If there was ever any doubt about adversity being the catalyst for a person building both character and toughness, then look no further than Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
Jones, the Giants' first-round pick in the 2019 draft, was mocked, ridiculed, and booed even before he set foot on the field got the Giants. Some hated the pick because it conjured up memories of another Duke quarterback that went to the Giants with high expectations, Dave Brown.
Some viewed Jones as an Eli Manning clone, an opinion that while it should have been a compliment given Manning's NFL pedigree, it wasn't considered as such, considering Manning was on the downside of his 16-year career at the time.
But Jones, who convinced general manager Dave Gettleman, team co-owners John Mara and Steve Tish, and, at the time, head coach Pat Shurmur that he had the "don't give a damn" disposition necessary to survive the New York market, took his lumps like a man.
He was loudly booed by fans at a Yankees game when he featured on the stadium jumbotron before he even attempted an NFL pass, but he shrugged it off as effortlessly as a guy shrugged off a gnat that had landed on his bare arm.
And if all that wasn't enough to drag a guy's spirit down, Jones has had to deal with losing--a lot of losing--to start his NFL career, holding a 9-21 record as a starting quarterback.
Despite the early lumps Jones took--some unwarranted--this week's NFC Offensive Player of the Week winner took things all in stride, continuing to keep his nose to the grindstone and justify his high draft pedigree.
"I see him improving every day. In terms of just national awards improving someone’s psyche, I’ve seen this guy weather a lot of storms already," Judge said, declining to specify what kind of storms Jones has weathered.
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"In terms of anything on the outside influencing him, if he’s going to go ahead and have this make him feel good, what’s it going to be when it crashes down the other way? This guy does a good job of just making sure he stays focused on what the task at hand is and move forward every week."
Jones, as he's always done, took the honor in stride, quickly deflecting the credit to his teammates.
"I’m certainly grateful to be recognized and appreciate it," he said. "I think it says a lot about our offense and our team– the whole team has to play well to score points and to gain a lot of yards, so I think it’s a credit to all those guys."
Jones wouldn't say what Judge might have meant when he referenced the quarterback's storms to weather other than to "guess" that Judge was referencing the losing. But the third-year signal-caller did admit that whatever he's dealt with since setting foot in East Rutherford has made him tougher both mentally and physically.
"Yeah, I think so," he said. "I think it’s hard to win in this league and it doesn’t come easy. It comes with a lot of hard work and preparation. I think it’s taught that lesson more than anything."
The next step for Jones is to make the kind of game that he had Sunday against the Saints a weekly occurrence rather than the occasional treat.
Judge is confident Jones will deliver.
"This guy does a good job of just making sure he stays focused on what the task at hand is and move forward every week."
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