Why Giants’ Daniel Jones could take a big step forward in 2023

mike kafka, daniel jones, new york giants
Oct 7,, 2022; Thundridge, United Kingdom; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws the ball as offensive coordinator Mike Kafka watches during practice at Hanbury Manor. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in his career, New York Giants QB Daniel Jones has a competent group of playmakers surrounding him. Throughout his first four seasons, Jones has played with mediocre offensive talent, subpar offensive line play, and a lack of continuity from the team’s coaching staff. Entering 2023, Jones is primed to take a big step forward with more talent around him as he enters his second year in Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka’s offense.

The Giants have given Daniel Jones a supporting cast

General manager Joe Schoen made it a priority to bring in skill position players this offseason. Among the key additions include the likes of TE Darren Waller, WR Parris Campbell, and rookies WR Jalin Hyatt and RB Eric Gray. These new faces combine with the familiar: RB Saquon Barkley, WRs Darius Slayton and Wan’Dale Robinson, and TE Daniel Bellinger.

The Giants have finally given Jones a competent group of playmakers to work with this season. Additionally, the team’s recent investments in the offensive line are bound to pay off sooner or later.

A new-and-improved offensive line

RT Evan Neal is looking to take a step forward in his second season following a shaky rookie campaign in 2022. The talent and potential are clearly there for Neal. If his offseason training pays off, the 22-year-old could become a bookend tackle this season.

Opposite of Neal will be LT Andrew Thomas who is coming off a dominant 2022 season. Thomas was named a second-team All-Pro last season. Jones can rest assured knowing Thomas is protecting his blindside.

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The Giants’ biggest weakness up front entering this offseason was at center. The team lost both Jon Feliciano and Nick Gates in free agency this offseason. Entering the 2023 NFL Draft, finding a day-one starter at the center position was a top priority. Fortunately, the Giants accomplished that goal, selecting Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz in round two.

Schmitz will make a big impact as a rookie, likely as the team’s starting center. He finished the 2022 season as PFF’s top-graded center with a 92.3 overall grade. During his time in college, Schmitz also allowed just one sack over nearly 2,500 career snaps, per Jordan Reid of ESPN.

Continuity in the coaching staff

During Jones’ 2019 rookie season, his head coach and offensive play-caller was Pat Shurmur. After just one season, however, Shurmur’s lackluster offense and mundane coaching style got him fired.

Joe Judge then took over as head coach with Jason Garrett as his OC. The offense struggled immensely under Garrett, but he was retained in an effort to maintain continuity. Midway through the second season, Garrett’s inept offense became too much to bear, so he handed the play-calling duties off to OC Freddie Kitchens. Shortly then after, Judge and Garrett were fired, paving the way for new HC Brian Daboll.

Daboll was named the AP 2022 NFL Coach of the Year following his first season in the Big Apple. Daboll and OC Mike Kafka curated an offense that maximized the talent of its playmakers and propelled Jones to have a career year.

In 2022, Jones threw for a career-high 3,205 passing yards to go along with 15 touchdowns and a career-low five interceptions. Turnovers were a problem for Jones throughout the first three seasons of his career. But in 2022, Jones officially made his turnover problem a thing of the past, leading the NFL with a 1.1% interception rate.

Now, entering his second season under the tutelage of Daboll and Kafka, Jones has an improved supporting cast and an upgraded offensive line to work with. The stars have aligned and Daniel Jones is primed for a big 2023 season.