Ex-Giants Coach Opens Up About Daniel Jones’ Pitfalls, Future in New York

Daniel Jones

Getty New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is entering Year 4 under a new coaching staff.

Will Daniel Jones still be the starting quarterback for the New York Giants at this time next year? His first three seasons in the NFL have been up and down, but if he can put it all together under another new coaching staff in 2022, Jones has a chance to stick around as New York’s franchise quarterback.

Now observing from a distance, former Giants assistant coach Freddie Kitchens has his opinions of Jones. Kitchens joined the Giants as a tight ends coach on Joe Judge’s staff in 2020, and last season he served as a senior offensive assistant and interim offensive coordinator (after Jason Garrett was fired). Kitchens was let go with the rest of Judge’s staff following the 2021 season and is now working as a senior analyst for the South Carolina Gamecocks.

ALL the latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!

Kitchens recently opened up about Jones during an interview with Lance Meadow and Brad Hopkins on Sirius XM NFL Radio. Here’s an excerpt of what Kitchens said about Jones balancing his athletic ability with his injury history, via Chris Pflum of Big Blue View (emphasis added):

“I think Daniel began to understand that [the importance of staying healthy],” Kitchens said. “It was an unfortunate deal, but I do think Daniel’s grown a lot from that aspect of things and understands that he kinda carries the team on his back as far as their future because he wouldn’t be starting unless he was the best chance to win. He’s started to understand that better.”

“I think early on you’re out there for the team,” he added, “you want to do what’s best for the team and all those sorts of things and you kinda get carried away at times, but he’s gotten a better grasp of that I think and I know he has moving forward.”

“With Daniel’s legs, his legs are a tremendous attribute and I think moving forward just staying a little more safe with him would be beneficial and I think he’s learned that. I think you’ll see the best of Daniel Jones from that aspect. Make no mistake about it, Daniel Jones’ legs are definitely a weapon.”

Jones’ athleticism has been a double-edged sword since entering the NFL. On one hand, he is a great runner who has rushed for 1,000 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and five touchdowns through three seasons. On the other, that willingness to tuck the ball and run has contributed to him missing several games due to injury.

Here’s one such example from last season:

It remains to be seen how first-year Giants head coach Brian Daboll will utilize Jones’ athleticism. As the offensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills, he called on quarterback Josh Allen to run with the ball often. He may have to adjust that strategy with Jones.

Kitchens: Daniel Jones in ‘Best Situation’ With Brian Daboll

Freddie Kitchens wouldn’t offer a prediction on whether Jones will ink a second contract with the Giants, but he did say that new head coach Brian Daboll offers the “best situation” for the fledgling quarterback.

“I know the new management there has done a tremendous job,” Kitchens said on Sirius XM NFL Radio, per Big Blue View. “Brian’s going to do a helluva job coaching ’em, so I think they’ve got the best situation that Daniel’s had in quite some time to get the best out of him. If the best that he can give them is what they want to see then of course they’ll give him the contract. If not, they’ll move on. It’s as simple as that.”

Coaching staff turnover has impacted Jones’ development in the NFL. He’s only in his fourth year, and he’s already had three different head coaches and four different play callers (Pat Shurmur, Jason Garrett, Freddie Kitchens and now Brian Daboll/Mike Kafka).

If Jones can click right away with the current coaching staff, the Giants may finally be able to find some stability.

Golden Tate Recently Defended Daniel Jones

Freddie Kitchens is not the only past Giant coming forward to talk about Daniel Jones this offseason. Former Giants wide receiver Golden Tate recently said he sympathizes with Jones, after all the coaching turnover he has faced in his young career.

“I honestly feel bad for Daniel,” Tate told NJ.com. “He was drafted into a rebuilding organization for one, had Pat Shurmur for a year and then got Joe Judge for two years, now another head coach and another rebuild going into his fourth season. He hasn’t had Saquon [Barkley], myself, [Kenny] Golladay, Sterling [Shepard] — no one is ever on the field at the same time. And then on top of that, he had [Jason] Garrett and that probably didn’t help much.

“So you kind of feel bad for him … He has a lot of talent but he just hasn’t had much help due to injuries and how they set it up.”

Read More