The 2022 season was supposed to be about closure. Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones were the two talismans of the Dave Gettleman era who were on their way out. Instead, Barkley appears reenergized after missing countless starts over the past two seasons. Much to the chagrin of Giants fans, Brian Daboll has also found something that’s worked with Danny Dimes.
Jones has been a constant disappointment under center since being drafted seventh overall. This offseason, New York declined his fifth-year option, however, the buzz around Jones has been building with every win. Judging from the tone of desperate Giants fans after Sunday’s 27-22 win over the Green Bay Packers, Jones’ steady play may be enough to deceive the Giants into bringing him back for one more spin.
They should purge those thoughts before they wind up with a Jimmy Garoppolo 2.0 on their hands. For the sake of Giants fans’ sanity, they’ve grown accustomed to grading Jones’ contributions on a curve. On Sunday, Jones was serviceable. He completed 21 passes for 217 yards against Green Bay and nearly outpaced Aaron Rodgers in yardage.
Against the Packers in London, Jones spearheaded the sixth comeback or game-winning drive of his four-year career, and his fourth of this season. In reality, Jones has ridden shotgun for three of those comebacks this season. Week 5 was the first time that he’s surpassed 200 yards passing in 2022.
Even as the Giants have won, Jones has felt like the vestigial element of a Giants offense that could be operated by any bipedal athlete with experience in high-level football. Forget stacking up to his peers Kyler Murray and Josh Allen. Murray and Allen have thrown for at least 200 in every game this season and led nearly twice as many comebacks each as Jones has.
It was Barkley’s 2-point conversion, 194 total yards from scrimmage, and a missed Titans field goal that pushed them over .500 for the first time since 2016. In New York’s Week 2 win over the Carolina Panthers, Jones’ 3rd and 6 scramble sealed the deal, but that was against the team in the midst of the league’s longest active losing streak. Jones threw for a meager 71 yards in a win over the Bears last week.
Daboll has also been wise enough to keep Jones from airing it out too often. Instead, Jones has been used in RPOs, as a decoy wideout in Wildcat formations, and as a Taysom Hill-like gadget player. New York has nicked teams to death through their first five games of the season out of necessity. Jones should be commended for working with a depleted receiving corps while avoiding negative plays. Jones completed more safety valve throws to tight ends, fullbacks, and running backs than he did to wide receivers on the Giants’ final two scoring drives. A large chunk of Jones’ 217 yards on Sunday were the result of a short catch-and-run that Barkley broke into a 40-yard gain on the game-winning drive.
The Giants entrusted Barkley to the Wildcat to close out their game-winning drive. Jones is the poor man’s version of a quintessential Giants quarterback. Unspectacular as an individual, a drab passer, but a resourceful group project member. He won’t lead the Giants to victories, but he can still read Barkley directions from the passenger seat. It’s all about the journey and not the destination. The Giants should enjoy this start, but shouldn’t read too much into this and fall for the contract year mirage.