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Daniel Jones-What Does the Tape Say? “Consistently Inconsistent”

The Giants added offensive firepower for Daniel Jones – will it be enough to overcome his inconsistency over his first two seasons?

The New York Giants signed Kenny Golladay to a large deal this offseason to bolster their offensive passing attack. To a much lesser extent, they brought in Kyle Rudolph to bolster their tight end depth chart. The team then drafted Kadarius Toney in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Suddenly the Giants have a skilled pass receiving core to combine with all-world running back Saquon Barkley. The team has given their young quarterback Daniel Jones all the weapons a QB would need to succeed. Can he take the next step? Let’s break down what the tape says.

Starters Table
Pos Player Age Yrs GS Summary of Player Stats Drafted (tm/rnd/yr)
Offensive Starters
QBDaniel Jones23114280 for 448, 2,943 yards, 11 td, 10 int, & 65 rushes for 423 yards and 1 tdNew York Giants / 1st / 6th pick / 2019
RBWayne Gallman26310147 rushes for 682 yards, 6 td, & 21 catches for 114 yards and 0 tdNew York Giants / 4th / 140th pick / 2017
WRSterling Shepard2741266 catches for 656 yards, 3 td, & 6 rushes for 49 yards and 1 tdNew York Giants / 2nd / 40th pick / 2016
WRDarius Slayton2311550 catches for 751 yards, 3 td, & 2 rushes for -1 yards and 0 tdNew York Giants / 5th / 171st pick / 2019
TEEvan Engram*2631463 catches for 654 yards, 1 td, & 6 rushes for 26 yards and 1 tdNew York Giants / 1st / 23rd pick / 2017
TEKaden Smith2311218 catches for 112 yards, 0 tdSan Francisco 49ers / 6th / 176th pick / 2019
LTAndrew Thomas21Rook151 fumble recoveredNew York Giants / 1st / 4th pick / 2020
LGShane Lemieux23Rook9New York Giants / 5th / 150th pick / 2020
CNick Gates25216
RGKevin Zeitler30816Cincinnati Bengals / 1st / 27th pick / 2012
RTCameron Fleming28616New England Patriots / 4th / 140th pick / 2014

2020 Skill Position Group

QB Daniel Jones

WR Sterling Shepard

WR Golden Tate

WR Darius Slayton

WR Damion Ratley

TE Evan Engram

TE Kaden Smith

RB Saquon Barkley-(Injured Week 2 lost for the season)

RB Wayne Gallman

2021 Skill Position Group

QB Daniel Jones

WR Kenny Golladay

WR Sterling Shepard

WR Darius Slayton

WR Kadarius Toney (R) 

TE Evan Engram

TE Kyle Rudolph

RB Saquon Barkley

RB Ryquell Armstead

With the supporting cast around Jones seeing an upgrade, theoretically, that would lead to improved play from Jones, who, per the available stats, had a mediocre season in 2020. He did play most of the season without Barkley, and the team struggled to find rushing production. This put a lot of the offense squarely on Jones’ shoulders.

Passing Table
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS QBrec Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% 1D Lng Y/A AY/A Y/C Y/G Rate QBR Sk Yds NY/A ANY/A Sk% 4QC GWD AV
201922NYGQB813123-9-028445961.93027245.2122.6140756.66.510.7232.887.755.7382955.505.387.6129
202023NYGQB814145-9-028044862.52943112.5102.2148536.66.110.5210.280.461.5452865.394.929.1009
Career27268-18-056490762.25970353.9222.4288756.66.310.6221.184.1835815.445.158.41218

Film Breakdown

I reviewed the first six games of Daniel Jones’s 2020 season on NFL Game Pass. The first game was against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are not an easy defense for a young quarterback to play against, as they like to disguise their coverage on the backend in the secondary. They also like to run many twists and stunts along the defensive line, with the interior defensive lineman rushing outside of the offensive guard’s shoulder. And then the exterior lineman spins behind the interior lineman forcing the offensive line to think on their feet. They like to do this to confuse the blocking and put a free rusher on the quarterback.

Daniel Jones reacted to this well early on in the game, even looking off the safety and catching Steven Nelson, the cornerback on the play looking in the backfield. This resulted in a long touchdown to Darius Slayton.

Courtesy of NFL

This is an example of the Steelers running an inside twist and stunt vs. the offensive line. The line does their job and gives Jones a clean pocket.

Courtesy of NFL

The coverage again was beaten, and Daniel Jones delivers a strike for a touchdown. There may have been a blown assignment; someone picked the wrong assignment in the middle of the field. Regardless, Jones takes advantage as he is supposed to do for a score. It’s not an easy throw to make as the ball travels 20-25 yards in the air, and it has to be to the inside, hitting the receiver in stride.

Later in the game, Daniel Jones should give up on the play, and throw the ball out of bounds but he does not.

Courtesy of NFL

You can understand not wanting to give up on a play, but there is nothing here. There was a chance to throw the ball out of bounds which he should have done. But now the outside linebacker Bud Dupree on the play is bearing down on him. Initially, there was a chance to throw the ball to Saquon, but he comes off of that and throws across his body to the receiver surrounded by three Steelers. Resulting in an easy interception. 

Courtesy of NFL

This was an abysmal decision, and had the defender who caught the interception been a defensive back instead of a defensive lineman; it could have resulted in a defensive touchdown.

Courtesy of NFL

Against the Bears Jones drops a pass over the middle over top of the safety and into the hands of Sterling Shepard.

Courtesy of NFL

In this play versus the Rams, Jones with a clean pocket, delivers a high uncatchable ball to Golden Tate.

Courtesy of NFL

When the Giants played the Washington Football Team, same as in the Steelers game, a play is clearly over. There is no throw to be made, but instead of throwing the ball out of bounds, Jones throws the ball where the only open receiver is a defender.

Courtesy of NFL

This pass simply cannot be thrown, he throws it to the outside, but the defender has the outside position on the play and makes a brilliant play on the ball for the interception.

Conclusion

Jones has all the tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He will make some unexplainable plays that will not be solved by putting additional skilled players around him. A healthy Barkley will not fix heaving footballs into the teeth of the defense and hoping for the best.

2021 will be Daniel Jones’s third season in the NFL, with that being said for him to take the next step as a quarterback he will have to clean up these mistakes. Or his stay in New York will be a very short one.

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