Well-Prepared Daniel Jones Looking to Take Big Leap in Year 2
Despite having one of the most solid rookie campaigns among Giants franchise quarterbacks, there are still some concerns about whether Daniel Jones is the quarterback of the future.
One of the biggest questions that continue to follow Jones lies in his ball security issues. Last year, he recorded 18 fumbles, 11 of which were lost, and finished with 23 total turnovers, including the fumbles and interceptions.
That isn't going to be tolerated by the Giants' new coaching staff.
“Ball security is a huge thing that Coach Judge preaches, that (offensive coordinator) Jason (Garrett) preaches, that we preach,” said quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski during a video conference with reporters Thursday.
Cleaning up the ball security issues is a big part of the goals the coaching staff has set for Jones in Year 2 of his NFL career. Still, overall, the coaching staff would like Jones to take the next steps in his development, which includes making better decisions and speeding up his mental processing.
Schuplinksi believes Jones is on the right track.
“Just really understanding the importance of all that stuff, why that’s important. Also understanding defenses, what that means. Is there certain tips or cues that we can pick up to helps play better, quicker, faster.”
Schuplinski isn’t necessarily looking to attach specific numbers to Jones’ growth in Year 2, at least not in terms of tangible statistics.
“Right now, with him, we’re just really focusing hard on understanding the system,” Schuplinski told reporters during a video conference call Thursday.
“He’s putting in a lot of great work--getting the communication, the verbiage down, understanding the calls, making the right huddle calls, making the right checks at the line of scrimmage, understanding the fronts and alignments. Just trying to make sure we have the basics.
"Coach Garrett always talks about the alphabet. We have to get the alphabet down before we form words before we form sentences, and paragraphs," Schuplinski said.
So far, Jones' commitment to mastering the basics is starting to pay off.
“He’s done a nice job. He’s really well prepared, he got a lot of great experience last year on that and that’s been really helpful," Schuplinski said.
"He doesn’t have as much game experience (as a veteran quarterback), but I’d say he is very well prepared in everything he’s doing, and he has a lot of knowledge base underneath him so far.”
This off-season, Jones took it upon himself to prepare himself for the rigors of Year 2 and the basics that come with it. He told reporters earlier this month that It’s on him to learn the system, and he didn’t view having to learn a new system as a disadvantage.
But even before that, Jones worked on adding bulk to his 6’5” frame, something he did on his own, which Schuplinski believes might help him in terms of his durability when he has to take hits.
“With all the guys and with any quarterback, they have to feel comfortable back there,” Schuplinski said when asked about any specific tips he’s tried to incorporate into Jones’ game.
“There are certain points that we can give out. You want to get a decent base to you, have decent knee bend. You want to be comfortable taking the snap, you want your hands loose, you don’t want them overly too tight.”
The mechanics are one thing, but again, getting the ball out of his hand as quickly as possible to not take a sack is another.
“Preparation is so key,” Schuplinski said. “I really think it’s one of the hardest positions in all of sports, is to play quarterback. You are relying on them to make the right decisions and make good decisions.”
Some of that hesitancy in making decisions resulted in the turnovers. But the good news is that as Jones gains a better understanding of how to read NFL defenses, he should be able to make quicker and better decisions.
"Part of ball security is understanding what you’re looking at on the other side of the ball," Schuplinski said.
"Understanding what the defense is in and what they are trying to do based on their coverages. Whether they are a deep spot drop zone team or a tight man to man team, what that means and what’s that going to mean for our reads and what we need to do."