The New York Giants offseason is in its infancy, but we have already spent much of our time and energy writing and talking about Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense.
- Quarterback experts Mark Schofield and Tony Racioppi joined the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast to discuss Jones, Jason Garrett and the future of the Giants’ offense.
- Schofield did a full Jones breakdown looking at the “did he get better in Year 2?” question.
- Chris Pflum, Joe DeLeone and Nick Falato held a quarterback discussion podcast of their own.
- We have written about the organization’s commitment to Jones.
So, as I go through position reviews for the 2020 Giants I found myself asking if it was really worthwhile to do a standard quarterback position review. We have, in several different ways, really already done that.
Instead, here are my thoughts on why the Giants are correct not only to go forward with Jones but in their strong support of the quarterback via public comments by Judge, GM Dave Gettleman and co-owner John Mara.
There was improvement in 2020
People far smarter than I am when it comes to quarterback play believe that to be the case. They believe Jones is improving at getting through his progressions, at making decisions. The numbers were down in terms of touchdown passes and yardage in 2020, but the stats also clearly indicate a quarterback who did a better job protecting the football. His fumbles were down from 18 to 11, the only interception Jones threw in the last six games was a perfectly thrown ball that went right through the hands of Evan Engram and Jones’ three highest passer ratings of the season came over the final six weeks.
I have no idea how good Jones will ultimately be. Can he become the next Josh Allen? Is his ceiling Kirk Cousins or Andy Dalton? There is no way to be sure yet. His physical gifts might not be quite on Allen’s level, but everyone involved with the Giants has to hope Jones can follow the Allen model and make a big step forward in Year 3 of his career.
Patience is a virtue
It would be great if Jones came out of Duke setting the league on fire the way Justin Herbert did in 2020. Didn’t happen, and doesn’t happen for most young quarterbacks. Didn’t happen for Eli Manning or Peyton Manning. Didn’t really happen for Drew Brees until his fourth year in the league. Philip Rivers didn’t play until his third season. Aaron Rodgers didn’t play until his fourth year. Ben Roethlisberger won a Super Bowl in his second season, but look at his numbers and the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t really ask him to do a whole lot until his third year in the league. The first 4,000-yard passing season of Tom Brady’s career came in his sixth season.
Jones, with all of his turnover issues through the first season and a half or so, has done a lot tantalizing things his first couple of seasons.
I’m going to echo the thoughts of Schofield, who asked rhetorically if Jones had done enough for the Giants to go forward with him, and answered his own question this way:
“I think so.”
There has to be some continuity
I know, I know, I know. The Giants have been awful in recent years. they have made the playoffs once since 2011, and haven’t won a playoff game in that time. You can’t keep beating your head against the wall and trying the same thing over and over. The Giants tried to fix things with Eli Manning for too long, and paid for that.
Still, I believe you have to make a decision and let it run its course. The Giants made their decision with Jones, rightly or wrongly. Gettleman made that call. Joe Judge wasn’t around when that choice was made, but he has made it crystal clear that he is on board.
Being unequivocally behind Jones is the right thing. I’m not a big fan of the yo-yo approach the Miami Dolphins took with Tua Tagovailoa. The quarterback is either your guy, or he’s not your guy. If you’re going with the guy, support him. And give him a full chance to prove you right or wrong. Jones’ time will eventually run out, but I don’t believe it has yet.
The cap advantage
The Giants still have Jones on his rookie contract for two more years, three if you count the possibility of the first-round contract fifth-year option. That’s a huge advantage. It allows them to spend in other areas, especially with the cap likely to go down this offseason.
It’s up to the Giants to maximize that window over the next couple of seasons.
What better choice do they have?
The Giants pick No. 11 in the draft. Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Zach Wilson will be long gone. Trey Lance might be off the board, too. Besides, aside from Lawrence what guarantee is there that any of those guys is actually more talented or will be a better player than Jones? I don’t believe there is one.
The list of free agents and trade candidates isn’t impressive, either.
To me, the best choice the Giants have is to build around Jones. Get him at least one more play-making receiver. Continue building that offensive line. Give him a second season with Jason Garrett to see if they can grow together.