With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Quarterbacks
2022 YEAR IN REVIEW: At this time last year, the Giants had refused the fifth-year option on Daniel Jones, the sixth overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. Most pundits and fans expected Jones to play out the final year of his contract and depart quietly in free agency, some predicting he would buckle under the pressure and be benched for Tyrod Taylor before the season ended. That didn’t happen. Instead, through hard work, perseverance, and top-notch coaching, Jones stayed healthy, dramatically cut down his mistakes, and led his team to a surprising playoff appearance. Indeed, the highlight of his season was his MVP-quality performance against the 13-4 Vikings in the first-round of the playoffs.
For the first time as a pro, Jones did not miss a game due to injury. He started 16 regular-season games, being held out of the season finale as a healthy scratch, and finished the season completing 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,205 yards, 15 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also set a franchise single-season record for quarterback rushing yards with 120 carries for 708 yards and seven touchdowns. Not only were the five interceptions a career-low, but so were his fumbles (six). His improved play occurred despite a revolving door of subpar receivers to throw to and shaky pass protection.
In March 2023, Daniel Jones was re-signed to a 4-year, $160 million contract.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The only change came at the third-string spot with Davis Webb retiring and moving on to become the quarterbacks coach of the Denver Broncos. Undrafted rookie free agent Tommy DeVito was signed after the 2023 NFL Draft.
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Most pundits and many fans still do not have a lot of faith in Daniel Jones and believe he is a middle-tier quarterback at best. The derogatory “game manager” label is employed. At worst, palpable hostility is easily detected from those who seemed triggered by his mere existence. Strange times. The national media story line is easy to predict: Jones has to prove his worthy of his $160 million contract. Fans are more focused on him increasing his passing touchdowns while maintaining a low turnover rate.
However, one gets the sense that the coaching staff has much more faith in Daniel Jones and fully intend for him to be much more than a “game manager” in 2023. The contract, offseason acquisitions, spring practices, and rhetoric all suggest something more. Fans forget that last summer that Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka were employing a more pass-centric offense that used the short passing game to a variety of targets. Those plans quickly went by the wayside due to injury and performance issues at wide receiver. It was so bad at times that David Sills and Marcus Johnson were starting. This spring, reporters have noted an increased emphasis on throwing the ball down the field.
The real story line could be whether or not Daboll and Kafka can help mold Daniel Jones into another Josh Allen.
ON THE BUBBLE: Barring injury, the top two spots are locked up. The Giants are very likely to carry a third quarterback on the Practice Squad, just like they did in 2022 with Davis Webb. Whether Tommy DeVito or someone not yet on the team will be that guy remains to be determined.
FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Brian Daboll on Daniel Jones: “Daniel’s a true pro. I’m not going to compare him to other guys I’ve been around, but he is constantly working. There’re times where I’ve got to say, ‘Just take a little break here.’ He just wants to work, work, work, meet. He’s a true pro… We’ve added I’d say considerably new things these camps just to see how they look. But he’s got really good give-and-take with Kafka, seeing how different players look in different spots. He’s had a really good camp… He’s made right reads, he’s had good leadership, he’s communicating well, he’s good in the meetings.”
Mike Kafka on what he is expecting out of Daniel Jones in 2023: “When we did our scheme evaluation, each position group identified several things we can look to improve on. Nothing specific that I would share in a public forum. Those are things we have a plan for, trying to work through all the little fundamental things. Yeah, we definitely have a plan. The coaches are doing a great job of implementing that in the offseason.”
Quarterbacks Coach Shea Tierney on Daniel Jones: “Far as differences (from last year), none. He’s the same guy. I don’t think Daniel will change for anyone. That’s part of the reason why I love him. Same dude. Still shows up at 6AM. First guy in there. Last guy to leave.”
Parris Campbell on what he has learned about Daniel Jones since joining the team: “Yeah, the number one thing that I’ve learned is, man, he’s a hard worker. I don’t think just from the outside looking in he gets a lot of credit for that. Like from day one, he puts so much time and effort into his craft. As a quarterback, obviously that’s something you’ve got to do. He takes it to a whole other level. I respect and applaud him for that. It gets you up, makes you want to play for a guy like that when you see him put in all that time and that work.”
PREDICTIONS: The Giants added Darren Waller, Parris Campbell, and Jalin Hyatt to the team for a reason. Same with re-signing Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. Assistant General Manager Brandon Brown was more open about it when he said, “We did our research. We know from the fringe red zone, red zone, being a mismatch piece, (Waller) is someone that you call the problem creator. You look at what he can do in terms of opening up the field for the rest of our guys, whether it’s adding Parris Campbell, adding Slayton in terms of bringing him back, what he can do from separating, I call it stretching a defense, whether it’s vertically and laterally. He adds to that. He’s going to open up the field, and we get Wan’Dale (Robinson) back and add those pieces in the slot, Shepard back. I think it’s one of those things where he’s a force multiplier.”
The Giants are going to push the ball down the field this year. The offense will look more like the ones Buffalo and Kansas City. Saquon Barkley will still have his touches and Daniel Jones will still have his runs (just like Josh Allen in Buffalo), but the coaches are going to take the training wheels off. I suspect the message to Jones will be, “don’t be careless with the ball, but we want you to take some chances. We’re OK with some turnovers if the decision-making is sound.”
It will be addressed more in the tight end preview, but the acquisition of Darren Waller is going to be huge both for this offense and Daniel Jones in particular. Not only will he will serve as a top-notch security blanket and play-maker, but he will open things up for everyone else who touches the ball. Daniel Jones threw 15 touchdown passes last year. It’s not unreasonable to expect Waller to have eight by himself in 2023. Combine that with the other pass-receiving upgrades and Jones’ passing touchdown totals could actually double.
FINAL DEPTH CHART: Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor