As Daniel Jones tries to establish himself as franchise quarterback of the New York Giants, at least one former NFL signal caller is not sold on his ability.
Dan Orlovsky, who played for five NFL teams from 2005-17 and now works as a television analyst for ESPN, recently fired a shot at Jones on Twitter. In the tweet, Orlovsky suggested that New York’s surprising 4-1 start has little to do with Jones’ play.
“Daniel Jones has 848 yards passing [and three touchdown passes] for the Giants,” Orlovsky wrote on Twitter. “The only full time starter that both [numbers] are better than is [Chicago Bears quarterback Justin] Fields. He’s much better at not giving the ball away [and] is using his feet well. But the Giants are 4-1 because of their [defense] and Saquon [Barkley] and [halftime] adjustments.”
Orlovsky is not wrong about the Giants defense, which ranks among the top 10 units in points allowed per game (18.6); nor is he incorrect about Barkley, who leads the entire NFL in yards from scrimmage through five games (676).
Orlovsky is, however, minimizing the impact Jones has made. Traditional passing stats such as yards and touchdowns aren’t going to tell the full story. Let’s dive into the replies on Orlovsky’s tweet and try to paint a clearer picture.
Daniel Jones Has Displayed the Clutch Gene in 2022
Daniel Jones may not be lighting up the passing leaderboards with his arm, but that’s partially because he doesn’t have the weapons to do so. His top wide receiver this year is Richie James, who leads the team with 17 catches for 171 yards. Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney have combined to catch four passes for 22 yards this season. The Giants do not have a healthy wide receiver on the roster with a touchdown catch in 2022.
Despite this egregious lack of help at the wide receiver position, Jones has made plays when they matter most. One of the top responses to Dan Orlovsky’s tweet is just a link to another tweet from CBS Sports, which points out that Jones leads the NFL with three game-winning drives this season.
Often times, Jones is forced to make plays with his legs. He’s rushed for 230 yards and two touchdowns through five games. As outstanding as Barkley has been on the ground, Jones is a big reason why the Giants currently boast the No. 2 rushing attack in the NFL (179.0 yards per game).
Nowhere was this more clear than on the game-tying drive against the Green Bay Packers in London.
Daniel Jones’ 91-Yard TD Drive (Without Saquon Barkley)
Instead of basing his opinion on passing yards, Dan Orlovsky should turn on the film from the Packers game and skip to the 3:15 mark in the third quarter. That’s when Daniel Jones orchestrated a 15-play, 91-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 20-20.
Let’s go play by play through that drive to illustrate Jones’ impact.
Play 1: Jones completes a short pass to Barkley, who loses a yard and leaves the game with a shoulder injury.
Play 2: Jones completes a pass to Matt Breida for 13 yards.
Play 3: Jones scrambles for 14 yards.
Play 4: Breida rushes for a loss of 1 yard.
Play 5: Jones completes a pass to Marcus Johnson for 7 yards.
Play 6: Jones converts a 3rd-and-4 by completing a pass to Daniel Bellinger for 11 yards.
Play 7: Jones runs for 3 yards.
Play 8: Jones scrambles for 8 yards.
Play 9: Breida rushes for 2 yards.
Play 10: Jones completes a pass to Johnson for 16 yards.
Play 11: Gary Brightwell rushes for 3 yards.
Play 12: Jones completes pass to Chris Myarick for 4 yards.
Play 13: Jones converts a 3rd-and-3 by completing a pass to David Sills for 5 yards.
Play 14: Jones throws an incomplete pass.
Play 15: Brightwell rushes for a 2-yard touchdown.
This drive chewed up over eight minutes of game clock, and it came with Barkley on the sideline. Jones converted two third downs, completed seven out of eight pass attempts and rushed for 25 yards on this drive. That’s putting the team on your back.
The Giants may not have an explosive passing offense at the moment, but that’s hardly the fault of Jones. He’s pushed through injuries, rushed for 21 first downs (tied for fourth most in the NFL) and played a crucial role in New York’s 4-1 start to the season.
Does it surprise me? No. But don’t ever quote yo me game winning drives. We saw what it did for Eli Manning in 2011, including in New England where they hadn’t lost in how long? Eli Manning had if I remember correctly 9 that year after mouthing off in the preseason saying ‘you can’t say Elite without E-L-I’. But Peyton’s injury overshadowed him where he should’ve won the 2011 MVP, but it’s all about piling up the stats and limiting the turnovers. So what if the first 4 games he had no WR with any speed? So what if Jones’s OL is still not even on par with what’s lining up for Harbaugh in Ann Arbor? Fact is teams still can’t stop him when he scrambles.