How preseason success correlates to regular-season success is an ongoing topic of discussion among NFL fans. Opinions differ, but one thing is for certain: It’s not a bad thing to look good in the preseason, especially if you’re a rookie quarterback.
If you’re a rookie quarterback whose drafting earned a franchise and general manager mocking from all corners of the sports media world, that goes doubly so.
New York Giants first-round pick Daniel Jones couldn’t have been any more successful in quieting the critics, at least for the time being.
When the Giants picked Jones with the sixth overall pick, roughly 50 places higher than most analysts had him ranked, General Manager David Gettleman quickly became the punchline to the joke.
But the way things went Thursday night, Gettleman must have felt, if even for a fleeting moment, that the joke was on everyone else.
Jones played only one first-quarter drive in the Giants’ preseason opener against the New York Jets, but he did everything he could to make it count, going 5-for-5 for 67 passing yards and a touchdown.
DAAAAAAAMN Daniel! 👀 pic.twitter.com/y916nWoLqO
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 8, 2019
Part of what made Jones’ performance so impressive was the variety of throws he connected on.
He eased into the game with a short 5-yard completion before hitting a well-timed throw over the middle for 10 yards and a first down.
The biggest play of the drive was a completion to wide receiver Cody Latimer that went for 31 yards up the left sideline. An 8-yard out route yielded a key first down to keep the drive alive on third-and-seven.
On the very next play, Jones found Bennie Fowler in the corner of the end zone with a precise throw that had to go over one Jets defender and stay wide enough to evade another one.
Drive 1: Every single Daniel Jones pass
-5/5, 67 yds and a TD 👀
Say goodbye, Eli pic.twitter.com/MURmdOceVD
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 8, 2019
It wasn’t just that stat line that was impressive, but the way Jones did it. Every throw was right on the money, and he stood calmly in the pocket with the poise of an experienced veteran.
After the game, Jones told reporters: “There was a couple things I messed up there on the first couple plays, but when you’re playing with good players it helps.”
“A couple things I messed up there, but when you’re playing with good players it helps” – Daniel Jones on his first drive as a Giant
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) August 9, 2019
Jones wasn’t the only rookie who had an impressive debut on Thursday night. First overall pick Kyler Murray also played one series as his Arizona Cardinals took on the Los Angeles Chargers.
Murray went 6-of-7 for 44 yards, with most of his completions coming on short but crisp throws.
He may have only played one series but Kyler Murray showed some of the goods. Was running Kliff Kingsbury’s offense to perfection. Poised in the pocket, quick decisions, ball out fast, and ripping it with zip.
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) August 9, 2019
The speed and elusiveness that made Murray such an attractive prospect were on display even on his lone “incompletion” of the night.
The commentary last night…. “saw him a lot at Oklahoma, didn’t know he was this accurate”. Folks in Allen knew!
RT @espncfb: Heisman winner ✅
No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft ✅
Kyler Murray makes his #NFLPreseason debut (via @thecheckdown)pic.twitter.com/H3zMvrV5ZC
— Sandra Turner (@wfaasandra) August 9, 2019
Cardinals receiver KeeSean Johnson stepped out of bounds before making the catch, earning a penalty and rendering the throw incomplete, as far as statistics go.
Also in action on Thursday was Washington Redskins first-round pick Dwayne Haskins, who was widely ranked as the second-best quarterback in the draft.
Haskins saw more playing time than Jones or Murray but had a considerably more flawed performance. He threw for 117 yards while completing 8-of-14 attempts and getting intercepted twice on very poor throws.
Greedy Williams picks off Dwayne Haskins. pic.twitter.com/tlq03wu0vm
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) August 9, 2019
— NFL@SneakerReporter (@NFL_SR) August 9, 2019
Haskins did have some impressive moments in the game, making several nice passes and utilizing his speed.
— NFL (@NFL) August 9, 2019
It’s only Week 1 of the preseason so it would be a mistake to overreact either way, but at least two fan bases that have endured a tough few seasons now have reason to hope.
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