Whenever he returns from his torn ACL, Daniel Jones will be the starting quarterback for the New York Giants. That was the word from GM Joe Schoen during his by week press conference on Monday.
“The expectation is when Daniel’s healthy he will be our starting quarterback,” Schoen said. “We don’t have a crystal ball in terms of how the rehab is going to go, and different patients respond differently to these surgeries. Whether there is going to be swelling in the knee or any setbacks. Nobody has a crystall ball on this, but that’s the expectation moving forward.
Jones suffered a non-contact torn ACL Week 9 against the Las Vegas Raiders. He had surgery last week. Jones has said that he expects the rehab to take 8 to 10 months. The early side of that would have Jones on the field in training camp. The longer end would mean Jones would miss regular season games.
Jones signed a four-year, $160 million contract in the offseason with the first two seasons guaranteed last offseason. He convinced the Giants to give him that deal by helping them get to the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season and win a playoff game for the first time since the 2011 season.
Jones did not play nearly as well this season as he did last year. The Giants went 1-5 in his six starts, his passer rating dropped from 92.5 to 70.5, his interceptions percentage rose from 1.1 to 3.8, his yards per completion were a career low 8.4 per attempt and he threw only two touchdown passes in 160 attempts, a career-worst 1.3%.
Schoen acknowledged the rough start to the season, but didn’t pin all of the blame on Jones.
“We got off that rough start. We had three games in 11 days. There were some injuries after Week 2,” Schoen said. “A short week, you’re going to play San Francisco without your starting left tackle, starting guard and Saquon. I mean, that’s tough task for, for anybody.
“Does Daniel wish he could have some throws back or some games back or do some things differently? Probably, but it’s a team game. There’s 11 guys out there and everybody’s gotta be on the same page and do their job. We’ve gotta continue to build the team. The quarterback position is important, but it’s ultimately a team game and it’s not all on Daniel by any means.
Schoen pointed out that Jones, left tackle Andrew Thomas, tight end Darren Waller and running back Saquon Barkley were on the field together for fewer than 40 snaps this season.
“It’s hard to go in and compete week in and week out if you don’t have your best players,” Schoen said.
Why does Schoen continue to have faith in Jones despite his rough 2023 season?
“I’ve seen it, I mean, you guys all saw last season. I mean, the guy won 10 games, he won a road playoff game for the Giants,” Schoen said. “I just think. we got punched in the nose early on and we dug ourselves a hole and we weren’t able to get out of it. You know, we’re, we’re trying to right now, but still believe in Daniel.”
Schoen acknowledged that with the uncertainty about Jones’ recovery timeline and with Tyrod Taylor heading to free agency that the Giants would need to “do something” at the quarterback position this offseason.
“Whether it’s free agency or, or the draft,” Jones said. “Daniel, we don’t know when he’s gonna be ready. So, just from an off-season program standpoint I think that’ll be a position that we’ll have to look [at]. There’s different avenues, free agency or the draft, but we’ll have to address it at some point.”
The Giants currently have the No. 6 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Could that “something” include taking a quarterback in Round 1?
“We’ll take the best player available. If the best player available for our team is at a certain position, we’ll take it. I mean, we won’t shy away from it,” Schoen said. “That’s a ways away, the draft in April. We’re still working through all that. We have to come up with a plan, like I said, just for the offseason right now. Tommy [DeVito] is the only one that’s under contract, so we’ll look at all different avenues there.”
All roads, though, apparently lead back to Jones being the Giants primary quarterback in 2024.