Giants' Daniel Jones will need all his top guys to realize offense's 'versatile' identity

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Daniel Jones and Kenny Golladay at Giants practice
Daniel Jones and Kenny Golladay at Giants practice

When Daniel Jones took the field for the first time this preseason last week against the Patriots, he was missing just a few offensive weapons slated to be with him Week 1.

Saquon Barkley is the obvious one not in the backfield, but also Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney haven't been able to work alongside their new quarterback. Until Wednesday at MetLife Stadium practice.

Though it was running routes against air, Golladay and Toney were seen catching passes from No. 8. Barkley was also out there getting reps in as he's really close to returning to full strength. Head coach Joe Judge even mentioned that Thursday practice could include Barkley putting pads on to get hit for the first time -- it's the last step in his rehab before being cleared full-go.

"They've worked so hard to get back and are continuing to work hard with the trainers," Jones told reporters after practice. "It's been good to have them on the field and I know those guys are ready to work."

Jones obviously wouldn't say if he believes they'll be good on Sept. 12 when the Denver Broncos come to town. But if there was anything to draw from the one half Jones did play this preseason, he needs those guys out there.

Sterling Shepard was his favorite target last week, and it isn't surprising if you've seen practice. Shepard is his favorite, next to Evan Engram who is dealing with a calf injury he sustained in that exhibition game.

And the offense didn't move too much until the final two minutes of the half. Could that have changed with guys like Barkley, Golladay and Toney in place. An educated guess says yes given their talent compared to Devontae Booker and C.J. Board.

If and when these players do get to run real reps with Jones during a game, what does the third-year quarterback want the offense to look like?

"I think versatility," he said about its identity. "First and foremost, I think it starts up front, all those guys are tough, physical football players and from there we can attack a lot of different ways -- downhill running the ball, vertically stretching the field and getting the ball in space. I think that's what we want to be as an offense is first, physical and tough, smart and an offense that's versatile and can attack a lot of ways."

Of course, that's also up to the creativity of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. For this offense to have success, they need to do all the things Jones just mentioned -- be physical, take chances down the field, and get creative to keep defenses on their toes. That wasn't the case when the team was second to last in points per game last season in the NFL.

This group is way too talented for that to happen again, but hey, stranger things have happened. So the goal is for Golladay, Barkley, Toney and the rest of the first-teamers to be good to go by next Sunday when the real pressure begins for Big Blue.