EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — By now, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur doesn’t even bother to hide his amazement when he gets a question about rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.
“Again, I am going to say this—people outside our building seem surprised, but we’re not,” Shurmur said of Jones, who finished 11 of 14 for 161 yards and one touchdown for a 138.4 passer rating.
“I think he’s making good progress and as he goes along here, he’s checking off all of the boxes. I think when it’s his time to play, he will be ready. I am pleased with the progress he’s making.”
Unlike last week, Jones’ outing in the Giants 32-13 win over the Chicago Bears was far from being perfect.
Jones had two fumbles, both coming with him lined up under center. The first one happened on a botched exchange with center Jon Halapio when the rookie appeared to drop back before he had full control of the ball.
The other came when Bears defender James Vaughters broke free and swiped the ball out of Jones’ hand while the rookie had his gaze locked in on a receiver down the field.
“You have to secure it. I don’t think he ever took a snap under center in college. That’s just part of the growing, but he didn’t panic. He dropped the ball a couple of times, but he didn’t call his parents. He just went back to work and did a good job of getting us in the endzone.”
Shurmur was asked what he said to Jones after his turnover.
“Don’t do that,” he said. “It’s very simple—don’t drop the snap and two hands on the ball in the pocket. It’s never acceptable to drop the ball.
“He’s smart enough to know that immediately and make corrections. I don’t have to write him a note—I just tell him.”
Overall, Jones seems pleased with the progress he's made.
"I think in certain areas I feel a lot more confident than I did even when camp started, or even a couple weeks ago," he said.
"I think there’s still so much to learn for me. I think I’m certainly more confident, more comfortable, but I see a lot of things I need to improve on."
Meanwhile, Eli Manning, whom Jones will one day replace, had a strong showing in limited snaps, completing all four of his pass attempts for 42 yards and a touchdown.
On that opening drive, Manning connected with three different receivers and a tight end in what was the public’s first extended look at what life without Odell Beckham Jr on the field might be like.
“We have a lot of guys who have been working hard, who were here last year and have played well for us,” Manning said.
“We’ll get Cody (Latimer), Bennie (Fowler), Golden (Tate) and Rhett (Ellison) going. When we get Saquon (Barkley) in there, we’ll have him. We have a lot of guys that we have great confidence in that can get open. We’ll spread it around and just throw it to the open guy.”
Defensively, the Giants pass rush, which was non-existent in last week’s preseason opener, finally showed up.
The Giants got sacks from Markus Golden, Oshane Ximines and Olsen Pierre, and recorded five quarterback hits in sum, but those numbers don’t quite tell the entire story of how disruptive they were.
“We were a little more disruptive today, which was good,” Shurmur said, adding that he wanted to watch the tape to get a better handle on what transpired int hat facet of the game. “I felt like we were more disruptive this week than we were last.”
But one thing he didn’t dispute was that the starting defense played much better this week than they had a week ago.
“I think so. At some point, it was twos playing against twos,” he said. “I think we are making progress there. Stopping a team on offense is a team effort, so it has to be coordinated. Everybody has to defeat their block, address their gap, and then chase the ball.
“When it’s time to throw, you have to get pressure and cover your guys. The more they play together and the more seasoned they are as a unit, the better we’ll become at keeping teams out of the endzone. ”
The Giants are now 2-0 in the preseason, having scored 30+ point in both of those games. They will face Cincinnati on the road next week.
(Top photo by Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.)