EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Another day on the Daniel Jones watch revealed little about the quarterback's potential availability for the Giants' home game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Jones, who did not play in the 17-12 victory in Seattle because of a hamstring injury, was again limited in practice. Coach Joe Judge needs more time and evidence before concluding Jones can return to try and lead the Giants to their fifth consecutive victory.
"To be completely transparently honest with you guys," Judge told reporters before practice, "I don't have an answer for you right now on that."
Jones seems to be making progress.
"I think he's working hard every day to get better," Judge said. "He's doing everything we ask him to do. He did a good job in the walkthrough yesterday. We put him through some basic agility, short space stuff. I would say that he's throwing the ball well, but there's a lot of things we still need to see. Throwing the ball in short space and going through a walkthrough are very, very different than going through team periods and being able to see how this guy reacts and moves in the pocket, which is really our biggest concern is how he can protect himself on the field. Today will tell us a lot and tomorrow hopefully we'll make a final decision."
Moments later, Judge elaborated on what he needs to see from Jones.
"I really have to see this guy move around on the field, and that's just what it is," he said. "Look, we want all of our players to be fully healthy and be out there. He did a walkthrough yesterday, he did an abbreviated workout with the trainers that we watched after practice. But that being said, none of those are what my concerns are with him going into Sunday. Until he does some things that I can really see and make the judgement that he can protect himself and stay out there healthy on the field, I can't give you an answer. I would just be making something up."
Jones and backup Colt McCoy, who played the entire game in Seattle, continue to split practice reps.
"We do that every day anyway," Judge said. "We'll go ahead and mix them. We'll see how Daniel is working, we'll see him through individuals and see how his body responded. The more we think he can do, the more we'll let him take. Then Colt will get his share as well."
*Linebacker Blake Martinez, who hurt his back in the fourth quarter of the Seattle game, returned to practice today on a limited basis. But he said little about his potential availability for Sunday's game.
"Don't want to talk too much about injuries and things like that," Martinez said. "Just working every day to keep getting better and better to keep getting ready for Sunday."
*Rookie tackle Matt Peart was limited in his first practice since injuring his ankle vs. the Seahawks. Cornerback Darnay Holmes, another rookie, was limited for the second straight day with a knee injury.
*Rookie defensive back Madre Harper again missed practice with a knee injury.
*In the last two games, the Giants' special teams have allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown, gave up a fake punt for a first down and then a punt return that could have cost them a victory in Cincinnati, and then had a punt blocked for a safety in Seattle.
How can they ensure the issues have been resolved as they prepare to play the season's final four games?
"That's our job as coaches," said special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. "Our mantra in our room is 'kaizen' and that's the act of continuous improvement. We're not making excuses, we're just going to make adjustments. That's the thing, it's all about trying to get better. It's all about fine tuning the little details and that's the same thing I told the players. It ain't what you're going through, it's what you're growing through. This is a growth process for us as a team. It's a maturation process for us as a group and as a unit. When you hit hard times, you hit some rough times, how are you going to bounce back? What are you going to do? I use the phrase that I used when I was growing up, are you going to box or throw rocks? What are you going to do? You get hit in the mouth, you get hit in the chin, you get hit in the gut, how are you going to react to it?
"That's what we're finding out right now as a group and as a unit. How we're going to react to getting a gut punch. We've been rocking right along pretty solid and all of the sudden you get hit with a right hook under your chin. What are you going to do? Your eyes start watering a little bit, you tear up. Are you going to fall and hit the ground and tap out, or get up and keep fighting? That's our whole thing. We're going to keep fighting, we're going to keep working every day. We're going to go out today, we're going to work to get better. We're in meetings this morning, we're working to get better. That's the thing. The act of continued improvement and that's what we believe in and that's the process of what we're going through."
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