What will the Daniel Jones giants do?

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ, – Daniel Jones was the last player to leave the field during an October practice at the Giants facility, marching side-by-side with his offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

On that cold and windy day, he entered a tent to hold his weekly press conference. Then he went to a separate interview with a TV broadcaster where the two were seated on stools overlooking nearby MetLife Stadium.

In his third season as a pro, Jones excels at the routine duties of an NFL quarterback and has proven to be just as adept in another: saying nothing revealing. When asked if he thinks he has done enough to be the leader of the franchise in the future, he dodged the question as he would with a defenseman in his pocket.

“I’m really not focused on that right now,” Jones said in an interview. “I focus on each week one at a time and on how I can play my best. “

It can deflect, but the Giants’ brass can’t. The organization must decide if the player they drafted in 6th overall in 2019 is in their long-term plans. In his first two seasons as a starter, 2019 and 2020, Jones failed to lead the Giants in the playoffs and recorded more turnovers (39) than touchdowns (38).

Now in his third year, it’s been difficult to decipher whether Jones’s flaws are final or if they are the result of other factors. This complicates matters for the Giants (3-6), who must decide in early May whether to pick Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023.

“He’s our quarterback,” coach Joe Judge said in an interview. “I want him there every Sunday with us.”

This season was meant to provide a clear window in which to assess Jones. Team co-owner John Mara and general manager Dave Gettleman have both expressed optimism for this offseason. Gettleman, who was not made available for comment, handed out more than $ 45 million in guaranteed contracts during free agency to reshape the roster of skill positions to give Jones goals. The team signed receivers Kenny Golladay and John Ross and tight end Kyle Rudolph, and selected wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the first round of the 2021 draft.

All but Rudolph have missed at least one game this season due to injury, as have the team’s veteran receivers. Running back Saquon Barkley, having played just two games in the 2020 season, has missed four games this year due to injuries. Without them, the Giants failed to establish any offensive consistency under Jones, who didn’t miss a start despite a concussion in Week 5.

“Did he get a good and fair assessment?” No, ”said Dan Orlovsky, NFL analyst for ESPN and former four-team quarterback. “Life in the NFL for quarterbacks isn’t fair, but he hasn’t had one.”

The Cardinals’ Kyler Murray, drafted No. 1 in 2019, lived up to expectations, while Jones outscored quarterbacks selected after him in a particularly weak class for the job. He’s more often compared to franchise quarterbacks taken the year before – Ravens ‘Lamar Jackson, Browns Baker Mayfield and Bills’ Josh Allen – because the Giants held the second overall pick in 2018 and selected Barkley instead of a replacement for Eli Manning.

Baltimore and Buffalo have been patient with their young passers-by, tailoring the offensive plans and staff to their skills. Jackson won the Most Valuable Player award in his second season. Allen showed overall improvement in his third year and finished second in the MVP vote for the 2020 season. Mayfield showed a drastic improvement in decision-making, reducing his interceptions from 21 in 2019 to 8 in 2020, the year the team hired Alex Van Pelt as offensive coordinator.

Orlovsky and Shaun O’Hara, who played seven seasons at the Giants center and won the Super Bowl in the 2007 season, said it would be unfair to compare Jones to the production of Jackson and Allen. Both had the same offensive coordinator for their careers. Jones is in his second season under Garrett, who installed the system during the pandemic in 2020. Both have physical traits as well – Jackson is a better runner with a faster throw and Allen weighs 16 pounds heavier with a longer arm. loud – that Jones does not.

“These guys are just raising the lowest level of their game while also reaching the highest level of their game on a more consistent basis,” Orlovsky said. “Daniel isn’t even in the same conversation in terms of talent, and that’s not a hit on him.”

With all of these variables clouding the team’s outlook on Jones, the best barometer of his development has been the statistic most firmly under his control: turnovers. In his first two seasons, he recorded 22 interceptions and 17 lost fumbles. While his steals numbers are high, they’re actually better than Murray’s, who threw four more interceptions than Jones in four more games in their career.

In conversations with Judge, Gettleman and Garrett this offseason, Jones has said he wants to focus on getting the ball out faster and more determination. That translated into his stats: although nine games, he has eight turnovers (three fumbles lost, five interceptions).

While Orlovsky said he saw a “marked improvement” from previous years, Jones still makes dangerous choices, like the interception he threw in a close loss to Kansas City in Week 8, when Jones attempted to force a pass to Darius Slayton in double cover.

“I was disappointed,” Orlovsky said. “You are so done with this stupid, stupid decision. “

But there were also some impressive moments, like the 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Evan Engram whom he placed perfectly just above a defenseman in a Week 9 win over the Raiders.

“It’s a pitch where you say, ‘Wow, OK,’ said O’Hara, now an analyst at NFL Network. ‘These are shots that he becomes more comfortable making.’

By other objective measures, Jones was average. Entering Sunday, he ranked 21st in yards (2,059), had eight touchdowns and completed 64.8% of his passes, just below the league average of 65.4.

Jones ‘performance is emblematic of the Giants’ problems overall. Injuries, penalties and match-management issues helped put the team at risk for their fourth consecutive losing season since Gettleman arrived in 2018.

If the Giants continue to swim in place, a new GM could decide whether or not to extend Jones. If the team chooses their fifth-year option, the projected value of their contract is around $ 21.4 million, according to O Crossecap.com. That’s far less than what Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers would order if they tested the market, although the Giants are unlikely to be a realistic contender for either.

Even if the Giants hand over the front office and coaching staff after another losing season, Jones’ mean nature could be his greatest value to the franchise or any other.

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