How about that Daniel Jones kid, eh?
The New York Giants’ rookie passer had a debut for the ages last Sunday, willing his team from 18 points down to a 32-31 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his first NFL start while accounting for four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing).
It was an amazing way to introduce himself to metropolitan area fans. But one game is one game, and now Jones must keep the momentum going as the Giants host the NFC East rival Washington Redskins.
With the chance to lift the Giants from a disappointing 0-2 to a promising 2-2 record, here’s what Jones and his teammates must do to ensure that happens against winless Washington.
At 0-3, Washington is actually a step down from the Tampa Bay team Jones torched for 336 yards while completing 63.9% of his passes in Week 3. Opposing quarterbacks have tossed three touchdowns each week against D.C., including Chicago Bears signal caller Mitchell Trubisky in last week’s 31-15 loss in which the unheralded QB broke out of a slump.
The stage is set for Jones to continue his strong play, but even Washington’s flailing defense possesses playmakers. One who will be particularly motivated in his return to MetLife Stadium is Landon Collins, the former Giants safety whom the team opted to let walk in free agency. Both he and cornerback Josh Norman are talented veterans capable of ruining the rookie’s first start in front of the home crowd at MetLife Stadium.
Make it Wayne
Like it or not, the Giants must make their way through about half of the season without Saquon Barkley. The loss of the team’s top playmaker cannot be overstated, regardless of how well Jones played last week, mostly without his star running back. Nobody is reasonably expecting Wayne Gallman to light the league on fire as he steps into the RB1 slot on the depth chart, but he must provide competent play and production for the time being.
Don’t read too heavily into last week’s five carries and 13 yards; the Bucs’ defense allows the third-fewest yards per carry. Gallman has averaged a respectable four yards per tote since his first year with the Giants in 2017, and he can contribute on passing downs as well. Plus, Washington surrenders 4.8 yards per rush (tied for 22nd in the NFL).
The stage is set for Gallman to have a big day if the game script allows for it, but there`’s reason for major concern if he can’t punch through holes in the line against this team.
On the Case
For a short while, it looked as if Jones might face off against a fellow quarterback from the 2019 NFL Draft: Dwayne Haskins. With starter Case Keenum back at practice on Thursday and out of a walking boot, the showdown will have to wait.
Nonetheless, Keenum is a capable quarterback who can assert himself against a young Giants defense that’s allowed between 28 and 35 points each week in 2019. The 31-year-old journeyman is completing 69.4% of his passes and posted seven touchdowns compared to three interceptions. He may not be a superstar, but he’s as likely to carve up Big Blue’s defensive backfield as anyone at this point.
There is no one culprit behind the Giants struggles at stopping opposing passers, but rookie DeAndre Baker’s trouble adjusting to professional football haven’t gone unnoticed by the opposition. Something must be done this week to deter quarterbacks from throwing downfield with impunity.
Giants 35, Washington 31