Quarterbacks Preview: Is Daniel Jones Ready to Take the Next Step?

Patricia Traina

The Quarterbacks

KEY ADDITIONS: Colt McCoy, Cooper Rush

KEY LOSSES: Eli Manning (retired)

WHERE THINGS STAND: It’s going to take some getting used to not seeing Eli Manning’s name on the roster, but give the Giants credit for not only how they handled Manning’s official exit from the team, but also in how they replenished that knowledge in the quarterbacks room.

Holdover Alex Tanney gives the second-year starter a familiar face with which to work. Colt McCoy, previously with Washington, provides the Giants with a backup quarterback with substantial experience that includes 28 games as a starter. 

Cooper Rush brings an intimate knowledge of the system's new offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, who is installing a system Rush learned during his time with Garrett in Dallas.

In short, this is as solid as a group of quarterbacks the Giants have had since Phil Simms, Jeff Hostetler, and Jeff Rutledge were on the Giants roster during the 1984-89 seasons.

WHERE WE GO FROM HERE: If the skeptics are to be believed, the jury is still out regarding whether the Giants made the right decision to draft Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft.

But for better or for worse, the franchise has moved on from the 16-year tenure of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and has put the franchise in the hands of the 6'5" Jones.

His rookie season yielded mixed results. On the one hand, his 61.9% was the best completion percentage for a Giants franchise quarterback drafted in the first round during his rookie season, topping Manning’s 48.2% mark set in nine games in 2004 and Phil Simms’ 50.6% mark set in 12 games in 1979.

Jones, who also won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award for his impressive NFL starting debut against Tampa last year in Week 3, also threw 24 touchdowns in his rookie season. Again, that mark bested the rookie year numbers set by Manning and Simms.

But the glaring aspects to Jones' game were pretty significant. He led the NFL in fumbles (18) and fumbles lost (11). Jones also seemed to be oblivious at times to the pocket collapsing around him, and there were times last year that he looked confused when trying to decipher the more complex defenses NFL teams throw at opponents.

But there is good news on the horizon for Jones. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has kept him from working out with his new teammates and new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Jones has done everything possible to ensure that whenever the on-field work for 2020 does begin, he will be ready to hit the ground running.

He better, as with the Giants offense likely looking at having to carry the still relatively young and turned over the defense, Jones’ taking that next step toward erasing any lingering doubts about his ability to be a franchise quarterback could very well mean the difference between another losing season and a season that shows that the Giants franchise is on the upswing. 

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