There are many things you can choose to worry about after the NY Giants’ Week 1 loss; Daniel Jones shouldn’t be one of them.
Last night didn’t go how NY Giants fans wanted, and there are plenty of things to be upset about, but Daniel Jones had himself a heck of a game against on the league’s truly elite defenses.
Right away, I’ll admit there is no excuse for either of the two interceptions he threw. However, when you factor in that he was playing behind one of the worst – if not the worst – offensive lines in the NFL against what I would consider the #1 overall defense, you have to far outweigh the good to the bad.
For starters, the NY Giants offense managed to rush for just 7 rushing yards on 16 attempts outside of Daniel Jones’ own runs (he led the team with 22 rushing yards on 4 carries). That alone shows you the awful situation he was put in, yet he was able to make a dozen ‘plus’ plays minimum.
Let’s start off with the highlight of the night that was his immaculate 41-yard touchdown bomb to Darius Slayton (is their connection a thing of beauty or what?).
Off the top of my head, I can count about five quarterbacks in the NFL that have the arm strength, accuracy, and touch to complete this throw. He made is look super easy but this is as difficult a throw as you’re going to have as a QB.
And while that flashy touchdown was impressive, it was the plays he made out of nothing on crucial third downs that really stood out. On the game’s pivotal drive during the beginning of the third quarter, Jones picked up four third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion on that single 19 play, 87-yard drive alone.
None stood out to me more than this one.
Talk about improvisation skills. First off, as Kirk Herbstreit pointed out on the telecast, it seems as though Saquon Barkley decided to do a little improvising of his own and abandon the original play call while faded out wide left instead of right.
No matter, Daniel Jones is as cool as they come as he was able to go through multiple reads while being pressured heavily and be able to have the sense to realize Barkley must have done just that while looking his way for a crucial fourth-down conversion.
All and all Jones ended the night with 279 yards passing and two touchdowns; I’d be surprised if more than 1-2 quarterbacks surpass those numbers against the Steelers all season long.
It’s not just that he achieved those numbers but how he did. He was able to continue his rookie-year success with fellow second-year player Darius Slayton as that should be a connection we are fawning over for years to come.
I can only imagine what ‘Danny Dimes’ is going to look like if/when GM Dave Gettleman is able to put together a competent offensive line.
As I’ve said all along, mostly all of the mistakes Jones makes come as a direct result of shoddy offensive line play. This isn’t like Baker Mayfield mistakes that happen when he has a clean pocket and stares down a receiver, he’s either running for his life and trying to throw a ball away that gets tipped (like his crucial red-zone interception last night, the first of his career), or he has a ball swatted out of his hands after being pressured from his blind size in under three seconds (we shouldn’t have to worry about that with Andrew Thomas anymore).
I’ll end with what I consider to be his best throw of the night outside of the touchdown — this is a throw that truly separates him from the rest of the pack and a throw that you have to be able to make if you want to be able to ever be considered an upper-echelon QB.
I mean, this play truly has it all; backed up in his own end zone, Jones faces pressure right up the gut (even though the blocking held up well for the most part here), but still has the poise to step right up in the pocket and hit what was really his second or third read on the ultimate timing route at the exact right second in between three defenders.
You just can’t teach stuff like this, it’s all about feel and Daniel Jones has it.
So while I wasn’t expecting the NY Giants to win this football game – particularly with zero actual home-field advantage due to no fans in the crowd – I came away even more encouraged with Jones’ play than I did during his rookie season which is really saying something.
Yet, I still saw and heard a bunch of Daniel Jones hate and slander last night.
For the life of me I cannot understand it.
Clearly, a bunch of NY Giants fans are only watching Giants games because if you watch the rest of the league and keen in on the quarterback play you’ll have to notice that Daniel Jones makes several plays every game that only elite quarterbacks are capable of.
He’s not elite yet — but he will be when his offensive line catches up to him.
Hopefully, that happens very soon.