Once perceived as one of New York's top quarterback targets before the 2019 NFL draft, No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray has a chance to show the Giants what they missed out on Sunday when he leads the Cardinals into their Week 6 game.
The 1 p.m. kickoff at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, figures to be pivotal for both sides with the Giants (2-4) and Cardinals (2-3-1) trending different ways from the past two weeks' results.
New York and Arizona also happen to be led by the first two quarterbacks taken off the board in April, with No. 6 overall pick Daniel Jones leading the Giants into the upcoming showdown between the top-10 picks.
"My focus is on trying to help the team win the game," Jones said Wednesday when asked about Murray. "I think that's the biggest part. It's about being prepared as a team, it's about making sure I'm doing my part in that preparation and I'm ready to play as well as I can. I think that's the emphasis is to go out there and help our team get a win."
After he made his debut late in Sept. 8's 35-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys with 3 of 4 passes completed for 17 yards, plus one rush for five yards and a fumble, Jones took the next step when the Giants named him the starter for Week 3 and beyond.
In his first two career starts, Sept. 22's 32-31 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Sept. 29's 24-3 victory against the Washington Redskins, Jones went 46 for 67 (68.7 percent) with 561 yards and three touchdowns to two interceptions, plus two touchdowns and 61 yards on nine carries (6.8 average) despite two more fumbles.
Jones came back down to earth in the Giants' subsequent games, Oct. 6's 28-10 loss against the Minnesota Vikings and Oct. 10's 35-14 at the hands of the New England Patriots four days later, completing 36 of 69 passes (52.2 percent) for 343 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
"You have to be a good decision-maker early, in the middle and late in downs," said head coach Pat Shurmur. "Young players that are hyper competitive like he is, they try to make a play all the way throughout. But as you go through this as a quarterback, there are times when it's important you use your legs and unfortunately throw the ball away. They get used to that as they go. Just like he's getting used to every single thing.
"I talked to (Jones) last week. I said it's kind of an interesting month he had. He went through a lot in the first month, learned a lot and did a lot of really good things. We're looking forward to him continuing to improve in all facets of playing quarterback."
While Jones met Murray briefly during the draft process, Shurmur and the Giants got to know the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner rather well.
The Giants held meetings with Murray in the months before the draft, but he ultimately went at No. 1 overall to the Cardinals after new head coach Kliff Kingsbury -- his Texas A&M recruiter prior to the Oklahoma transfer -- entered Arizona ready to shape the offense around the dual-threat quarterback.
Opposite of Jones, Murray started slow and turned around, passing 47 for 69 (68.1 percent) with 593 yards and three touchdowns to no interceptions, plus a a rushing touchdown and 125 yards on 21 attempts (5.95 per carry) -- two aspects the Giants' defense studying closely.
"Kyler can run all over the field and make it very difficult for us," said linebacker Alec Ogletree. "So it was a challenge last week and this is another challenge for us as a defense, as a team, to go against them."