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Giants head coach Joe Judge wants Daniel Jones to take fewer hits

Daniel Jones of the Giants tries to run

Daniel Jones of the Giants tries to run the ball during the fourth quarter against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Daniel Jones went untouched on his 34-yard touchdown run against the Eagles on Sunday. A few weeks ago, when he broke loose for an 80-yarder against the same team, he was also untouched… until he fell on his own.

It’s always nice when a quarterback doesn’t get hit.

But there were plenty of plays in Sunday’s win when Jones was touched. Hard. Besides the scoring dash he also carried the ball eight other times for 30 grueling yards, often lunging and extending for extra inches on each of those. Some were scrambles, others sneaks, and a few were designed runs on read options. Nearly all of them ended with Jones getting thumped by at least one Eagles player.

He came away unscathed, but the display was enough for Joe Judge — who has often described Jones as a "tough dude" and say he is "not the guy who is going to shy away from contact at any point" — to start considering just how brazen he wants his quarterback to be.

"We don’t need him to take unnecessary punishment," Judge said. "A lot of times there is a time to lower your shoulder and get the extra yard, and there is a time to step out of bounds, slide and protect the ball. I think he’s made pretty good decisions."

Sunday, Judge said, was a "very competitive" game.

"There were a lot of positions he was in with the ball where there wasn’t really the opportunity to just slide and get down," Judge said. "A lot of them were close to the goal line. A few of them were on third down situations where he had to really go ahead and drop his weight to try to get that extra yard to get the first down for us."

So far in his career, Jones has been mostly unharmed as a ball-carrier. He has never not finished a game in which he has played. Even when he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Packers in the first half of a game last year — on a sack, not an actual carry — he was able to play through it before missing the next two games.

Judge said he thinks Jones makes solid decisions with the ball in his hands. And it is pretty clear that such plays are going to be a staple of the Giants’ offense moving forward with him as the team’s leading rusher.

"It’s something we’ve been able to make a strength for us," Judge said of the zone read plays. "We want to continue building on that and use it when the opportunity arises in each game."

He also wants Jones to remain safe, though. He may be big and strong, but NFL linebackers are generally bigger and stronger.

"He’s definitely a guy you have to pump the brakes on a little bit more and kind of take less hits," Judge said. "We’ve talked to him. I think he understands that."

Notes & quotes: The Giants signed rookie TE Nate Wieting to their practice squad.

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