Cognizant of his role as one of the league’s most accomplished quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers shared a few words of wisdom with Giants rookie Daniel Jones after their showdown Sunday afternoon in New Jersey.
While Rodgers had spent the afternoon throwing four touchdown passes and helping the Green Bay Packers (9-3) to a 31-13 road victory in the snow, Jones was picked off three times in front of his home crowd as the New York Giants (2-10) went down late without much of a fight. He hadn’t thrown an interception since Nov. 4 coming into the game but has been prone to fumbles this season.
“Hang in there, brother,” Rodgers told Jones as they two met on the field in the postgame. “Long career, right? Learn from these days and the good ones, too.”
Jones, the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, took over the leading role in Week 3 after the Giants benched Eli Manning and won his first two starts. But the Giants have lost eight in a row since then as Jones, seemingly the future of the franchise, has struggled to find string together strong performances.
Rodgers’ wisdom comes just a week after he himself had one of the worst passing performances of his career in a 37-8 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The two-time MVP tossed for just 104 passing yards on 33 attempts and fumbled away the ball on the Packers’ opening drive just a few yards from their own goal line.
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Jones Progressing Slowly, Not Surely
Jones didn’t make any excuses after the Giants’ miserable home loss to the Packers. Not about the weather conditions, even though he admitted he nearly no experience playing in the snow. Nor about his ankle, which head coach Pat Shurmur said he injured before halftime and played through in the second half.
“We got him checked out, got him retaped and he was ready to go,” Shurmur said in Sunday’s postgame. “Tough guy, he fought through it.”
Shurmur said there were certain plays he chose not to run with Jones because of his ankle but he did not attribute his poor performance — or his costly interceptions — to any side effects of his ankle. Jones didn’t even mention the injury when he took the podium before Shurmur and accepted full responsibility for his turnovers.
“Obviously, there is still a lot to work on and I understand that,” Jones told reporters Sunday, “but I feel like I’m improving, and the challenge is to continue to do that, but do it faster and play more consistently.”
Shurmur didn’t seem concerned when asked about Jones’ progress as a quarterback, saying he expects his young quarterback will persist on and, as Rodgers advised, learn the latest loss.
“He’s got to keep playing through it and keep learning from every scenario, and there’s no better training ground than playing,” Shurmur said. “Unfortunately, we’re dealing with some mistakes you hope you never see again. He battles through it and, if you make mistakes, you’ve got to overcome it. And that’s the reality of it.
“But we’re fortunate that he’s tough, he’s smart, he gets it. He did make a heck of a lot of really good plays out there today because of who he is, and we’ve just got to clean up the mistakes.”