“There’s going to be things that happen in every game. The defense is going to make a good play, there might be a tipped ball. We’re going to have to do a good job of taking care of the football, but I want him to turn it loose.”
One thing is for sure, the Giants certainly haven’t let Jones be himself on the football field. In fact, it’s almost seemed as if the coaching staff was controlling him like a robot, forcing him to stare down specific reads.
Every elite quarterback has a healthy blend of instinctual decision-making and the proper reading of progressions, understanding opposing defenses. The Giants did very little to help Jones gather knowledge before the snap last season, running pre-snap motion at 7.5% when other modern offenses were hitting +20%.
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The Giants are expected to feature a far more potent offense when it comes to a pre-stop motion and gathering information before the snap. That should help Jones decipher coverages and progress through his reads more efficiently. New offensive coordinator Mike Kafka has already started to see the type of work ethic that Jones brings to the table.
“He’s a smart kid,’’ Kafka said. “He works hard. Those are all things that I had heard about him, but being able to see it in person has been great. Right now, just developing that relationship with him is the most important thing, and out here in practice seeing him operate, seeing him communicate with the players and how he talks to each and every group has been really cool.’’
The new coaching staff has slowly developed relationships with the fourth-year quarterback, but that doesn’t mean his job isn’t on the line. The Giants recently declined Jones’s 5th-year option, making the 2022 season ever more important for his legacy in New York. When he was drafted back in 2019, the hope was that he would replace Eli Manning and develop into a franchise-caliber quarterback, but that reality hasn’t come to fruition.
“That was certainly out of my control, out of my hands, and that’s the business part of it. I understand that. My job is to prepare to play as well as I can, help the team win games, and that’s certainly what I’m focused on.’’
Jones has managed to stifle the negative thoughts that accompany your team abandoning the fifth-year option, but he still has an opportunity to rewrite the story and earn an extension.
Jones is impressing thus far in practice:
So far, during OTAs, Jones has shown his veteran leadership and ability to consume knowledge and replicate it on the football field.
“He’s absorbing it, and he’s able to spit it back out, get guys fixed and cleaned up on the field,’’ Kafka said. “Those are things I’m looking for just out of the gate, getting guys lined up correctly, getting the huddle, sharp, crisp. Those are things that are important for pre-snap stuff.’’
A far more advanced offense is being installed; Jones will have to learn how to be a modern quarterback. Jason Garrett has completely stifled Jones’s development and growth the last few seasons, setting him back years.
The Giants desperately need to find out what Jones can accomplish this upcoming season. The cards are stacked against him with a new offensive line and system. It is going to take a monstrous effort to convince management he can be the future of the team, but it is not impossible.