FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Farewell, Daniel Stephen Jones III, until we meet again.
But when will that be?
Neither the Giants nor their rookie quarterback who started Thursday night’s 31-29 win over the Patriots in the preseason finale can say.
It will be more of a feel than a firm time or date (or record) that ultimately will push the team to replace Eli Manning with the player they selected for just that task. His performance in this game, however, could speed up the timeline.
For the second time this summer, Jones emerged with a flawless passing game. He completed all four of his passes on the opening possession for 47 yards, driving the Giants to the 13-yard line. A pair of runs for no gain by Paul Perkins on third- and fourth-and-1 killed the scoring chance, but Jones again demonstrated his pinpoint accuracy.
Jones zipped a slant to Golden Tate and later dropped a pretty arcing pass into Tate’s arms down the sideline for a 23-yard gain. He also completed passes to Perkins and tight end C.J. Conrad before he went to the cupboard with the rest of Grandma’s good china while the everyday plates finished the game.
Jones’ preseason ended with him completing 29 of 34 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He did have two fumbles in the second game against the Bears, essentially the only flaws in his rookie preseason.
Although he made his first start Thursday, it felt more like a finish. Temporarily, at least.
“I mean, you want to play,” Jones said. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. But I don’t think I’ll miss [playing in games]. I think there is a lot to focus on, a lot to work on and improve. I understand my role in this team and what I can do to help. I certainly look forward to doing that.”
Pat Shurmur said Jones’ start “checked off another box in his development.” He also said he was more interested in Jones spending a week preparing to start this game than anything he did on the field.
“I wanted him to go through that process,” Shurmur said. “Beyond that, I wanted him to play a few plays, but going through that process was as important as playing, in my opinion.”
When he will play next, no one can say for certain. It probably has more to do with Manning than anyone else.
Shurmur has said all along that his goal this preseason was to make Jones ready to play in Week 1, even if he is unlikely to see the field in the opener in Dallas on Sept. 8.
“He’s getting there,” Shurmur said. “He’s getting there. We have another week until we play Dallas, but he’s getting there.”
Notes & quotes: Fourth-string quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alonzo Russell as time expired to give the Giants a walk-off win and a 4-0 preseason. “The right way to go out,” Russell said of the preseason. The Giants trailed 29-13 late in the third quarter before touchdowns by tight end Scott Simonson and running back Wayne Gallman made it 29-25 heading into the final possession . . . Simonson was carted out of the end zone with an ankle injury after his touchdown catch. Linebacker Keion Adams (knee), wide receiver Brittan Golden (calf), cornerback Ronald Zamort (ankle), wide receiver T.J. Jones (ankle) and linebacker Nate Stupar (concussion) also left the game with injuries.