Five storylines to follow as the Giants go on their bye week:
1. Development of Daniel Jones
The Giants are eight games into the Jones era, which began with back-to-back wins before a six-game losing streak. By the end of the season, the sixth overall pick will have 14 starts under his belt and likely every franchise rookie record. He has also done things that few around the league have accomplished. Only three times in NFL history has a rookie quarterback thrown for at least 300 yards in a game with four touchdown passes and no interceptions; two of those were produced by Jones.
Of course, with the good has come the bad, notably nine lost fumbles and eight interceptions. Pat Shurmur said quarterbacks will go through the same process as the coaches in terms of self-scouting this week.
“He’ll go through all the situational football, he’ll look at the things he’s done well,” Shurmur said. “He’s thrown 15 touchdowns, he’ll look at the eight interceptions, and look at the fumbles. You basically go through everything that you’ve done, and you try to sit back, take a breath, and try to do the things you need to do to correct them, which we’ve been working on all along. You are just able to sit back and do it in total.”
2. Saquon gets healthy
Saquon Barkley set high standards for himself after leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage as a rookie. Through 10 games of his encore, the running back has 660 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. He missed three games with a high ankle sprain and, since his return, has averaged under three yards per carry.
“I feel like myself,” Barkley said. “I would love to be going for 100 yards every game, I would love to be doing the things I was doing last year. I don’t like the fact that I was able to have one yard against the Jets, a great team, respect to them. I feel like when you see me get in open space I still was making people miss. Last week against Dallas, they were doing a really good job of shutting me down, but I got in open space and I still felt fast on that screen. Obviously, we didn’t score on that but I still felt fast enough to get a 65-yard explosive play.
“The opportunities, I just have to take advantage of the opportunities I get. To say that I’m not healthy, that’s just an excuse. Everyone is banged up, everyone is going through something and I’m not going to let that be an excuse for why I’m not having a successful season. The reason I’m not having a successful season is because I’m not making enough plays for my team.”
3. Injury report
Left tackle Nate Solder, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and tight end Rhett Ellison suffered concussions in the final game before the bye week. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, meanwhile, remains in the protocol after missing five consecutive games. Center Jon Halapio (hamstring) and right tackle Mike Remmers (back) also missed Week 10 with injuries. They were replaced by Spencer Pulley and Nick Gates, respectively.
4. Young players gaining experience in key roles
From Jones to wide receiver Darius Slayton to cornerback Sam Beal making his NFL debut, the Giants have plenty of players cutting their teeth this season. The final six games will be their chance to show what they can do.
“The decision to go with them, in most cases, there is no decision,” Shurmur said. “They are the best players at the position. The challenge is for anybody that does anything for the very first time. They are talented players, but anybody that does anything for the very first time, there is a lot to be learned. There’s, I guess, pains that come with growing and we’ve just got to be very consistent, we’ve got to raise them right, we’ve got to coach them hard, and we’ve got to do like you do with any player. But they have the ability to get experience, and we all know there is no substitute for experience.”
5. How do they finish?
Last year’s team entered the bye week with a 1-7 record and proceeded to win four of the next five games coming out of the break. We’ll see what the 2019 Giants have in store beginning with a road trip to Chicago in Week 12.
“I think we still have an opportunity to finish strong and get back on track,” Jones said. “I think that’s where everyone’s heads are right now, that’s what we’re focused on. We’ll use this bye to focus on those things, to address them and to come back ready to, like I said, finish strong.”
A look at the New York Giants' current active roster