What Was Learned from JT Daniels' Debut?
It was a great day for the Georgia Bulldogs. However, it was one day. There is a common saying among NFL fans: "Overreaction Monday." Saturday was a big game, but one game doesn't make a season. However, there's one question that is understandable from the Georgia fan base: Where has this been, and why did it take so long?
While this could be true, the fact of the matter is that we don't know yet if is true on a consistent basis. Did Daniels play great on Saturday? Yes. Does he deserve all the credit in the world for the win? Yes. Does that game determine the rest of the season, Daniels' future, or head coach Kirby Smart's reputation? No.
Here is what we know about JT Daniels after one week, and why we should give him time to create a body of work before deciding if he is a boom or bust.
We know the arm talent is ridiculous. Take any number of throws from the game and his arm pops off the screen. No one else in Georgia's quarterback room can make those throws, and his arm talent rivals the best in the conference. At USC, we saw inconsistent ball placement from Daniels. Against Mississippi State, he was as accurate as he has ever been. There were some underthrown passes, yes, but the reality remains that if you play quarterback, there will be bad throws.
We know that he has gotten back to full health following his surgery. There was nothing stiff about his movements on Saturday, or issues with his velocity and decision-making. He took sacks and got up, moved the pocket with his feet and showed that he took his ACL injury in stride.
We know that he has fixed something in his deep-ball mechanics. Perhaps we don't know specifically hat it is, but he hit shots down the field over and over again. Credit has to be given to offensive coordinator Todd Monken and staff for fixing the weak area of Daniels' game. His arm strength has always been there, but the Georgia staff has made it a consistent threat, at least for one game. Accuracy without strength is limiting, but fun. Strength without accuracy is inconsistent, but can be fun. Accuracy with strength is arm talent.
However, we do not know who Daniels is yet. And this is by no way a negative, but rather a perspective check for the fan base. Yes, Saturday was fun, and it could get a lot more fun. Maybe Daniels hits the field every week and turns in great performance after great performance.
There is also a world where he comes back down to earth. And does that mean he will? No. He could keep this level of performance up for the remainder of his career and become a first-round draft pick.
One game means little. If he had taken the field and struggled early it would have been a mistake to pull him. That same sentiment remains true from Saturday night. Let Daniels compile a larger body of work before evaluating him and everything around him.
However, one thing is certain: JT Daniels proved Saturday night he is by far the best option in that quarterback room, and he claims to have been ready to play since the Auburn game. So, as Smart said after the game, the question of "why hasn't this guy played early?" is warranted.