New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones was named starter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week Three. This was a surprising move that was much sooner than expected. The general consensus was that the Giants would stick with Eli until later into the season. Jones’ preseason performance shortened the Giants leash on Manning’s role as the starter. The rookie excelled in the pre-season surprising a lot of his doubters.
Jones finished the preseason going 29-of-34 for 416 yards and two touchdowns. The regular season is a different animal though. He mostly played against second-team players and basic defenses without much complexity. Although, his ball placement and timing were excellent which should translate well to the regular season. I went into depth in Daniel Jones’ film and gave my full thoughts on him as a college prospect once the draft concluded. The traits that lead Gettleman to select the Duke signal-caller at the sixth pick were apparent in the preseason.
Daniel Jones Is Now the Man at Quarterback for the New York Giants
The Time Has Come
Eli Manning has been a below-average quarterback for the past few years. Frankly, he has not been a starting-caliber NFL quarterback recently. This should not discredit all of the great post-season runs, Super Bowl wins, and overall great memories he created for Giants fans. At this point in his career though, Manning rarely even attempts to push the ball downfield and would rather settle for check-downs. Daniel Jones displays a willingness to drive the ball and create chunk plays.
The ability to escape the pocket when the play breaks down that Jones has is an ability that Giants fans haven’t seen in a long time. Manning has been a statue behind a bad offensive line for the better part of the past five years. Now the Giants have a mobile quarterback with a much-improved offensive line. The defense is still in shambles and has been torched in every game so far but the offense provides a source of excitement. The NFL’s most talented running back in Saquon Barkley, finally a serviceable offensive line, and a possible franchise quarterback. The young talent on this offense is a metaphorical light at the end of this dark tunnel which has been the Giants performance for the past six years.
Daniel Jones offers a unique skill set that could revitalize this offense. He excelled in the RPO game and Giants fans got a sneak peek of that in the preseason. Pat Shurmur kept it simple in the pre-season play-calling wise and did not reveal much. Jones’ mobility adds a whole new aspect to the offense. He did not have any carries in the pre-season so it will be interesting to see how his rushing ability is utilized.
Despite struggling with the deep ball in college, the Giants rookie quarterback was a perfect 5/5 in the preseason on passes over 20 yards. The offense should completely transform throughout the rest of the season. The receiving core is depleted but will get a much-needed boost against Tampa Bay with the return of Sterling Shepard. The offense may not put up great numbers through the air but at least with Jones at the helm, there will be an inclination to take shots downfield. This season will be the most innovative offense that Giants fans have seen in years. RPO’s, zone reads, and designed runs should all be showcased this season to help maximize the potential of the Giants rookie quarterback.
Despite having a nearly perfect pre-season, Jones will struggle at some point. It may be in his first start against the Buccaneers with a vastly improved defense. His strong preseason made Giants fans forget that he was a flawed prospect. He will make bone-headed decisions and force the ball where it shouldn’t be thrown. Defensive coordinators will mess with him and vary their pre and post-snap looks to throw him off. Only time will tell if he has improved upon his fatal flaws that plagued his college career.
Despite almost having a perfect pre-season decision making wise, mistakes will come eventually. The biggest knock on him as a prospect was his propensity to force the ball. He needs to improve his post-snap processing and decision making as a whole. Pat Shurmur is widely regarded around the league as a quarterback guru. Having a veteran around like Eli Manning should also help his development tremendously. It may get off to a rocky start but Jones has been pegged as an intelligent football player that has always exceeded expectations. The Giants first-round pick went from a two-star walk-on at Duke to a top-10 pick in a matter of three seasons. No matter how Daniel Jones performs in his first starts, he will find a way to improve his craft and is a true student of the game.