Tommy DeVito Has Exposed Daniel Jones’ Biggest Weakness for Giants

Tommy DeVito

Getty Tommy DeVito's success for the New York Giants has exposed Daniel Jones' biggest weakness.

The New York Giants are learning a lot while Tommy DeVito is playing quarterback, but the most important lesson is finding out about starter Daniel Jones’ biggest weakness.

DeVito has inadvertently exposed the main flaw in Jones’ game, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. Specifically, DeVito’s success moving the ball vertically through the air has shone a light on Jones’ inability to attack defenses deep.

Duggan used some startling numbers to outline what he called “an alarming point” about the difference between Jones and DeVito.

Tommy DeVito is Succeeding Where Daniel Jones Couldn’t

Going long wasn’t Jones’ strong suit before he tore his ACL against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 9. Duggan pointed out how “just 8.1 percent of Jones’ passes this season traveled 20-plus yards in the air. That would be tied with Panthers rookie Bryce Young for the lowest rate in the league if Jones had enough attempts to qualify. By comparison, DeVito is at 10.5 percent, and Taylor is at 12.6 percent.”

Unfortunately for Jones, the disparity extends to the performances of veteran backup Tyrod Taylor: “DeVito (12) and Taylor (10) have more completions of 20-plus yards than Jones (9), despite Jones having 55 more attempts than DeVito and 73 more attempts than Taylor.”

The stark difference in how often Jones attempts a big-time throw of 20-plus air yards, compared with Taylor, was outlined by Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus.

By making more plays vertically, DeVito is doing what head coach Brian Daboll wants from the QB position: “Daboll wants a quarterback who lets it rip. He highlighted the “high-level” hole shot against Cover-2 DeVito threw to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt against the Patriots in Week 12.”

Dropping a pass in between the underneath cornerback and deep safety in Cover 2 takes a strong and accurate arm, but it also requires a decisive read. DeVito showed all of those qualities when he found rookie wide receiver Jalin Hyatt on the play Duggan referenced in the first quarter.

With DeVito in the lineup, this play wasn’t just a one-off. Instead, DeVito repeated the same Cover-2 beater to Hyatt in the third quarter, a 41-yard connection highlighted by 24/7 Sports.

DeVito is being decisive enough to take the deep shots Daboll’s system requires, but Jones has rarely been so sure.

Daniel Jones Has a Fatal Flaw for Brian Daboll’s Offense

As Duggan put it, “Jones has become gun-shy, and that’s a problem.” Again, this problem is not an outlier: “Jones ranked 32nd out of 33 qualifying passers last season with a 5.9 percent rate of 20-plus air-yard passes and tied for 30th of 30 qualifying passers in 2021 with a 7.5 percent rate.”

Jones’ weakness in this area limits the scope of the Giants’ passing game. Those limitations are summed up by the mere seven big-time throws Jones attempted in 2022, per PFF’s Sam Monson.

The numbers all reveal the same thing. Big Blue’s passing attack is small ball whenever Jones is on the field.

It’s not only restricting Daboll’s intent to stretch the field. The weakness is also harming other players. Hyatt’s notable improvement with DeVito in the lineup is one obvious example of how a more vertical game makes other skill players better.

All of this leads to a bigger problem for the Giants. Namely, what to do about Jones, who got a four-year, $160-million contract in the offseason.

There’s a lot invested in Jones. Too much if he can’t attack the deep areas of the field with more consistency and success.

Neither DeVito nor Taylor are likely to be long-term alternatives, so the Giants should be on the hunt for quarterback help in the 2024 NFL draft.