New York Giants: How much blame falls on Daniel Jones for poor 2020 offense?

New York Giants, Daniel Jones
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 02: Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants looks to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half at MetLife Stadium on November 02, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

As we head into week 17, the New York Giants’ offense ranks at the bottom of the NFL, averaging a disappointing 17.1 points per contest. Their passing game is also abysmal, averaging 187.7 yards per game, but their running attack has been the only saving grace if any.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, ranging from coordinator Jason Garrett to quarterback Daniel Jones. However, it is clear that Jones has regressed since his rookie season in 2019 when former head coach Pat Shurmur called offensive plays.

Ultimately, Shurmur‘s offense was more efficient, despite many clamoring about his predictability and lack of creativity. No matter how you look at it, Jones had a better overall season, aside from his turnover problem. DJ has alleviated some of those issues when it comes to fumbling and throwing interceptions, but his best game this season came in week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers when he threw for just 279 yards and two touchdowns.

In 2019, his best performance came in week 16 against the Washington Football Team, when he threw for 352 yards and five scores, earning a 132.1 quarterback rating. He was near perfect, and that performance alone sparked optimism for his future.

However, we should have listened to Cowboys fans when they told us Garrett’s scheme was boring and bland. His route concepts are outdated and predictable for modern defenses. He runs too many hooks and flat routes, with receivers not even running beyond 5 yards or getting to the sticks. His offense doesn’t give Jones the ability to create on the move and utilize his instincts properly. It is all mapped out for Jones to hit first reads quickly and not move on to his other targets. Of course, you can blame a lack of playmakers for this issue, but we saw DJ perform much better in 2019 without TE Evan Engram in the second half of the year. Of course, having Saquon Barkley back was helpful, but he was still hampered by a high ankle sprain he suffered earlier in the season.

Who’s to blame for the New York Giants’ offensive woes?

At this point, I would say that 60% of the blame falls on Jason Garrett and his failure to develop intricate route concepts and get players open in man coverage. The last few games, opposing teams are playing primarily cover 1, which is a run-stopping formation. They are lining up in cover 1 against the pass because they don’t respect the receivers and their ability to get open in man coverage. With the receiver failing to gain separation, Jones has to make pinpoint accurate throws, but he does have one flaw that shows up on tape consistently.

What some analysts call “burping the baby,” Jones taps the ball before throwing too often, which resulted in two poor passes against the Baltimore Ravens in week 16. On one throw to Wayne Gallman up the seam, Jones taps the ball, allowing the pass rush to get to him, and the pass ended up behind Gallman, despite him making an acrobatic catch. If he hits them in stride and throws this without tapping the ball, Gallman picks up an extra few yards. They say football is a game of inches, so everything counts.

On a play earlier in the contest, Jones taps the ball just before throwing a dig route to CJ Board — in that split-second, he allowed pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue to hit his arm and disrupt the pass.

It’s small things like this that need to be ironed out in Jones’ game, but I do think those issues will alleviate with time. Having a better play-caller and some better blocking on the OL (should be better in 2021 with experience) would certainly help, but the lack of playmakers doesn’t exactly flush DJ with confidence.

Finding a more modern coordinator to develop route concepts and open up screens would be beneficial, as Garrett criminally missuses Engram and doesn’t push players down the field appropriately.

Overall, I would say Daniel Jones should take about 15% of the blame, but nobody has done him any favors, and I would like to see the Giants get him some more help in the wide receiver corps and a new coordinator who focuses on modern-day passing strategies.