Daniel Jones wrapped up a nearly perfect preseason with another nearly perfect game - or at least one perfect series in the Giants' preseason finale.
And that's likely the last anyone will see of the sixth-overall pick until the Giants are ready to make a quarterback switch and put an end to Eli Manning's Giants career.
In the meantime, there's another big quarterback decision coming up for Giants coach Pat Shurmur. We know he loves Jones. We know he thinks Jones has made a ton of progress this summer. And we know he thinks Jones is ready and able to play.
But does he love him enough to trust him to be the backup quarterback right away?
It sure seems like he's won that job, but it's not a simple decision. Shurmur - like many coaches - has indicated a preference to have a veteran backup in the past, which is one reason why they signed journeyman Alex Tanney last year. It's easier (and more comfortable for the coaches) if a veteran is thrown into a game if the starter gets hurt. It's not as easy for a rookie who has never played an NFL game before to do that.
And the Giants surely want Jones' debut to be as smooth as possible, which means they might prefer to keep him as the third stringer until they're ready to make the switch. This way Tanney can be the guy who gets thrown into the middle of a game, if needed. Then Jones could start the following week and the 22-year-old would have a full week to prepare.
But who knows? Maybe Shurmur is so enamored with Jones, and trusts him so much that he'll be ready to make him the No. 2 quarterback right from the start. If he does that, second-year pro Kyle Lauletta could stick around another season - a real possibility given Tanney's struggles this summer. Most likely, Manning, Jones and Tanney will be the three quarterbacks on the roster. Lauletta will be waived, and possibly signed back to the practice squad.
That's all up to Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman, who will begin making those decision on Friday morning.
Regardless, Jones was 4 for 4 for 47 yards in what became a 31-29 Giants win in New England. He finished his summer 29-for-34 for 416 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. That's a completion percentage of 85.3 and a passer rating of 137.2.
Here are a few Takeaways from the Giants' final preseason game.
- Two throws sum up Jones' night and summer. The first was a 14-yard bullet thrown to WR Golden Tate, who was running a slant over the middle. Jones was under pressure and had to hang in the pocket until Tate broke free, and then he hit him right in stride. The second was again under pressure, when he threw a 23-yard rainbow down the sidelines that dropped right into Tate's hands. Jones' accuracy and touch have been remarkable all preseason long.
- Tanney didn't exactly make a case for himself with his disastrous preseason finale. He started out fine, with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Russell. But that was it. He finished a dismal 4 of 12 for 53 yards, that touchdown and two interceptions. His second interception was a terrible low pass to tight end C.J. Conrad that the rookie batted up into the air for an easy INT. Lauletta, meanwhile, went 22 of 40 for 248 yards and two touchdowns, including his "walk off" 14-yard touchdown to Russell as time expired. If this decision was totally performance-based, Lauletta won the third-string job, and it's probably not even close.
- Russell, who caught that final TD pass, had impressive numbers on the surface - 5 catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns. The problem? He was targeted 15 times. Not all were catchable, of course, but it'll be interesting to see how the coaches evaluate his game and whether he was always where he was supposed to be, or whether those 10 misses were the quarterback's fault.
- Tate hadn't done much this summer and didn't play last week. It was good to see the chemistry he had with Jones on those two catches. Tate now will begin serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
- DL R.J. McIntosh has been a forgotten man, but he could have an impact on the Giants' defense in select spots this season. The fifth-round pick missed much of his rookie year while recovering from a thyroid condition, but the Giants have always liked him. He showed a flash of his promise with an early huge hit on Patriots QB Jarrett Stidham in the first quarter on Thursday night.
- LB B.J. Goodson got the start for the Giants and had a big hit and sack on the first drive. He was unblocked, but it was good to see him make a play. He's been running with the third- and fourth-stringers all summer long and seems like a longshot to make the final roster.
- RB Paul Perkins, a fifth-round pick from 2016, didn't help his cause in what was a big opportunity for him. He did carry 11 times for 54 yards, including runs of 9 and 24 yards. The killer for him, though, came in the first quarter when he failed to pick up a yard on a 3rd and 1 and then a 4th and 1. There was no push at all from the backup offensive line, but he surely could've helped himself if he had just found a way to squeeze through.
- Was Wayne Gallman battling for his roster spot on Thursday night? He appeared set as the backup to Saquon Barkley, but he came in after Perkins against the Patriots and played deep into the fourth quarter. That usually isn't a good sign in the preseason finale. Maybe it was just numbers. Veteran Rod Smith was hurt and rookie Jon Hilliman didn't play, so someone had to bear the brunt of the workload. For what it's worth, Gallman finished with seven carries for 29 yards and three catches for 24 yards.
The Giants finished the preseason with a 4-0 record. Big Blue will open the season at Dallas on Sunday, September 8 at 4:25 p.m.