It really is crazy how fast time flies by. It is the year 2021, and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is all of a sudden entering his third season in the NFL.
I remember being on the couch in my dorm room when New York selected him #6 overall in 2019… and now here we are.
The third year of a quarterback’s rookie deal is essentially the make-or-break year in today’s NFL. It wasn’t always like this. But today, if you haven’t proven yourself as your team’s QB after three years, things don’t look too good for you going forward.
Daniel Jones has done a little bit of both.
Through two seasons, Jones has shown fans what he can do good by throwing 35 touchdowns. He has also shown us bad things with turnovers – specifically, 22 interceptions and 29 fumbles. Add in his 8-18 record as a starter, and Jones hasn’t exactly lit up the league like some of the other young NFL quarterbacks.
However, many factors go into this, as everyone knows football isn’t a one-man sport. The Giants have been bad for a while, on both offense and defense. Coaching changes were happening every year, and Giants fans had to get used to a quarterback not named Eli Manning under center.
But now, heading into his third year, this is a better Giants team. And Jones has slowly become the leader the team hoped he would be early on.
First Year of Familiarity for Jones
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For the first time in his early NFL career, Daniel Jones is going into training camp with the same offensive coordinator and scheme he had the season prior. That is a big step in the right direction already for Jones because now he doesn’t have to learn a third offense in three years.
This allows him to build off of what he learned last year. While his season stats weren’t good (5-9 record, 11 TD, 10 INT), the Giants were winning games down the stretch. Also, Jones and the Giants’ offense were the most-blitzed in the NFL last season. When Saquon Barkley went down in week 2, it was a lot easier for defenses to attack Jones and the poor offensive line, because they didn’t have to worry about him.
But now, looking ahead to next season, the offense should look a lot better with Barkley coming back and new top wide receiver Kenny Golladay joining the Big Blue.
This is the most important year for Jones’ career, and it is set up to be a big one. The Giants have a stable culture and identity for the first time in years. And now, they have given their quarterback just about everything he needs to succeed.
But most importantly, Jones’ leadership is on full display already, and it is not even training camp.
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The Giants’ offense is young but has multiple guys stepping up as leaders on this team. Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and now Jones have all done their part providing leadership to this unit. Furthermore, with Kyle Rudolph and Golladay entering the fold, this is looking like an offense that knows what it wants to get done in 2021.
Jones took the first step a few weeks ago when he held a workout in Arizona with various members of the offense. You love to see your young quarterback setting up workouts like these when we are still in April.
The NFL Draft will be big for this team coming off of what was a really good free agency period. The offensive line is still a weakness, but the Giants can turn that weakness into a strength with what is a deep o-line class in the 2021 Draft. The Giants already have a couple of young, promising members on the o-line, so once they get a stable unit, this offense will be complete.
Jones will have more time to throw to his plethora of weapons he now has, and it will ultimately make him a better quarterback.
The NFC East is wide open heading into 2021. With a likely top-10 defense, the Giants should be alive late in most of their games. Therefore, if the defense holds its own, it will be up to Jones and the offense to put points on the board.
With the way the Giants ended the last month of the season and their moves in free agency, they are more than capable of winning this division. The defense will remain solid and perhaps be even better than last year. The offense can’t really be any worse than it was, and there is unlimited upside with Barkley and Golladay entering the picture.
But ultimately, it all falls on Jones. I am a believer in Jones, and hopefully, by the end of this season, so are all of you.
Expect Jones to solidify himself as the Giants QB of the future in 2021.