Throughout the spring, from rookie mini-camp to Thursday’s conclusion of the three-day mandatory mini-camp, Jones has displayed many of them. He has answered the arm strength question by showing plenty of zip on deep outs and has thrown a number of excellent deep balls during sessions viewed by the media. He has shown off the maneuverability that allowed him to run for 17 touchdowns at Duke. He has displayed Eli Manning-esque tendencies in his handling of the media.
Jones has made mistakes. There have been interceptions and errant throws. When yours truly was in attendance on Wednesday, Jones twice followed brilliant throws by air-mailing passes on the next play.
Like any rookie, he is learning. He has only been a pro for a few weeks and there is still much for him to take in. We have previously addressed the idea that he sometimes seems to be indecisive and a touch late throwing the ball. Luckily for Jones and the Giants, coach Pat Shurmur believes Jones’ intelligence and background are helping his transition.
“Fortunately for Daniel, he is extremely intelligent. His head is swimming much less than most rookies for a couple reasons. He’s very smart, he was coached extremely well in college, he’s been around it. He’s been coached by one of the best [David Cutcliffe] in college,” Shurmur said on Thursday. “He understands the process. Again, we call it a cat, they call it a dog, it doesn’t matter. He’s been around the process enough to know.”
Asked about his young defensive players the other day, Shurmur said: “We don’t accept mistakes, but we understand at times they happen.”
The same applies to Jones. To this point, Shurmur has been pleased by Jones’ ability to learn and move on from the mistakes he makes.
“(He’s) very perceptive, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice,” Shurmur said. “There’s a lot of things he’s doing out there for the first time. Every once and a while, if you are aggressive, a mistake will happen. He’ll come back in, fix it and the next time he runs that play, he will do it properly.
“It’s different for all players, when it starts to slow down and the game starts to make sense. Very certain that it’s going to make sense to him very quickly.”
Those remarks dovetail with what offensive coordinator Mike Shula said about Jones on Wednesday:
“He’s got a fast mind, he picks things up pretty well,” Shula said. “The things that you ask him to do to maybe make a couple changes, maybe that were different to what he was used to in college, he does pretty quickly. Whether or not it’s technique in the pocket, everything that we have asked him to do, he’s done it pretty quickly. I think the other thing is he’s pretty athletic and he’s very serious about his job. We all are, but you see that maturity level in him. Which is obviously one of the reasons we got him here.”
Forget the narrative some are pushing that Jones will — or at least should — challenge Manning for the Week 1 starting job. That, bluntly, is agenda-driven click bait.
Feel good, though, that to this point Jones has shown legitimate reasons why the organization believes he can be the answer to the “who comes after Manning?” question. Whenever that time comes.