EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Daniel Jones‘ second preseason game had its ups and downs. It began with two fumbles in the first three possessions before finishing with a touchdown pass.
“We were a little loose with the ball. I think we had a fumbled snap, which is a no-no. And then certainly can’t drop the ball in the pocket like Daniel Jones did,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “He had a little bit of adversity to fight back from. … But for the most part he threw the ball well.”
It still didn’t help his cause to start Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys. That job belongs to Eli Manning, who led the Giants to a touchdown on his only drive when he completed all four of his passes for 42 yards, which included an eight-yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler.
After the game, Shurmur backed up what owner John Mara said earlier this week about his desire for Manning to start and play well this season, which would leave Jones without playing a single snap.
“John owns the team, right? And we’re on the same page,” Shurmur said. “Really not much more to say. And I think I’ve been saying that all along. I just guess get a sense once in a while that when I answer those questions, nobody believes me. Well, you heard it from the owner.”
The touchdown pass came after a drive where the Giants settled for a field goal. Jones perfectly floated the ball into hands of T.J. Jones in the left corner of the end zone for his second touchdown pass in as many games. It’s throws like this that spawned the nickname Danny Dimes, which Jones gave his stamp of approval.
“That’s all right with me,” he said.
The fumbles are pretty much the only big mistakes during Jones’ first two preseason outings. The first on Friday night came when he mishandled a snap after driving the first-team offense down the field deep into Chicago territory.
“Yeah, just getting out too quick,” Jones said. “So I’ve got to make sure I’m secure with the ball, secure with the snap.”
The next miscue came after a three-and-out where Jones threw his first two incompletions of the preseason. He had completed his first eight passes between the opener against the Jets and his first drive on Friday night.
Chicago linebacker James Vaughters came flying through on a blitz in the second quarter and cleanly knocked the ball out of Jones’ right hand. Vaughters recovered deep in Giants territory.
“Guy got beat, swatted it out of his hands. That’s it,” Shurmur said. “He has to secure it.”
Jones wasn’t happy with what unfolded early in his evening. Fortunately, it didn’t ruin the night.
“I was very upset,” he said. “I think those are two mistakes you can’t make. One time we were driving with the ball in scoring position and I made a costly mistake there, and then kind of holding the ball in the pocket, two bad mistakes, so definitely things to learn from.”
The fumbles don’t appear to be a long-term concern for the Giants. There hasn’t been anything in practice that indicates Jones has a propensity for fumbling.
“I don’t think he ever took a snap under center in college. Part of the growing,” Shurmur said. “But he didn’t panic. Dropped the ball a couple times, didn’t call his parents. Did a good job getting the ball into the end zone.”
Shurmur did address the plays with his young quarterback during the game. His message was simple.
“Don’t drop the snap. And two hands on the ball in the pocket,” Shurmur said. “It’s never acceptable to drop the ball. Be smart enough to know that immediately. Make corrections. It’s that simple. I don’t have to write him a note. I just tell him.”
Jones bounced back well — also not a surprise to the Giants.
“Again I’m going to say this. People outside our building seem surprised. We’re not,” Shurmur said. “I think he’s making good progress and as he goes along here he’s checking off all the boxes. When it’s his time to play, he will be ready. So I’m pleased with the progress he’s making.”