Sports

Hard to determine Daniel Jones’ ceiling with this Giants offensive line

Daniel Jones needed something, anything, to salvage this night, to build on for the start of his put-up-or-shut-up season.

He had been weighed down in his first preseason start, held down yet again by an offensive line that has still not been fixed, and a left tackle who looks nothing like the fourth-overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, by key weapons who haven’t played a lick all summer, and he had just rolled right and thrown an egregious end-zone interception on third down from the New England 1 to cornerback D’Angelo Ross that served as an ominous warning that he has and will have little or no margin for error this season.

He had engineered four drives, with fits and starts and one pretty 22-yard throw across the field on third down to Sterling Shepard, one near-interception, unable to sustain success, and failed to finish and get his team in the end zone.

But finally, when he was given time to stand tall in the pocket, he began to resemble the franchise quarterback the franchise so dearly and desperately believes in: a beautiful 23-yard TD strike to TE Kaden Smith to cap a nine-play, 58-yard drive.

Jones (17-for-22, 135 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) was 7-for-8 on his two-minute drive for 55 yards against Bill Belichick’s reserves, while also scrambling out of bounds for 4 yards on third-and-2 preceding his TD pass.

Thankfully, the sky didn’t fall on Daniel Jones when Joe Judge removed the Bubble Wrap and let him play the first half of Patriots 22, Giants 20.

The question now remaining with the Broncos on tap for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener:

Can the sky possibly be the limit for him with this offensive line?

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
Getty Images

Are the Giants doomed to a slow start with so many of Jones’ weapons sidelined this summer and an offensive line that shows no indications that it has been finally fixed?

First of all, it is understood that Saquon Barkley and the new toys the Giants secured to play with Jones — Kenny Golladay, No. 1 draft choice Kadarius Toney and TE Kyle Rudolph — barely practiced in training camp, and didn’t play a snap in the preseason games. “Our job is to be ready,” Jones said. “I’m confident those guys’ll be ready to go.”

And second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth of all, Jones’ offensive linemen, particularly Thomas, will remain guilty until proven innocent.

Guilty until they show that the offensive line is no longer a giant Achilles’ heel.

Jones’ first series, a three-and-out, was sabotaged when OLB Josh Uche beat Thomas to the outside for a sack. “There’s a lot of things I need to work on,” Thomas said.

Thomas was victimized on the second series when Jones held the ball a tad too long and was sacked again.

Thomas was flagged for a holding penalty on Jones’ fourth series.

“It’s not always on that one player’s shoulders,” Judge said.

At least it’s easier to defend a player who resists giving Giants boobirds a thumbs down, right?

“I have to step up and do what I have to do,” Thomas said.

The game plans will be different once the bullets start flying, the shackles Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett placed on Jones on Sunday night will be removed, so there’s that.

But there’s also this: Engram left with a calf injury and WR Darius Slayton left with ankle and foot injuries.

The nightmare scenario, of course, was always this:

Daniel Jones, sprawled on the ground following a fifth sack surrendered by his offensive line, Ronnie Barnes and the medical team rushing onto the field to tend to him.

Jones survived, and lived to tell about it.

“I think I’ve improved, and made progress,” he said.

He’s a tough kid, mentally and physically, a resilient kid. A trait that comes in handy when you are asked to weather storms, and get off the canvas.

nypost.com

New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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