Daniel Jones, poised to ascend into the holy trinity of Giants quarterbacks, went through hell to get there.
The Giants signal caller, after three losing seasons as the team’s widely-maligned leader, heads into Saturday’s game with the Philadelphia Eagles off his first playoff win last weekend. And what a difference that day meant for Jones, drafted in 2019 as the successor to Super Bowl champs Eli Manning and Phil Simms.
Jones became the first QB in NFL history with more than 300 passing yards, 2 passing TDs and more than 70 rushing yards in a single playoff game in the 31-24 defeat of the Minnesota Vikings.
His legion of critics long viewed Jones as more as the heir to ne’er-do-well Giants QBs like Joe Piscarcik and Dave Brown. But the 25-year-old quarterback moved up in class after his first winning season and initial playoff berth with the wild card Giants.
Just ask Simms.
“I’ve seen enough this year & Daniel Jones has exceeded expectations,” the Super Bowl XXI MVP recently tweeted. “IMO he will absolutely be the Giants QB next year.”
Or check with Manning, who offered this advice to Jones before the Vikings game: “I said, ‘Just play the way you’ve been playing … You’ve been playing great all year.’”
The selection of Jones with the sixth overall pick was greeted with shrugs (and far worse!) in the ensuing seasons after his arrival from the college basketball powerhouse Duke as Manning’s anointed successor.
“Draft night he was mocked and ridiculed for even being selected,” recalled ex-Colts punter Pat McAfee last week on his podcast. “‘Who the f—k is this nerd? Never even heard of this guy.’”
The Ringer website’s pointed headline on a story about the pick: “Daniel Jones Is the Crown Jewel of the Giants’ Disastrous Offseason.” But some among the Giants faithful saw something special in the young QB.
Steve Kennedy, a second-generation Giants fan with tickets in his family since 1954 in Yankee Stadium, heard the carping for three years but never wavered on Jones.
“He made all the doubters eat crow,” said Kennedy, 64, of Pompton Lakes, N.J. “Credit to his resiliency and not paying attention to all the noise surrounding him.”
Jones’ debut season was a mixed bag, with 24 TD passes offset by a dozen interceptions and a half-dozen fumbles. Danny Dimes threw just 21 TDs over the next two seasons, with Giants owner John Mara shouldering the blame for the quarterback’s woes.
“We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up,” he acknowledged last January. The Giants record over Jones’ first three years was a sad 14-35, and the team’s last playoff appearance remained an opening-round loss to end the 2016 season.
The Giants declined to pick up Jones’ option for a fifth year going into this season as new general manager Joe Schoen and new coach Brian Daboll hedged their bets.
The season opener was a mixed bag: While the Giants defeated the Tennessee Titans, Daboll was seen chewing Jones out after a horrific end zone interception in the 21-20 victory.
By the end of the 9-7-1 season and the team’s playoff berth, Daboll was among those on the Jones bandwagon.
“I know he’s kind of a quiet guy,” Daboll said late in the season. “But in the huddle, he’s a good leader with those guys. He knows everybody’s responsibilities … He’s a problem solver. So, I think the guys have a lot of respect for him.”
Chris Tallman, another second-generation Giants fan, recalled his initial excitement about Jones wavered a bit before this year’s playoff run. The Park Ridge, N.J., fan expects the quarterback to land a big contract when this year comes to a close — although hopefully not Saturday in Philadelphia.
“Obviously I was wrong,” said Tallman, 54, who boarded the Jones train for good this year. “I’m completely on board. Pay him whatever you have to pay him.”
Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/01/20/everybody-loves-daniel-jones-now-giants-qb-leaves-fans-with-visions-of-simms-and-manning/