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#GiantsChat: Daniel Jones isn't the only rookie making an impact

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If I answered all these questions, it would be a thousand word answer, so I'll touch on some of the rookies.

Dexter Lawrence played 31 snaps on defense, right in between the 28 he played in week 1 and 31 he played in week 2. Lawrence continued to push the depth of the pocket as a pass rusher. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he finished the game with a sack, quarterback hit, and a hurry. He was also in on the tackle on a key 2nd and 2 on the Bucs final drive, which led to a punt that preceded Daniel Jones' game winning drive.

Oshane Ximines played 40 snaps, which was 52% of the defensive snaps. He had a sack and a pair of hurries, according to PFF. Ryan Connelly played 92% of the snaps, and was in on two big stops at the end of the game. He tackled Peyton Barber on a 3rd and 2 from the five-yard line in the fourth quarter to force a field goal, and then he filled the hole on a 2nd and 2 on the Bucs next drive to force a run for no gain. He also had an interception in the fourth quarter thrown over the head of and behind Mike Evans.

DeAndre Baker played every defensive snap. To say he shutdown Godwin would be a little strong. According to PFF, Baker was targeted 4 times in the game and gave up 2 catches for 24 yards. He was also called for an illegal contact penalty. Given the fact Winston threw for 380 yards, he might have just been looking elsewhere.

Darius Slayton was in on 45% of the offensive snaps (29 total), and showed how his speed can help make big plays down the field. He caught three of his five targets for 82 yards. His role could continue to increase.

Balance will still be critical for the Giants offense to be successful. Once a team no longer respects a run game, it can play two safeties deep, which makes getting the ball downfield for big plays nearly impossible. Gallman can handle 15-20 carries a game, and he is a competent downhill running back. The running game will still be a part of the offense.

When you look at how Daniel Jones succeeded in his first start, he was not a one-trick pony. He made plays against pressure, blitzes, and a lot of different coverages. According to PFF, he had a bit more success against cover three than the other looks the Bucs showed, but that was as much a product of Evan Engram's long catch and run as anything else. Teams will likely pay a bit more attention to him as a runner, and if they play man, especially in the red zone, dedicate a defender to prevent him from running for touchdowns. Teams might also try to send some more pressure after him, given his two fumbles and tendency to hold the ball a little too long last week.

It isn't about the Giants coming up with some kind of grand strategy to counter these adjustments. It is only a matter of Jones correcting his mistakes from a week before, executing the plays that are called, and making the right decision with the football. It's really that simple.

Coming out of college, I felt Jones had an arm good enough to make all the NFL throws. When I saw him for the first time up close in the spring and summer, it was obvious his arm would not be a hindrance in the NFL. I'm not sure where the evaluation came from that he couldn't throw hard enough, which I also heard leading up to the draft, but I never agreed with it and the tape didn't show it either.

Jones' first touchdown run was designed well by Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula. It started with jet sweep motion from right to left with Russell Shepard, drawing the defense's eyes to the left. Then he ran a read-option, and faked an inside hand-off to Saquon Barkley. The defense crashed inside, and Jones kept the ball and ran right for the touchdown. Previously on that drive, Jones simulated keeping the ball after hand-offs and saw the defense was not trailing him on the fake.

The second touchdown run came on a pass play where Tampa played man to man on the goal line. The routes cleared out the middle of the field, spare Jordan Whitehead. He left his centerfield position to double-team an already covered Evan Engram, which gave Jones a clear run for the touchdown.


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