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5 winners, 2 losers as Giants defeat Jets, 31-22

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Who helped themselves, and who hurt themselves, in the first preseason game?

NFL: Preseason-New York Jets at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants officially opened their 2019 preseason Thursday night, coming up with a 31-22 victory over the New York Jets.

It might not be a win that counts in the Giants’ official standings, but it definitely has meaning, particularly for all the players fighting for roster spots and jostling for position on the various positions’ depth charts. Some players had great nights, while others did not. This is pre-season and it’s time to be excited about the return of football, so we’re going to concentrate on the winners, but there are a couple guys we have to mention who need to step it up in the weeks to come.

Winners

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones played well in his lone series before Mother Nature decided we would have halftime early. The Giants didn’t put much on his plate, giving him quick, one-read throws and play-action when he looked down the field. The Jets didn’t challenge him much either. They played a fairly straight-up zone defense as they took many of their starters off the field, and didn’t throw much at him to decipher on the fly.

But still, Jones did what was asked of him well and the Giants made the right call to end his night on a high note.

Grooming Jones to take over for Eli Manning is a process, and while one good series is encouraging, it’s more important for building the rookie’s confidence as the coaching staff asks more of him.

Corey Ballentine
Ballentine will need to work on tempering his physical play so he doesn’t get called for more pass interference penalties — or at least get more subtle at interfering so the coach can’t throw the flag.

But he still had one of the highlight plays of the night with a great interception in which he won the catch point. Perhaps more important was his fantastic 40-yard kick-off return. While that won’t feature on as many highlight reels as the interception, it is more likely to earn him a spot on the 46-man game day roster as the team looks for a replacement for Corey Coleman.

Russell Shepard
Sheppard is in a battle with a lot of other receivers for a spot on the Giants’ depth chart — not to mention a crack at the third receiver position. He had one of the plays of the night when he turned quick catch into a 51-yard touchdown, running through contract and nearly out of his jersey.

T.J. Jones
Jones has not been a Giant for long, but he has got plenty of time on the field, playing with both the second and third team offenses. Jones got time out wide as well as in the slot and looked good in both positions. His route running is precise, he showed good hands (even in traffic), and some phenomenal concentration to haul in an underthrown pass from Kyle Lauletta for a touchdown.

Jake Carlock
In our podcast preview of the game, Ed asked me who I wanted to see and I responded with LIU-Post safety-turned-linebacker Jake Carlock. Carlock did me right and responded with a big game, coming up with an interception which he returned 59 yards for the touchdown as well as a sack later in the game.

Losers

Paul Perkins
Expectations were high for Perkins as he battles to move ahead of Wayne Gallman — or perhaps even remain on the Giants’ roster. While Perkins was sharp in pass protection, fumbling the ball close to the Giants’ own endzone will not help his case. None of the Giants’ running backs ran well Thursday night, and things like ball security will likely weigh heavily on the coaches’ final roster decisions.

B.J. Goodson
This isn’t for anything that Goodson did, but for the fact that the former starter is now playing with the Giants’ third team and behind rookie Ryan Connelly. Goodson will have to be impressive from here on out if he wants to make the final roster.