The biggest win of Daniel Jones’ career so far may have come on Wednesday when new Giants general manager Joe Schoen and co-owner John Mara implied that they intend to rebuild the team around their young quarterback. Jones’ first three years have seen many more bad moments and losses than victories, but Mara absolved him of most of that disappointment.
"We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here," Mara said. "We keep changing coaches, keep changing offensive coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that. But let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not."
That was Schoen’s feeling as well. While he did not commit to picking up the fifth year option on Jones’ rookie contract — that decision will have to be made by May — he did say that Jones figures prominently in his plans.
"When the new [coaching] staff gets in here, we'll build an offense around Daniel to accentuate what he does best," Schoen said. "I wasn't here in the past, so I don't exactly know what he was told to do, but I do know this: I know he's a great kid. He's been in this building the last two days. I've talked to him. There's not anybody in this building that's said a bad word about his work ethic, passion, desire to win, and I think you've got to have those traits as a quarterback. The kid has physical ability. He's got arm strength, he's athletic, he can run. I'm really excited to work with Daniel."
Jones attended the introductory news conference for Schoen along with about 10 other players.
There will be plenty of options for the Giants at quarterback this offseason should they decide to add someone who can challenge Jones for the starting job, but one player is off-limits for them.
"We're not trading for Deshaun Watson," Mara said of the Texans quarterback whose ongoing legal problems stem from 22 civil lawsuits and NFL and law enforcement investigations related to sexual misconduct. "There are so many reasons why we wouldn't do that. Cap-wise, we couldn't afford it, but more importantly with the allegations that are out there right now, that's just not the right fit for us."
Schoen comes from Buffalo, where Josh Allen was able to lead the Bills to back-to-back division titles and performed at an elite level in Sunday’s overtime loss to Kansas City. Schoen was asked if that is the type of quarterback play required to field a winner in today’s NFL.
"I don’t think you necessarily have to have a Josh Allen," he said. "It’s nice. I would love to. There are quarterbacks you can win with, you can have strong defense, you can have a running game, but it helps to have one of those. Ultimately you want your quarterback to be the best player on the field."
Whether Jones can be that remains to be seen. That he’ll be given an opportunity to prove he can be seems to have been decided.
"I have a lot of hope in Daniel," Mara said. "I know how badly he wants it. I know how the players feel about him. We are certainly not giving up on him by any stretch of the imagination."