Two games. Two gems from Daniel Jones. The rookie quarterback for the Giants posted his second straight solid performance of the preseason, leading New York to a 19-6 first-half lead over the visiting Chicago Bears.
Should he continue playing in the second half, his stats will be updated. He completed 11-of-14 throws for 161 yards and a touchdown, which was a 15-yard strike to TJ Jones just before halftime. On the negative side, he was strip-sacked by James Vaughters for first turnover of his pro career.
This follows up the preseason debut against the Jets last week, which resulted in Jones connecting on all five of his passes for 67 yards and another score. Add up his first two appearances, and the former Duke signal-caller has accumulated 228 yards on 16-of-21 passing and two touchdowns.
For those thinking about a quarterback controversy, hold your horses. Eli Manning got the starting nod and promptly led a 10-play, 79-yard drive that ended in an 8-yard touchdown toss to Bennie Fowler. However, the Giants organization has to be thinking it made the right choice with Jones as their No. 6 overall pick back in April.
Compared to his rookie peers, he looks downright peerless. Cardinals’ rookie Kyler Murray flopped in his second preseason appearance Thursday against the Raiders, going just 3-of-8 for 12 yards and absorbing three sacks (including a safety).
Dwayne Haskins has been a bit brighter for the Redskins despite two picks in his debut last week against the Browns. In Thursday night’s tilt with the Bengals, the former Ohio State Buckeye went 7-of-14 for 114 yards and a score.
Both Haskins and Murray were Heisman finalists (Murray won) last fall after gaudy statistical seasons. Jones was efficient in his three years starting for the Blue Devils, totaling 8,201 passing yards, 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He also led a moribund program to 15 wins in his final two seasons, including a pair of bowl victories.
Is There any Quarterback Controversy Between Manning & Jones?
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman dipped into the David Cutcliffe well for the heir apparent to Manning. Cutcliffe, who coached Manning at Ole Miss in the early 2000s, was Jones’ coach and quarterback mentor at Duke.
This choice, plus Manning’s advancing age, has fans wondering when the rookie will take the starting reins. Per Joe Giglio of NJ Advance Media, Manning was in a similar position in 2005 behind former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner.
Manning, the No. 1 overall pick rookie quarterback from Ole Miss, started the season as the unquestioned backup behind veteran Kurt Warner. With a first-year head coach (Tom Coughlin), the objective was to win first, incorporate Manning second. Warner helped the team get off to a 5-2 start, delaying Manning’s chance to play. But after back-to-back losses put the team at 5-4 in late November, the switch to Manning was made.
He calls for a similar amount of games before Jones steps in as the starter, stating that the switch should be made after a predicted Week 10 loss to the Jets.
For Jones’ part, he’s just focusing on improvement and avoiding mistakes.
“I think my job is to do what I can to improve, to make sure I’m taking the right steps to make sure the offense is moving forward to the extent I can help it,” he said to NFL.com. “I think, for the most part, trying not to make mistakes over and over again. I think that’s how you learn, is not repeating mistakes. I think that’s a big thing, and trying to focus on that. When you’re told something once, to correct it and move on so you can take the next steps. I think I’ve done a decent job with that.”
After two mistake-free outings, he’s well on his way. However, with Manning starting and on the roster, there is no rush to throw the rookie into the lion’s den of the regular season. Like Giglio predicts, expect Jones to maybe see some action if the playoffs are out of reach in the last quarter of the season.