New York Giants coach Brian Daboll lauded the play of quarterback Daniel Jones in the team's Week 3 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys, contending Jones' versatility kept the Giants in the game.
Jones accounted for 275 total yards while recording at least 75 yards on the ground for the third time in his career.
That ultimately wasn't enough in a 23-16 defeat, but Jones showed the kind of leadership the team hopes to channel in Sunday's game against the visiting Chicago Bears -- and going forward. New York (2-1) has started the season strong despite a thin receiving corps that absorbed more bad news during the Dallas game, as No. 1 wideout Sterling Shepard suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on a non-contact play.
Contact has been a hot topic as the Giants attempt to keep Jones healthy and the offense running. He's averaging 8.3 rushing attempts through three games and was hit 12 times with 17 pressures in the loss to the Cowboys. Jones has been sacked 13 times this season.
"You want to eliminate, or at least limit, the number of hits," Daboll said. "You can tell a quarterback, don't take this. That's usually when they start thinking about things. He's making good decisions, when to take off. Guys that can scramble, making loose plays, put pressure on the defense. I'll never take that away from him."
New York hopes to get a boost from struggling wide receiver Kenny Golladay, with fellow receivers Kadarius Toney (hamstring) and Wan'Dale Robinson (knee) ruled out with lingering early-season injuries. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams (knee) and cornerbacks Cordale Flott (calf) and Nick McCloud (hamstring) were ruled out on Friday, too.
Fortunately for Daboll, running back Saquon Barkley remains a stabilizing force for the Giants' attack. He leads the NFL with 408 yards from scrimmage, an average of 136 per game, and has a history of faring well against the Bears. Barkley rushed for 102 yards in the most recent meeting, and had 146 scrimmage yards in a home overtime win against Chicago in December 2018.
The Bears (2-1) are coming off a 23-20 home win against Houston in which their defense aided a struggling offense.
A Roquan Smith interception deep in Houston territory set up Cairo Santos' game-ending field goal. Quarterback Justin Fields was 8-for-17 for 106 yards and a pair of interceptions. Fields was resolute about shifting his focus toward the Giants.
"Just learn from your mistakes knowing that you're not going to be perfect and move on. ... Just correct each and every mistake and try to be better in every aspect," he said.
Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson missed practice all week with a quad injury and was ruled out. Running back David Montgomery (ankle, knee) will miss the game, too.
An opportunistic defense and sterling running game helped the Bears take down Houston despite losing Montgomery to injury in the early going. Chicago ran for 281 yards. Khalil Herbert enjoyed a breakout game, running for 157 yards and two scores.
Chicago boasts a three-game winning streak in the series and a 31-21-2 all-time edge against New York. The Bears rolled past the visiting Giants 29-3 in the teams' most recent meeting in Week 17 of last season, although their leading passer (Andy Dalton) and rusher (Montgomery) from that afternoon are no longer with the organization and injured, respectively.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus said the team hopes receiver Velus Jones Jr., who has missed the first three games with a hamstring injury, will be available against the Giants. He was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, practiced fully on Friday and was listed as questionable.
"He's been conditioning, working in there," Eberflus said.
The team this week placed receiver Byron Pringle (calf) on injured reserve.
--Field Level Media