Russell Shepard made the catch of the day at Friday’s practice, stretching out to pull in a long pass on a post route for a touchdown in 11-on-11 drills.
But it wasn’t the catch that impressed Shepard. It was the throw. And who it came from.
At the other end of the arcing spiral was rookie Daniel Jones.
“He throws a beautiful ball,” Shepard said on Saturday.
So far in training camp, that’s been something the Giants seem to be toying with: Jones throwing deep. On his first day of practice he threw a pass on just about the same route that he hit Shepard with, but this time Bennie Fowler dropped it. It went down as an incompletion on his ledger, but it opened some eyes among the Giants.
“The guy who needs to learn from that is Bennie,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “Catch the ball . . . For our [perspective], it was a good read and a good throw. Bennie, catch the ball. That’s it.”
It’s also helped quell some doubts that have been hanging on Jones about his perceived lack of arm strength, a concern most recently voiced by Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner at Giants camp earlier in the week.
Shepard, who has played with quarterbacks who can sling it during his career including Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Josh McCown, Michael Vick and Mike Glennon, said Jones has every bit as much explosion in his passes as they do.
“I’ve seen a lot of different quarterbacks but he has one of the better arms I’ve seen,” Shepard said. “That wasn’t talked about enough coming out, his ability to make all the throws. Being a Duke guy, being in the system he was in, kind of dinking it off to different people, he never was able to really show off his skillset as far as the power in his arm, but he throws a really really good ball. He has a strong arm.”
Besides the deep passes to Fowler and Shepard, Jones also ripped off a dart from the far hash to the sideline on Friday to connect with Alonzo Russell.
Shepard has also been impressed by Jones’ personality.
“His demeanor is a spitting image of Eli Manning’s,” he said. “It works well for this New York market.”
Jones won’t be measured by demeanor, though. He’ll be measured by de wins. And having the ability to chuck it accurately down the field – even if it’s in the first few days of training camp practices – should help him when the time comes to start earning those.
Said Jones: “It’s gonna be really cool to see him grow and see his journey throughout this league.”