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Rookie Daniel Jones takes step backward in his progression as an NFL quarterback

Daniel Jones of the Giants walks to the

Daniel Jones of the Giants walks to the sidelines late in the fourth quarter against the Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

What’s wrong with Daniel Jones?

It seems like the biggest thing is his decision-making. In the last three games — and this one in particular — the rookie quarterback seems unsure when to run, when to throw the ball away, when to take chances, and when to play it safe. He also is careless with the ball; the strip-sack by Chandler Jones was a result of his dangling the football low like a chicken in front of a crocodile.

“Having the sense for the pressure, having the sense for the timing of the play, I think all of that stuff is what you’re trying to always develop and always be aware of in each situation,” Jones said after Sunday’s 27-21 loss to the Cardinals in which he was sacked eight times, fumbled it away twice, and threw an interception. “Yeah, I think to help a little bit, I have to do better with that.”

Is Pat Shurmur worried about it?

“No,” he said. “Just try to get him better on the things that didn’t go well for him, that’s all.”

When will Evan Engram return from his knee injury?

Um . . . He was out there on Sunday. You probably didn’t notice, though, because he caught just one pass for six yards. After missing last week’s game against the Patriots with a sprained knee, his return was supposed to boost the team’s offense and exploit a Cardinals defense that had been soft against opposing tight ends.

“I have to play better, I have to play better for my team,” Engram said. “No excuses.”

He said his knee was “fine,” although he did get poked in the eye in the second half and had to leave the game for a few plays.

Did Engram have chances to make plays, though?

He did. Late in the second quarter he dropped a deep pass from Jones that would have put the Giants in position to score. On the following play, Saquon Barkley broke off a 37-yard run to just about the same spot on the field, but that was negated by a hold against Will Hernandez. The Giants forfeited about 60 yards of potential offense on those two snaps and wound up not scoring before halftime when they had a chance to tie or take the lead with the score 17-14.

Why does Shurmur continue to challenge the pass interference calls?

The principle of it? He’s already acknowledged that the league will rarely if ever overturn an on-the-field call in those situations, yet he threw another red flag on Sunday and is now 0-for-4 on such challenges. This time it was a pass interference call against cornerback Janoris Jenkins that looked like it should have been, if anything, offensive pass interference.

“I guess I’m going to continue to do it,” Shurmur said. “I know they are getting overturned at a low percentage, but I felt like there was a push there and it was a big chunk of yardage. It was in the first half, and I felt like it was worth challenging at that point.”

Jenkins said he saw the replay on the big video board in the stadium, but even though it seemed to vindicate him he was not banking on absolution from the NFL’s headquarters in which such plays are reviewed.

“They called it, it is what it is, you all saw it,” Jenkins said. “I can’t control what they do.”

What led to Michael Thomas’ block of the Cardinals punt in the end zone for a touchdown?

A challenge from special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. “He told me, ‘Word on the street is that 31 is probably overrated on special teams,’ ” said Thomas, the team’s special teams captain. “I took that kind of personally.”

Thomas clearly responded, smothering the kick that was recovered by Eli Penny in the end zone. But did it sting to hear that criticism?

“I love it,” Thomas said. “I want my coaches to coach me up and I love challenges. And if people think I’m overrated and I don’t have it no more on special teams, then we’ll see.”

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