Being 2-0 seems to bring out a softer, gentler side of New York Giants fans – at least temporarily – when it comes to their opinion of the often-disparaged quarterback Daniel Jones.
When asked this week if they approved of the way Jones played during victories over the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers, 68 percent of voters in our weekly ‘SB Nation Reacts’ poll said they approved of Jones’ performance in those games.
There are, of course, two ways to look at Jones’ play during the first two weeks.
Half-full cup approach:
- The Giants won two games and Jones led the match win in the fourth quarter in both of those games. He made key throws and key decisions in both. He has only led three winning games in his first three seasons.
- Jones completed 70.9 percent of his passes, well above his career best in 2021 – 64.3 percent.
- Jones’ passing rating of 99.4 is nearly a full 12 points higher than the best 87.7 of his career as a rookie.
- Jones has three touchdown passes and one (albeit ugly) interception. His 5.5 percent landing and 1.8 interception percentages are the best of his career.
Half-empty glass approach:
- The Giants still have to throw for 200 yards in a game, and the average pass of 159.0 yards per game is 31 in the 32-team NFL.
- Jones has two pass plays over 20 yards long. Thirty-one quarterbacks own more.
- The Giants are 30th in the league in yards per achievement at 8.2. They are 23 yards per pass attempt at 6.6.
- Jones recorded career lows in pass yards per game (182.0) and yards per achievement (9.3).
- Jones’ QBR, ESPN’s 0-100 scale of quarterback value, 30.4 is the worst of his career. I have ranked him 28th out of 32 starting quarterbacks so far.
- Jones is 27, per ESPN, in expected added points (EPA) for the middle, with a 2.8. 2.4 His EPA on pass attempts is also number 27.
How do giants see Jones?
The coaches and players of the Giants, as you’d expect them to, take the trophy half-sided.
Head coach Brian Dabol and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka both praised Jones’ decision.
“I think he made really good decisions. There are always plays in which we can be better. But his decision process – where he’s gone with football – he made the right decision, I would say, a lot. And it helps,” Daboll said. “Quarterback’s job – I’ve been part of teams where we’re 35 of 40 for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, and I’ve been part of teams where we’re 17 of 21, whatever it is. His job is to help the offenders move the football, whatever that is. It starts by taking The decision is in the quarterback. He touches the ball in every game. And he’s done a good job at that. We’ll continue to build that. But I’m happy where he is.”
Here’s Kafka when I really asked him this week about Jones’ decision and the lack of big plays so far from the scrolling game:
“I think that [Jones] Kafka said. “There was one turn in the red and I’m sure he’d like to come back, as we all would. I think he’s doing a great job with football. He’s running the game, he’s playing within the system and I think those big plays you see, are going to happen.
“You never want to go out there and force a whole bunch of things. That’s where the bad decisions happen. This is where the transitions happen. I think you’re going to keep playing within the system, let the system work for you and the attack work for you and then you’ll see that These things appear.”
The players also support the work the midfielder has done so far.
Wide receiver David Sales said he thought Jones was playing “to a high standard”.
“He did a really good job of making the right decisions and leading our attack, especially in clutch situations when we needed points. He was able to push us down the field and score for us,” Sales said. “Obviously, I think if you ask anyone about Offensive, I think you would say there are still chances for us to play better.
“I think the DJ handled himself very well.”
Richie James, the team’s leading receiver with 11 shots in two games, said the Giants only took what was available.
“You can say that [Jones] Just take what gives you defense. We cannot impose something that does not exist. There’s a 5-yard lane here we’re just trying to get yards and get off the field and score points. “That’s all we do,” James said. “The arenas will come, but we’re just trying to carry out our theater and our mission. We’re not worried about what’s out there. Really, we’re worried about what’s here and what we need to focus on.”
Valentine’s Day Show
Winning games with less than 200 yards is not sustainable in the NFL today. Giants need more yards, and more explosive plays in the air. This is very clear and indisputable.
However, there are a number of things to keep in mind.
Giants are just two games in this new era. With Wan’Dale Robinson injured, Kadarius Toney isn’t healthy nor does Kenny Golladay play or produce the Giants at full power at the wide receiver. Honestly, they probably don’t have the deep talent and the full range of receiver types they want just yet.
Daniel Bellinger has 16 yards of touchdown, but the Giants only have three receptions for 38 yards from their tight ends. They don’t seem to have a dynamic player in that spot, at least not yet.
The offensive line is clearly not a finished product. The interior of this line is still a work in progress.
Did Jones miss some chances to throw the ball deep into the field? Can. Maybe not. I honestly do not know.
It’s possible that what fans see as a missed vertical opportunity may never be a realistic option for Jones. Someone I respect who knows the concepts of attacking and midfielder play told me that a lot of the passing giants attack is based on “low to high” readings, which means that the quarterback looks short first and deeper into the field only if the short throw is not available. Could that be part of what some see? I don’t know, but that’s a consideration.
What I do know is that the Giants have won two football matches. They are 15th in the league with 20.0 points per game, which is not great but it has improved over the past two years. Jones led two campaigns to win the game and contributed both his arms, legs, and brain.
In my opinion, there are positive indicators. Offense, and Jones, still need to do more. However, there were steps in the right direction.
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