The 2021 season will be consequential for Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
Selected at No. 6 overall in 2019, Jones has flashed his potential since entering the league. But he ended the 2020 season with 2,943 yards passing with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 14 games. As a rookie, he threw for 3,027 yards with 24 TDs and 12 picks.
Still, Jones’ head coach has expressed unwavering belief in the young signal-caller. During an appearance on the Flying Coach podcast with Rams head coach Sean McVay and Peter Schrager, Judge extolled Jones’ leadership and work ethic in a long answer about the QB.
“I’m always excited about working with Daniel — I really am,” Judge said. “This guy’s had a really good offseason for us. I thought that Daniel grew a lot last year. And there’s no excuses for anything, everyone had the same obstacles. I thought Daniel going into a new offense last year, without a spring, without really a training camp, without preseason games — there were some things that he had to adjust to within the season and as a team improved, he was a huge part of it.
“One thing about this guy that I can’t say enough is how everyone responds to him. This is a guy that I didn’t know before I took the job. I didn’t, which is why I was so reserved in making comments about him — it wasn’t going to be fair to him. The more I’ve gotten to know him, and really you get to know him and watch him work. But this guy is a leader. This is a guy, he steps in the huddle, the guys respond to [him]. Offensively and defensively, these guys all respond to him. He is tough. There’s no hiding that. The team knows that he’s going to play through certain kinds of injuries. And he’s a tough dude. He works relentlessly.”
Judge noted that when he got the Giants job, Jones was one of the first players to visit him in his office for a conversation. Since then, Judge has continued to see the quarterback take command.
“You talk about leadership, one, you’ve got to do your job effectively,” Judge said. “No one’s going to follow someone who can’t do their job effectively. And No. 2, You’ve got to put the team first. He shows really in how he works inside the building and on the field and stuff with the team away from the facility, that he’s putting the team first in everything he’s doing. I’m very pleased with the leadership he’s taken on this year. He’s really growing as a player, as a professional.”
As good of a leader as Jones may be, the Giants need that to translate to strong performances on a consistent basis in 2021. New York has a decision to make on Jones’ fifth-year option next spring. If Jones markedly improves in the upcoming season — or if he seriously regresses — it’ll make the Giants choice an easy one.