EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Daniel Jones was off to the best start of his brief career as New York Giants quarterback until things took a turn six quarters ago.
Jones sustained a concussion just before halftime in a 44-20 loss to Dallas on Oct. 10 and then played his worst game of the season, losing a fumble and throwing three interceptions in a 38-11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday.
It might be easy to say just having Jones on the field for the injury-riddled Giants (1-5) was a positive. His play, however, was reminiscent of his first two seasons when ball security seemed to be the last thing on his mind.
The Giants simply can't afford that and Jones knows it.
Jones needs to get back to his early-season form quickly if the Giants are to turn things around when they face the Carolina Panthers (3-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“I think it’s just forcing things that weren’t there and bad decisions that set us back,” said Jones, who threw one interception in the first five games. “I think just not staying true to the reads, some of the things we were talking about earlier and trusting that. I’ve got to understand that, understand what went wrong, what I was thinking and make sure I correct it.”
In Jones' defense, the Giants played the game without wide receivers Kenny Golladay (knee) and Darius Slayton (hamstring) and star running back Saquon Barkley (ankle). Playmaking rookie Kadarius Toney left on the opening series with an ankle injury.
That left Sterling Shepard as Jones' lone experienced target on the outside along with John Ross, Collin Johnson, C.J. Board and Dante Pettis. There were times they were not on the same page with the quarterback, and one interception came after Shepard slipped on a route.
Jones and coordinator Jason Garrett spent a lot of time discussing what to do when opponents are getting a lot of pressure up front or the routes don't pan out.
“We’d hope for it to be perfect every time, but the reality in pro football and for everyone across the league is it doesn’t work out perfect," Jones said. “So it’s about managing situations and avoiding the bad plays.”
Jones also admitted he has looked at his no-slide approach to running the ball. He sustained his concussion in a goal-line collision on a naked bootleg with Cowboys linebacker Jabril Cox. Granted, he was selling out for a TD in a close game, but he also had to leave the game because of it.
“I’m trying to compete, get as much as I can out of certain plays like anyone else would, and like other guys do when they have the ball in their hands,” Jones said. “Like I said, there are situations I can learn from and do a better job protecting myself and protecting the ball.”
That needs to start happening this weekend.
NOTES: CB Aaron Robinson and OLB Elerson Smith, the Giants’ third- and fourth-round draft choices this year, practiced for the first time since the start of the season. Robinson has been on the physically unable to perform list since training camp began with a core muscle injury that required offseason surgery. Smith was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 1 with a hamstring injury. ... Barkley, Golladay, Toney and Ross (hamstring) did not participate in the walkthrough workout. DT Danny Shelton (pectoral), Slayton and G Ben Bredeson (hand) were limited. ... With LT Andrew Thomas on IR, coach Joe Judge said Nate Solder, Matt Peart and Korey Cunningham would rotate Sunday at both tackle spots.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL