Looking back at Daniel Jones’s rookie season, he posted a 53.1% completion rate and 13 touchdowns in the red zone for the New York Giants. However, since then, his efficiency has dropped off significantly, completing just 38.1% for five touchdowns in 2021.
If the Giants want to be a more explosive team on offense, they need Jones to be more productive in the red zone. Looking at the team’s schematics and personnel gives justifiable excuses for Jones, but he has also made poor decisions in the passing game and failed to find receivers, flowing through his progressions properly.
At some point, Jones is going to need to take a big step forward if he wants to stick around with the Giants for the long term. Luckily, Big Blue hired Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka as their head coach and offensive coordinator to lead the charge.
Daboll, who was previously the OC for the Buffalo Bills, enjoyed the top-ranked red zone offense in football with a 66.28% touchdown conversion rate. Kansas City landed at 62.20%, so clearly, the Giants have two bright offensive minds who know how to get the ball in the end zone.
Of course, it is fair to mention that the Giants don’t have Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, so they will have to find different ways to increase their efficiency. Adding Wan’Dale Robinson out of Kentucky will undoubtedly be a key factor in the team’s offensive plan, utilizing a shifty receiver who can make defenders miss in the open field. In fact, Robinson ranked 6th in all of college football last year with 22 missed tackles forced, but also ranked 6th in deep catches with 16. His screen catches landed at 35, good for 3rd in college, and 268 yards from screen passes, which ranked 4th.
Clearly, the Giants have a vision of what Robinson can achieve in the NFL, and pairing him with Kadarius Toney will only force defenses to be even more careful. The new offense will include a big uptick in pre-stop motion. The Giants used pre-snap motion just 7.5% last year. Buffalo hosted a 34.3% pre-snap motion rate and the chiefs at 64.5%.
Pre-snap motion is essential because it gives quarterbacks more information about what the defense is trying to do. It uncovers the coverage and shifts defenders out of alignment, making them adjust on the fly. The NFL is a game of inches, and every slight advantage you can create is beneficial to a team’s success.
The Giants, last season, failed miserably to get anything done in the red zone. Their best receiver, by the numbers, was Sterling Shepard, who recorded 35 yards on just six receptions, failing to score. Dante Pettis scored the only red zone touchdown for a Giants receiver last year on a 5-yard catch. The Giants paid big money to one of the NFL’s best red-zone receivers in Kenny Golladay, who posted just one reception for 5 yards.
The Giants have the personnel to be an effective team in the red zone, but it starts with schematics. Daboll and Kafka will likely construct a West Coast-style offense that spreads out a bit more, giving more space to their playmakers.
With so many versatile pieces and open field maestros, the team’s poor red-zone efficiency should see a tremendous uptick in the future, but they need Daniel Jones to play with more confidence and aggression. A re-tooled offensive line should help him tremendously.