Daniel Jones debate over after Giants playoffs – New York Giants Blog

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Gone with 2022 is the debate over whether Daniel Jones is good enough for the New York Giants.

That conversation, which began when he was drafted with Duke’s No. 6 overall pick in 2019, officially ended on Jan. 1. Jones did what no one saw coming. He led the Giants to the playoffs in a year when his No. 1 receiver was eighth on the depth chart during training camp. He did it by playing well from start to finish.

Jones scored four touchdowns on Sunday (two rushing, two passing) in a 38-10 demolition of the Indianapolis Colts to end the Giants’ five-year playoff drought. It was the moment they had all been waiting for.

“We knew that all along,” owner John Mara said, half-jokingly considering everything that’s happened since Jones was drafted.

The Giants are on their third head coach and fourth offensive coordinator since Jones was drafted. But this year, everything seems to have fallen into place. Jones was the Giants’ best player in the second half of the season.

Although the Giants turned down Jones’ fifth-year option earlier this year, that stretch likely secured Jones’ future with the franchise to some degree for next season. His 65.2 QBR over the past three weeks, when they needed it most, is sixth best among all quarterbacks.

Jones completed 19 of 24 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 91 extra yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s playoff game-clinching effort. Home fans thanked their quarterback with a reminder.

“I thought he deserved it,” coach Brian Daboll said.

One of the first players to welcome him on the sidelines was running back Saquon Barkley, who was perhaps among the least surprised of them all. He’s been adamant for several seasons that Jones is the guy.

“I mean, I feel like I’ve been saying it all year,” Barkley said. “He’s a hell of a player, a hell of a quarterback. I think it really showed, not just [Sunday], but all season. And I’m just happy for him.

“Hearing his name being sung – it’s a beautiful thing, and you can finally see he’s starting to get the respect he deserves. I know everyone wanted to be a big critic of him and say this and say that but he gave us the opportunity to play playoff football and he locked it out [Sunday]. When we needed him the most, he came and made big plays.

It’s been like this for weeks.

This new Giants regime has always been a fan of Jones. They liked her physical qualities and her make-up. But they still needed him to prove it on the pitch for them to want to commit to anything in the future. A team source said this summer they would have been open to a mid-season extension or the franchise tag had he played well this year. The latter now looks realistic on the table.

The keys were for Jones to stay healthy and eliminate the turnovers that plagued him early in his career. He had never gone through a season without missing a game through injury. This year, he played all 16 games.

He also refuted the narrative that turnovers were out of control. Not only did Jones reduce turnovers, but he turned the ball over less than any other quarterback. Jones threw five interceptions and lost three fumbles.

“It’s awesome,” Mara said minutes before the Giants clinched their first playoff spot since 2016. “You drafted him as high as we drafted him – you got a lot of flak; he has taken a lot of flak and seeing it flourish like this is very rewarding.

The results suggest that Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch have finally found the right combination. Getting offensive gurus like Daboll as head coach and Mike Kafka as offensive coordinator has done wonders for Jones.

They’re finally putting him in positions to succeed, even with a compromised receiving corps and an offensive line whose forte isn’t pass protection. Daboll even helped maximize Jones’ athleticism.

Jones has 708 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. The only quarterbacks with more rushing yards this season are Chicago’s Justin Fields, Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Buffalo’s Josh Allen. It’s an elite company to keep.

“[Daboll’s] meant a lot. He meant a lot,” Jones said. “I learned a lot from him. Lots of football. I grew a lot as a player. I appreciate his support and give me the chance to go out there and play. He helped me a lot, he helped all of us a lot. Absolutely grateful for him.

Sunday just ticked another box. Jones, with help from Daboll, proved he could lead a team to the playoffs. He has already shown that he can perform well consistently in big games down the stretch.

It only remains to see how far this season will take them and to find a contractual solution in the offseason. But how the entire organization feels about Jones was on full display at Sunday’s New Year’s Eve party.

“I told her, ‘I love you,'” Barkley said of their secondary hug. “I think it was a cool moment. Hearing his name being chanted, I know it’s been a tough few years here… but it’s just cool to see he finally gets the respect he deserves because this guy, he works hard. I think I told one of you earlier, he’s the toughest quarterback in the league. He’ll do anything. it takes to help the team win football matches. He comes to work every day with that mentality and I’m just happy for him.


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