Daniel Jones, Kevin Zeitler
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

For the first time since the 2016 season, the New York Giants finished the first quarter of the season with a record that’s not below .500.

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—The first quarter of the 2019 season is complete as the New York Giants sit at 2-2 and one game back of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.

Being 2-2 is nothing to brag about, but when you’ve gone 8-24 over the last two seasons, and have entered the month of October with an under .500 under record the last two seasons, it’s safe to say the Giants are slowly making progress.

After starting 0-2, head coach Pat Shurmur has to feel confident of the way his team battled back to get to .500.

Shurmur was asked about his first-quarter thoughts on Monday.

“I guess we’ve finished the first quarter,” Shurmur said. “The one thing about this team is I think we have a bunch of tough guys that are willing to work. If you’re willing to do that, then we have a chance to improve. With some of the improvements that we’ve made, we’ve found a way to win games the last two weeks. That’s really what this is about. As we go through this journey, which involves 12 more regular-season games, we have to continue to improve and point that toward getting wins. I think this group has shown me that they’re capable of winning, and they’re willing to work.”

There are several takeaways from the first quarter of the Giants season, mainly three positives and negatives.

The Positives

Daniel Jones

When Jones was inserted as the starting quarterback in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he gave the offense a much-needed spark, and his mobility added a new dimension to the Giants offense.

So far this season, Jones has completed 49 of 71 passes for 578 yards, thrown three touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s also added for 66 yards on the ground on 10 attempts and has two rushing touchdowns. More importantly, the Giants have won both of his starts.

Many scoffed at general manager Dave Gettleman for taking Jones with the sixth pick. But after what Jones has shown in his two starts, his future looks very promising.

The offensive line

We knew the offensive line would be improved with the additions of right guard Kevin Zeitler and right tackle Mike Remmers. We just didn’t know that they would arguably be the best unit on the team.

In four games, they’ve only given up seven sacks and have paved the way to the Giants in averaging 5.5 yards-per-carry. This unit will only get better as the season progresses and they gain more continuity.

Evan Engram

Many felt Evan Engram would have a Pro Bowl-caliber season and so far he has delivered. He leads the team in receptions (27), receiving yards (331) and receiving touchdowns with two.

He’s also had two 100-yard receiving games and has shown that he is one of the best tight ends in the league.

The Negatives

The secondary

The Giants defense especially secondary was abysmal in the first three games of the season. They gave up 346 passing yards per game and surrendered eight passing touchdowns.

Receivers ran freely in the Giants secondary as the defense looked lost and confused. It was expected the unit may have a slow start with three new starters from last year’s team, but no one could have envisioned that poor of a start.

The secondary looked vastly better against the Redskins on Sunday, but time will tell was that due to the unit playing better, or because they were playing against a subpar receiving corps.

Injuries

Injuries are a part of the game, but no one could have foreseen the injuries that have struck the Giants so far this season.

The high ankle sprain Saquon Barkley suffered in Week 3 will keep him out of action for four-to-eight weeks, and Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer have each missed a game due to a concussion.

The most devastating injury occurred on Sunday against the Redskins as rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly was lost for the season due to a torn ACL. The Giants were already thin at inside linebacker with Alec Ogletree out with a hamstring injury and Tae Davis out with a concussion. The Giants could possibly be with their top-three inside linebackers when they face the (2-2) Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Poor ball security

To say the Giants have been sloppy with the ball would be a huge understatement. They’ve turned the ball over at least twice in every game this season and have 10 total turnovers. This number would be higher if TJ Jones was able to recover the two punts that he muffed against the Redskins.

As the schedule gets tougher, it will be imperative that Big Blue does a much better job of holding onto the ball.

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