Joe Judge wouldn’t say Daniel Jones’ name during his introductory press conference as New York Giants head coach, preferring not to comment on individual players because he had only what he called an “outsider’s view” of the team’s personnel.
Still, there is little doubt as he begins his tenure with the Giants that Judge’s quarterback is in place.
The Giants won only four games in 2019, but Jones validated the Giants’ widely-questioned decision to make Jones the No. 6 overall pick in 2019 NFL Draft with an excellent rookie season that offered hope he can lead the Giants to better things in the future.
“We believe Daniel is our guy,” general manager Dave Gettleman said after Judge’s remarks.
Jones’ 2019 gave the Giants no reason to think otherwise.
Starter: Daniel Jones
Backups: Eli Manning, Alex Tanney
From rookie camp through preseason, Jones gave every indication that he was more ready to be — and capable of being — an NFL quarterback than most had assumed.
When the Giants started 0-2 Pat Shurmur made the decision that Jones had to play. Maybe Jones won’t have the 16-year run that Eli Manning had, but the Giants aren’t looking back and likely won’t be looking for a new quarterback for quite some time.
Jones threw 24 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions in 12 games, completing 61.9 percent of his passes. For context, and yes the game was somewhat different, Manning completed 48.2 percent of his throws and did not crack the 60 percent completion mark until his fifth NFL season.
Jones is one of only three rookie quarterbacks (along with Frank Tarkenton and DeShaun Watson) to throw four or more touchdown passes three times. He is one of only five to hrow five touchdown passes in a game.
Jones did lead the NFL in a negative category, fumbling 18 times and losing 11. Many of those fumbles, though, were related to pocket awareness. That’s an area Jones should improve on over time, and where our Mark Schofield believes he has already shown signs of progress.
Jones will, of course, have a new head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in his second season.
“For Daniel to go in and play as well as he did last year from an outsider’s perspective was really impressive,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett told the team’s podcast.
Gettleman believes the change won’t be a problem for Jones.
“Daniel’s a great kid. He is a great young man and it’s going to be fine,” Gettleman said.
The Giants’ future, and perhaps Judge’s success or failure as a head coach, could be riding on that.
The hour glass finally ran out on Manning’s terrific Giants career in 2019. It was weird watching Manning on the sidelines in a ball cap or a hat and jacket, but when the Giants started 0-2 it was time.
Whether or not Manning makes the Pro Football Hall of Fame and where he should be remembered if you rank best quarterbacks of all time is for others to decide. I only know this — when Ernie Accorsi made the trade to get Manning back in 2004 I think every Giants fan would have signed up for two Super Bowl titles and a 16-year career in which Manning never missed a start due to injury.
Manning has yet to announce his plans for 2020. In my view, though, it will be surprising if we see Manning playing football again.