Daniel Jones becomes next Giants GM’s problem

After 38 games in the NFL, the Giants still don’t know if Daniel Jones can be the guy.
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In a difficult season for many in the New York Giants organization, the condemned are trying to delay the guillotine. Quarterback Daniel Jones, through no fault of his own, appears to be the barometer by which General Manager Dave Gettleman will be evaluated. He knows this as much as anyone else and has spent a lot to make it look like he didn’t use the No. 6 in the 2019 NFL Draft to reach a franchise QB that wasn’t there. That’s why the news that Jones will be closed for the rest of the season due to a neck injury is not surprising.

Would it go beyond Gettleman to extend the process of evaluating his most notable move to keep his job? Absolutely not, but it will most likely not achieve this. Jones’s injury won’t require surgery and doesn’t look career-threatening – he should be fine with some rest. It’s probably smart to close it, though, regardless of whether it’s the answer to QB, because the team is 4-10 and heading into another year with no postseason.

The nice thing to know – besides the exact date Gettleman will be terminated – would be if Jones could be the boy.

Can he be as competent as Alex Smith was after the 49ers finally got a useful coach in there? Is there a chance he has been on bad teams at the Detroit Lions level and could make an impression from Matt Stafford in a better situation? At times he seemed good enough to get the nickname of Danny Dimes, and he was only partly facetious.

The same could be said for Joe Judge, who was hellish in his second season after a not entirely useless first year. (Going 6-10 isn’t great, but putting together the ninth best defense with mismatched toys isn’t easy.) If Judge’s GM had made the moves to fix the offensive line, there’s a reality without Jason Garrett where the Giants score touchdowns and is Saquon Barkley mocking defenders in open field versus backfield? Is comically conservative play-calling the result of Jones being fired 105 times in 38 games, or is it the other way around?

If Jones’s psyche hasn’t already reached a hopeless David Carrlow esque that comes from constant hits, is approaching. He threw 45 touchdowns on 29 interceptions and failed 36 times, losing 20, in three years. His touchdown to turnover ratio is 50 to 49. Sam Darnold, by comparison, has 44 TDs out of 42 turnovers in the same period. This is the kind of company Jones is in, even if he has shown more flashes than Darnold.

Despite all his troubles, Jones is mobile and can throw a good ball. He gets hit for not working with progressions and for staring at receivers too often, which is fair until you realize he never took the time to do the former and that led to the latter. If you make the right arguments / excuses, there is a world where Gettleman didn’t make a terrible choice. Objectively, however, it looks like a reach worsened by a badly managed team. (To be fair, the only other QB still in the running from the 2019 NFL Draft besides Kyler Murray and Jones is Gardner Minshew, but he was a round six pick and is no longer a starter.)

Unfortunately for the Giants, they have been in the company of the atrocious teams / organizations I mentioned (Jets, Lions, Texans, 49ers for a hot second). Jones’ tenure in New York so far is a perfect example of how bad franchises ruin young QBs: place huge expectations on them, surround them with bad coaching staff and offensive lines, interrupt their continuity on a whim with roster changes. and staff, expose them to a ton of successes, let them make a lot of mistakes and then discard them.

It’s a miracle that Stafford and Smith managed to survive such shitty situations and eventually play for good teams with good coaches. I don’t know if Jones is good enough to do it, though. Darnold spent three years with the Jets before they got rid of him to screw up the next quarterback they would pick in the first round.

If this offseason plays out the way many people predict it will go and Gettleman is fired, a new GM could mean a new manager, who would be third for Jones and fourth in seven years for the team. Switching from Danny Loose Change is entirely possible this offseason, but that would mean restarting the cycle and taking another spin on a franchised QB in a draft that apparently doesn’t have one, at least not where they’re choosing.

There are pieces worth saving on this Giants team and Jones could be one of them. However, it’s probably best that he’s not out there trying to improve his TD-TO ratio because, while it would positively affect his evaluation by his next staff, GM or team, the improvement isn’t happening in his current situation.

The Giants must stop trying to understand a franchise QB and just understand the franchise.


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