EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The chemistry between New York Giants QB Daniel Jones and his newest weapon has been percolating in the Meadowlands. On Friday, during the team’s annual FanFest practice at MetLife Stadium, Jones struggled to find consistency as a passer, but his connection with rookie wideout Wan’Dale Robinson remained one of the few bright spots in an otherwise mediocre two-week start for the offense at training camp.
New York Giants training camp: Daniel Jones uneven in front of a crowd at FanFest
Jones got off to a rough start during the first drive in front of fans. The QB completed just 4 of 11 passes for 45 yards during the initial series, and the drive’s longevity only existed due to head coach Brian Daboll’s desire to see Jones receive a healthy workload.
Following a 2-yard run and a near-pick by Jones to start the drive, cornerback Darnay Holmes blitzed with nothing but the QB and grass in front of him. In a game, Holmes would have cleaned Jones’ clock, but since there was no contact in the practice — especially for the QB — the refs let the play continue as Holmes essentially froze in front of Jones.
To his credit, Jones left the pocket and made an excellent throw on the run to Robinson, a second-round pick in April, over the middle. From there, Robinson took off on an angle and picked up a 28-yard gain on the catch-and-run.
The offense-oriented Daboll let Jones continue his work and even moved the ball in scenarios when the offense didn’t convert on fourth down. Jones’ other positive play was a 27-yard run for a touchdown in a non-contact practice.
Daboll moved the ball back to the 5-yard line after the run and the Giants failed to pick up a touchdown on four consecutive plays, with Jones throwing off the mark on two of the four attempts. The fourth-down failure came on a jump ball for wideout Kenny Golladay, who failed to get his feet inbounds in the end zone.
Jones recovered on the next drive, leading the offense to a touchdown on the series. The QB completed 8 of 11 passes for 67 yards and a TD on the drive, capping the series with a 1-yard scoring strike — on a rollout toss — to tight end Andre Miller. The highlight of the drive, other than the TD, was a 21-yard screen pass to RB Saquan Barkley. Jones did a nice job of timing the pass, suckering in the defense, and tossing the ball to Barkley with room to run.
While tracking training camp tosses can be about as fruitful as chasing ghosts, for the sake of this workout — which played out like a scrimmage — Jones went 12 of 22 for 112 yards and a touchdown. It was a “stock even” night for the starting QB.
Kayvon Thibodeaux continues to impress at training camp
The Giants have to feel great about first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux through two weeks of training camp. He has routinely outmuscled offensive linemen with a mix of speed and power, and his athleticism is off the charts. During the first two first-team drills on Friday, Thibodeaux picked up a would-be sack (plays weren’t whistled dead throughout the night) and then forced a holding penalty on left tackle Andrew Thomas.
Thibodeaux, the fifth overall pick in April, routinely forced pressure on Jones throughout the stadium practice from the outside linebacker position. While there was no way to gauge the totality of his work without live physicality, he looked the part in front of a decent turnout of fans.
Secondary looks swell on Friday night
On the second team rep of the practice, No. 1 cornerback Adoree’ Jackson nearly picked off Jones on a comeback route by wideout Kadarius Toney. Jackson got both hands on the ball but failed to haul it in. That play was an indication of what was to come, as the secondary produced multiple breakups against the offense.
A couple of series later, cornerback Darren Evans made a great play with the deep-depth defense. He broke up a pass from third-string QB Davis Webb to wideout Darius Slayton down the field.
Then, safety Julian Love was able to rip a ball out of Robinson’s hands after Jones hit him on the sideline to force an incompletion. Also, cornerback Michael Jacquet and safety Yusef Corker combined for a breakup on wideout Collin Johnson when backup QB Tyrod Taylor tossed a deep ball to a “go” route.
Later on, Webb targeted wideout Keelan Doss on a fade route, and Evans tipped the jump ball to Corker, who collected the pick. Corker got some great blocking in front of him as he came out of the end zone and returned the ball 55 yards to the opposing 45-yard line.
Cornerback Zyon Gilbert also made an impressive leaping pass breakup on a 15-yard toss from Webb to wideout Alex Bachman in the end zone.
Overall, it was a good sign to see the entire secondary — from first- to third-team units — have its moments.
Rookie offensive lineman Marcus MeKethan suffered a leg injury during the second set of second-team drills. During a play that resulted in several flags being thrown, MeKethan went down and held his leg, as Taylor rolled out to his left for a deep ball that fell incomplete near the end zone. MeKethan, a fifth-round pick in April, was eventually carted off the field.
Center Nick Gates, offensive tackle Matt Peart, and wideout Sterling Shepard remained on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and didn’t take part in the night practice. Linebacker Azeez Ojulari remained on the non-football injury (NFI) list.
Offensive lineman Matt Gono is on the exempt/left squad list. According to a league source, Gono is dealing with a neck injury and is away from the team. He doesn’t count against the 90-man roster, and he was replaced with the signing of offensive tackle Will Holden prior to FanFest. Holden is wearing No. 79 for the Giants.
Quick Hits from Giants FanFest
- Webb did a nice job with a floater to Doss on a fade route. Davis beat Evans by a couple of steps and picked up roughly 20 yards on the play.
- Taylor had a well-placed pass on a short TD score by wideout Richie James. Taylor has looked calm and collected in PFN’s viewings of him throughout the summer. At the very least, Taylor can push Jones in camp and throughout the season with his credibility and experience.
- Running back Matt Brieda has been on four different teams over the past four summers. The former undrafted running back spent time in San Franciso, Miami, and Buffalo before re-joining Daboll and GM Joe Schoen in the Meadowlands this offseason. This writer has attended two Giants practices during the first two weeks of camp and has come away impressed by Brieda, who obviously has the advantage of knowing Daboll’s defense. He’s playing fast mentally and physically this summer.
- Bachman had a couple of impressive catch-and-run plays with the deep-depth offensive units. He might have a shot of sticking around under a new regime.
- The PFN’Training Camp Tour’s northeast leg will continue with a second night at MetLife Stadium, as the New York Jets host their annual Green & White Scrimmage on Saturday night.