When the New York Giants drafted Daniel Jones in 2019, many were perplexed by general manager Dave Gettleman’s decision. Jones was an optimistic pick with the sixth overall selection, and many older fans had seen enough from Duke quarterbacks, with Dave Brown.
However, at first glance, Jones has the physical traits to be a fantastic quarterback in the NFL. At 6-foot-5 and 221 pounds, he’s barely 23 years old, indicating youth and tangible talent to work with. The issue, the Giants haven’t given him much in terms of support and quality offenses the past two seasons.
Under head coach Pat Shurmur, Jones seemed to have the arm talent to get it done in the NFL, throwing 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions over 13 games. In fact, DJ enjoyed three contests in his rookie season with 4+ touchdown games. If that isn’t an indication of potential, I don’t know what is. His primary weakness was his fumbling issues and turnover problems.
Plenty of quarterbacks entering the NFL have turnover quandaries, and it takes time to iron them out over the course of a career. Jones is simply falling ill to familiar issues, but he cut down his turnover problems tremendously over the final five games of the season. Aside from one anomaly against the Arizona Cardinals where the offensive line was torched (3 fumbles), he allowed just one fumble and one interception over the final five games.
There’s plenty of reasons to be hopeful with DJ, and I want to remain positive when detailing his development so far.
Three reasons the New York Giants should have faith in Daniel Jones:
1.) Daniel Jones has the physcial qualities to be a great quarterback
As stated before, Jones has the physical abilities to be a great quarterback in the NFL. He has solid arm strength and the ability to run at a high-level. In fact, Jones’ 80-yard run against the Philadelphia Eagles in week seven was faster than any Lamar Jackson run during the 2020 season. With that kind of speed, DJ not only represents a threat from the pocket but as a mobile quarterback that can confuse defenses and keep them on their toes.
Some might argue that Jones has an inferior arm, and while he does have some trouble reaching the boundary on occasion, he was one of the most accurate deep-ball passers in the NFL this past season. Unfortunately, coordinator Jason Garrett didn’t push the ball downfield enough and allowed Jones to get creative and take shots. Garrett’s playcalling kept Jones beneath 10% regarding balls thrown 20+ yards downfield. That is simply malpractice for a quarterback that has great deep-ball accuracy.
2.) Jones is a fantastic deep-ball thrower
I want to dive a little bit deeper into Jones’ deep ball abilities. According to PFF, Jones had a 96.7 grade when throwing deep to the outside right, completing nine balls for 322 yards and one score. When targeting the middle of the field beyond 20 yards, he recorded 196 yards and four touchdowns. His left side was his weakest point, and that is for most categories, earning a 73.9 overall grade, completing four passes for 134 yards and one score. When throwing 20+ yards downfield, Jones didn’t throw a single interception the entire season, which is why Jason Garrett’s playcalling was so inefficient.
When throwing 20+ yards toward the middle of the field, Daniel Jones had a 92.3 grade (PFF) with 196 yards, 4 scores, and 0 INTs.
Tell me why Garrett didn't utilize Engram up the seam more often or push WRs up the seam all year?
Pettis finally did it in week 17 and scored.
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) January 5, 2021
If the Giants elect to move on from Garrett or the Los Angeles Chargers hire him, the Giants should find a coordinator who runs more verticals and pushes the ball downfield, and I will bet we will see a more efficient Jones because of it.
3.) Has had two terrible supporting casts in the first two years
Let’s not forget that Jones has had very little to work with on offense. In his rookie season, Saquon Barkley was injured for the majority of the year, and the offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL. He had poor pass blocking and very lackluster run blocking. Jones was forced to sling the ball more frequently, with defenses sitting back in coverage with an inability to assert their dominance on the ground. If it couldn’t get any worse, his receivers were also inadequate as well. A combo of Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton simply doesn’t scream quality.
This season, Barkley was injured early on unless the entire year with a torn ACL, so the Giants’ star player on offense simply didn’t have any impact. The receivers lacked separation tremendously, and the pass blocking was once again inconsistent. DJ was forced to run the ball more frequently than he would’ve helped, and it resulted in injury. If the OL can take a step forward in pass blocking and Saquon returns fully healthy, the Giants should be in far better shape. I also expect them to allocate resources toward improving the wide receiver position, so next season we should see a much-improved DJ, given all of the impending moves and expectations pan out.