No, that wasn’t the totally inept offense that entered the field here late last season, when Joe Judge’s second season malfunctioned.
But Daniel Jones & Co. didn’t quite light it up as they twice led in an intra-band brawl. The Giants’ pass protection, in particular, looked shoddy throughout much of the night, as defensive coordinator Wink Martindale brought in his usual volume of lightning attacks.
Could that be an important issue for the Giants, as they try to get a fair and definitive appraisal of Jones, in the fourth (and final) year of his rookie contract? Can. But Daboll isn’t ready to pass a full verdict yet on his offensive line.
“Best rating [of the line] It will come when we play games.”
He meant pre-season games, and the Giants are now less than a week away from their season opener, Thursday night at the Patriots.
But for Jones on Friday night, he was 12 of 22 passes for 112 yards and touchdowns, with no interceptions, while he’s facing a lot of pressure. He probably should have been sent off four times, but defenders aren’t allowed to hit a quarterback during these training settings of course.
“I thought it worked really well,” Daboll said of Jones. “I’m sure there are plays he wants to take back.”
Like it near the pick-up six by Adoree’ Jackson on the first drive.
“He was close” to getting it back down, said Daboll, pursing his lips and adding nothing more.
Although that throw is no longer Jones’ sting, his first drive on Friday was mostly in disarray, in part due to protection issues. He completed 4 of 11 passes for 45 yards on the road, which ended with an incomplete pass on the fourth and a goal at the 3-yard line.
On the second drive play, from Jones’ 27-yard line, Jackson nearly intercepted him, after staring at Tony Cadarius. And the next play, the third and eighth, had to finish driving, because Darnay Holmes was going to fire Jones. Holmes ran into the back field unblocked.
But rather than pull his first-team units off the field after just three shots, Daboll let that play continue, and Jones hit Wan’Dale Robinson for 28 yards–in effect a well-connected pass.
The remainder of the drive included plenty of lights to attack the Giants and Jones. Facing pressure from Leonard Williams, Jones heavily ousted Robinson. In the next play, Jones was ahead in a short pass to Daniel Bellinger.
Driving faltered after Jones missed consecutive passes into the end zone of 7. In the first and goal, he failed to hit Kenny Goladay in the mile. And in the next play, he knocks Colin Johnson down hard after being kicked out of the pocket. Jones was supposed to be sacked by Kayvonne Tibodo at the last minute after that, third and goal, but the play continued with completion.
“It’s good to have a lot of work against pressure as an offensive unit,” said Daboll, spinning positively one night as Martindale’s defense left his pass protection looking lost at times.
After hard rehearsals on the Attack of the Titans, on Tuesday and Wednesday, her performance on Friday night failed to continue this trend.
The Giants, already suffering from offensive tackle depth, were dealt another blow when the rising striker Marcus McKitthan from the second-right series suffered a right leg injury. The severity of the injury is unclear, but it was not good.
By this point Jones and the starting offense had already finished their second and final drive, which was better than the first (low bar). Jones completed in the second drive 8 of 11 passes for 67 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown for a tight end Andre Miller for fourth and goal.
Although Jones made some nice throws in the second drive, the protection issues persisted – two shootouts, including one by left tackle Andrew Thomas on Thibodo. Thomas also jumped early for a false start mark. Thibodeaux would obviously be an important weapon for Martindale. Same for Leonard Williams, who would have picked up the second sack and 14th on that flight.
Two pieces later – on the third and thirteenth, right after Thomas’ false start – Martindale brought in Julian Love in a lightning attack for a potential fourth of the night, the second with a defensive back. But again, driving was allowed to continue. Jones made one of his best throws of the night on the third and thirteenth of his 37th, when Saquon found Barkley on screen, under pressure, for a 21-yard win.
Jones had another good throw for a third down in third and seventh from 17, to put the attack within close range for a touchdown. Golladay hit a step on a mile well-timed for 9-yard gains.
However, this was mostly a flawed night for the crime of the giants, although there were no ups and downs. Barkley dropped a pass on the second drive. So did Robinson, who looked good in camp, like Barkley.
Nobody ever said this would be an overnight fix for Daboll, as he tries to fix Attack on Titan and ignite Jones’ career. Friday was another indication of that harsh reality.
Next, Daboll thought about the current situation of the rebuilding team. He expressed cautious optimism – with a statement that could just as easily be uttered about his guilt.
“I think we’re going in the right direction,” he said. “But we are far away.”
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Darryl Slater can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.