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Better or worse? New York Giants quarterback position

The best quarterback in franchise history has retired, but have the Giants improved at QB?

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Can the New York Giants get better at quarterback in 2020 despite the fact that the best player at that position in franchise history, Eli Manning, retired after last season? Let’s take a look as we continue our position-by-position “Better or worse?” look at the roster.

Key losses: Eli Manning
Key additions: Colt McCoy, Cooper Rush

Why the Giants might be better

Daniel Jones now has a year of NFL experience under his belt. After starting 12 games as a rookie and playing exceedingly well at times while showing flaws at others, it stands to reason that the 2019 No. 6 overall pick should show improvement in his second season.

Jones, while he benefitted as a rookie from Manning’s wisdom, now has the advantage of being the clear No. 1 quarterback. He does not have to wait behind, or be deferential, to the two-time Super Bowl MVP.

In a Jones’ roster profile, Mark Schofield wrote this about Jones’ potential for improvement in 2020:

Now, the quarterback needs to take that big step forward in Year 2 and show that beyond simply belonging in the league, he can be the franchise quarterback the Giants thought they were getting when they turned in a card with his name on it.

Two areas where improvement can take place in concert are the ball security woes and the processing speed. If you look back at many of the instances where Jones either faced pressure in the pocket, or put the ball on the ground due to a sack, it was not the offensive line that let the quarterback down. It was Jones’ mind. Think back to the game against the Cardinals, where Jones was sacked an incredible eight times. Many of those sacks were on the quarterback himself, either being too slow with his reads or failing to get the ball out on time and in rhythm.

That will leave you exposed in the pocket, and vulnerable to the very ball security issues that plagued his rookie season.

Jones could benefit from potential offensive line improvements. He will also be helped if his top four play makers — Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate — can remain injury and illness free.

The Giants don’t have Manning to back up or mentor Jones. They do, though, have some depth with a trio — Colt McCoy, Cooper Rush, Alex Tanney — of experienced backup quarterbacks.

Here’s more from Schofield:

As Jones gets more acclimated to the speed of play in the NFL, and the game proverbially “slows down for him,” he should reduce the number of fumbles and turnovers. These two items go hand-in-hand. ...

The main thing Giants fans should hope for is that when the season ends, Jones is better than he was when the season began. The journey is important, but the destination is critical.

Why the Giants might be worse

Eli Manning Announces Retirement Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Two major reasons — COVID-19 and Manning being retired.

Jones is a second-year quarterback still learning and trying to establish himself in the NFL. He is entering his first season as the acknowledged starter. He has a new head coach, new offensive coordinator and a new offensive scheme to learn — and a COVID-19 environment that means the Giants haven’t yet held a real practice — to do it in. Book (or Zoom) learning is fine, but players — especially young ones — need reps to refine the muscle memory and learn to feel the proper and improper ways to execute their assignments. Jones has already missed out on a ton of those, and it’s hard to believe the lack of practice time won’t make his job more difficult.

What if injury or illness knocks Jones out of the lineup? That’s where Manning comes in. McCoy is a long-time, competent backup. Rush and Tanney know what they’re doing, they aren’t greenhorns. None, though, has Manning’s resume.

Final thoughts

I think Schofield was right — Giants fans simply need to hope that Jones is better when the season ends that when it begins. Also, that he is better in terms of ball security and pocket presence than he was a season ago.


Are the Giants better or worse at quarterback than they were in 2019?

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  • 66%
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    The same
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