Daniel Jones proves he’s the right choice to be Giants’ franchise QB
You can go ahead and imagine him now – Daniel Jones leading the Giants down the field in the Super Bowl. Not this year, but maybe at some point in the not too distant future.
An absurd vision came more than a few yards closer to reality on Sunday, when a quarterback who mocked the finish when he was just another first-round carry inspired the local supporters to stand up and chant his name. Playing with reckless abandon in that 38-10 Colts shredding, Jones cleared the first two hurdles in creating a potential championship quarterback in the New York market.
1) He won the respect and affection of a tough crowd.
2) He led his team to the playoffs.
Towards the end of Year 4, after so many conspiracies against him in Years 1, 2, and 3, Jones made MetLife Stadium feel like his own. Reborn under rookie head coach Brian Daboll, Jones played with the kind of defiance that suggested he was saying a big, loud “F you” to anyone who doubted him.
He threw for two scores, ran for two scores and absorbed a ton of unnecessary body and head shots while running through the Colts for 91 rushing yards. Jones raged at the ticket holders and the columnists and the electronic talking heads who tore him apart – and rightly so at times – for being a cipher machine, a slow reader of defenses and a guy who couldn’t stay out of the trainer’s room or bathtub.
Although he never, ever admitted it for public consumption, Jones also raged at employers (Daboll, new chief executive Joe Schoen, former co-owner John Mara) who decided not to take his option. fifth year of $22.4 million.
On a single practice in the fourth quarter, Jones cocked Bobby Okereke to the ground and bounced back from the linebacker’s personal foul (Jones’s helmet bounced off the turf) to smash through Okereke at the end of a 10-yard touchdown run. He was a Duke graduate taking a Stanford grad to school for hard knocks.
“Stressful,” Giants receiver Darius Slayton said as he watched his quarterback play bullyball. “I prefer him to slide, but I think he showed his tenacity. He’s a real footballer. He’s not a quarterback sitting in the pocket and above everyone else. Stuff like that shows you who he really is inside and what he’s willing to do to win.
Recalling past boos that rained down on Jones from the MetLife rafters, Slayton said he wanted to jump into the crowd and sing for the quarterback himself. It was that kind of holiday in Jersey. Daboll pulled Jones midway through the fourth quarter so fans could tell the sixth pick in the 2019 draft exactly how they feel about him now that he’s finally a healthy and productive winner.
“He’s such a great teammate and a great person, just happy for him,” Mara said at the end. “You drafted him as high as we drafted him, we got a lot of flak. He took a lot of criticism. And seeing it become his is very rewarding for us.
Yes, Mara will sign a new contract with Jones this offseason. The co-owner was an early believer, telling The Post before last season that he saw Jones as a future Super Bowl champion. “I can say that without any hesitation,” Mara said. Asked if he thinks his guy could equal the two Super Bowl titles claimed by his predecessor, Eli Manning, Mara replied: “I don’t see why not, if we put the right pieces around him. .”
Many parts are still needed. The Giants’ leading receivers against the Colts, Richie James and Isaiah Hodgins, each had more than 200 picks ahead of them in their respective drafts. There are reasons the Giants have missed the playoffs five straight years and gone 43 straight games without scoring at least 30 points.
But now was not the time to worry about unfilled holes. Daboll said he gave Jones his recall opportunity “because I thought he deserved it”, and truer words could not be spoken. Staying on the mark, the quarterback dismissed several opportunities to bask in the glow of the fans’ standing ovation, other than saying he was “grateful, really grateful for their support for me personally and for our team. “. He said the chant “beats the alternative for sure” and slipped for a moment when asked if he would savor this win more than others. “Yeah, I will,” Jones replied, before switching to his standard team-centric messaging.
Other giants said what the quarterback wouldn’t have said. His running mate, Saquon Barkley, called the chant a “beautiful thing”, called Jones the “toughest quarterback in the league” and called the idea that his friend was oblivious to past criticism nonsense. “He heard what everyone had to say,” Barkley said.
And Jones responded. He jogged off the field with his index finger up, and later announced in the locker room (to Daboll’s surprise) that the Giants would be taking the next two days off.
Daniel Jones is the man now. “When you have this guy at quarterback,” Barkley said, “you believe you can win any game.”
Including the biggest game, at a time and place to be named later.