With the NFL season almost upon us, all 32 teams are optimistic about the possibilities, including the New York Giants. Last season, the Giants struggled and finished 4-12, which was expected. As they enter the 2020 season, New York has a new coach in Joe Judge, and they could have their franchise quarterback in Daniel Jones.
In 2019, Jones, who was the sixth overall pick in that year’s draft, came into the season as Eli Manning’s backup. As he enters the 2020 season, Jones, who threw for 3027 yards and 24 touchdowns last season, is the starting quarterback for New York, and according to Giants WR Darius Slayton, Jones is a different guy.
“I think the biggest area of growth for him is just taking a big step from year one to year two as far as just command, and that comes with obviously, coming into a new system this year, learning and getting it down,” Slayton said on Thursday. “But, I think one thing that he grew as the season went on last year was his command, and I think he’s continued to build on that this year as far as his command of the huddle. At the line of scrimmage, being sure of himself, being assertive. I think he’s done a great job of also developing his leadership skills as well.”
Giants president and CEO, John Mara, is confident that Jones can be the guy for the team moving forward.
“I feel good about him right now, the amount of work he’s put in, the way he’s looked at camp,” Mara said. “I’d like to see him take the next step this year. I’m confident that he will do that. The thing that is gratifying to me is that I know our coaching staff is very high on him right now. Guys that have been around successful quarterbacks in the past, and they think that he has what it takes to get us to the next level. Every indication so far is that he does have what it takes. I feel good about where Daniel is right now. Obviously, we want to see him move to the next level. But I think he did a good job last year. Obviously, he had the issue with the (NFL-high 23) turnovers. But he showed a lot of grit and a lot of promise and made a lot of big plays. I think with the right supporting cast around him, I think the sky is the limit for him.”
It will be difficult for teams to be a cohesive unit from the start without a preseason. Still, at this point, Jones is confident in the Giants’ offense as they get ready for the season-opener against Pittsburgh.
“We’ve done a good job as a team simulating some of those preseason games and trying to get reps with a game feel to it, practicing a lot of situations and a lot of things that would come up during games,” Jones said. “I feel like as a team, as an offense, we are in a good spot. We’ve had a good camp and made progress every day towards where we need to be. Next week, we’ll be into game prep and into Week One. I feel like we’ve had a good camp, and we’ve been able to simulate a lot of the game like situations that you would have gotten in the preseason.”
Giants RB Saquon Barkley added this about not having a preseason: “My first really live-action has been Week One to be completely honest. But as a team, I think even though we haven’t faced any other teams, I think from the coaching staff, they did a really good job this camp of simulating what it’s actually going to be like. I see what you guys say about practice, how it’s hard, and this and that. But I think it’s done a really good job for us because we needed that. Like you said, the preseason has gone away. We also did a really good job of getting guys opportunities and chances to show what we’re able to do and what we’re able to bring to the table, and also prepare us and get us ready for the first game of the year.”
Teams that have good quarterbacks always have a chance in the NFL, and for the Giants, who have won only nine games in the last two seasons, Jones’ improvement and command of the offense could make things better for this team in 2020.