Last week, Daniel Jones said he didn’t care who the quarterback was who snapped the Giants’ nine-game losing streak. The important thing was that it be broken.
Then it was. With Eli Manning playing.
Now, as Jones prepares to return to the field after two weeks of healing from a high ankle sprain, the Giants have themselves a one-game winning streak. Jones? He’s lost eight in a row.
Which is why, after the rest of the team got to exorcise the funk that has defined this 2019 season, Jones is focusing on ending his own personal skid. And he’ll try to do it against the last team that he beat, the Redskins.
“That’s important,” Jones said of getting a win in the upcoming game in Washington. “Quarterbacks are judged by how many games they win and their won-loss record so that’s definitely important. But my mindset and everyone’s mindset is to win as a team and we’re only going to do that as a team. I’ll try to do my part making sure the team is ready to play and win a game.”
This week, that almost assuredly means by playing. Jones was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice and said he felt “good” after the workout. Pat Shurmur would not yet commit to having the rookie back as the starter – he wants to wait and see how Jones progresses and recovers from the increased workload this week before making any announcement – but all signs as of Wednesday evening pointed to Jones playing.
“It feels good, just have to keep it going that way,” Jones said. “It feels like I can do everything I need to do. Keep working through and hopefully I can continue to improve throughout the week.”
Jones has certainly made strides as a quarterback this season, even if those gains have not translated into wins. Now he’ll probably get two more chances to rectify that.
In fact, it may even salvage what’s been a miserable year for the team if it can head into the offseason with its young quarterback on a bit of a roll rather than in the midst of a slide. Asked what it would take to consider this a successful rookie year, Jones said bluntly: “I think win two games and making sure we’re in position to win the games. I’m doing my job in preparing to do that. I think that’s the biggest thing, to win the games.”
There are plenty of young players on the Giants roster who can benefit from that, but almost all of them were on the field last Sunday when the Giants beat the Dolphins. Jones was not.
“Missing any time is tough and you want to play obviously,” he said of his time in the training room and on the bench. “Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to be out there. I’d much rather play than watch. I’m excited to hopefully get back out there.”
He did say that he was able to continue his NFL education during his down time.
“I was able to see Eli prepare and how intense he is and some of that stuff,” Jones said. “You see things from a different point of view and I think that helped.”
That will help him improve as a quarterback. Will it help him improve as a winner? Sunday will probably provide an answer to that question.
“That’s the most important thing in these last two weeks, to win games,” Jones said.
Still no matter who the quarterback is, presumably. But especially if it’s him.