FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In some ways, the Giants helped create a monster.
They were so bad on defense Wednesday, the first day of two joint practices with the Patriots, that Mac Jones, the rookie quarterback competing with veteran Cam Newton for the New England starting job, looked like the steal of the entire NFL draft. He torched the Giants, and Patriots Nation went agog over his showing, believing the kid might actually have a chance to be the No. 1 quarterback on opening day.
“He did good, credit where it’s due,’’ Giants safety Logan Ryan said. “It’s the NFL, he made good throws, but we didn’t play like ourselves.’’
Wednesday night, Ryan and linebacker Blake Martinez, two unquestioned Giants leaders, plotted not revenge, but vindication. Martinez admitted when he got back to the hotel and flipped on the television he heard a great deal about Jones and all the throws he had made against the Giants.
“I feel like the first day we made a lot of mistakes, weren’t good enough, didn’t come ready to play, didn’t start fast,’’ Martinez said. “We went back, looked at the film, made the corrections, came out and played our style of ball. But there will still be things to correct, but we felt good.’’
Jones took complete advantage of his opportunity Wednesday, as Newton was away from the Patriots because of a breach of COVID-19 protocol. Newton was back a day later and received the first snaps with the starters. Jones took most of the work, though, and he was far less effective the second time around.
Safety Xavier McKinney was aggressive on a breakup of a Jones pass, and on the next play, Jones threw deep and over the middle and was intercepted by Ryan, who had been displeased with his work a day earlier. Ryan started his NFL career in 2013 with the Patriots and spent four years playing for Bill Belichick. This return initially did not go according to plan.
“I wasn’t really happy with how I played,’’ Ryan said. “I probably played my worst day I’ve played football in a long time, and personally, I just felt like I didn’t lead our guys either. I felt like I was out of it. I didn’t lead our guys the right way, whether it be, whatever the reason may have been, no excuses, so — that’s football though. This ain’t best-of-seven. You strap it up, play the next game, and fortunately we got a second chance at it, and I think we responded better.’’
If this were live action, the Giants might have had sacks of Jones by Lorenzo Carter, Ifeadi Odenigbo and Jabrill Peppers. Sam Beal had two pass breakups. Jones was not nearly as effective as he was the first time around, when at one point he completed 14 consecutive passes.
“[Defensive coordinator] Pat Graham’s extremely smart and puts a lot on our plate in terms of multiple schemes and defenses, and it’s our job to get it, communicate it to the guys and have us run it how they envision it,’’ Ryan said. “It’s a players’ league, the players have to make the plays.
“And when Blake has a bad day, and I have a bad day on the same day, we lose by 100. So [Wednesday] we both had bad days. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it was just one of those days, and a lot of people looked at us, I felt, as a leader, how am I gonna respond? Am I gonna drop my head? Am I gonna call it a day? I’m gonna get all these pats on the back and attaboys because I played here before, or am I gonna respond? I feel like Blake and I responded better, and the team responded better.’’
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