The 24-year-old Jones is ranked behind Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers, Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals. He is ranked immediately ahead of two rookies, Mac Jones of the New England Patriots and Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Here is what Seth Galina of Pro Football Focus wrote in explaining Jones’ placement on the list:
The Giants might have lost more games than they have won with Jones at quarterback, but he has quietly put together a nice resume so far. The Duke product has 14 games graded above 70.0 — although the Giants are just 10-23 with him as the starter. It’s possible a Giants move away from coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett might be the best option moving forward for Jones and the team.
I agree with the first part of Galina’s statement. In my view, since the middle of the 2020 season Jones has played better than many realize or are willing to acknowledge. He does not have big yardage or touchdown numbers to show for it, but I believe that has largely been more a function of what he has been surrounded by than any shortcomings on his end.
The most honest assessment I can make is that Jones doesn’t appear to have the upside of the four players listed above him by PFF. There does not appear to be a singular characteristic that makes him special, which I think you can identify with Jackson, Herbert, Murray and Burrow. I think, though, that Jones is turning into a good NFL quarterback. A quarterback who can win in the NFL.
ESPN has Jones ranked as the No. 16 quarterback in the league right now, just below Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins. NFL.com also has him ranked No. 16, behind Cousins, Ryan Tannehill, Ryan and Wentz. I think that ranking is probably accurate. I also think Jones has the upside to move past those players and toward being a top 10 to 12 quarterback. Not that he definitely will, but he certainly could.
I happen to disagree with Galina’s second point, that Jones needs to get away from Judge and Garrett. I think continuity can only help Jones.
Of late, I have said multiple times that I do not believe Judge is going anywhere. Giants’ ownership has been steadfast in its belief in Judge. I think the only thing that would change that, regardless of won-loss record, is some type of Ben McAdoo-esque internal mutiny. That isn’t something I see happening.
As for Garrett, perhaps recency bias is impacting my thinking. I recognize that the Giants are coming off a well-planned and well-called, if not always well-executed, game against the Carolina Panthers.
Reality is, though, that there is an undeniable bond between Jones and Garrett. The offensive coordinator is gaining more and more understanding of Jones. The quarterback has faith in the coordinator, and is gaining more and more comfort in the offense he is being asked to execute.
Obviously, none of that has yet led to an offensive explosion. I think, though, there has been progress. I really want to see what happens if the Giants can ever get their full complement of playmakers on the field together for an extended stretch.
If that happens and the Giants are still struggling to score points, then perhaps we should talk about Garrett’s future. Until then, it is honestly hard to get a complete picture of both the coordinator and the quarterback.