.
What’s interesting about this play is that Jones realizes he can’t spend too much time selling the defense on the play-action. He knows Tate is faster and will get to the correct spot a lot quicker than Jones’ receivers at Duke University ever did. Therefore, Jones sells it quickly, sets his feet, and places the ball in a great spot.
2. 1st & 10 from NYG 46; 31-yard gain (pass to wide receiver Cody Latimer)
Another play-action play here, one that Jones doesn’t have to sell too hard, being that Gallman is going out into the left flat. Jones then gets great protection from the offensive line, tight end Rhett Ellison, and fullback Elijhaa Penny, which is obviously a huge plus.
Coming out of the play-action, Jones sets his feet and almost immediately has his eyes set on Cody Latimer, who was coming from right to left on a crossing route. Jones thus shows patience and waits until Latimer gets to a spot where he splits the difference in separation between the cornerback Nickerson and linebacker Avery Williamson. This patience, therefore, gives Latimer a more clear area to make the reception, which turned into a 31-yard gain and put the Giants into Jets territory.
3. 3rd & 7 from the NYJ 20; 8-yard gain (pass to wide receiver Bennie Fowler Jr.)
I understand he threw a touchdown right after this play (which we’ll, of course, get to), but this was my favorite pass from Jones on the night.
On a big 3rd & 7 play in the red zone, Jones made a great pre-snap read and knew exactly where he wanted to go with this ball. A little play action to Gallman followed by a dart on the out route to Bennie Fowler Jr. The ball placement is great on the throw as well, as Jones puts the pass on the outside arm of Fowler where it’s even tougher for the defensive back to defend it.
Fowler running that out-route past the 1st-down marker really helps Jones in this circumstance as well.
All-in-all, that’s an NFL quarterback-type decision and throw from the rookie.
4. 1st & 10 from NYJ 12; 12-yard touchdown pass to Fowler
Another great pre-snap read from Jones. Knew where he wanted to go with it, and knew that all Fowler had to do was get around the initial cornerback lined up with him. From there, Fowler just had to beat the safety to the back right corner of the endzone, where another great ball from Jones was there for him.
Again, Jones places this ball on Fowler’s outside arm. The safety needs to do a better job of turning around and making a play on that ball, but Jones ultimately puts it in a spot where it’s a lot easier for Fowler to make a play on it than the defender.
Week 2: Giants vs. Chicago Bears (Friday, Aug. 16); Won 32-13
A few positives and a few negatives from the rookie quarterback in his second preseason game. Overall, he continued to impress.
Let’s start with the positives.
1. 2nd & 14 from NYG 20; 17-yard gain (pass to Fowler)
Fowler lines up as the lone receiver on the right side of the offensive line here and is going to run a deeper slant pattern than usual towards the middle. Jones knew where his initial read was and where he wanted to go with the ball.
However, what’s good about this play, is that the rookie doesn’t rush the throw and force it in there.
Jones simply showed patience, let the play develop, and zipped it when Fowler made his cut towards the middle of the field. Additionally, Jones showed great accuracy, as he had to put it in a spot between Bears cornerbacks Kevin Toliver II and Deon Bush.
2. 2nd & 6 from NYG 41; 40-yard gain (pass to Latimer)
This throw is the better of Jones’ throws on the night, regardless of the fact that he threw a touchdown later on.
A great tactic for when your receiver goes on a deep route is to look them off just a little bit. That’s exactly what Jones did here.
The rookie initially glanced towards the left side after taking the snap, where Latimer was split wide. Jones then looks him off for a second, turns back towards that side of the field and launches a great ball for Latimer to go up and get. Chicago cornerback Michael Joseph still had his back turned, which helped Jones out a little, but a great throw nonetheless.
I would’ve liked for Jones to lead Latimer just a tad bit more on this toss, but he’ll definitely work on that as time goes on.
3. 2nd & 2 from CHI 15 (TD pass to wide receiver TJ Jones)
Jones does the same thing here that he did on the deep ball to Latimer. He looks TJ off just a little bit (who was split wide on the left side of the offensive line). Jones additionally was patient in letting TJ get to a spot where he was comfortable leading him at. Then, Jones tosses another great ball in which he leads TJ to the back corner of the endzone.
It was another ball in a spot where it was tough for the defender to make a play. That’s the type of throw you want from your future quarterback.
Now, for the negatives. And, you guessed it, it’s the two lost fumbles.
1. 1st & 10 from the CHI 19; fumbled snap (Bears recovery)
A tough play, but I feel like it wasn’t fully Jones’ fault. Ultimately, it seemed like Jones had to reach for the snap from center Jon Halapio.
Regardless, taking snaps underneath the center is something he’ll need to work on. Which is totally fine, however. A lot of quarterbacks need to work on taking snaps under center when they enter the pros due to the fact that a lot of offenses in college football are very much based out of the shotgun.
It’ll definitely be something that coaches will emphasize with him going forward.
2. 3rd & 11 from the NYG 33; stripped sack (Bears recovery)
Again, not completely Jones’ fault on this one. Tight end Garrett Dickerson is lined up on the right side of the line, alongside backup right tackle Chad Slade. Before following through on his route to the flat, Dickerson chips Bears edge rusher James Vaughters to slow him down. That means that Slade needs to prevent any sort of inside pursuit from Vaughters.
Instead, Slade looks to go directly at Vaughters’ outside shoulder, clearing the pass-rushing lane towards Jones. This then led to the strip and eventual recovery by Chicago.
Jones will definitely need to improve on sensing that type of pressure, stepping up, and protecting the football. If there’s going to be a mishap by the offensive line there, you’d much rather have just a sack than a forced fumble, especially in your own territory.