The New York Giants are turning the page on Eli Manning this week. Manning will be handing the torch off to rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. Daniel Jones will be making his first career start in week three against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Giants fans met this news with excitement and nostalgia. It was a bittersweet moment realizing Eli Manning is no longer the quarterback of the New York Giants while simultaneously realizing the future is bright with the Giants’ new signal-caller.
All eyes will be on Daniel Jones this Sunday. The rookie’s performance will be the start of a new journey. If Daniel Jones wants to get his career off to a hot start, he will need to limit turnovers and demonstrate his mobility and what that adds to the Giants’ offense.
Limit The Turnovers
It is common for rookie quarterbacks to be pretty turnover prone. As a rookie, Eli Manning had 9 interceptions compared to 6 touchdowns in 9 games. Even last year’s rookie quarterback class (one of the best quarterback classes of the decade) struggled with turnovers.
Lamar Jackson threw 3 interceptions to 6 touchdowns but also fumbled 12 times. Baker Mayfield set a rookie record with 27 touchdown passes but also threw a total of 14 interceptions and fumbled 7 times. Josh Allen also threw 10 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and 8 fumbles.
One way for Daniel Jones to separate himself from the rest of the young quarterbacks is to play a clean, turnover-free game. Jones had an incredible preseason and did not throw an interception in four games, but he did fumble 3 times. Additionally, in limited garbage time action in week one against the Cowboys, Jones fumbled after scrambling for a first down.
Daniel still looked like the precision passer we saw in preseason, but seeing him fumble again was at least slightly concerning. His first NFL start will be this weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have an excellent defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles. Expect to see Bowles throw some disguise blitzes and coverages out there to confuse the rookie quarterback and try to force him into making a mistake.
Daniel Jones’s best way to prove his worth is to not fall for Bowles’s tricks. If Daniel Jones can total more touchdowns than interceptions in his first career start, it will be a promising first step towards a productive career.
Show Off The Mobility
For years, the Giants have had little to no mobility out of the quarterback position. Eli Manning was never a scrambling quarterback in his career and as he aged, his ability to extend plays with his legs continued to decrease. This has been clearly visible with the endless number of playaction bootlegs and rollouts that the Giants have failed to find success with under head coach Pat Shurmur.
Daniel Jones adds another dimension to the Giants’ offense. While running these bootlegs, Jones has the ability to scramble for yardage if the routes fail to get open. Jones has the legs to extend plays and avoid pressure.
Another key component that the Giants can add to their offense is the option. The run/pass option and also the zone read option will be a lot more effective with Daniel Jones at quarterback. His ability to tuck the ball and run for yardage himself will create opportunities for more big plays.
Defenses will now have to defend the Giants differently through the use of quarterback spies and contains. Jones is primarily a pocket passer, but his ability to take off and run when needed is something that could burn defenses if they are not prepared for it.
Opposing defenses already have their hands full gameplanning to defend against Saquon Barkley. But now, with Jones having the ability to hand it off or take it himself on read options, the Giants’ offense should be able to trick defenses and create even bigger plays on the ground.