Despite a handful of reasons to expect a sophomore slump from Daniel Jones, the NY Giants franchise QB has all the necessary tools to dramatically improve in year two.
NY Giants media takes, mentions, and memes were absolutely endless this time a year ago. Twitter trolls calling for a team boycott, articles calling the Daniel Jones pick the worst in the draft, and sports pundits benefiting from all the clicks mocking the organization for reaching on an “over-hyped” guy from Duke – it was a rough time to be a loyal G-Men fan.
Since then, it’s not really a debate on who’s had the last laugh. After throwing for over 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns during his rookie campaign, Jones silenced most of his initial critics and proved that he has the capability to become the New York Giants QB of the future.
Usually, after a successful or even a semi-successful rookie season for anyone (especially quarterbacks) where expectations are exceeded, the general thought is that with a year of experience and a full off-season under their belts, they will only get better and improve their game.
Of course, that is not always the case – thus the term “sophomore slump.”
There can be a variety of reasons that attribute to these second-year declines – coaching changes, injuries, not mentally progressing, a bad supporting cast, and sometimes all the pieces are there and it’s just a bad year.
With Daniel Jones, the two biggest odds stacked against him are the coaching changes and this uniquely strange off-season.
Last season, Jones had the benefit to learn the offense with none other than Eli Manning in his ear, next to him during meetings, and on the sideline every single week. Say what you want, but there is no doubt that contributed to Jones’ success.
After the firing of head coach and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, last year’s offensive playbook left with the rest of his desk supplies.
Newly hired head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will be putting in their own offense with new plays, formations, tags, and communication guidelines. For many, this can be a lot to overcome in one off-season, and it doesn’t help that a veteran guy like Eli Manning is no longer in the building.
All of this is compounded by the hurdles and obstacles presented this off-season by COVID-19, which has prevented teams from meeting and gathering since mid-March.
When asked if these unplanned challenges could impact Jones’ this year, Eli Manning stated:
“It has the potential to. A couple of things could make it difficult in the fact that it’s gonna be a new offense that he’s gotta learn, and things get pushed back and you’re not there to be around your teammates. It’s not just him learning it, it’s kind of everybody learning it together. Hopefully they can get back soon and he can grow as a leader of the team.”
Jones is truly in an interesting position. Heading into year two, he is now fully taking the reigns of one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, who just moved on from the greatest QB in team history, that has had one winning season in the last seven years, and no division title since 2011.
The new offense, the unusual off-season, and the pressure resting squarely on the shoulders of No. 8 would usually be more than enough to derail any young quarterback. Luckily, Danny Dimes is bursting at the seams with that “calm under pressure” demeanor that epitomized Eli Manning.
Here’s why Daniel Jones will avoid a sophomore slump and grow his legitimacy as a franchise quarterback in 2020: