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Better or worse? New York Giants quarterback position

The Giants appear to have set Daniel Jones up to take another step forward

New York Giants Offseason Workout
Daniel Jones
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The New York Giants did not give quarterback Daniel Jones a four-year, $160 million contract strictly because of how well he played in 2022. They gave him that contract, which includes two years of guaranteed money totaling $81 million, because they think the way he played in 2022 hinted that there is yet another level Jones can reach.

This is not the normal course of events when a new general manager and coach take over a team’s decision-making. Usually, after a year a new quarterback is drafted, and a full rebuild officially commences.

Jones convinced Schoen and Daboll to give him the chance. The GM even admitted when asked by Big Blue View that had he known what he knows now, he would have picked up Jones’ fifth-year option when he had to make that decision before even seeing the quarterback practice in person.

Will Jones reward the faith the Giants have shown in him? We should get a big hint in 2023, a year where the Giants have done everything they could with the draft and salary cap assets they had to improve the play-making weapons surrounding Jones.

So, let’s look at whether or not the Giants will be better or worse at quarterback during the upcoming season as we continue our position-by-position profiles.

Key losses: Davis Webb
Key additions: None (apologies, Tommy DeVito fans)

Why the Giants could be better

The Giants should be better at quarterback in 2023. Jones had the best, most efficient season of his career in 2022. He enters the upcoming season with several advantages he did not have a season ago.

  • Darren Waller. A year ago, the Giants entered the season hoping they could get adequate play out of a position group headlined by an unproven rookie fourth-round pick. Daniel Bellinger became a nice player and will continue to be an asset, but he’s not Waller. In Waller, the Giants have a game-changing player who is a matchup nightmare for defenses when healthy.
  • Speed at wide receiver. Darius Slayton has pretty much had the ‘fast guy’ or deep threat moniker to himself among Giants’ receivers during his career. Except for that brief period John Ross managed to get on the field in 2021. Not anymore. Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt, and Jeff Smith might all be faster. Wan’Dale Robinson isn’t faster than Slayton, but injuries meant we only saw a hint of what Robinson could do as a rookie.
  • A second season with Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka. Jones has never had the continuity and quality of offensive coaching he is getting now. As a rookie, he operated a system Pat Shurmur devised for Eli Manning. Under Joe Judge, Jones had Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens running the offense. Oh, and he dealt with a bunch of in-fighting around the offensive line. Last year, he had excellent coaching but still dealt with a new system. This year is different.

Jones should also have Saquon Barkley in the backfield another year removed from his knee injury. Progress from Evan Neal at right tackle would also help solidify an offensive line that limited some of what the Giants could do in the passing game a season ago.

Why the Giants could be worse

You know the story with Jones. There are still too many fans — and NFL analysts who should study harder and know better — who look at Jones and see a turnover machine. That despite years of evidence to the contrary.

Yes, Jones turned the ball over far too many times as a rookie in 2019. Follow the history of quarterback play and you know that isn’t unusual. Unfortunately for Jones, the label has stuck even though the performance has changed.

Here are Jones’ turnover numbers over his four seasons:

Daniel Jones’ Career Turnovers

Season Games played Fumbles Fumbles lost Interceptions Interception Pct. Total Turnovers
Season Games played Fumbles Fumbles lost Interceptions Interception Pct. Total Turnovers
2019 13 19 16 12 2.6 28
2020 14 10 7 10 2.2 17
2021 11 7 5 7 1.9 12
2022 16 6 4 5 1.1 9

The biggest fear would be that Jones, asked to do more in the passing game and create more big plays downfield with his upgraded receiving arsenal, would regress in the areas of decision-making and turnovers.

Another fear, of course, would be that the version of Jones we saw in 2022 — a guy who made a lot of winning plays at critical times — was a mirage. Maybe he will show in 2023 that he isn’t a franchise quarterback after all. Maybe 2022 is as good as it gets for Jones.

There is also the ‘what if he gets hurt?’ question. The 2022 season was the first time in four years Jones did not miss time due to injury. What if, even if Jones is playing well, he misses significant time to injury? What if Tyrod Taylor has to play and he shows us why he is a backup and not a starter?