clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Daniel Jones: A feast of crow after another impressive performance

New, comments

Reviewing some of the rookie’s best work from Thursday night

New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Nearly four months ago, I took to the pages of Big Blue View shortly after the New York Giants made Daniel Jones the sixth-overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft and outlined both the best, and the worst, case scenarios as I saw them. To set the stage for the piece I drew from George R.R. Martin’s work, and how he described the Targaryen lineage.

After seeing Jones through three preseason games, it is time for another allusion to Martin’s words, this one more of a self-aware admission …

Yes, it has only been three preseason games but Jones continued his strong first training camp in the Giants’ 25-23 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. Jones finished the night completing 9-of-11 passes for 141 yards, and showed the toughness, arm strength and even processing speed that you want to see from your starting quarterback.

Let’s take three plays to highlight some of what he did best on Thursday night.

We can start with what was my favorite play from him, and it is likely not the play you are thinking of dear reader. Early in the second quarter the Giants faced a second-and-18 on their own 28-yard line. New York put their rookie quarterback in the shotgun and used 11 offensive personnel, putting three receivers on the left and a single receiver to the right:

Here is the route concept the Giants employ on this play:

Cody Latimer (12) is the single receiver on the right, and he runs an out pattern. Tight end Rhett Ellison (85) and wide receiver Russell Shepard (81) run a drive concept, with Shepard running the shallow route while Ellison runs the dig over the top.

What stands out on this play is how quickly Jones (8) gets through to Shepard, who is his third read on the concept. As he takes the shotgun snap Jones first peeks at Latimer on his out route, but not liking what he sees he turns his field of vision to the drive concept. He checks Ellison and then finally comes to Shepard to throw the crosser, which he does with precision placement:

Watch this play again, and focus on Jones during his drop from the shotgun alignment. Before he hits his drop depth he has come off the out pattern and brought his eyes to the drive concept in the middle of the field. That is a very quick read and decision, but it is the right one from the young quarterback. From the end zone angle, you can see how he works the next two reads in the progression, looking first at Ellison before he comes underneath to Shepard:

This is very well done from Jones.

The rookie QB also had a very impressive sequence in the plays leading up to New York’s first touchdown of the night. After taking a blindside shot from Carl Lawson, Jones responded by standing tall in another crowded pocket on the next play and hitting Darius Slayton on a vertical route along the left sideline. But prior to that throw, Jones delivered an absolute rocket of a pass to Brittan Golden (83):

Let’s unpack this play a bit. As you can see from the pre-snap alignment, the Bengals are in a single-high coverage scheme here with safety Shawn Williams (36) deep in the middle of the field. Golden is in the slot to the right as part of a three-receiver set, while Slayton (86) is the lone receiver on the left:

Slayton runs a double move, starting inside before breaking vertically, while Golden runs the post:

Jones opens up to the left here and stares down Slayton using a subtle shoulder fake, which holds Williams towards that side of the field. With great protection, Jones is able to come late to Golden on the post route, and Williams - who has been held in the middle of the field thanks to the route design and Jones’ manipulation - is a step late and cannot impact the play:

Yes, the velocity on the throw stands out, but do not ignore the manipulation from Jones on this snap.

Finally, Jones got a chance to try and put together points at the end of the first half. That gave him an opportunity to make this throw:

This is a very long throw, put in an absolutely perfect spot. While the Giants were unable to stop the clock and attempt one final play before halftime, this throw from Jones was certainly worth mentioning.

After a draft process that saw many question the selection of Jones with the sixth overall pick, the young seems determined to prove all of the doubters wrong. Following the game last night Pat Shurmur deflected questions about what the Giants saw in Jones, turning the table on the QB’s critics. “You can ask me all you want about why I like him ... I think it’s time to start asking the people that didn’t like him what they think.” As someone who was in that camp, the title of this piece says it all. If Jones continues with this level of play — and more importantly this developmental arc as we saw on the throw to Shepard — there will be many lining up for their own feast of crow.