NFL

Daniel Jones Can Silence His Haters With Strong Week 1 Against Steelers

The New York Giants have officially placed all of their eggs in Daniel Jones’ basket.

Jones, a former first-round pick from Duke, impressed at times as a rookie last year. Jones looked like the Giants’ future but had his fair share of moments where he played like a rookie.

Expectations are higher with Jones in his second year. Jones can silence his doubters and prove he is the right man to lead the New York Giants with a strong Week 1 outing against the Steelers.

Daniel Jones had a mixed rookie year

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The overall numbers of Daniel Jones’ rookie year aren’t as bad as people made it out to be.

Jones completed 62% of his passes for 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 13 games (12 starts). Jones also averaged 6.2 yards per carry on 45 attempts and scored two touchdowns.

Considering Jones was sacked on nearly 8% of his pass attempts, that he only threw 12 interceptions should be regarded as a miracle. Jones struggled with turnovers and led the league with 18 fumbles.

Jones will have two major changes in his second season. Eli Manning, who served as Jones’ mentor for a year, retired following the season.

New York parted ways with Pat Shurmur after the season. The Giants hired Patriots assistant coach Joe Judge as his replacement.

Jones can take a big jump this season

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The recent trend in football has been second-year quarterbacks taking tremendous jumps.

How popular is the trend? Arizona’s Kyler Murray and Denver’s Drew Lock, both second-year quarterbacks, appeared on 9% of all William Hill tickets for the 2020 NFL MVP in August.

Could Jones be the next sophomore quarterback to make that leap, just as Patrick Mahomes did in 2018 and Lamar Jackson last year?

For Jones to do that, he’ll need to improve significantly on his decision making. Pro-Football-Reference uses an advanced metric known as bad throws, which is the percentage of poor throws per pass attempts.

Of Jones 459 passes last year, 80 — or 17.9% — were considered bad throws. On the contrary, 71.1% of Jones’ throws — 318-of-459 — were considered on-target.

Daniel Jones can silence the doubters in Week 1

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Daniel Jones will have no shortage of dangerous offensive players around him when the season opens.

Most of Jones’ weapons, including dangerous running back Saquon Barkley, are healthy. Veteran receiver Golden Tate has been bothered by a hamstring injury recently.

Unfortunately for Jones, he lost starting left tackle Nate Solder to a COVID-19 opt-out. Solder, who battled cancer in the past and has a newborn son, is sitting out the season for personal reasons.

The Giants can’t go back to the Eli Manning era. Daniel Jones is their man and he now has the opportunity to shine without any pressure of his predecessor returning.

If Jones can cut down on the bad decisions and make the most of a healthy offense, the Giants could be a sneaky team in the NFC this year. There would be no better way for Jones to fully prove himself to Giants fans than by keeping them in the playoff race.

All stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.