Daniel Jones is the New York Giants starting quarterback moving forward, even after an underwhelming sophomore campaign.
The development of Daniel Jones, a process the New York Giants organization has been banking on for two seasons, didn’t experience significant progress in 2020. Jones still wasn’t completely careful with the football (10 interceptions, six lost fumbles) and regressed in rating, touchdown passes, and passing yards.
But even with the No. 11 overall draft pick and the different opportunities to trade for a new quarterback (including superstar Texan Deshaun Watson), the Giants are “fully committed” to the man they drafted in 2019’s first round, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.
Raanan writes, “Jones is their guy, multiple team and league sources reiterated to ESPN over the past few weeks. And while the organization’s brass, from the top down, believes Jones has what it takes to be a successful upper-echelon quarterback, they are knowingly taking this leap of faith with their fingers crossed after inconsistent results during his first two professional seasons.”
It’s an attitude the organization is reasonably portraying. Fans, even those who are impatient, need to give Jones the benefit of the doubt. No, his play hasn’t been of perfection, but there are exterior factors outside of his control that have contributed to his slow development.
Jones has dealt with a number of injuries and missed two games in each of his first two seasons because of the setbacks. He also played with a struggling offensive line in 2019, a struggling offensive line for parts of 2020, and a below-average defensive unit that didn’t exactly take much pressure off of him during his rookie campaign. Jones additionally experienced a coaching staff change from year one to two that encompassed a pair of inconsistent offensive play-callers in Pat Shurmur (23rd in total offense in 2019) and Jason Garrett (31st in total offense in 2020).
Not to mention, the 23-year-old, in two whole seasons, has started just one game in which Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram were all healthy. That game, the Week 2 loss to Chicago this past year, saw Barkley tear his ACL at the beginning of the second quarter.
Jones needs consistent and reliable assistance around him on the offensive end, more specifically a talented passing-game target. The New York ground game should be set with Barkley returning (hopefully better than ever) in 2021, the defense played with more intensity than it has in years last season, and the offensive line made improvements over the course of 2020. Now, it’s time to fix the wide receiver and tight end positions.
In late April, the Giants need to address either spot in the draft’s first round. Building around Jones and putting him in the best position to succeed should be the organization’s ultimate goal, and filling either of those voids early in the draft will assist in that development coming together.
The Giants could additionally seek out help at those positions in free agency — barring franchise tags or contract extensions, wideouts Kenny Golladay and Chris Godwin along with tight end Hunter Henry are set to be available.
But regardless of the moves made, patience must be had with the young Giants quarterback. He requires on-field help, and the organization that employs him has a great opportunity to provide that this offseason.