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Cover 3: Takeaways from Giants vs. Bears

The Giants.com crew discusses the biggest takeaways from the Giants’ 32-13 preseason win over the Bears.

John Schmeelk: One of us has to talk about Daniel Jones, right? This week, it will be me. I went through some specific plays from Jones in my game film report, but I will talk in more general terms here.

It is important for all players in the NFL, especially a quarterback, to put bad plays behind them and Jones did just that in his second preseason game. It is never a good thing for a quarterback to be responsible for two turnovers, which Jones was when he fumbled a snap and was stripped on a front-side sack. Those mistakes, however, are coachable. Jones also missed a couple of throws in the second quarter, throwing short to Golden Tate on an out route and behind TJ Jones over the middle.

None of it phased him. He finished his game strong, driving the ball 65 yards on five plays for a touchdown with 1:19 remaining in the half. His throw to TJ Jones was perfectly placed for the touchdown, and was thrown with great trust that his wide receiver would get open. He hit the spot that Jones was supposed to get to.

It is still only preseason, so everything young players do needs to be taken with many grains of salt, but Jones is showing traits that bode well for a young quarterback. He is poised and calm in the pocket and able to get through his reads quickly, even under pressure. His throws, for the most part, have been accurate. He is hitting his targets in stride and giving them a chance to make plays after the catch.

Yards per attempt is one of the best indicators of how well a quarterback is playing, and among quarterbacks with more than seven attempts (as of of Friday’s games), Daniel Jones leads the NFL this preseason at 12.0 yards per attempt. He’s also fourth in completion percentage at 84.2.

Ultimately, it’s two preseason games. But for now, it is all anyone has to evaluate Jones. So far, so good.

Dan Salomone: The stat and quote of the week were on the same subject: wide receivers. Golden Tate, who is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances, has 611 career regular-season receptions. That is more than the combined total of the other 11 wideouts on the roster. Looking at the first two preseason games, you wouldn’t know it.

Giants quarterbacks were 29 of 37 for 374 yards and three touchdowns with a 136.0 passer rating in the opener against the Jets. In Week Two, they were 21 of 30 for 250 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 117.4. Not bad for four quarterbacks throwing to a bunch of “no-names.” Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler have been the top two guys, with Russell Shepard, TJ Jones, Alonzo Russell and Reggie White Jr. also making big plays. In each of the first two games, the offense had four different players with receptions of 25 yards or longer.

That led to the quote of the week from Pat Shurmur following Friday’s game: “Really, the crux of it all, I think they are a bunch of tough guys. They play a fancy position, but I think they are a bunch of tough guys. I think that wins the day, too.”

Lance Medow: With Saquon Barkley serving as a spectator in the first two preseason games, the Giants coaching staff has had a great chance to evaluate the depth at running back. With Wayne Gallman was sidelined with ankle soreness in Week Two, Paul Perkins, Rod Smith and undrafted rookie Jon Hilliman all took advantage of their reps. Smith impressed on the team’s opening drive with five carries for 27 yards, highlighted by a 17-yard. He showcased how he can bring something different to the backfield as a decisive north-south runner. You can’t overlook his versatility. He catches the ball out of the backfield and has the ability to serve as a fullback thanks to his strong frame (6-3, 235).

In the first preseason game against the Jets, Perkins lost a fumble and dropped a pass in what was his first game action since 2017. A big part of evaluating a player is to see how he bounces back from adversity. Well, Perkins passed that test with flying colors, finishing with 35 rushing yards on six carries and adding two catches for 30 yards, including a 26-yard gain off a screen pass. Before Perkins suffered a torn pectoral muscle during the 2018 offseason, he showed flashes as a runner, receiver and a reliable option in pass protection. That diverse skillset was on full display Friday night.

Hilliman suffered a concussion late in the first preseason game, so he looked to make the most of his additional work against the Bears and didn’t disappoint. He led the team with 16 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Overall, the Giants ran for 161 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Yes, there’s only so much you can read into that stat, but that number is notable considering the team had just 40 rushing yards against the Jets. The Giants were able to set the tone on the ground, regardless of which offensive linemen and running backs were in the game. That says a lot about the competition at those positions and the ability to possibly rely on some options in addition to Barkley in 2019.

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