Questions have surrounded the New York Giants since the start of training camp.
Fans and reporters alike are eager to see what the new schemes being installed by Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka, and Wink Martindale look like. They want to know how the new rookies play, and how veterans like Kenny Golladay, Saquon Barkley, and Kadarius Toney look.
And it seems every throw is a referendum on quarterback Daniel Jones.
It’s still too early to divine Jones’ future with the team. Right now he — and the rest of the offense — are still going through the process of learning and installing a brand new offense. They are busy putting in the work needed to get comfortable in a new system, with a new language, and more than a few new teammates.
When Daniel Jones spoke to the media on Friday, he talked about the work he and his teammates have been doing through the spring and summer.
“I think a lot of it is specific to this offense, to the scheme we are installing and plays we are running. I think every day you make progress with that kind of stuff as a group. Personally, you’ve got things you are working on, but I think collectively as a unit in the pass game and the run game, you’re getting on the same page,” Jones said. “I’d say from a chemistry standpoint, from an overall understanding of the offense, of seeing things the same way, I think that’s where we’ve made the most progress and that’s what we’ll continue to focus on.”
The first phase of the Giants’ camp is already nearly finished and next up is the start of the three-game preseason. Jones, and the rest of the Giant’ starters didn’t get much work in the 2021 preseason. Joe Judge made the ill-fated call to limit live reps in the preseason — likely to try and preserve his starters for the expanded regular season.
We don’t yet know how much the Giants’ starters will work in the preseason. It’s almost sure to be more than last year, and Jones is eager for whatever playing time he gets in the next three games.
“The preseason’s an opportunity to do that and a game situation gives you an opportunity to prepare for a game – obviously it’s not the same level of game-planning, but we will prepare for that and go out and try to execute in a live situation,” Jones said. “I think that’s a good opportunity for us and I’m excited for it as well as our whole group.”
Getting work together as a group might be particularly important in the Giants’ new offense. One of the more quietly surprising developments from the start of camp is the realization of just how sophisticated the offense Daboll and Kafka put together is. In fact, our own Ed Valentine described it as having “Gilbride levels” of sophistication in it’s post-snap options.
That brand of offense can be incredibly hard for defenses to counter, but it also demands that the quarterback and receivers be on exactly the same page. If they don’t see the defense with the same eyes, the offense can quickly go awry.
Brian Daboll has stressed to his players the importance of being on the same page with each other.
“Like Dabes said, it’s certainly not a freelance type of offense or mindset. There are certain options and certain things to look for from their standpoint and from mine as well,” Jones said. “I think that gives receivers an opportunity to get open and use their creativity, use their understanding of route running to do that – to get open.”
The option element of the Giants’ offense is going to take time to come together. Post-snap reads and options are difficult for defenses to stop, but they’re also difficult for the offense to master. There aren’t any shortcuts or replacements for reps on the practice field.
“It takes some time,” Jones said. “It takes the reps on the field. It takes messing it up and correcting it in the meetings and then doing it right. It takes getting different looks from the defense, so you have those opportunities to talk about it, correct things and move on. That’s something we are continuing to work on through camp and that’s the passing game – it’s about getting on the same page, it’s about me understanding them, them understanding me and making sure we are seeing things the same way.
“[This offense] gives a quarterback a lot of options, and it allows for a quarterback to use what he knows and distribute the ball based on that. I’ve enjoyed working in this offense so far, and like I said, we’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s been fun working with Coach Daboll and his staff and working in this offense.”