As a wide receiver, Brittan Golden said his task is to catch the football no matter what. If it’s high or low, behind or in front of him, he needs to pull it in.
“Our job is to track it down wherever it is,” the fifth-year wide receiver said. “At the end of the day we have to make the catch.”
And then there are some that require so little effort that they barely qualify as work. Passes that land right in outstretched hands, hitting receivers in stride. Like, say, the pass that rookie quarterback Daniel Jones threw to Golden in Week 2 of the preseason on a third-and-5 from the Giants’ 42. Golden was able to catch it in stride as he streaked across the defense and that allowed him to turn upfield for what became a 27-yard gain to set up a field goal.
That pass? Golden chuckled about that one.
“It was pretty perfect,” he said.
Jones has made some really spectacular throws so far. His two touchdown passes were placed perfectly, against the Bears he zipped a 40-yard dart down the left sideline for Cody Latimer, and against the Bengals he had a terrific one where he looked off the defense to his left and came back to his right to hit Golden for a gain of 35 yards. His 27-yard pass to the pylon for Darius Slayton helped set up the 1-yard touchdown run against the Bengals.
But it’s the passes that may not seem all that impressive that could wind up being the most important. Any quarterback who comes into the league as a first rounder should be able to make an occasional dynamic play. Some of them may also be able to make such remarkable ones seem routine.
The real key to a quarterback’s success in the NFL, though? It is making the routine seem routine, like a third-and-5 crossing route that goes for 27.
“It’s kind of standard for him,” Golden said. “He came in his first day here in the spring and he’s been accurate and great, throwing the ball well. It’s hard to find a rookie who is like that and he’s been perfect since he came in.”
Jones has had a lot of “pretty perfect” passes this summer. Although he came into the league with his accuracy one of the big question marks in his arsenal from college — his career completion percentage at Duke was 59.9 — it’s been one of the highlights of his brief pro tenure. He’s completed 25 of his 30 passes so far and his 83.3 completion percentage is third-best among all NFL quarterbacks with at least 15 attempts this preseason.
“He’s an accurate passer,” Pat Shurmur said. “That’s not easy to be able to find a guy to be able to do that. That’s what he is.”
It was pointed out to Shurmur after this most recent preseason game against the Bengals that Jones does not throw a lot of incompletions.
“That’s a good thing, right?” the coach asked.