For the first time in his pro career, New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones was a starting quarterback on Thursday. The Giants rested starter Eli Manning — as has become their custom in recent years — in anticipation of next week’s season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Naturally, they turned to Jones to take the first snap of the game, and another step in his development.
“He’s getting there,” head coach Pat Shurmur said. “We have another week until we play Dallas, but he’s getting there. He’s done everything we’ve asked to this point, in terms of how he prepares and how he gets himself ready. This was another opportunity to grow, and I think he did that.”
Jones took the start in stride, treating it the same as he had the previous three games.
“It went well,” Jones said. “I think it is different knowing you are going out there to take the first snap but a lot of the preparation and attention to what you are doing and thinking about going into the game was pretty similar and I tried to make sure I was in the position to move the ball and know what we were doing.”
The rookie responded well, taking advantage of a mismatch between Giants’ starting receiver Golden Tate and Patriots’ special teams player Keion Crossen to efficiently move the Giants down the field. Unfortunately, the Giants’ opening drive didn’t end with points on the board as Paul Perkins was tackled from behind trying to convert a fourth down.
“I thought we did some good things. I thought we were able to move the ball. Golden [Tate III] ran a few nice routes and it was good to find him. We did a good job up front and thought we executed pretty well. It was unlucky that we stalled out there in the red zone. It was good but we want to score points.”
What the future holds
Jones has done good work through the preseason, but now the team has to turn its attention to the regular season. For Jones that means carrying his work from the summer over to the autumn and winter while receiving far fewer practice reps.
“I think it has been good. My goal is to be able to see improvement and measure improvement from each pre-season game to the next and from practice to practice. I have done that to some extent and will continue to work on a lot of things. As far as improving goes I think I have been able to do that.”
If all goes according to the Giants’ hopes, Thursday night was the last time Daniel Jones will take the first snap of the game for a while. But that doesn’t mean that his development is put on hold. Looking forward, Jones knows he still has work to do before the Giants turn over the keys to the franchise.
“I think I’ve made progress and am certainly ways from where I was when I started, which helps me feel a little bit more comfortable,” Jones said. “But I think there’s still a lot to learn. I think I realize that. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and I’m certainly aware of that also.”