NFL

Why Is Colt McCoy Starting Ahead of Daniel Jones for the New York Giants?

In the modern NFL, everything starts and ends with your quarterback. For better or worse, the New York Giants have hitched their wagon to Daniel Jones; while he’s shown flashes of brilliance, he hasn’t exactly turned into a world-beater just yet. When Big Blue meet the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13, though, he won’t be under center.

Barring any unforeseen changes, Colt McCoy will lead the New York Giants offense onto the field on Sunday. So what’s wrong with Daniel Jones that’s keeping the quarterback out of action?

Daniel Jones has had a tough start to his life with the New York Giants

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When you think of Duke University athletics, your mind probably jumps to Coach K and his basketball team. Daniel Jones, however, also made a name for himself in Durham.

After redshirting during his first year on campus, Jones spent three seasons as the Blue Devils’ starting quarterback. While his numbers were never eye-popping—he threw for 8,201 yards, 52 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions across 36 NCAA games—he did enough to impress the New York Giants brass. Come the 2019 NFL draft, they selected Jones with the sixth-overall pick, tapping him as Eli Manning’s successor.

Jones started his time in New York on the bench but claimed the starting job in Week 3. As you might assume, his rookie year was featured plenty of growing pains and bumps in the road. The Giants went 4-12, and Jones finished the campaign with 3,027 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions; he also fumbled the ball 18 times, losing 11 of them.

While the Giants changed coaches in the offseason, things haven’t gotten much better for Jones. Although the quarterback has shown the ability to stand tall in the pocket to throw strikes and run with surprising effectiveness, he doesn’t seem to be a franchise quarterback. He may have the tools to be a capable player in the right system, but, given the Giants’ overall issues, he doesn’t exactly seem like a savior capable of leading them back to the Super Bowl.

Why is Colt McCoy starting ahead of Daniel Jones?

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While Daniel Jones might not be the quarterback to lead the New York Giants to glory, he’s the best option they currently have available. For Week 13’s date with the Seattle Seahawks, however, he won’t be playing; instead, Colt McCoy will start under center.

Jones’ absence stems from a hamstring injury that he picked up at the end of Week 12’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals. According to an ESPN report, scans ruled out a tear but did reveal a hamstring strain; while head coach Joe Judge said he wasn’t sure how long the quarterback would be out of action, it seems like he’ll miss at least one game.

The Giants also promoted Clayton Thorson, the only other quarterback in the organization, from the practice squad to the active roster. If McCoy struggles or suffers an injury of his own, New York may be forced to throw their third-stringer into the deep end.

What can we expect from Colt McCoy’s first New York Giants start?

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While he entered the NFL with quite a track record, Colt McCoy never quite turned into a star at the NFL level. On Sunday, however, he’ll be taking the reigns of a (4-7) team that’s fighting for a playoff spot.

With McCoy under center, the Giants’ offense will have to undergo a few stylistic tweaks. “If training camp and intrasquad scrimmages are any indication, McCoy will be using a lot of play-action passes and underneath throws to his running backs and top possession receivers, such as Shepard and tight end Evan Engram,” ESPN’s Jordan Raanan explained. “The down-the-field throws to big-play wide receiver Darius Slayton probably won’t be as frequent or accessible as they are with Jones.”

It’s also worth noting that McCoy does have some athleticism and running ability; that should allow the Giants to keep at least one part of their playback—the designed quarterback runs—intact.

Facing the Seattle Seahawks on the road is never an easy task for anyone, let alone a sub-500 team with a backup quarterback under center. The New York Giants and Colt McCoy, however, don’t have much of a choice come Week 13.

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference and Pro-Football-Reference