New York Giants: What to expect from Daniel Jones if he starts against Arizona

New York Giants, Daniel Jones
Sep 20, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) drops back to pass against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants listed quarterback Daniel Jones as limited on Thursday after participating in individual drills. While he enjoyed some movement and took snaps from center Nick Gates, he is still in question to play against the Arizona Cardinals in week 14. He previously missed a week 13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, in which the Giants utilized backup Colt McCoy.

The improbable victory over Seattle directly resulted from stellar defensive play and a strong running game, orchestrated by the offensive line and Wayne Gallman.

In the scenario that Jones plays, the Giants want him to be 100% and capable of running the ball. However, even if he is kept in the pocket and not expected to run, I believe he is a better option over McCoy, who missed a number of throws and nearly turned the ball over on several occasions.

The New York Giants need to go with the stronger option:

Realistically, Jones is the better passer and has more chemistry with the current offense, indicating he is a better option as long as he can stand in the pocket and drive off his back leg. When he injured his hamstring against Cincinnati, it was clear that his right leg was incapable of bearing any weight, which disallowed him from throwing the deep ball and putting power behind his throws.

If that same problem persists in practice, the Giants shouldn’t even consider utilizing Jones in week 14. This contest does have NFC East and Wild Card implications, as Washington beat the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Monday night, drawing even with the Giants in the playoff hunt. Luckily, Big Blue beat Washington in both their contest this year, giving them a slight advantage.

Having every trim benefit is essential for the Giants against a strong Arizona team, which has one of the best offenses in the NFL and a solid secondary. Their run defense is underwhelming, averaging 22nd in yards allowed per game on the ground.

I expect to see the Giants running the ball frequently behind their new and improved offensive line, led by left tackle Andrew Thomas. Theoretically, even if DJ plays, I expect Gallman to receive at least 15 carries and Alford Morris to be factored in as well in a change of pace role. Keeping the pressure off Jones and increasing their time of possession is essential.

Nonetheless, the turnover differential could be the deciding factor in this game, as it is in most. If Jones is a liability and can’t drive off his back foot, the Giants are better off utilizing McCoy and hoping for the best for the second consecutive week.

In other news, linebacker Blake Martinez injured his back last week against Seattle, and that could be an even more serious issue as the defense relies on him to stop the run. Against one of the best running teams in the NFL, losing Martinez would be a massive blow, considering the defense has been the Giants’ saving grace this season.