'Get ready to play our best game': All eyes on Daniel Jones in Giants … – NorthJersey.com

EAST RUTHERFORD – Two prevailing trends regarding Daniel Jones four seasons into his NFL career will be up against one another when the New York Giants meet the Washington Commanders in what amounts to a playoff elimination game Sunday night.
In three career starts inside FedEx Field, Jones has thrown seven touchdown passes with no interceptions, completing 73 of 108 passes (67.6%) for 813 yards in addition to 111 rushing yards and another score. If not for a pair of bone-headed penalties by teammates in Week 2 of last season, the Giants’ quarterback would be undefeated in Landover, Md.
There’s a statistic that runs counter to that success, however.
Jones and the Giants are 0-9 in prime time with him at the helm of their offense. Now granted, some of that has to do with the opponents they have faced, and where they have faced them, such as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Kansas City and Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.
So when Jones takes the field for the Giants’ rematch against Washington from their 20-20 tie of two weeks ago, with the stakes even higher this time around, something’s got to give.
And there’s no better time than now to consider the quandary George Costanza once found himself in throughout one of the most famous episodes of the TV show “Seinfeld.”
In a showdown between Independent George and Relationship George, Costanza fears that he is losing the identity he has separate from his fiancée Susan after she begins hanging out with his friends: “You are killing Independent George!”
Well, if FedEx Daniel Jones walks into that stadium on “Sunday Night Football,” the Giants can only hope he can overtake Prime Time Daniel Jones and lead them to a must-have victory.
Because, as George would likely remind us, a Daniel Jones divided against itself cannot stand!
“Get ready to play our best game on Sunday night,” Jones said, delivering a challenge to himself and the rest of his teammates as much as a promise to those who remain convinced following Sunday’s 48-22 loss to the Eagles that the Giants have no business being in the playoff hunt.
Yet, thanks to their strong and surprising 6-1 start, Brian Daboll’s team is squarely in the chase. In fact, the Giants (7-5-1) would be in the playoffs if the season ended today – alas, it does not – in advance of the final four games of their regular season.
Jones has started all 13 games, fighting through an ankle injury in early October. He’s answered those doubts about his durability, and has worked tirelessly to change the reputation he earned in previous seasons as a turnover machine. Jones has just four interceptions this season, and while the Giants have not taken as many downfield chances as Daboll would like, given different circumstances, he has taken a big step forward in that aspect of his game.
“He’s [done] a nice job really since we got here,” Daboll said of Jones, who has 12 touchdown passes and five more rushing scores.
Giants quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney recently praised Jones’ hunger to compete, and how that desire ultimately helped put down the foundation Jones and the new coaching staff have established.
“Something that has stuck with me from Bill Parcells, something he always liked to say: Don’t confuse routine with commitment,” Tierney said. “And Daniel is committed to being the very best quarterback he can be for this team.”
You can believe Jones isn’t the best long-term option at quarterback for the Giants beginning next season and still give him credit for how he’s played under Daboll, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Tierney. The contract questions are for general manager Joe Schoen, Daboll and ownership to answer a month from now, whether the Giants reach the playoffs or not.
There is some uncertainty regarding the Giants’ trust in Jones to be aggressive to attack defenses. Some of that has to do with his lack of productive receivers and an offensive line that has sprung leaks in pass protection far too often in recent weeks.
The franchise tag for roughly $30 million does not seem like the ideal play to keep Jones, provided that’s what the Giants want. A better move, if Jones agrees, might be something like a two-year deal worth $40 million, slightly less per year than what the fifth-year option would have paid him. It’s hard to imagine Jones garnering more on the market from another team – unless he takes his game to another level over the next four games, beginning Sunday night.
And if he’s able to do that, the Giants might have more games to play together beyond this critical stretch.
“I think we’ve got to be very honest about what it is that we didn’t do well and what led to the result [against the Eagles],” Jones said. “At the same time, we got to correct that and then move forward, move past it, understand that no one is going to feel sorry for us. It’s up to us to fix it and to move forward. Everything we want to achieve is still out in front of us. The guys understand that and I’m confident we’ll bounce back and have a great week of practice and prepare to play well on Sunday night.”
A lot is riding on Jones and the Giants doing that.
The Commanders are coming with the hope of delivering a knockout.
We’ll see who steps in the ring Sunday night – FedEx Daniel Jones or Prime Time Daniel Jones – and which one shows up in the biggest game of the season.


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