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Danny Dimes has turned into Danny Dollar Store quicker than holiday merchandise goes on sale at a thrift store.
Normally, Jones would get another year or two before the Giants pulled the plug. But they don’t have the luxury of waiting on him to rectify his continual mistakes and become anything more than a middling professional signal-caller.
The organization is in position to replace Jones with an actual top-shelf prospect at the game’s most important position. It’s an opportunity it shouldn’t dismiss, even if general manager Dave Gettleman remains employed beyond this season.
Monday’s 25-23 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a microcosm of everything that’s good and bad with the former Mr. Dimes.
Jones’ natural playmaking and throwing abilities clash with his indecisiveness as a passer and carelessness with the football. The Giants’ final drive with the game on the line encapsulated this.
Jones helped extend plays on key downs, including two fourth-down conversions, and threw a beautiful back-of-the-end zone touchdown pass to Golden Tate with 28 seconds left to play.
Yet New York needed a two-point conversation to force overtime.
The Giants came out in trips formation as a man-beater with running back Dion Lewis sprinting to the flat for an open look. He was open—initially. However, Jones didn’t anticipate and double clutched. The ball arrived late and behind Lewis, which allowed rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. to drive on the ball and break up the pass.
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Antoine Winfield Jr. fought through traffic at the goal line to track down a motioning Dion Lewis across the formation and break up the Giants two-point conversion attempt.
Winfield was 6.7 yards away from Lewis when Daniel Jones hit the top of his drop.
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One play at the end of a game shouldn’t define any player or his career trajectory. The Giants are surely disappointed with another loss, but they wouldn’t have been in this position if Jones had played well for the rest of the contest. He didn’t. Eli Manning’s heir didn’t identity open receivers or he botched throws, especially when trying to drive the ball down the field.
Darius Slayton can’t be too happy after repeatedly beating coverage only for Jones to ignore him or fail to get him the ball in instances in which big plays were available.
All this speaks to much larger issues in Jones’ game: He continually places the Giants in difficult positions. His propensity to turn over the ball is prolific and invokes dreaded draft bust Ryan Leaf. Yes, Ryan Leaf.
Jones threw two more interceptions against Tampa Bay. Hey, look at the bright side. At least he didn’t fumble.
As ESPN Stats & Info noted going into Monday’s game, Jones ranked second (behind Jameis Winston) in turnovers over the last two seasons—and he now leads. He also has nine straight games and 20 of 21 career contests with a turnover.
The Buccaneers made the right choice when they cut ties with Winston as the front office pursued Tom Brady. Most would make that decision because Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. The Giants aren’t positioned to make a similar choice. But the organization could very well reinvest in the position with yet another premium draft choice.
According to Tankathon, New York would own the second overall pick if the draft were held today. Obviously, a lot can happen in six months. But the Giants should rectify a major mistake if the opportunity presents itself, much like the Arizona Cardinals did with Kyler Murray in Jones’ draft class.
When the Giants announced their selection of Jones, many were taken aback. The Duke product wasn’t viewed as an elite prospect. At least, his collegiate career didn’t signal a top-10 selection. However, Gettleman was worried his team wouldn’t be in position to select its preferred quarterback.
Let’s see those receipts.
“It wasn’t easy for me to pass up [Kentucky edge-rusher] Josh Allen. For me, my background, that was very, very difficult,” Gettleman told reporters last April. “But I think that much of Daniel Jones and his future as an nfl quarterback.”
Here’s where issues arose. First, the Giants owned a pair of first-round picks. Maybe Jones wouldn’t have been available with the 17th choice the team gained in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. That’s fine. Gettleman’s acknowledgement that he wanted Allen showed the team wasn’t 100 percent sold on the quarterback. No doubt should have existed in Gettleman’s mind.
The possibility of a trade should have been broached as well. A team can manipulate the draft to its liking while still landing a preferred target. Between pick Nos. 7 and 12, none of the squads needed a quarterback. Still, the Giants jumped the gun on a prospect not viewed as a top-10 talent.
In back-to-back years, the Giants drafted a running back with the second pick, made a questionable selection with the sixth pick and added a nose tackle 11 slots later. Folks, that’s terrible drafting.
Everything could change by making the right choice in the spring.
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As owners of the second pick, the Giants will almost certainly have an opportunity to select Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State’s Justin Fields. Both are superior prospects to Jones. Lawrence is the closest an incoming quarterback comes to a sure thing since Andrew Luck was in 2012, while Fields is a smooth, ultra-efficient operator in Ryan Day’s explosive offense. Either prospect would drastically shift the Giants’ direction in the most positive way.
An argument can be made that the next two quarterback prospects in the 2021 class—North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and BYU’s Zach Wilson—would be potential upgrades as well. Even if the Giants drop out of the top three by winning a few games (probably against fellow NFC Least opponents), a new quarterback should still be on the table.
Head coach Joe Judge doesn’t have any ties to Jones, but he’s sticking with the 23-year-old.
“Daniel’s our quarterback, clearly put … like the way Daniel’s fighting right now,” Judge told reporters.
Gettleman must make a choice based on what is in the team’s best interests. If another GM is hired, the case for a different quarterback investment will grow even stronger.
Nothing says the Giants must stick with Jones beyond this season. He’s not provided a reason for the franchise to do so. As such, New York should do a little window shopping before the season ends and see if a nice little gift comes its way once the nfl’s favorite holiday, the draft, arrives.