I get it. Daniel Jones’ new contract guarantees him $82 million over the first two seasons. That is a lot of money for a player in his fifth year who has never averaged even seven yards per pass attempt for an entire season. After a surprise playoff appearance, and a Wild-Card Weekend victory, the New York Giants had no other option at quarterback with Jones entering free agency this past offseason. They surely want to get all of the use out of him they can until at least 2025, when the dead cap number on his deal falls by more than $40 million.
The NFL is a cold and violent business, but compassion has to be taken even when a trainer isn’t needed to escort a player from the field. When the Giants’ offensive line has proven through 52 minutes of action that they cannot protect the quarterback, get the starter out of the game during blowouts.
Monday night was similar to the Giants’ season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys, except there was a faint light at the end tunnel. That light was smashed by Jones’ goal-line pick-six in the third quarter. The Seattle Seahawks then proceeded to smash him into the ground until Jones was finally removed from the game for the Giants’ final drive of the game.
Jones was sacked 10 times during a 24-3 loss to the Seahawks. Four of those came in the fourth quarter. Jones took punishment on other plays as well. He earned every bit of his team-leading 66 yards rushing because a lot of those runs did not end with a slide.
The Giants’ offensive line being in flux certainly contributed to the punishment Jones endured from the Seahawks. They could have used starting left tackle Andrew Thomas, who was out with a hamstring injury. However, he was on the field for Week 1 against the Cowboys when the Giants gave up seven sacks and 12 quarterback hits in 40-0 loss to the Cowboys .
In Week 3, the San Francisco 49ers recorded two sacks and six quarterback hits against the Giants, and in Week 2 the Arizona Cardinals tallied three sacks and five QB hits. There is not a lot of hope for Jones once the ball is snapped. He needs to make the first read, second read, and then immediately make a decision. For Jones, 2023 will be a rousing success if he finishes it upright.
His coaches need to spare their starting quarterback from as much of the inevitable pounding he will take whenever possible. That means in games like Week 1 against the Cowboys and Week 4 against the Seahawks, Jones has to be removed from the game sooner.
There is no need for him to be getting clobbered late in the fourth quarter when the game is out of reach. The punishment that he has taken this season has been reminiscent of a different time in football. Opposing defensive players are teeing off on him like a night at TopGolf.
The Giants also have an obligation to play as hard as possible every week, but Brian Daboll, have a heart. When your starting quarterback is getting pinballed all over the field, and the Giants are down three scores with no chance of a fourth-quarter comeback, get him off the field.
Jones has an obligation to earn those $82 million before the Giants can make a change at a reasonable cost. But while he is on the roster, the team has an obligation to throw in the towel when he has been upended for the 10th time in a hopeless game.
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