Few NFL players have been ridiculed, especially at the national level, as has Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. The team were mocked for picking him sixth overall in 2019. Jones was teased for some of the poor decisions he made as a rookie, spinning the ball over 23 times and 16 times over. ‘last year. He was called back after tripping at the end of an 80-yard run in 2020. And over the past two years, many pundits have been quick to point out all of the quarterbacks in the giants passed to the editor in deference to Jones.
Some of that noise had died down this offseason, as Jones was less of a national subject. He’s had a solid, if unspectacular, training camp with a steady dose of impressive throws and questionable decision-making – although the discussion around him has been more centralized in the New York / New Jersey area.
And then Jones played his first (and only) preseason game this year, against the Patriots on August 29. it ended: with a brutal pass thrown well behind Evan Engram, into a sea of Patriots defensemen, on the third down, easily intercepted. Jones has since been endlessly mocked by domestic pundits, and fans weren’t much nicer on social media when it happened. Jones might have done better to get tripped up at the end of a long run.
After the game Jones said it was “obviously a bad decision there. I have to be smarter and throw the ball in this situation, third and goal to one. So, I look at each piece independently and learn something from each of them.
The interception was bad, and the implications could be worse: what if Jones had made no progress on some of the poor decision-making he has shown in two seasons in the NFL? It’s also not like Jones is going to have much protection ahead of him this season, at least not based on how the offensive line performs at training camp.
Giants quarterback coach Jerry Schuplinski said the lesson for Jones is simple: make better decisions.
“I think the lesson is to understand the situation, where it is and where we are on the ground, certainly,” Schuplinski told NJ Advance Media. “The percentages are pretty much geared towards a field goal at this point, unless you go. So the lesson is to make good decisions that help our team to play winning football. “
Schuplinski was pleased with the way Jones rebounded, leading the Giants on a goal scored two possessions later, ending with a perfect 23-yard touchdown pass to Kaden Smith. But the Giants are probably not good enough to count on Jones to bounce back from his mistakes this season.
They just need him to stop making them.
“I think he did a really good job with that around the second half of last season,” said Schuplinski. “He wants (the interception) to come back, but the lesson is that good decisions lead to winning football, so try to keep doing it.”
In training camp, Jones was mostly precise, although the Giants’ offense didn’t put in a lot of work – at least during team drills – shooting on the field. It was mostly short, quick passes and a lot of work in the red zone. These Patriots-esque-style mistakes weren’t common, though they did happen occasionally.
“At training camp we have a lot of reps, a lot of training time and unfortunately there will always be an interception here or there, but I think he did a good job overall to clean it up ”Said Schuplinski. “You might be taking a few risks here and there in training camp that you might not want to take, but he did a good job at that.”
Many pointed out the inconsistency of the offense throughout training camp due to the fact that some of Jones’ best guns – Kenny Golladay, Saquon Barkley, Kyle Rudolph, Kadarius Toney and even John Ross – were out of the game. roster for most of the training camp. All but Ross returned to training this week. But the wrong pitch was for Engram, the starting Giants tight end who played with Jones for three years anyway. (And he’s hurt now too.)
And it’s not like it’s going to be smooth sailing with the new parts either, since Jones has barely practiced with them.
“It’s definitely a little bump in the road,” Golladay admitted Thursday.
The Giants’ season kicks off on September 12 against the Broncos, against one of the league’s most talented defenses and an elite secondary in the back. It doesn’t get any easier from here.
“You face injuries sometimes so the only thing we have control over is our position group,” said Schuplinski. “All he controls is playing the quarterback and playing the quarterback well. So that’s ultimately what the focus should be. If you spend your time worrying about who isn’t there, who is or isn’t there, it distracts you a bit.
“It’s good to see some of these guys here again, but that’s how it is. We now have a week and a half to prepare for the first game and we’ll use all of that to start with these guys. Hopefully they are able to play and if they are not we will just continue with the others.
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Zack Rosenblatt can be reached at [email protected].