The New York Giants might not need to plan for a new future at a key position. Not when this season’s starter is making believers out of his many doubters.
One of those doubters, former All-Pro running back Tiki Barber, is “starting to believe.” Barber thinks this oft-maligned starter has improved in two critical areas, but he still needs “some talent” and “a star” around him to help prove if he’s the future of the Giants.
Franchise Rushing Leader “Starting to Believe”
Speaking on an edition of TikiAndTierney on WFAN Sports Radio, Barber said he’s “starting to believe” in Daniel Jones. Barber also defended the quarterback’s modest statistics: “I know people will go look at his statistics and they’ll say, he’s only completing 60 percent of his passes.
Beyond the numbers, the Giants’ all-time leading rusher has seen two notable improvements in Jones’ game: “But you have seen him emerge as a leader. And, one of the biggest things we talked about was his ball security. He’s taking care of the ball. He’s not tossing interceptions, he’s not fumbling.”
Barber is one of many who have been won over by Jones during the Giants’ 6-2 start. The sixth player drafted in 2019 isn’t quite living up to top-10 pick status yet, but this is the best Jones has performed since he entered the NFL.
A lot of his positive performances can be defined by efficiency. As Barber pointed out, the turnovers are down for a QB who hurled 29 picks and lost 20 fumbles during his first three seasons. Jones has thrown just two interceptions and lost as many fumbles through eight games of this campaign.
Mistake are being kept to a minimum because the Giants’ starting signal-caller is playing within a safer framework. Part of that safety comes from directing a team not overly reliant on its quarterback for big plays.
These Giants depend more on coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale’s daring and imaginative defense. The performances of Martindale’s unit are complemented by the efforts of the league’s second-leading rusher Saquon Barkley.
Staying upright has been a challenge for Barkley, who missed 21 games the previous three years, but he’s started every game this season and Jones has been a better QB for it.
The system called by head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka has also helped Jones take strides. It’s a scheme that plays to the quarterback’s own talents as a runner.
All Jones needs now is a star at wide receiver, according to Barber: “In order to fully get that intel on Daniel Jones, you gotta give him some talent in the wide receiver room.”
It’s a demand general manager Joe Schoen may be ready to meet, based on his comments about another former Giants Pro-Bowler.
Barber Demand Fuels OBJ Rumors
Barber says adding that star in the passing game is the best way to assess Jones for the future: “I think I want Daniel Jones to be this guy now. And the only way I’m going to be convinced of that is if the Giants go get him a star, this year, that has proven he can do it in the NFL. Can get separation. Can take crossing routes or deep balls and go 50-60 yards for a touchdown. I need to see Daniel Jones have that option.”
The Giants won’t get Jones that type of weapon this year. Not after Schoen shunned the chance to acquire a wideout before the trade deadline on November 1, despite making calls about three receivers.
Barber could have been talking about Odell Beckham Jr, who remains a free agent. Schoen has had no problem talking about Beckham, telling Barber and Tierney the Giants have “reached out” to the veteran’s agents:
Contact was revealed after Schoen had also told reporters signing Beckham is something the Giants “would consider.” Any such consideration would depend on how effectively the 29-year-old recovers from the torn ACL he suffered as a member of the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI.
Like Barkley, Beckham is one of the league’s premier players at his position when healthy. The former three-time Pro-Bowler with the Giants can still win vertically and boasts a catch radius that would turn Jones’ errant throws into big plays.
There’s always baggage with Beckham, but Schoen needs to make a splash move to add the missing dynamism to one half of Daboll’s offense. Without it, the Giants will have a tough time accurately evaluating Jones before he hits free agency thanks to Schoen declining his fifth-year option earlier this year.
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