New York Giants: Daniel Jones sitting out preseason opener

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are set to open their preseason with a local rivalry against the Jets in only a couple of days, and we now have official announcement from Joe Judge that quarterback Daniel Jones will not appear.

Other notable names that will be absent include Lorenzo Carter and Saquon Barkley, who have both been ruled out. In the case of the latter two players, it looks like the decision was made because their recoveries from injury aren’t far enough along.

Of course, it won’t be a surprise to anyone that Barkley is sitting. It’s debatable whether he’ll even be ready for week one of the regular season, so most aren’t expecting to see Barkley suit up during the shortened preseason this year.

However, Daniel Jones might be more of a surprise absence as he has no injury and will head into the season as the team’s starter at the most important position.

Why is Jones sitting out the preseason opener?

Joe Judge explained a bit of his logic in keeping Jones out. It seems like Jones is being excluded so the Giants can get a better idea of the players behind him on the depth chart.

“I will say this, the priority for me is to treat this more like a traditional game four and when I say that, it’s more of a make sure all of the players that we really have to evaluate get an evaluation. Because of the rules this year, we have to cut five guys after the Jets game. I want to make sure that we don’t make any decisions that impact our or their future without a proper evaluation,” Judge told reporters on Thursday.

Jones’ absence means that Clayton Thorson and Mike Glennon will get more time on the field to compete for the backup job that Colt McCoy held last year. The position at stake may be a bigger deal than anyone can imagine right now.

After all, as recently as last year the Giants ended up relying on their backup when the offensive line couldn’t protect Jones and the QB was injured. There’s no telling if that will happen again, and the Giants have experience with neither backup starting a game.

The preseason has been shortened by one game to make room for the expanded regular season, so the Giants will have less time to make the kind of evaluations that Judge and the staff are looking for from this game.

With a lot of roster change this season and with the team signing some lesser known free agents who will fly under the radar, this evaluation game will probably have a fair amount of impact on the final cuts. And it may just help the Giants make the right decision in keeping a future breakout player on the roster. Even if it comes at the expense of the on the field result, it should be well worth it.

Big Ten: A Look At Northwestern Quarterback Clayton Thorson

Quarterback is arguably the most important position in football. As such, this is the first in a series of articles looking at the starting quarterbacks of the Big Ten this year, as well as the ongoing quarterback competitions. To start off, we’ll look at a quarterback playing in one of the conference’s largest markets, but for a team that hasn’t turned the corner.

Looking into Ben Ten QB, Clayton Thorson:

This is, of course, Big Ten Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson. Let’s look at the basics. At 6’4 and 224 pounds, Thorson doesn’t immediately look like an NFL pro style quarterback but isn’t small either. He’s a senior this season, and he played 13 games in all three of his past years.

He only made 295 passing attempts in 2015 as a freshman, but was given more chances in the resulting years and threw 478 and 434 attempts in 2016 and 2017 respectively. His sophomore season was undoubtedly his best one. In addition to having the most attempts this year, he threw for 3,182 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Thorson was still productive last season, getting 2,844 yards through the air, but he had seven less touchdowns than he did in the 2016 season. However, to realize what’s behind the dropoff, one needs to look at the percentages of each play type for the Wildcats last season. They ran the ball more and threw it less, making the drop in touchdowns and yards less alarming.

What is alarming, however, is the ACL injury that struck Thorson at the end of last season. He was injured in the Music City Bowl in what should have been a routine trick play, and missed out on spring football because of the injury. Which Thorson will we see, next season? The one that’s smooth in the pocket, able to evade pressure before placing the ball exactly where he wants it? Or a slower one that’s a shadow of his normal self?

It’s impossible to know completely at this point, but from early reports, things are going well. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald also revealed that the team will make a decision two weeks out on who their August 30th starter is. Thorson, of course, is the option that everyone wants. But if he’s not fully healthy by then, the Wildcats might have to use a starter with little experience, which is not ideal for the Big Ten.

TJ Green, for example, is a junior but only has two pass attempts in his career. Northwestern’s other options are freshmen, redshirt freshmen, or sophomores. The Wildcats have the pieces to pull off some upsets this year, but that hinges on the quarterback not losing games for them. And really, they don’t have any depth at that spot at all.

Will it hurt them this season? Well, we’ll find that out a couple of weeks out from the Purdue game, when we find out whether or not Clayton Thorson will be Northwestern’s quarterback for the entire season.