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Duke in the NFL: Opening week

Daniel Jones and the Giants fell to the Broncos in Week One.
Daniel Jones and the Giants fell to the Broncos in Week One.

The NFL returned this week, and so did many of the former Blue Devils around the league. The Blue Zone keeps you up to date:

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

A lot is riding on this season for third-year starting quarterback Daniel Jones. With a revamped offense including star running back Saquon Barkley, former Pro Bowl receiver Kenny Golladay, and other weapons in Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram, Jones has no excuse for a lackluster performance. 

In his season opener, though, he proved to be the same passer we have known him to be with an average 59.5% completion rate for 267 yards, one touchdown, one fumble and no interceptions (although he had a few close calls). 

Jones' fumble, while the Giants were attempting to make a comeback in the third quarter down 17-7, was emblematic of the ball-security struggles that have plagued him throughout the first two seasons of his young career. If he would like the Giants to pick up his fifth-year option at the end of this season, Jones will need to step up in crucial points of the game and show the Giants why they took him sixth overall in the 2019 draft. 

Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets

A veteran player on a young and rebuilding team, Crowder faces pressure coming into the season. It doesn’t help that the veteran receiver kicked off the season on the bench, having been placed on the Jets’ COVID-list. As Crowder watched from the sidelines, former Titan Corey Davis had an outstanding day with five receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns. And while rookie Elijah Moore, Crowder’s slot counterpart, disappointed with just one short reception, he was targeted four times throughout the game—a decent amount that is indicative of the connection building between him and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. 

With the Jets starting anew with head coach Robert Saleh and Wilson, Crowder can no longer depend on his chemistry and rapport with ex-quarterback Sam Darnold and will have to fight for a spot within the offense. 

Lucas Patrick, G, Green Bay Packers

With starting guard and five-time All-Pro David Bakhtiari out this week after suffering an ACL tear last December, Lucas Patrick had some big shoes to fill as he started against the Saints Sunday afternoon. He did a solid job, with the Green Bay offensive line only allowing two sacks and two tackles for loss against a very good Saints defensive line. His only truly shaky moment of the game came in the third quarter, as Patrick allowed a crucial pressure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers, leading to a costly interception.

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