THE GIANTS ARE DANIEL JONES' TEAM NOW
No one one is looking over the shoulder of the former Duke standout quarterback
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is entering his second year as Big Blue’s signal caller. His rookie season was filled with distractions...and growing pains.
He started off with the challenge of being a high first round pick by a team with an aging iconic figure behind center.
Eli Manning, with two Super Bowl wins as part of his legacy, was being pushed out the door, and Jones picked to be his replacement.
Overall Jones handled it well. He kept his poise and treated Manning with dignity. But now he is coming into camp, it’s his team, and no one looking over his shoulder. Jones was asked how it feels.
“The biggest thing is not being a rookie and having relationships with people in the building and my teammates,” Jones said during a recent video conference. “Obviously, we have a new staff and I’m certainly learning and going through that process like I did last year. There is a certain level of comfort in it being my second year and it’s been good. With Coach Garrett, I have enjoyed learning from him so far. He is extremely detailed in his thinking and what he expects on the field, and I think that is probably what has stood out the most. I look forward to working with him and continuing to learn this system.”
In addition to distractions, Jones’ inaugural campaign was filled with turnovers. The 23-year-old played in 13 games, started 12. He was 284 of 459 for 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns. Jones’ number look solid until you look at turnovers.
The former Duke star threw 12 interceptions and fumbled 18 times to lead the NFL.
It appears Jones did something over the offseason to try and bring those numbers down. He looks much more stout than last year. Jones said the observations are accurate.
“I feel good. I feel like I’m as strong as I’ve been,” said Jones, who said he gained about nine pounds in the offseason. “I feel like I’m in good shape. I was in Charlotte for most of the offseason and training there. I wanted to get stronger and wanted to gain some weight for what that does for every part of my game, standing in the pocket, running when I need to, and obviously throwing the ball as efficiently as I can using my strength, my lower body. Each piece of that was part of the goal of the offseason in my training. “
Jones was asked about putting together a bunch of workouts with teammates during the offseason. What did he get out of those and how valuable were they?
“I think they were valuable for us,” Jones said. “Obviously, this year we did all our meetings and installs virtually through Zoom, which I thought went well and we did a good job of learning and picking up through that. Getting on the field together helped and we kind of worked on some things we had discussed in meetings in trying to get guys ready for this camp and make sure we were ready to roll.”
Jones was asked to talk about his five main targets that back this year (Tate, Shepard, Slayton, Saquon, Engram). How has that continuity been beneficial to this point?
“Just spending time with guys, and like we talked about, getting together in the offseason a little bit,” Jones said. “Knowing how guys are going to get in and out of breaks is obvious and something you would expect, but that continuity helps. Also, just having a relationship with guys and me knowing how they learn and how they communicate as we all try to learn this system and try to work through it and make sure we’re on the same page. I think that continuity definitely helps with that process.”
The Giants have struggles over the last three seasons. Big Blue’s record was 4-12 in 2019. Jones talked about his goals for 2020. He kept it simple.
“Right now, I think my focus is on this camp and trying to make sure I am as prepared as possible mentally,” Jones said. “We have talked about a new system and a new offense to learn and pick up. So, I think my focus right now is what we’re doing day to day here and trying to make sure we take the right steps forward and improving every single day. For me personally, I am doing a good job of picking up the offense and understanding what the coaches expect. Obviously want to improve on a lot of things from last year personally and as a team. In order to get there and to get there the right way, I think we want to focus on what we’re doing day to day in this camp.” *
Some stats from pro-football-reference.com.
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii