It’s Time for the Giants to Move on From Daniel Jones
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Is New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones good? Is he the best option for the team moving forward? As a fan of the debacle known as the Giants, I have been pondering these questions frequently over the last season and a half. Admittedly, there is a lot to like about Jones. On a weekly basis, one can watch him make impressive throws deep down the field, fit the ball into tight windows, and scramble to pick up yardage even after the play breaks down. These flashes of greatness occur every single week, and they leave the viewer thinking that Jones is a phenomenal quarterback with practically limitless potential. However, these moments are accompanied and superseded by Jones’s horrendous mistakes that often result in the Giants losing winnable games.
In his career with the Giants, Jones has been plagued by several chronic issues, many of which have only grown worse over time. Primarily, Jones often makes poor decisions and tries to play the hero, which he is ill-equipped to do, resulting in interceptions. It is no accident that Jones has thrown nine interceptions this season, which is the third highest in the NFL. Furthermore, though Jones is a great athlete who can get away from pressure when he sees it coming, he is so oblivious to it at times that he steps right into sacks, which often leads to fumbles, rather than scrambling to extend plays or throwing the ball away. As a result, Jones ranks third in the NFL in fumbles and second in sacks. Though the Giants’ offensive line is certainly a work in progress, many of the sacks Jones has taken this season were entirely avoidable. To make matters worse, both of the head coaches that Jones has played under, Joe Judge and Pat Shurmur, have been forced to avoid calling long passes and play action, unless such plays were absolutely necessary. They know that, statistically, the longer Jones holds the ball, the more likely it is that he will be sacked or make a reckless decision resulting in an interception. To illustrate, Jones took 87.5 percent of his sacks during his rookie year while holding the ball for more than two and a half seconds. As such, he rarely gets to throw the ball downfield because of his poor pocket presence and inclination to throw interceptions due to erratic decision making. This severely limits the Giants’ playbook and makes it much easier for opposing defenses to neutralize the Giants’ offense.
Thus, though Jones is an accurate thrower, a good athlete, and a hard worker, he has enough holding him back that I doubt he will ever be a truly good quarterback. Krish has compared Jones to legendary quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but in my opinion, a more apt comparison for Jones is New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston also showed flashes of greatness throughout his four years as quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he ultimately never developed due to his poor decision-making and partiality to throwing interceptions. Though Jones’s rookie season could be compared favorably against those of Brady and Manning in some regard, both Brady and Manning were able to learn, adapt, and improve significantly in their second seasons in the NFL, whereas Jones has only appeared to regress from his rookie form and exacerbate many of his issues as a sophomore quarterback.
Luckily for the Giants, projected first overall pick Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is entering the NFL Draft at the end of this season. Lawrence has been touted as one of the best quarterback prospects of all time and, unlike Jones, Lawrence’s best trait is his consistency. He is able to make any and every throw consistently and make good decisions. In fact, Lawrence is such a good quarterback that he often looks pedestrian and dull, a polar opposite of Jones’s exciting and flashy play style that often results in interceptions and fumbles. Make no mistake, though, Lawrence has historic quarterback talent and possesses every trait that makes for an elite quarterback: he is tall and has a strong arm, quick release, accuracy, footwork, good decision-making, mobility, pocket presence, leadership, and diligence. Therefore, though Jones certainly isn’t the only problem holding back the Giants, as they also lack a solid offensive line and wide receiver corps, I think that Lawrence is too good of a prospect for the Giants to pass up in light of Jones’s deficiencies. Even the second, third, and fourth best quarterbacks in this year’s draft, Justin Fields of Ohio State, Zach Wilson of BYU, and Trey Lance of NDSU, would all be significant improvements compared to Daniel Jones. Therefore, I believe that it is imperative that the Giants draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.