The head coach did not like the two fumbles. Not one bit.
But Pat Shurmur did like how Daniel Jones, the rookie quarterback, did not wilt when faced with his first adversity with the Giants.
“He didn’t panic,’’ Shurmur said. “He dropped the ball a couple times and didn’t call his parents. Went back to work and led us to a touchdown.”
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Jones recovered from a rough stretch Friday night by finishing up with a flourish, completing his final eight passes to salvage his evening as the Giants defeated the Backup Bears 32-13 at MetLife Stadium.
One of the characteristics general manager Dave Gettleman lists as absolutely essential for any quarterback — especially one who makes a living in the New York market — is the ability to face and overcome failure.
“It’s more than just collecting data and looking at a guy’s physical talent,’’ Gettleman said. “It’s about his makeup.’’
The Giants learned something new — or at least had their opinions reinforced — about Jones’ makeup. After a sizzling debut last week against the Jets, Jones started fast once again Friday and then fizzled, twice losing the ball on fumbles. How would he respond to his first real struggles of the summer?
Fine. Just fine.
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“That’s a big part of football for everyone, particularly quarterbacks,’’ Jones said. “There are going to be things that don’t go great. Obviously you never want that and you try to guard against them. But when they happen you have to find a way to make it work.’’
His last throw was one to behold. He perfectly led T.J. Jones down the left sideline for a 15-yard touchdown hookup that put the Giants up 19-3 late in the second quarter.
The rookie quarterback finished up 11-of-14 for 161 yards for a passer rating of 138.4. It was almost as efficient as Eli Manning, who got one series of work, completed all four of his passes and left the field after firing an 8-yard scoring pass to Bennie Fowler.
Last week’s results — Manning did not pick up a first down on his only series — led to all sorts of overwrought analysis that Jones might actually overtake the 38-year-old veteran. Co-owner John Mara then said his ideal scenario was to have Manning play well, the Giants win a bunch of games and Jones not see the field at all this season.
“John owns the team, right?’’ Shurmur said, “and we’re on the same page.’’
Jones connected on his first three passes, making him 8-for-8 in the preseason. It was all going well, as he fired 40 yards on a catch-and-run to Cody Latimer on the first play of the second quarter. The next play was a rough one, however, as Jones never got a secure handle on the snap and could not beat defensive end Jonathan Bullard to the loose ball. Jones, upset with himself, pounded the turf with his right hand.
“Don’t do that,’’ Shurmur said, revealing what he said to Jones after the play. “Don’t drop the snap.’’
Perhaps a bit flustered, Jones threw two passes into the ground on the next series. After a well-thrown pass was dropped by tight end Scott Simonson, Jones failed in ball security on third down.
Linebacker James Vaughters beat Chad Slade and had a clear lane to Jones, who did not get two hands on the ball. That allowed Vaughters to rip it out of his grasp for a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.
“You can’t drop the ball in the pocket like Daniel Jones did,’’ Shurmur said.
“I was very upset,’’ Jones said. “Those are two mistakes you can’t make. Two bad mistakes. Definitely things to learn from.’’
Bears coach Matt Nagy showed what he thinks about these practice games by keeping every one of his starters on offense and defense on the sideline. All Manning could do is play against whoever lined up in a Chicago uniform and he did what is expected of him.
Manning went 4-for-4 for 42 yards and finished off a crisp and easy drive with a scoring pass to Fowler.
“We did a good job,’’ Manning said. “We got the touchdown there. It was a good way to finish that drive.’’
This was not the offensive support system Manning will be surrounded by Sept. 8 in Arlington, Texas. Running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram were held out as healthy scratches and receiver Sterling Shepard continues to heal from a fracture to the tip of his left thumb. Any attack without these three weapons is a mere facsimile of what the Giants hope to be.
1. Rod Smith started at running back and the former Cowboys backup ran hard in his bid to make the roster. He lost the ball on a fumble, though. Last week, his main competition, Paul Perkins, also fumbled. Smith is the more powerful runner and Perkins is the better pass-catcher.
2. Brittan Golden, a 30-year-old receiver trying to stick around, had two impressive punt returns in the third quarter. He also caught a 27-yard pass from Daniel Jones, artfully stepping away from a tackle attempt. Golden has been impressive in training camp and he helped himself on this night.
3. Want to get a hug from the head coach? Show some fantastic hustle. That is what first-year receiver Alonzo Russell did with an impressive display of speed, chasing down Clifton Duck on a 62-yard interception return off an Alex Tanney pass. Russell saved a touchdown and coach Pat Shurmur showed his appreciation.