Daniel Jones had as good of a debut as any Giants fan could have hoped for, completing all five of his passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. Yes, it was only one drive in a meaningless preseason game. No, this performance alone won’t get Jones into the Hall of Fame. That being said, the traits Jones showed in his first NFL action are very encouraging.
It was clear from his play Thursday night that Jones is comfortable with the quick passing game. His ball placement, anticipation, and decision-making stood out.
On his first throw, a 5-yard gain on first down, Jones got the ball out on time and with great ball placement. Because Jets’ cornerback Kyron Brown was aligned with inside leverage and breaking towards the middle of the field to play the ball, Jones purposely threw this pass slightly to the outside. You can see his receiver settling down out of his cut to make the reception.
His next pass, on an RPO (Run-Pass Option), required another short but tight throw. Jones made the correct read and put the ball right on his receiver for an easy 11 yards on first down.
These are the types of seemingly nondescript throws throughout a game that many quarterbacks won’t always attempt because the windows aren’t large enough. Yet these are the types of throws that keep an offense moving forward and on schedule.
On his third completion, Jones had a ton of time off of play-action. Again, he made the throw to beat the coverage.
Good ball placement means making an accurate throw and putting the ball in the correct spot based on where defenders are in relation to the receiver. We don’t want to overreact here. This play might as well have been during a 7-on-7 drill in practice with all of the time and space Jones had to make the throw. Still, this was good ball placement.
Jones’ fourth completion came on third down. The Jets were playing man coverage. Jones wisely chose to target the softest defender in coverage, where the route likely would not be disrupted. This enabled the timing of the play to remain a factor. Look at the anticipation on this throw. Below you can see where the receiver was when Jones made the decision to throw the ball and started his motion.
First down. That is how to beat tight coverage – ball placement and anticipation.
On Jones’ final throw, a touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler, he once again showed great anticipation. You can see below that the receiver had not even started his break to the corner when Jones started his throwing motion.
That is a mature downfield throw.
Again, this is one drive in one preseason game. It’s easy to overreact, especially after we’ve all just endured six months without football. With that being said, Jones was able to show many of the traits that help explain why Dave Gettleman selected him 6th overall in this year’s NFL Draft. After a tumultuous offseason, Giants fans should finally be excited about the future.