5. Additional year of experience
Despite only being a rookie, Daniel Jones showed the poise and skill of a franchise quarterback last season. Many expected him to be more of a developmental project for the Giants. Instead, he showed the skills that made Dave Gettleman fall in love with him with the sixth overall pick in the draft.
The fact that Jones was so successful out of the gate is impressive. This is true even when examining his issues with turnovers. The transition from the collegiate level to the NFL is never easy, this is especially true for a quarterback coming into the league.
For comparison, let’s examine Peyton Manning’s rookie year. In 1998, Manning started all 16 games for the Indianapolis Colts, four more games than Jones started for the Giants as a rookie last year. Manning would throw 26 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. That is only two more touchdowns and a whopping 16 more interceptions than Jones threw.
In addition, Manning was sacked 16 fewer times than Jones and fumbled 15 times less. Again, this would indicate that the offensive line was at fault for many of the fumbles that Jones was credited with last season.
While Peyton Manning threw for over 700 yards more than Jones as a rookie, he did so in four additional starts. Jones actually averaged only .89 fewer passing yards per game than Manning did as a rookie.
In his sophomore year, Manning was able to cut down on his interceptions and put together a spectacular season where he threw for 4,135 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only 15 interceptions. While Jones didn’t struggle with the interceptions as much as Manning, his fumbles were cause for concern. Based on the improvement we saw from Manning and other top quarterbacks in the turnover department in year two as a starter, there is reason to believe Jones could see similar improvement.
This is in no way meant to imply that Daniel Jones is going to be Peyton Manning. It is simply examining another quarterback who received significant heat regarding his turnover issues as a rookie who went on to fix his issues and become an elite quarterback.
Jones seems to have all the traits necessary to be an excellent franchise quarterback for the Giants for years to come. He is extremely accurate (as former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky explains here), has a high football IQ, exhibits leadership qualities, and doesn’t seem phased by big moments.
Coming into his second year in the league, he will have a better idea of what to expect in regard to preparation, game speed, and opposing team’s defensive schemes. Additionally, he will not have the burden of replacing a legendary franchise quarterback in Eli Manning this season, which should remove a source of pressure from last season.
Instead, Jones should be able to go out with the expectation of being the starter every week for the Giants. With added experience, an improved offensive line, healthy offensive weapons, a healthy running game that has been upgraded, and the addition of talented new coaches on offense, Daniel Jones is poised to potentially take a huge step forward next season.
Given what we saw from him last season, if he is able to progress like many believe he will, the GMEN could be exponentially better than many experts are predicting in 2020.