EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Daniel Jones‘ first impression to a New York Giants fan base that wasn’t completely on board with his selection couldn’t have been any better. One drive, no incompletions, one touchdown pass.
Jones, who was booed after being the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft, was perfect as he led the Giants to a touchdown on his first career drive in the preseason opener against the New York Jets. He went 5-for-5 for 67 yards on a drive that concluded with a 12-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Bennie Fowler.
It was the lone drive for Jones, whose night ended early because of a weather delay. He was set to come back out for a second drive behind the starting offensive line until MetLife Stadium was cleared because of inclement weather in the area.
When the two teams resumed play after a 59-minute delay, Alex Tanney replaced Jones behind the backup offensive line. It kept Jones’ debut perfect and left the Giants’ fans with a positive feel for the quarterback who was controversially selected ahead of Dwayne Haskins, who went 15th to the Washington Redskins.
The Giants went on to win 31-22.
Jones’ debut lived up to a prediction made earlier this week by veteran wide receiver Russell Shepard.
“I’ve said it before, I think he’s going to be very special,” Shepard told ESPN. “He just has to wait for his time, and I think when his number is called and his time comes, I have no doubt this city and this organization is going to fall in love with Daniel Jones. He’s going to be a good one.”
It’s only one preseason game and drive, but this is the latest checked box for Jones, who had a strong spring that drew raves from the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula even expressed belief that Jones would be ready to play immediately, if necessary.
Jones looked like he belonged and threw the ball well in the spring. It has continued into the summer. Jones didn’t throw his first interception during live drills until his fifth practice at training camp. He has been especially lethal with his deep-ball accuracy.
Eli Manning still remains the starting quarterback. He played the opening drive Thursday night and completed his only pass for 3 yards. The Giants ran three plays before punting.
It didn’t take Jones long to get in a groove. His first pass was a quick, 5-yard completion to Cody Latimer. But it wasn’t until later in the drive that Jones had his best throws. He nailed Fowler in the chest with a well-placed pass on third-and-7 on the play before the touchdown.
Maybe most impressive was the accuracy Jones displayed on the drive, firing several passes into tight windows, including on the touchdown. Fowler had just 1.51 yards of separation on his two catches on the drive, according to NextGen stats. Cody Latimer had just 1.79 yards of separation on his two receptions. The league average last season was 2.82 yards.