After dropping to 1-6, the most important thing for the NY Giants the rest of the 2020 season will be the development of young quarterback Daniel Jones.
Jones had a pair of dazzling throws in a 22-21 loss to the Eagles that demonstrated that he has all the tools to be a franchise quarterback.
The first came on a 39-yard touchdown strike to Golden Tate. Everyone is talking about the precision of the throw itself, and the tremendous catch Tate made over Cre’Von LeBlanc. Those were great, but the brilliance in this play was the work of Jones just before and just after the snap.
To break this play down properly, we need the replay angle behind Jones, which was only available on social media from Fox Impacto NFL.
The play from that angle starts at :33. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s a single high safety look. Before the snap, strong safety Jalen Mills (#21) walks down into the box and lines up over Giants tight end Evan Engram. That’s a big indicator that it’ll be a single high safety look, as well as that it’ll be man-to-man coverage.
Jones recognizes this, and he loves it – the Giants have the perfect play called. Jones knows he has hooks on the outside routes, a post from Engram, and Tate running a fly.
With a single high safety, Jones knows he’ll have a one-on-one matchup either with Tate on LeBlanc or Engram on Mills, a former corner. Tate has the better matchup, plus McLeod is already shaded to the left side of the offense.
Around the :36 mark, just as the ball is snapped, notice Jones glance to his right briefly. He’s looking at one of two things here, or perhaps both.
Mills is taking Engram, which confirms man coverage and a single high safety. Some defensive looks will have that safety drop down into the box pre-snap to disguise a cover-2 look. That’s not the case here, and Jones knows it as soon as Mills covers Engram.
Secondly, Tate is getting a clean release off the line of scrimmage. Jones likes it, but immediately looks away – he doesn’t want to draw the attention of the safety. I love how quick that glance was, he saw what he needed to see and trusted Tate to win the matchup.
Watch at :37 and you’ll see Jones looking back to the left side of the field, holding the safety. He doesn’t need him to bite on much of anything, he just needs him to stay put. But he does bite, and the second he does, Jones snaps his head back to the right at the :38 mark.
He doesn’t see much, but he has what he needs – Tate has half a step and Jones can clearly see the 34 of LeBlanc square to his line of sight. That means LeBlanc is in chase mode, Tate has him.
Jones lets it rip and the rest is up to Tate. Truth be told, this ball looks to me like it was underthrown by maybe a yard. Tate slows up ever so slightly to catch it, but LeBlanc can’t make the play and Tate takes it to the house.
A perfect throw there might let Tate walk into the end zone, but I’m not even worried about that aspect. In his 19th career game, Daniel Jones has the wherewithal to dissect the defense pre-snap, hold the safety with his eyes and create a massive opening over the top for his desired target. That bodes so well for his development as a franchise quarterback.
The second throw was a huge incompletion, but it was no fault of Jones. With 2:14 left and the Giants clinging to a 21-16 lead, Daniel Jones and company faced a third-and-six from their own 47-yardline.
New York head coach Joe Judge trusted Jones, and rightfully so.
With a chance to all but ice the game away, Daniel Jones throws a beautiful pass to Evan Ingram that should be a completion inside the Eagles’ red zone that takes the clock down to the two-minute warning.
You can’t throw a pass much better than that.
Unfortunately for New York on this October night, Engram couldn’t haul it in and the Eagles went on to win in come from behind fashion. The good news is that Jones is capable of making that throw in a big spot.
From here on out, the Giants will be thrilled if they continue to see Jones making plays like these two while learning to minimize the mistakes that lead to turnovers. Regardless of their record, they’ll know they’ve got the right quarterback to build around.