Stamford, CT: We interrupt the regularly scheduled Mets’ stroke session to bring you some football news. Daniel Jones sure looked sharp in his first preseason action over the weekend, completing all five of his passes including a pretty TD. Though it was only one series, you’d think his performance would have been enough to get the haters off his back for a minute. But in the case of Cris Carter, a vocal critic of the Giants’ pick of Jones over Dwayne Haskins, you would be wrong.
In April, Carter Tweeted: “If Dwayne Haskins, as an African American, goes to Duke and puts up those mediocre stats, 7th in the Conference, he’s not drafted Day 1 or Day 2. That stuff is racial.”
Ok. That’s not outlandish and could surely have some truth to it. And it’s not implausible to think the Giants preferred the white kid from Duke to be the face of their franchise over Haskins.
But it’s hard to say definitively, without being in the front office. Sometimes full blown love blooms when you least expect it and there were definitely legitimate reasons to be wary of Haskins.
In Jones’ lone drive we saw some poise and confidence, a few balls fit into tight windows, some zip on a third down completion, and nice touch on the TD. Haskins had some bright moments in his debut, but he also had two bad interceptions.
It would have been easy for Carter to take the high road and praise Jones on a successful debut. But Carter doubled down, apparently unwilling to man up and consider the possibility that he might have been wrong. The Giants might have actually seen something in Jones besides the color of his skin.
Said the HOF receiver:
“The touchdown — people will be looking at that thinking he made a great throw. They’ll be like, ‘oh man, he fit that ball in there!’ That safety should have intercepted that ball. That ball should not have been thrown to [Bennie Fowler],” Carter said. “And [Jones] was eyeballing him the whole time. If you watch it, when he gets the snap of the ball, his head — they were in Cover 2, which means split safeties — was on the safety and to the right side of the field. . . He’s not an NFL safety, so don’t look at that as if, ‘oh, he made a great throw.’ Those are bad defenders out there. It was a ball that shouldn’t have been thrown — two guys could have picked that ball off. So, let’s bump the brakes.”
Yikes. What a giant douche-hammer. What was Jones supposed to do, check it down because the first team safety wasn’t out there? I don’t know how he can say with a straight face that a perfectly dropped TD pass right in the guy’s gut should not have been thrown.
You take advantage of weak defenders and match-ups in your favor. You make the plays you can make. Jones can’t worry about players that aren’t on the field. If there were better players out there that would have had better coverage, maybe Jones would have looked elsewhere or thrown it away. With only five NFL passes under his belt, no one knows. But it’s ludicrous to criticize a guy for a perfectly thrown TD pass. I’m annoyed.
Carter was also quick to gloss over the interceptions thrown by Haskins: “It’s easy to explain the interceptions,” Carter said, noting that the ball simply sailed on Haskins. “Those are things that are very, very correctable. And, as the coach mentioned, they have to clean up the pass protection. I don’t mind guys throwing interceptions if you can explain the reason why and be able to correct them.”
To recap, throwing interceptions is fine. Going five for five with a TD pass is bad. Um-kay?
I’m not saying we should get ahead of ourselves with Jones. The guy has played one series and thrown five passes in one NFL pre-season game. It’s a bit too early start construction on his statue.
But why couldn’t Carter just say “it’s a small sample size, but he looked good.” He could have talked about the poor safety play and how it will be harder for Jones against better defenses, without making idiotic, indefensible comments like “the ball shouldn’t have been thrown.” If Carter is convinced that Jones doesn’t have the chops for the NFL, all he has to do is take the high road and wait for him to fall apart. If Jones ends up being a player, Carter will look even worse after these comments. But now, it seems to me that Carter is the one judging a guy by the color of his skin and not the content of his audibles.
This is not just a football problem. No one ever seems to man up and take responsibility for their words anymore. Everyone wants to make headlines with outlandish, clickbait hot takes, but no one owns it when the hot take turns into cold pile of doo doo. And it starts at the top. It was the teleprompter’s fault that I said airports were key in the Revolutionary War, someone gave me that info when I said I had the biggest electoral college win since Reagan, an old friend came in from out of town, locusts, I swear to God it wasn’t my fault. The buck stops anywhere else.
Even if Carter’s original comments were in the ballpark, it shouldn’t affect his analysis of Jones. If the kid can play, Carter had better recognize. If you’re looking around the table and you can’t find the racist, maybe it’s you.
Come back tomorrow for a guy who promises to man up if he ever makes a mistake, Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.