daniel jones joe judge giants
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Giants quarterback Daniel Jones did not take the field in either of his team’s first two preseason matchups.

Daniel Jones needs to take a significant on-field leap in his third NFL campaign.

But preparation and reps prior to the 17-game regular season are crucial for the completion of that task, which is why it’s a little strange Jones didn’t play in either of the Giants‘ first two preseason games.

Could it be because the organization just doesn’t want to risk him getting hurt? Especially after he missed multiple games in each of his first two seasons?

Apparently no, according to the team’s second-year head coach.

“I would say injury risk had nothing to do with him not playing…the plan all along was to make sure [backup quarterback] Mike [Glennon] got as much time as he could in the first game we played against the Jets…the game priority was really to get Mike to mesh with some of our older offensive linemen and get the chemistry together with those guys,” Joe Judge told the media Monday. “In terms of [Daniel] not playing this last week, that truly came down to what we thought we accomplished in practice with both the volume and intensity as a unit, along with some of the things the Browns were doing in the game themselves. So to me, him not playing, we initially thought about playing those guys for about a quarter or so. We made the decision based on what they had gone through from a physical load standpoint…we thought this was in the best interest in the health of the players we held.

“I made it very clear to the players that didn’t play: not playing is not a reward, and playing is not a punishment. We play our players to get them ready for the season and we’ll factor in based on what they did in practice to get them ready for that point. This week we will treat more as the dress rehearsal for the regular season. My expectations, at this point, will be for Daniel to play at least the first half and then we’ll decide what we’re going to do in terms of coming out of halftime later in the week.”

Big Blue’s upcoming third and final preseason game against the Patriots was always going to be the “dress rehearsal” matchup. However, not playing Jones even for just a possession or two against the Jets and/or Browns was a tad bit unexpected, especially given what he needs to accomplish this season.

But it’s not only Jones who hasn’t played.

First-round wide receiver Kadarius Toney hasn’t partaken in a game and neither has Kenny Golladay or Saquon Barkley due to differing injuries. It’s unclear if any or all will participate in Sunday’s matchup against New England.

Sterling Shepard has also yet to play and the same goes for Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph, although the latter is still on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Getting everyone back on the field to assist in Jones’ development will be huge for a Giants offense that can’t repeat 2020’s performance (31st in both yards and points).

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.