Giants gear up for Daniel Jones, starters to play vs. Patriots this week

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Daniel Jones throws during Giants training camp
Daniel Jones throws during Giants training camp

It's a big week for Giants head coach Joe Judge. Not only is he heading back to New England to see his former mentor Bill Belichick and the Patriots, but his starters will finally see the field in preseason play.

Judge has been adamant that Daniel Jones & Co. don't necessarily need preseason reps because intense practices -- especially joint ones like what will transpire with the Patriots this week -- gives the starters the reps they need. But it's still a gauge for the rest of the fanbase who can't see up close just how well the third-year quarterback is doing with his offense, or what Leonard Williams has been working on to build off his solid 2020 campaign.

"This week we’ll treat more as the dress rehearsal for the regular season. My expectations at this point would be for Daniel to play at least the first half and decide what we do coming out of halftime later in the week," Judge explained.

This has been the script for Judge's preseason, as the starters were expected to play this week. But what about RB Saquon Barkley, who has been impressing doctors and coaches alike with his rehab to this point?

"I'd say that's not decided yet," Judge explained. "We're going to talk with the medical team. The priority will be to continue ramping him up and doing more and more.”

Judge did add, however, that Barkley will probably ramp up his practice participation with team drills. He's obviously a key part of the Giants' success this season, and as Judge put it, "his foot's tapping everyday, wanting to do more and more."

As for other key pieces on offense like Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay at wide receiver, don't get your hopes up that they both make their Giants debut on Sunday in New England.

Judge said they both need to show more progress individually before they can get going in a game, although they are moving along nicely. For Golladay, specifically, Judge said not to expect him in 11-on-11 drills.

The emphasis has been on practice for the Giants despite players like Patrick Mahomes already getting preseason reps. That's the Kansas City Chiefs' decision in Judge's eyes, and has nothing to do with the Giants.

The team has consistently shown faith in their methods leading up to a crucial regular season for, and feel their players will be ready to go.

But Sunday will provide a quick glance at just how ready. Will Jones be making quicker decisions? Will Sterling Shepard be his favorite target here as he has been throughout camp? What will the starting defense look like?

Some of these questions will be answered soon.