New York Giants: Why Daniel Jones isn’t to blame for the 0-4 start to the season

New York Giants, Daniel Jones
Sep 14, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) scrambles as Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) pursues during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have started their 2020 campaign 0-4, but their struggles have been a bit more present than anticipated. In fact, the offense was expected to be their strength and defense their weakness, but the exact opposite has occurred with the lack of talent around Daniel Jones and the defense playing above their weight class.

Thanks to fantastic free agent signings on defense, the unit currently ranks fifth in the yards allowed per game. The Giants are also tied for 13th in points allowed. Alternatively, their offense has been the worst in the NFL through four games. They are averaging a measly 11.8 points per game, with the New York Jets coming in second place at 16.3. In terms of yards per game, they are tied for last with the Jets.

Can this be blamed on Daniel Jones? Maybe, but there’s plenty of blame to go around.

Listing why Daniel Jones isn’t at fault for the New York Giants 0-4 start to the season:

-WRs are creating zero separation from coverage

-The offensive line ranks near last in pass protection and run blocking

-Very little semblance of a running game

-Jason Garrett’s scheme is bland and lack creativity

-No pre-snap motions from scheme to test man/zone coverage

-Andrew Thomas has been problematic at left tackle

Let’s start with the wide receivers, who have struggled to gain separation this year for Daniel Jones. Veteran Golden Tate has been virtually useless, offering just 14 receptions and 103 yards through four games. His ineffectiveness in the passing game has forced Daniel Jones to pick up yards with his legs and throw underneath.

Opposing defenses are simply scheming Darius Slayton out of the game, after a strong start to the season. In week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Slayton scored two touchdowns but has been contained from the deep ball in recent weeks.

With Sterling Shepard still sidelined with turf toe, the Giants need to be more creative on offense and get their receivers open in space. In addition, tight end Evan Engram has not lived up to expectations, despite slimming down and improving his athleticism. He has dropped multiple passes this year and simply hasn’t been able to create a separation matched up against linebackers.

The offensive line is an entirely different story, putting Daniel Jones under severe pressure. The second-year quarterback currently leads the team in rushing yards and has been forced out of the pocket routinely. He is on pace for 56 sacks this season, an astronomical number that can’t be tolerated.

While the line did play better in week four, their pass protection was still spotty. However, the Giants did run for over 130 yards, showing that they can, in fact, perform at an adequate level. Again, the running game helps Daniel Jones, but a lack of protection in the passing game severely limits his abilities.

So far, we can make the assumption that Jones is not at fault for 90% of the Giants’ struggles. Despite the team being 0-4, the issues that surround the offense are greatly reliant on the wide receivers and inadequacies on the offensive front. Let’s not forget about the scheme, that utilized zero pre-snap motion and is as vanilla as a vanilla frappuccino from Starbucks.

Jones is a solid quarterback who can operate at a high-level with the pieces around him doing their jobs appropriately, but that simply hasn’t been the case. Now, that doesn’t mean Jones is void of any mistakes, as we have seen in the past few games. His turnovers are still a major issue, and a late-game interception with about a minute on the clock against the Rams sealed the Giants’ fate.

Making bad decisions at the end of games is unacceptable for a franchise quarterback, and if he continues to replicate these issues, Big Blue might be forced into a decision they simply can’t afford to make.