Daniel Jones hasn’t been the most productive quarterback, but Giants fans must remain patient with the soon-to-be third-year player.
It was April 25, 2019: Roger Goodell stood at the podium in Nashville and called out the name “Daniel Jones” when the New York Giants had been on the clock with the sixth overall pick. The selection, of course, was a shock to many and led to insurmountable criticism.
Some believed the Giants should’ve drafted Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins (thankfully, they didn’t). Others believed that if they were to draft Jones, they should’ve done so with their No. 17 overall pick after selecting possibly an edge rusher at No. 6.
Not many, however, believed Jones was going that early in the annual event.
And almost two years later, it’s safe to say the Duke product hasn’t exactly been the most successful of quarterbacks. But fans can’t write him off just yet; it’s much too early to do such a thing.
It’s understandable if you’re not confident in Jones at the moment, given the mistakes and overwhelming turnovers. This is the New York market, where impatience is alive and well and fans desire success almost immediately. Not to mention, the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” type of industry.
When you take a look at the fact that he was statistically worse in some major passing categories this past year in comparison to his 2019 rookie campaign, it’s reasonable to portray anxiousness, impatience, and eagerness for a better situation at quarterback.
But fans must begin taking into account the number of exterior factors that have played a role in Jones’ somewhat slow development.
For one, he’s been hindered by injuries at different points of his first two years. A high ankle sprain caused him to miss a pair of games late in his rookie season while hamstring and ankle setbacks led to him missing another two matchups in 2020. He actually should’ve missed three games this year — Jones was seemingly limited and unhealthy in the Week 14 loss to Arizona.
It’s additionally difficult to experience a coaching staff change from year one to two, especially one that encompasses a pair of inconsistent offensive play-callers in Pat Shurmur and Jason Garrett. Neither coach put together the most effective gameplans for Jones; the Giants were 23rd in total offense and 18th in scoring in 2019 and then 31st in either category in 2020.
Was the offensive line any sort of dominant in 2019? Not a chance. What about in 2020? The unit indeed improved as the year progressed, but it wasn’t a perfect line by any means, nor even a good one.
The defense? Productive in 2020 but didn’t take much pressure off Jones and the offense in 2019, allowing 377.3 average yards and 28.2 average points.
Not to mention, Jones has started one game — yes, just one — in which Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate all entered healthy…and that didn’t last long. Against the Bears in Week 2 this past year, Barkley suffered a season-ending torn ACL at the beginning of the second quarter. Thus, Jones has yet to consistently play with his full slate of weapons, a setback that has made life easier on opposing defenses.
There are no excuses in this league, and this isn’t meant to be a story that dishes out excuses for the young Giants quarterback. The turnovers and overall on-field mistakes are his fault, but it’s undeniable that exterior elements are playing some sort of role in the mishaps.
Give him time. The Giants must provide him with a better situation, with improved protection, passing-game targets, and coaching. That, paired with consistently healthy weapons, will immensely assist in his overall development.
If it doesn’t, then you could probably write him off, but let’s hope that isn’t the ultimate occurrence.