Regardless of the decision the New York Giants were going to make regarding his option year, quarterback Daniel Jones's objective for the season ahead wasn't going to change.
"My job is to prepare to play as well as I can, help the team win games, and that's certainly what I'm focused on," he said Thursday after the team completed its third OTA practice.
That's not just Jones blowing smoke, either. The fourth-year player knows that the offense's play hasn't been good enough since becoming the starting quarterback and that his performance is a big reason for the team's struggles.
While Jones admitted that it's natural to think about the future, he's not about to let that get in the way of what he needs to do.
"You know, just kind of is what it is," he said of the team's decision to decline his option year, adding it was out of his control. "You're focused on preparing to play as well as you can, and that's my goal. That's what my focus is on."
Jones hasn't had much support in his quest to lock down the starting quarterback job for the next decade-plus. The offensive line has been a mess. He's also missed having many of his skill position players in the lineup due to injuries.
And the most significant thing is the lack of consistency in the offensive scheme. Jones, the sixth overall pick in the 20219 draft, looked like he might be on his way to thriving in then-head coach Pat Shurmur's system, Jones posting career bests in passing yards (3,027) and touchdowns (24).
But when Shurmur was fired, and Jason Garrett was brought in as the offensive coordinator, in came a different system that many believe wasn't the best fit for what Jones did well.
" I don't think it was what was written or was not written," Jones said when asked if the perception of the team moving away from what he did well after his rookie season was accurate. " I think the facts were we were turning the ball over a lot, and I was turning the ball over a lot."
Now with Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka in the building, the hope is that Jones will finally get a system that he can sink his teeth into and take ownership of.
"They both bring a ton of ideas, new ideas from different systems, systems that have had a lot of success, had quarterbacks with a lot of success," Jones said of Daboll and Kafka, who came to the team from the Bills and Chiefs, respectively.
"I think all those ideas here, new thoughts here, new concepts, new plays...so just trying to pick up those little things here and there and listening to some of their philosophy on playing the position, playing offense, looking for opportunities to make plays at times when they aren't there and to protect the ball."
Kafka praised Jones for his grasp of the system so far, painting a very encouraging picture of what's transpired behind the scenes.
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"The amount of installs we're giving these guys, the plays, the load that we're going to give our players as far as install-wise--he's absorbing it, and he's able to spit it back out, get guys fixed and cleaned up on the field," Kafka said when asked for examples of how Jones is developing in the new offense.
"Those are things I'm looking at just out of the gate, getting guys lined up correctly, getting the huddle sharp, crisp. Those are things that are important for pre-snap stuff."
Daboll has also encouraged Jones to speak up about what he likes and what he doesn't like.
"Everybody has a ton of plays in their playbook," Daboll said. "I do think it's important for that position in particular to have a say in what he likes or what he doesn't like. I want all the players to be able to do that."
He also wants Jones to go out there and not play with any hesitation.
"You never want to throw interceptions, but I think just the idea to be aggressive and take your shots and see if you can make something happen--kind of let the receivers know that we're going to do that, we're going to give you all opportunities to make plays and we're counting on you to make plays in situations," Jones said.
"I think that's a mindset he has to attack a defense, attack downfield, and as a quarterback, a decision-maker, you're a big part of that. That's something we've talked about a lot and something he wants to see in practice."
That kind of confidence by Daboll in the former Duke star has helped boost Jones's confidence ahead of the coming year.
"Yeah, I'm certainly confident in myself. I'm confident in the team we have and the coaches and the system," Jones said.
"There's a lot of reasons to be confident when you look at all those pieces. We've got to focus on what we're doing now. We can't focus on results and the season. That's a long way away. We're focused on preparing now, practicing well, improving every day, and making progress."
All that said, Jones, is also still a long way away from proving to the Giants he's worthy of another contract. While both Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen have praised him for his work ethic, Jones needs to be productive, but it also wouldn't hurt him if he could stay healthy for a season.
For Jones, it's all one step at a time, his own contract being among the last steps on the ladder.
"I don't think that's the mindset or the focus. I think it's more about winning games and knowing that if we win games and we have a good season, then that should take care of a lot of things for everyone," he said.
"That's the focus, I think, we have as a group, as a team throughout the locker room, coaching staff. I think it's to play well and win games. That's what it's about."