Despite reports whipping up a frenzy that Daniel Jones could be the New York Giants starter come Week 1, the rookie quarterback only sees continuing his development when it comes to his offseason workouts.
It is inevitable that at some point in the near future, perhaps by midseason, that Jones is the Giants’ starting quarterback. The sixth overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, Jones was clearly taken with the intent that, at some point, he will replace the incumbent starter and future Hall of Fame quarterback Eli Manning. When that happens remains a mystery, but make no mistake about it the Giants will move on from Manning and give Jones the keys to the offense.
Depending on how the season goes for the Giants as well as on his own acclimation to the NFL, Jones could be the starting quarterback at some point this year. And while reports have hinted that he could replace Manning by the time training camp is over, it seems unlikely that the Giants will rush Jones along, especially with an expensive quarterback in Manning already on the roster. A pragmatic general manager in Dave Gettleman and a development-focused head coach like Pat Shurmur know that Jones will need time and that Manning, for better and for worse, gives the Giants a legitimate shot at winning some games this year.
It is unclear right now, as the Giants continue Organized Team Activities (OTAs) what the plan is for Jones. What is certain is that whatever plan there is for the rookie, it is staying in-house and the Giants aren’t sharing it.
On the flip side, Jones said that getting on the field isn’t his focus right now. Nor should it be.
“I don’t think that is my focus right now,” Jones said this week following OTAs. “I think in this offseason, all of our focus is on just improving and being better than the day before.
“That is certainly my mindset. We are all trying to put ourselves in a position to succeed. My focus right now is to be better than the day I was before.”
While it was known that the Giants had interest in the former Duke quarterback, taking him sixth overall was pegged by the media and many NFL insiders as “a reach.” He was the second quarterback taken in the draft after Kyler Murray, who went first to the Arizona Cardinals.
The Giants, however, liked Jones to the point that they took him roughly six to eight picks higher than most mock drafts had him pegged. For a Duke program that is rather average in the ACC, Jones managed to produce and led the Blue Devils to consecutive bowl wins his final two seasons with the team.
Smart (he already finished his degree in economics by his senior year) and with good production in college not to mention impressive showings at the NFL Combine and private workouts, Jones will be on the fast-track to the starting job. Some of that depends on what Manning, coming off a solid season last year despite what critics might say, does in 2019.
It also likely comes down to how the Giants are doing and if they are anywhere near the playoff picture by midseason.
Jones stuck with the line that his concern isn’t with necessarily when he plays, but being ready to compete and play when he is called upon.
“I don’t think it would be a different mindset,” Jones said. “As a rookie, a young guy coming in, I have so much to learn and plenty to focus on. [I] just kind of here in this moment in today’s practice and tomorrow’s practice. I definitely keep focused on that. Just improving day to day is my more immediate focus.”