Big Blue Heaven – Ladies and Gentleman, we have our QB. I’m not here to gush about Mr. Daniel Jones. No wait, it’s the opposite. That’s exactly why I’m here.
It was late in the first half and the New York Giants had the ball down 25-10. They needed a lift before the half. They had allowed the Bucs to score on all five (soon to be six) of their first half possessions. In a situation where most teams would be playing to prevent a big play, the Bucs were playing press to try to force the Giants rookie QB into a game sealing mistake. Jones recognized his opportunity but overthrew a streaking Russell Shepard on a post with a step on the defender. Jones rushed the throw and didn’t put enough air under it.
Tampa got the ball back, and after an atrociously defended screen pass, tacked on another field goal. They went into the locker room with a commanding 18 point lead. Local scribes had their headlines – “Eli wasn’t the problem,” “Jones can’t fix the Defense,” etc. But the youngster had other ideas in the second half.
It was great to remember what it feels like to jump up and cheer for your team. The Giants are still probably around a six win team, but the season got a helluva lot more interesting. Sure, they needed a chip shot miss from the guy with the worst selling jersey in the NFL, Matt Gay, but we’ll take it.
In spite of a few big plays, the defense was not good. Obviously, the game plan of letting Janoris Jenkins handle Mike Evans did not work. The Giants adjusted in the second half and shut Evans down until they inexplicably left Jenkins alone on him late in the game. Predictably, Evans burned him for what should have set up the game winner. I guess that’s the trade-off for bringing some blitzes to get some pressure on Winston.
It was not a good look for Jenkins a week after complaining about the pass rush. He all but sealed his walking papers for next season in this one. At some point soon, the Giants should get some playing time for youngsters Corey Ballentine and Julian Love to see what they have.
Alec Ogletree, who injured his hammy on a comical non-play, is likely to be gone as well. With those two and Eli off the books, the G-men are going to have a TON of cap space. A couple of guys named Von Miller and Jadeveon Clowney might be available.
I’m trying not to get ahead of myself here, but this kid has exceeded expectations on every step up the ladder. “It was only pre-season.” “Rookie QBs never do well right away.” I know, but did you watch the pre-season? Everything you look for was there.
The fumbling in the pre-season didn’t bother me, but I think it’s time to acknowledge that it could be a problem. He seems so focused on his receivers down field, he sometimes doesn’t feel pressure even when it’s right there. That’s sure better than the reverse, being fixated on the rush, but it will need to be fixed. As long as he’s not compounding it with interceptions, I think they can live with it until he improves.
Sure, there will be growing pains and the defense has a lot of holes. With the Giants likely to be playing from behind, DJ’s scrambling will lead to plenty of extra hits. And as they won’t be able to lean on Saquon for a while, it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw some more of Manning this year. But would you blame me if I spent a few minutes this morning looking at the schedule and thinking “with a few breaks, they could go into their bye at 5-5.” A boy can dream.
Those us who were befuddled when they took Jones at six, it’s time to come clean. He almost definitely would have not have been there at 17. Two other teams would have taken him, as reported by NFL media’s Ian Rapoport. It now seems clear that Dave Gettleman, currently in a blissful daze with a Cheshire cat grin, might have gotten this one right. And it’s the big one.
Hey Cris Carter, is it okay to un-pump the brakes now?
Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward who will let us know if it is now acceptable to refer to the QB as “Danny Dimes.” Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.