Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones wasn’t supposed to see the field for a while.
But with Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys spiraling out of control, head coach Pat Shurmur, perhaps waiting for the Cowboys to go into a prevent defense, inserted the future starter into the game on the Giants’ final drive.
Jones finished three of four for 17 yards, but he also had a turnover when he ran into the back of another player and lost the handle on the ball on a play that began on the Cowboys’ 44-yard line.
“I just didn’t do a good job keeping the ball,” said Jones, who also had a pair of fumbles in the pre-season. “I held it to my body and let it go. I’ve got to make sure I’m secure with the ball.”
On the play, Jones looked like he was trying to get the first down, something from which Jones will learn, according to head coach Pat Shurmur.
“We don’t want to fumble the ball like he did. You can see he’s a competitive guy," Shurmru said.
"He’ll learn to run that out of bounds. In his mind, he competes, and he said, ‘I wanted to guarantee we got the first.’ You’ve just got to secure the ball on that play.
Jones agreed that he should have run out of bounds.
“I think that’s the smart play,” he admitted. “I think we will look at it on tape, but maybe there was a chance to get the first down instead of going out of bounds. You know, definitely something to learn there.”
Despite the mishap, Jones, who will be Eli Manning’s backup for the foreseeable future, said he tried to stay engaged all game long and contribute however he could from the sideline. But when his number was called, he admitted to being excited for a chance he probably didn’t think would be coming for a while.
“It being a regular-season game has a different feel to it. The circumstance of the game also felt a little different. It was still exciting to be out there,” he said.
Shurmur refused to engage in hypotheticals regarding when Jones might next see regular-season snaps that don’t come in a mop-up situation.
“I thought it was the right thing to do to get him some work,” said Shurmur. “I felt like it was important to get him some work.”
As for Jones, he said he recognizes that while his role, for the time being, is different from what he's been used to, he’s going to deal with his circumstances as best as possible and continue trying to improve.
“There’s still a way to impact the game,” he said. “There’s still a way to be involved. That’s to do a week of practice…I’m just trying to do the best I can.”