This is the definition of a make-or-break season for New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
Jones’ fifth-year option has been declined, he’s set to play for his third head coach in four seasons and he needs to show he has what it takes to be Big Blue’s franchise QB of the future once and for all.
How does he do that? Well, new Giants head coach Brian Daboll believes Jones needs to be himself and ignore the pressure.
“These first three-and-a-half weeks I’ve been around him [since the offseason program began], I’ve been impressed with his work ethic, his leadership when he’s with the guys,” Daboll said of Jones on WFAN Radio’s Tiki and Tierney podcast, via the Giants’ team website. “He does a good job in the huddle. I want him to be himself, too. I want him to not be afraid of consequences and pull the trigger and attack and have a positive mindset and continue to grow and learn.”
It’s a bit of a tough ask considering the pressure on Jones to perform now and all the scrutiny that’s come over the past three seasons due to his 36 fumbles and 29 interceptions — aka, the consequences of not being afraid to pull the trigger and attack.
However, Daboll’s rise from Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator to Giants head coach came to be partially due to his work with star quarterback Josh Allen, who had plenty of turnover issues in his rookie year before making a spectacular transition into one of the game’s greatest quarterbacks.
Can Daboll do the same with Danny Dimes? That’s the hope.
“At the end of the day, he’s his own guy,” Daboll said. “We have to develop an offense that fits his skillset, which he has plenty of [skills]. He’s athletic. He’s big. He’s got some mobility to him. There’s a lot of plays that you say, ‘OK, maybe this might look good.’ But it’s also the surrounding pieces. We weren’t the same each year in Buffalo, either. The first year was a lot different than the second year, where we had “Smoke” John Brown and then we added [Stefon] Diggs the next year. So, you continually evolve.”
Like Allen, Jones, 24, is a former first-round QB who can be a dual threat when needed. However, Jones has never been able to consistently perform at a stellar level.
He debuted in dazzling fashion as a rookie in 2019, but the hype and phenomenal play subsided. In his 2020 campaign, there were games in which he looked like a one-man band keeping the Giants’ fleeting postseason hopes playing along, but it all came crashing down. Now, after three seasons starting in Gotham, Jones is 12-25 as a starter with 8,398 yards passing (221 per game), 45 touchdowns, 29 interceptions, 1000 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and 36 fumbles.
Daboll is tasked with turning Jones into the elite-level QB the franchise hoped he’d become when it spent the No. 6 pick of the 2019 NFL Draft on him.
For that to happen, Daboll believes Jones needs to take charge and he likes what he’s seen so far.
“It’s fine and dandy when you’re standing on the sideline calling plays but you’re not the one back there in the huddle and you’re not the one pulling the trigger,” Daboll said. “So, I think It’s a collaborative effort on some of the stuff he likes and continue to help him improve. He’s got a great mindset. He’s got some good mental toughness about him. We’re taking it day by day.”