Reality Check

So much has been said and written about Daniel Jones, so much doubt that he is good enough to be an NFL starting quarterback, a good enough quarterback for a Super Bowl team in his prime (which, of course, he hasn't reached yet). It seems that Thursday night's game, in which Daniel Jones did almost everything other than play defense to win it, hasn't penetrated the narrative for some folks. Time for a reality check, and here it is.

All stats are from the league website. Fumbles only include rushing fumbles; sack-fumbles are brutally hard to track on that site. But we know Jones has had none of those this season.

Statistically, Jones is no worse than middle of the pack as a passer, 15th in yards gained, 7.5 ypa, 2 TDs, no interceptions. He is one of only eight QBs worth mentioning who have not thrown at least one this season in two games. The two top rookies, Lawrence and Wilson, have 5 each; among the veterans, it's Matt Ryan, Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow, and Jason Herbert, who all threw 3 picks so far. DJ's 7.5 ypa matches Dak Prescott, Taylor Heinecke, and Ryan Tannehill, behind Tom Brady who is 16th with 7.6 ypa.

That goes with his legitimate rushing threat. The top rushing QB is Lamar Jackson, obviously. In two games, he's put up 193 yards on 28 carries, 6.9 average, 2 TDs and 2 fumbles rushing. Nobody is in that class, and there are only two QBs with numbers even close:: Jalen Hurts, with 144 yards on 17 carries, 8.47 average, 1 TD, no fumbles, and guess who? Daniel Jones, 122 yards on 16 tries, 7.6 per carry, 1 TD, no fumbles. And that's not counting what they took away on the ticky-tacky holding call on Board.

After that, you have to go all the way down to Carson Wentz, with 60 yards on 9 carries, no TD, one fumble. There are only 5 other QBs over 30 yards rushing.

Let's go beyond the numbers, and take a look at DJ's play in the Washington game. Leaving out the busted sweep to Shepard that lost 9 yards, the Giants RBs gained 77 yards on 18 attempts, barely breaking 4 yards a carry. Daniel Jones put the offense on his back, or more specifically his arm and his legs, and did everything we needed him to do, to have won that game by a touchdown. This, on a short week, against a division opponent with what is widely considered one of the better defensive units in the league, on their field. True dual threat QBs are rare, and we have one. They present unique problems to any defense.

We aren't looking at outliers here. Daniel Jones has consistently demonstrated the fact that he has an elite ball fake. Put that together with his straight line speed, there will always be opportunities. Against Washington, he faked a handoff to Barkley going right, and Chase Smith and two of his buddies were on #26 in the backfield, while #8 went the other way with the ball for a nice gain. Jones has faked out the camera crew more than once. Expect to see more of this.

Is he going to be Rodgers? Mahomes? Lamar Jackson? No. But he's a more effective dual threat than either of them, if he has adequate OL play. As players like Golladay and Barkley round into form, the offense will get better and better if the line holds up. With Shepard rocking, if Slayton can hang onto the ball it won't even matter if we don't get much from Toney this year.

Sunday, against Atlanta? Bet on Daniel Jones, lay the points!

Bottom line here: Daniel Jones is arriving, now, and by season's end nobody will have any question at all, he is the franchise QB.

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