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Giants Need to Ensure They Do Right by Daniel Jones After Scary Looking Head Injury

Giants head coach Joe Judge said he hasn't ruled out letting Daniel Jones play this weekend if he clears the concussion protocol. Here's why he should reconsider.

As a rule, Giants head coach Joe Judge doesn't like to slam the door on any of his options. So when he says that he hasn't ruled out allowing quarterback Daniel Jones to play this weekend if cleared from the league concussion protocol, he's not simply blowing smoke.

That said, if Jones somehow makes the jump from Phase to Phase 5 and completes the protocol by Sunday morning, that doesn't mean Judge should rush to inserting the quarterback in the lineup.

If he needs a reason to justify it to Jones or anyone who might challenge such a decision, Judge has history on his side.

Let's go back to last season. Jones suffered a hamstring strain against the Bengals that caused him to miss the Giants' upset win over Seattle. 

That next week in practice, Jones did everything in his power to convince Judge and the medical staff that he'd be okay if they put him back in the lineup that weekend against the Cardinals, who at the time had a pretty good pass defense.

Judge agreed, convinced that Jones had enough mobility to defend himself in the pocket.

So what happened? Jones played the game, showed he didn't have the mobility to defend himself, and he ended up suffering a sprained ankle that cost him another game the following week against Cleveland.

But that wasn't the worst of it. Judge would later admit in the ensuing off-season that Jones' injury was so bad that most guys would have landed on injured reserve.

Fast forward to the summer. Every player who suffered some sort of injury during training camp or who was returning from injury--Saquon Barkley, Kyle Rudolph, Kenny Golladay, and Shane Lemieux come to mind--were held out of practices and preseason games because Judge didn't want to risk their long-term futures.

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Even more recently, the Giants cleared left tackle Andrew Thomas to play last week, but held him out all the same against the Cowboys rather than risk making his injury situation worse.

Jones? We're not talking a knee, or an ankle, or a hamstring here. We are talking about a head injury, which is some scary stuff.

The Giants hold a 1-4 record and are about to face a very good Los Angeles Rams defense. This weekend isn't as though a playoff berth is on the line, and while a win is always welcomed, having a long-term franchise quarterback is probably a higher priority.

After all, there is no guarantee the Giants will have left tackle Andrew Thomas, who didn't practice Wednesday, back for this game, and New York could be looking at another offensive lie configuration.

Would Judge entertain the thought of starting Jones if all that comes to fruition? Would he even listen to any arguments from Jones to play--arguments that are sure to come as the third-year signal-caller continues to progress from his injury the further out he gets from the initial contact?

If he does--and that's a big if, as I don't think Jones will clear the protocol by then considering how woozy he was when he took the hit to the head and had to be carted off the field--then shame on him.

As for Jones, his being a competitor is an admirable quality to have. But much like his struggles to learn when to slide to see another down versus when to fight for that extra yard, his desire to be there for the teammates who voted him a captain might drive his attempts to talk his way onto the field.

That is why it's up to Judge to play it safe with his franchise quarterback's future.


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