Leading into the July 27 opening of Giants training camp, The Post will analyze 11 position groups based on personnel, strengths, weaknesses and key depth chart battles. Today’s look-in: quarterbacks.
Overview: It is not fair to state the Giants in 2021 will go only as far as Daniel Jones can take them. Team success hinges on so much more than that. But — here we go — if Jones has his best season and shows he is a legitimate franchise guy, it is easy to envision the Giants as a playoff contender.
The flip-side? If Jones does not take a quantum step forward, it is nearly impossible to take this team seriously. No one outside the building was particularly overjoyed or impressed when Jones was the surprise pick at No. 6 overall in the 2019 draft, and no one can be particularly overjoyed or impressed with what he has done in his two years on the job.
Replacing Eli Manning after his 16-year stay was never going to be an enviable assignment. Jones works like a demon and does everything right, other than perform at a high enough level to make a believer out of all the doubters.
Personnel: Daniel Jones, Mike Glennon, Clayton Thorson.
Rundown: Did you feel more energized about Jones after his rookie season than you did after last season? Know the feeling. It is not merely because his passer rating (80.4) fell off in 2020 from his rookie year (87.7) or that Jones last season managed to throw just 11 touchdown passes in 14 starts. It is that he rarely gave off the aura that he was in charge and was going to find a way to do whatever it took to steer his team to victory.
All was not lost, though. Jones did improve his ball security (21 combined fumbles and interceptions in 2020 after 30 in 2019), and he showed he is an excellent deep-ball thrower — Next Gen Stats ranked Jones as the No. 1 quarterback in the league last season in pass attempts of 20 or more yards.
Jones is big and strong and has enough oomph in his arm. Plus, he is fast as heck — he ran for 423 yards last season, including 80 on one stumbling, bumbling effort. Not having Saquon Barkley for the final 14 games was a huge detriment for Jones.
Glennon, 31, was signed to a one-year deal ($1.35 million), as the coaching staff opted to move on from veteran Colt McCoy, who was great as far as leadership and preparation but lacking in arm strength. Glennon is a prototype journeyman, on his sixth NFL team with just 34 games on his résumé. He is 6-21 in 27 career starts. He went 4-9 in 13 starts as a rookie with the Buccaneers in 2013, tossing 19 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions for a passer rating of 83.9. He went 0-5 in five starts in 2020 with the Jaguars. At 6-foot-7, Glennon is someone Jones can look up to, as far as height. If need be, the Giants should be able to get through a game or two with Glennon.
Camp combat: No one needs to chart every Jones throw for any brewing quarterback competition. This is his offense, and he doesn’t have to wow anyone over the summer. He simply has to make steady progress. He should look far more comfortable, this being his second year in offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s system. Learning a new playbook during the COVID-19 restrictions was an exceedingly difficult challenge.
Position potential: It is put-up time for Jones. He must prove he can stay healthy (he’s missed four games with injuries in his two-year career) and that he can win games (he is 8-18 as a starter). That is it. He does not have to be a mega-star, but he has to be better than what he has shown.
Jones needs help from his teammates — he’s got upgraded talent around him with receivers Kenny Golladay and rookie Kadarius Toney — and also could be put in more advantageous positions by Garrett.
Jones’ average time of just 2.39 seconds of protection in the pocket in 2020 was 29th in the NFL, and he was sacked 44 times — the fourth-highest total in the league. Jones had the seventh-most incompletions designated as “receiver fault’’ with 36, according to Pro Football Focus. It is not all about Daniel Jones, but it is mostly about him.