For New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, the 2022 season will be a make-or-break year. After joining the team as a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Jones is heading into his fourth year as a pro and needs to establish himself as a franchise cornerstone.
Up to this point, the odds have been stacked against Jones. He’s played in the shadow of legendary quarterback Eli Manning. He’s had a below-average offensive line. He and some of his key offensive playmakers (namely running back Saquon Barkley) have suffered through injuries. And now he’s on his third different coaching staff in four years.
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Despite these setbacks, Jones has always put his head down and gone to work. That is no different this season, as a couple videos of the 24-year-old quarterback working out have surfaced on social media this month.
The first video, posted by the Giants’ official Twitter account, shows Jones bench pressing a pair of 90-pound dumbbells.
Danny Dimes? No, that’s Danny Dumbbells.
The second video, posted by an account called QB Country on Twitter, shows Jones working on his footwork and throwing at Duke’s indoor training facility.
It’s not much, but it’s a rare glimpse into Jones’ offseason. He’s not one to hog the spotlight, and when it does shine on him, he’s typically modest and not out to grab headlines.
At 6-foot-5 and 221 pounds, Jones has a lot of the physical traits needed to become a franchise quarterback. He’s got the size to see over the line and the strength to deliver a decent deep ball.
Jones also has the athleticism to tuck the ball and run with it, but that’s where he gets into some trouble. He’s struggled to stay healthy since his rookie year, and last season he suffered both a concussion and a neck injury while trying to run with the ball — the latter of which forced him to miss the final six games of the season (all losses).
Next month, new Giants general manager Joe Schoen will have to make a decision on Jones. As a former first-round pick, Jones has a fifth-year team option built into his rookie contract. If the Giants pick up that option, he will be due $22.384 million in 2023 and will be secure throughout the upcoming season.
If the Giants decline that option, however, Jones will be in a contract year this fall and will be slated to become a free agent next spring. In this scenario, Jones needs to be in peak physical condition because missing games could literally cost him millions of dollars on the open market.
And, getting his body ready is only half the battle…
Jones is Also Preparing His Brain For The 2022 Season
On top of the physical preparation for the 2022 NFL season, Jones is also studying a new playbook. New Giants head coach Brian Daboll, who previously served as the offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, is installing a new system. It’s on Jones to understand and memorize that system inside and out.
During a media session earlier this month, Jones was asked about the new playbook and his mental preparation.
“I think it’s great,” Jones said. “I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for me to learn a lot, learn a lot of different ways to do it, see a lot of approaches. You know, you can pick up things from each system. But obviously, this system’s had a ton of success. They had a ton of success in Buffalo with it and there’s a reason.
“So, I’m looking forward to finding out what those reasons are. Learning the offense, you know, and then building around what we do well as a team with the guys we got here. That’s what’s exciting to me. I think it’s an awesome opportunity for all of us here.”
Jones is right about Daboll’s offensive success in Buffalo. The Bills ranked among the top five teams in the NFL in both total offense (yards) and scoring offense (points) each of the past two seasons.
But, there’s a catch…
Brian Daboll May Need Jones To Run More
While Daboll’s offensive system certainly flourished in Buffalo, that success comes at a potential cost. The Bills called on quarterback Josh Allen to run quite a bit, and luckily for them, his thick frame (6-5, 237 lbs.) was able to weather the beating he took.
Jones is not as big as Allen and is already teetering on the “injury prone” label. While Jones has averaged 57.3 rushing attempts per season since entering the league, Allen has averaged 105.5 rushing attempts per season. If Daboll needs his quarterback to take off and run that many times to find offensive success, how will Jones’ body react to the influx in rushing attempts?
Depending on what the Giants do with Jones’ contract option next month, something will have to give. Either Daboll will have to adjust his offensive philosophy to provide more protection for his potential franchise quarterback, or Jones will have to bulk up and get ready for a tough road ahead.