He makes you want to pull your hair out
On a day when everyone’s nerves are fried, perhaps it will be therapeutic for me to vent about my favorite football team for a while.
It felt good on Monday night to get stressed out about something familiar: a tightly contested Giants game. It was easily their best all-around performance of the season (a low bar for a 1–7 team) and watching them attempt to come back in the final minutes was an infinitely more enjoyable experience than seeing a two-score lead evaporate in the fourth against the Eagles last time out.
There was another all-too-familiar feeling, though: the frustration of watching Daniel Jones throw mind-boggling interceptions. Jones was picked off twice in the game, both times in the second half while the Giants were trying to protect a lead and both times on plays where he absolutely should have just thrown the ball away or taken a sack.
Jones’s turnover issues are well documented. He’s now thrown 21 interceptions and lost 15 fumbles in 20 career starts. He’s had only one game in which he has not turned the ball over.
But even by Jones’s standards those are two brutal picks. On the first one, he stared down Sterling Shepard for an eternity before making an off-balance throw directly to a defender. On the second, he threw into double coverage while he had two defenders hanging off of him. Just horrible decision-making.
Those were just the ones that actually got picked off. There were other close calls, too.
What makes the experience of rooting for Daniel Jones even more frustrating is how he’ll show flashes of brilliance, like on the final possession of the game. Operating with about three and a half minutes on the clock and no timeouts, Jones led a 13-play touchdown drive that saw him twice convert on fourth down. (The Giants failed to force overtime when a two-point conversion attempt failed on a controversial pass interference no-call.)
Jones used his athleticism on the first fourth down to keep the play alive and find Darius Slayton.
On the other fourth down, Jones showed great patience to move outside the pocket and find Shepard wide open in the middle of the field.
And then there was the touchdown pass to Golden Tate. It was a strike, placed where only his receiver could get his hands on it, timed perfectly to allow Tate to get two feet down.
My approach to pulling for Daniel Jones is a lot like how I think about my golf game. I stink at golf but every time I hit a few good shots in a row, I can’t help but start to think, “You know, if I just cut out all the bad shots, I could be pretty good at this.” If Daniel Jones just stops making bad decisions and makes only good ones, maybe the Giants won’t want to draft Trevor Lawrence.
It’s not that simple, of course. It’s a particular type of Stockholm syndrome that all sports fans are familiar with to see the potential of a player you root for and become convinced he’s capable of putting it all together. Against all evidence, I still hope that things will get better.
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