The Giants giveth. The Giants taketh away. These are the telltale signs of a rebuilding year. Just when 4 straight wins had optimism running rampant amongst the Giants faithful (admit it, you couldn’t wait for the Arizona game to start all week long), the Cardinals dropped a heavy dose of reality into our living rooms.
Joe Judge gets his first demerit for bringing Daniel Jones back too soon from a hamstring injury.
Joe Judge gets his second demerit for not taking his immobile sitting duck QB out much sooner. (Halftime??!! See below.)
The Offensive Line was having great difficulties. They gave up 8 sacks. Even though they were back-loaded (4 of them came in the last 2 garbage time drives), Jason Garrett needed to make adjustments in the playcalling to help both his QB and OL. We will paraphrase the quote from Joe Gibbs for the 6th time on this blog- “I will not pass the ball unless I can block it up.” This means if you can’t protect the QB, yet you need to pass, try different passes that work under such circumstances- flares screens slants, quick outs… whatever gets the ball out of Jones’ hands fast and takes away the aggressiveness of the opponent’s DL pass rush.
There was one play that really shook me to the core yesterday. It was the final Giants possession of the first half. Let’s set the table. You have the ball at your own 24 yard line with 1:44 left in Q2. You are down 13-0. You have 2 timeouts. There has been a complete inability to drive anywhere (the Giants would not get past midfield until Q3). Still, there is some hope of trying to get some points on the board before the end of the half. 1st down short pass for 4 yards. 1:25 left. 2nd and 6, Jones in shotgun. 2 seconds go off, nothing there. Pressure coming from the right side. 3 seconds. It is Haason Reddick getting past Matt Peart on the right side, Jones’ side where he sees the rusher. He slides left. Jones has a history of not protecting the ball well. He has been coached to protect the ball by throwing it away or taking the sack. Except there is one extra key ingredient today that should make Jones extremely wary and careful.
Hint… Paragraph 2 …. Paragraph 3.
Jones is a sitting duck with a hamstring injury. He is immobile.
His attempt to move left is akin to Grandma with a walker trying to stay ahead of Usain Bolt.
As usual, Jones is a day late and a dollar short. He now tries to protect the ball well after failing most miserably to outrun Bolt (played today by Reddick). Except now he can’t get his arms around the ball quickly enough and the ball is fumbled. Miraculously, the ball takes an extremely kind bounce and the Giants claim victory by only taking a 15 yard loss. A sensible draw is called on 3rd down to get some yardage and thankfully they are able to punt and somehow get AZ to miss a long FG. They get into the lockerroom with a semblance of order, only down 13-0.
What. Was. Jones. Thinking?
This is the exact opposite of pocket poise. This is pocket puke. A QB can have all the skill in the world, but until he starts using proper judgment, he is a liability to the entire team.
I believe there is franchise talent in Daniel Jones. I am not so confident in his balance. Good QBs show field awareness. Great ones have eyes behind their heads. Right now, Jones has not figured out anything about the pocket. I do not know how that gets fixed. He has had plenty of experience. The coaching staff worked with him nearly all of offseason (despite Covid) on technique to control/reduce the turnovers. Here at the end of the first half when the risks are large, when you are hobbled, your first job is to protect the ball. These are rookie mistakes. For a QB drafted 1.06 overall near the end of his second season, I am very concerned about whether he can rid himself of this problem.
The Giants are committed to Jones. He still needs the time to prove himself and to correct these issues. He certainly deserves another year. The Giants will give him two years, if not more. Gettleman has more invested in Jones than we have invested in Gettleman.