FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — As the New York Giants get set to begin their second day of joint practices against the New England Patriots, they have a problem.
That problem isn’t figuring out how to deal with Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. Well, maybe that is a temporary Thursday problem after the rookie quarterback had a stellar day on Wednesday against the Giants in the first joint practice.
The Giants’ real problem is that counting Thursday there are 18 days until the Giants open the 2021 regular season against Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver Broncos, and there is a good chance that many of the players the Giants acquired this offseason in an effort to upgrade the roster won’t be playing.
- Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, signed to a three-year, $39 million contract this offseason to solidify the second cornerback spot, went down Wednesday with a left ankle injury. Word is the Giants think Jackson will play in the opener, but who knows? I detailed in Wednesday’s practice takeaways just how thin the Giants are at cornerback behind Jackson and James Bradberry.
- HIgh-priced free agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay has not practiced in more than three weeks now due to a hamstring injury. He still hasn’t done much more than light running, at least within eyesight of the media.
- First-round pick Kadarius Toney has barely practiced since the Giants called his name on draft night. The more you ask coach Joe Judge about Toney the less likely it seems we will see him any time soon.
- John Ross missed some practice at the start of camp, got healthy enough to flash his speed for a few days and get everyone excited, and now he’s been out of practice the past couple of weeks. I’m not even sure Ross will make the roster.
- Kyle Rudolph came off the PUP list on Wednesday, but there are no guarantees he will be ready Week 1.
- Saquon Barkley and his red non-contact jersey are expected to take part in team drills on Thursday, most likely 7 on 7. As with Rudolph, no guarantee Barkley will be deemed fit enough to face the Broncos.
- Fourth-round pick Elerson Smith isn’t practicing. Third-round pick Aaron Robinson is on PUP and hasn’t practiced since rookie mini-camp. Second-round pick Azeez Ojulari was limited to individual work on Wednesday.
None of this is good news, especially for an offense that ranked 31st in the NFL last season, subtracted highly-paid veterans Kevin Zeitler and Golden Tate, and is counting on all of the aforementioned offensive players to make the group more capable than it was a year ago.
As we saw on Wednesday against the Patriots, that isn’t really happening with the players Daniel Jones is trying to deliver the ball to presently.
Jones found some success in red zone portions of practice delivering the ball to Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Kaden Smith. He completed a few passes to Darius Slayton. Other than that, there wasn’t a whole lot happening.
The good news is that Jones was well protected. The Giants offensive line did, in my view, a nice job against the New England pass rushers. Generally, when Jones had to move or escape the pocket it was because there wasn’t anyone to throw to and not because there was a jail break to the quarterback.
Almost all of Jones’ two dozen or so completions on Wednesday were short ones — quick throws and checkdowns. There wasn’t any success deep, or really even in the mid-range.
You can see at times what the Giants want to be. There have been reverses at times to C.J. Board. There was a shovel pass Wednesday to Dante Pettis. Neither of those guys has the elusiveness of Toney, for whom those plays are likely in the playbook.
There were two potential chain-moving, on-target throws by Jones Wednesday that were dropped by tight ends Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Jake Hausmann. Rudolph or Kaden Smith almost certainly catch those.
Judge will put a brave face on it when we ask him Thursday morning about all of the missing parts on offense. Truth is, though, the Giants need some or all of those missing offensive players to get healthy quickly. Otherwise, the offense that starts the 2021 season is going to look an awful lot like the 2020 offense. That’s not good.
Practice starts Thursday at 10 a.m. Use the Twitter stream below to stay up to date, and stick with Big Blue View for full coverage of the day’s news.