Daniel Jones, the nicest kid in the world who is at the center of some of the most vile and undeserving criticism in New York sports history, wasn’t quite perfect in his second appearance in a Giants’ uniform. To which we say…so what?
The Giants’ first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft pitched a perfect game last week against the New York Jets, but couldn’t quite match that Friday night against the Chicago Bears.
In the Giants’ 32-13 victory over the Bears, Jones went 11-of-14 for 161 yards including a pretty touchdown pass to T.J. Jones for a passer rating of 138.4. Not quite the pristine 158.3 he registered last week, but good enough to shut up his critics.
Jones’ performance has earned him a new nickname – “Danny Dimes.”
But as usual, people picked up on the negatives. Jones lost two fumbles in the game. One on a botched snap and the other was stripped away from him by a defender. No one talked about his three incompletions, two which could have been caught and the third was thrown short, perhaps rushed. Everything else was right on the money.
“Don’t do that,” head coach Pat Shurmur said he told Jones after the fumbles. “It’s very simple—don’t drop the snap and two hands on the ball in the pocket. It’s never acceptable to drop the ball. He’s smart enough to know that immediately and make corrections. It’s that simple, I don’t have to write him a note—I just tell him.”
And Jones is quick learner. He needs only to be told something once. Keep in mind, he was committed to Princeton before attending Duke where he earned a degree in economics. They don’t hand those out like bowling trophies last time I checked.
Yet, the negatives are going to follow Jones around until he proves on the national stage that he was worthy of the sixth overall pick. No Giants fan worth their salt relished the fact that Jones was taken so high. I’ve been a Giants fans since 1967 and I almost had a meltdown (I wasn’t alone, it seems.).
Even the Giants co-owner, John Mara, is on record saying he hopes Jones doesn’t play this season because that would mean that the Giants will have had a successful year behind Eli Manning.
But since the draft, Jones has whittled his way into the hearts and psyche of Giants fans everywhere. With each passing day, we find less and less wrong with the kid and more things to like. He is almost too good to be true and New York fans (excuse us) are very skeptical.
Shumur isn’t surprised at what Jones is accomplishing. He, general manager Dave Gettlemn, Jones’ college coach, David Cutcliffe, and Gil Brandt — the godfather of modern-day NFL scouting — are all on record staking their reputations on Jones’ ability and future.
“Again, I am going to say this — people outside our building seem surprised, but we’re not. That’s why we picked him,” Shurmur said. “I think he’s making good progress and as he goes along here, he’s checking off all of the boxes. I think when it’s his time to play, he will be ready. I am pleased with the progress he’s making. What’s left unsaid a little bit is the work that (Offensive Coordinator) Mike Shula and (Offensive Assistant Ryan) Roeder are doing with him and all of the quarterbacks.”
Jones, meanwhile, keeps a level head, says the right things and just goes out and plays.
“I think I’ve made progress, and I think in certain areas I feel a lot more confident than I did even when camp started, or even a couple weeks ago,” Jones said after the Bears game. “I think there’s still so much to learn for me. I think I’m certainly more confident, more comfortable, but I see a lot of things I need to improve on.”