Daniel Jones wants to win, and because of that urge that’s deeply embedded in his DNA, he’s going to do everything humanly possible to come out on the right side of the scoring ledger.
But for Jones, that competitive streak has been something of a double-edged sword that has seen him develop an earned reputation of a turnover machine, a player who in a quest to make something happen usually does so—for the other team.
Jones, who has appeared in 21 games (20 as a starter), has thrown 21 interceptions and fumbled 23 balls, 15 of which have been lost.
This season, his turnovers from trying to play hero have been incredibly painful given how close the Giants have kept most of their games. In five of their seven losses, the Giants have managed to keep the scoring close enough to where if the points generated off of Jones’ turnovers never happened, the Giants record might very well be a lot better than its current 1-7 mark.
“I think that’s the nature of most quarterbacks,” said Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett of Jones’ propensity to try to make something happen, even if it’s a risky proposition.
“Quarterbacks who are worth their salt have a playmaking instinct in them. They want the ball in their hands, and they want to be the guy who’s guiding the offense but making an impact on the field.”
But Garrett, who has stressed daily to Jones the importance of realizing when to give up on a play by throwing the ball away or take a sack, admits that his words can only do so much in fixing Jones’ issues.
“Over time, you learn through experience what plays you simply have to fold on, and you have to get the ball out of your hand and live for another day,” he said.
“Whether it’s punting on the drive or just simply going to second and 10, I think that’s an important thing to understand. The more situations you’re in, if you approach them the right way, you’ll learn from those experiences.”
Jones understands that as well but admits that it’s a bit of a struggle that he can’t put his finger on why. “All of us want to make plays and we want to do the right thing,” he said.
“We want to put our team in a position to win. But on those split moment decisions, you have to be able to understand the bigger picture and how each of those plays factor into the game overall.”
To the naked eye, Jones might look like a kid who, no matter how many times he’s told to eat the ball if nothing is there, nods his head and does what he wants all the same. But Garrett said that the turnovers really do bother Jones, who has made fixing the mistakes one of his top priorities.
“I don’t think there’s any question he recognizes the urgency of it,” Garrett said. “Daniel is such a hardworking guy, he’s such a passionate guy. He’s so invested in being the best player he can be and helping us be the best team we can be.
"He’s done so many good things for us this year. But we do have to eliminate the negative plays, and he recognizes that. That will be a thing we continue to work on and focus on as we move forward.”
As he moves forward in proving that he belongs in the league as a starting quarterback, Jones said he’s only concerned about one thing.
“I’m concerned with the people in this building—my teammates, my coaches, the people I work with on a day to day basis—that’s where I’m going to find the constructive criticism I need to improve and keep moving forward,” he said.
“My focus is to prepare every week to play as well as I can. I’m going to do that with the people in this building, coaches and teammates.”