Why 2022 Will Be The Make or Break Year for Jones

The New York Giants have only made the playoffs twice since 2010 – in 2016, when they lost in the Wild Card round to the Green Bay Packers, and in 2011 when they beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second time. But since that Super Bowl victory, things have been uncertain for the G-Men. The team has had five different head coaches, and their franchise quarterback Eli Manning retired which is clearly seen through the betting odds.

The Giants knew Manning’s time was coming to an end soon, so they drafted Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Starting the season as a backup, Jones (to Giants fan’s dismay) took over for Manning in Week 3 and never looked back. Though they finished the year 4-12, Jones threw for 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. 

Jones has yet to play up to expectations, even with New York. Entering the final year of his rookie contract (no guarantee his fifth-year option gets exercised), Jones will have to step up if he wants to continue to be the Giants starting quarterback.

Can Daniel Jones Become a Reliable QB for New York? 

Going into the 2021 season, it seemed as if the Giants built a good enough offense to succeed around Jones. New York got Saquon Barkley back from injury, signed Kenny Golladay, John Ross and Kyle Rudolph, and drafted Kadarius Toney in the first round of the NFL Draft. However, the Giants finished 4-13 after a disappointing season headlined by injuries and underperformance. 

Even though Jones missed the final six games of the regular season with a neck injury, it was still a season to forget. Jones threw for 2,428 yards, 10 touchdowns, and seven interceptions with a 64.3 completion percentage. He also had 62 carries for 298 yards and two touchdowns, but had seven fumbles, losing three of them. 

The most glaring stat from the Giants’ offense last season was that their receivers had just five receiving touchdowns. Golladay, who they signed to a four-year, $72 million deal, and Toney, their first-round draft pick, had a whopping zero touchdowns. 

Along with their receiver woes, Jones and the offense couldn’t even rely on Barkley, who returned from tearing his ACL. It was a forgettable season for the star back, as he rushed for just 593 yards and two touchdowns. The overall struggles of the offense put them towards the bottom of the NFL in most passing and rushing stats. 

Injuries played a factor in the team’s struggles, which didn’t really give Jones a fair shake to perform his best. As mentioned, Jones missed the last six games of the season due to a neck injury. Other key players that missed games for the Giants due to injury/COVID protocols: Shepard (10 games), Toney (seven games), and Barkley (four games).

Things are looking up for New York heading into this year. The Giants signed Ricky Seals-Jones to replace a departing Evan Engram, and Matt Breida as a reliable backup for Barkley. Golladay, Shepard, and Darius Slayton have proven they can put up big numbers in the past, while Toney showed flashes last season. 

Mistakes Need to be Limited in 2022

Jones has shown flashes of greatness so far in his three-year career. From throwing four or more touchdowns in three games his rookie season to having a 400-yard performance this past year, Jones has at times looked like a stud. However, there have been more times than not where he’s had mental lapses. 

In his rookie year, Jones led the league in fumbles (18) and fumbles lost (11). In 2020, he again led the NFL in fumbles (11) while losing six of them. Last year, Jones had seven fumbles and lost three, but that number probably would’ve been bigger if he played the season’s final six games. 

Along with his struggles holding onto the ball, Jones has thrown 29 interceptions in his career. Along with his mental miscues, everyone remembers Jones’ 80-yard run that ended in him stumbling over his own feet, missing out on an easy touchdown. 

Not all of this falls on Jones, though, as outside factors have played a role in his struggles. Having two different coaching staffs so early in a quarterback’s career is never helpful. In addition, injuries around him have prevented the Giants from having a fully healthy offense. 

The offensive line has been an issue for New York, either not giving Jones enough time to throw in the pocket or Barkley the room to run out of the backfield. 

Jones now has the support around him to succeed. Now it’s up to him to show if he can perform up to expectations in the Big Apple.