It’s Now or Never for Daniel Jones
The chatter of “now or never” for Daniel Jones began last season and picked up pace during the offseason. The Giants have one of the better defenses in football. Last season they ranked 9th for fewest points conceded, and 5th fewest touchdowns allowed. Also giving up the 12th fewest yards. In comparison, the offense ranked 31st in yards, points scored, and passing touchdowns, and also bottom 3 in the league for offense efficiency. You don’t have to be a genius to work out what the problem was.
Defensive Tackle Dalvin Tomlinson moved onto the Minnesota Vikings and was replaced by former Tennessee Titan Austin Johnson. Also bringing in Cornerback Logan Ryan from the Titans. Also using their second and third-round picks in this year’s draft to bolster their defense, with Outside Linebacker Azeez Ojulari and Cornerback Aaron Robinson. The Giants should have a good defense again this season.
Fixing the Offence
Head Coach Joe Judge has been unwavering in his support for Daniel Jones. “We have confidence in Daniel, he’s a player that we want to work with going forward with this team.” Were Judge’s words to reporters at the start of free agency. GM Dave Gettleman has made significant moves to surround Jones with the talent needed to succeed this season.
The big-money signing in free agency was Kenny Golladay, the star Wide Receiver this team desperately needed. They so added former 1st round pick John Ross, whose career has been plagued by injury. When the Wide Receiver did get on the field for the Bengals, he showed glimpses of the promise he had coming out of college. They also brought in former Vikings pro-bowl Tight end Kyle Rudolph, a big red zone threat with 48 career touchdowns.
They used their first-round pick this year on exciting Florida Gators Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney. With Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Dante Pettis also. on the depth chart, there is no shortage of weapons, and no excuses for Daniel Jones this season. There is however one thing that needs looking at.
The asterisk I’d put against the Giants offense being good this season is injuries. Since exploding onto the scene in 2018 injuries have been a problem for Running Back Saquon Barkley. He recovered from his first injury set back in 2019, to still have a good season. Last year, however, he didn’t see the field again after an injury in week 2. Barkley was noncommittal when recently asked if he would be ready for week one this season. Which has to be a concern. A returning Saquon Barkley at his best would make such a difference to this team.
I’ve already mentioned the injury history of John Ross, but it doesn’t stop there. Kenny Golladay in 5 games last season, whilst Kyle Rudolph missed the last 4 games through injury. Tight End Evan Engram has a history of injuries too, although he stayed healthy last season he had a disappointing season.
Can Jones Deliver?
Of course, injuries are a part of football. Everyone at the Giants will be hoping these guys can stay healthy this year and if they do. The Giants have every chance of a good season. If Daniel Jones can step up to the plate and deliver! Since taking over from Eli Manning in week 3 of his rookie season, it has been tough sledding for Jones. He has led the Giants to an 8-18 record. A 4 game win streak in November/December last year, boosted what was starting to be a horrible record.
Of course, wins and losses aren’t all on a Quarterback, but in this case, a lot of it was. Only 11 Touchdown throws and 10 interceptions last season, just aren’t good enough for a starting NFL Quarterback. He has shown enough promise to warrant still holding his place as QB1 though. Despite only throwing the ball deep 39 times last season, he was ranked the top deep passer in the league. With a passer rating on deep balls of 134.3 and a completion percentage of 48.7 the 4th best in the league. So it should be no surprise that players like Golladay and Ross have been brought in, to help exploit Jones’s strength.
A strong arm and good athletic ability are the tools you want from the modern Quarterback. If the Offensive Line can improve on what was a really poor season last year, where the 57 pressures allowed by Andrew Thomas were more than any other Left Tackle in the league. A big leap forward is required in year two, to even begin to justify taking Thomas as the first tackle off the board in 2020. The rest of the line also needs to improve in order for the time needed to let the big plays down the field develop. For all of the exciting weapons, that could be the deciding factor between success and failure for the Jones and Giants this season.