By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
Daniel Jones will be the Giants’ quarterback in 2021.
Barring any catastrophic injury, mark it down.
The Giants won’t be drafting a quarterback with the current 10th pick of the 2021 draft — the much heralded ones might be gone — and they won’t trade up or sign a free agent.
Beginning Sunday afternoon in Baltimore, Jones will be back at the controls after he missed the last two games with hamstring and ankle injuries. Ironically, the Giants averaged a little better than 21 points a game during their four-game winning streak.
During the streak, Jones looked like the quarterback who took the torch from Eli Manning and finally put it all together with leadership and poise. Jones battled through the Arizona game, but he was just a shadow of himself.
Now reunited with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett from the COVID list, Jones is expected by many to lead the Giants to their first playoff appearance since 2016 with a win in Baltimore against a Ravens team (9-5) trying to stay alive for the postseason, and another one in their home finale against Dallas Jan. 3.
A Washington win at home against Carolina in a 4 p.m. start bursts that bubble.
Yes, these 5-9 Giants are a longshot to make the postseason, a thought that never really entered the better part of the season. It became fueled due to an inept division most of the season, and the team maturing as a whole quicker than anticipated.
Instead, these final two games should be about Jones regaining his sense of self among his teammates, and having the rest of the league again recognize his presence.
Despite cries about his inconsistency over the last two years, Jones has done enough in 24 games to justify his existence as a staple for many years. There has been a noticeable improvement.
These final weeks will be about Jones and Garrett finding ways to put more points on the board the final two weeks and reassure the Giants’ brass that they can be an effective combo.
Jones did have 24 touchdowns in 12 rookie starts, and has eight in 12 starts this season. He has shown an ability to run the ball effectively with 403 yards rushing, and has cut down his fumbles and fumbles lost (10-5) from his rookie campaign last season (18-11).
In 24 career starts, the 23-year-old has 32 touchdowns and 21 interceptions wrapped around a 7-17 record, the majority of it that isn’t his fault. Eerily, Manning made 23 starts in his first two seasons with a 12-11 record with 30 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.
Like Jones’ fumbles, Manning had trouble with interceptions his first two seasons,
Manning was handed the keys the next year, and began a legendary run.
Next season, Jones can begin his.