Daniel Jones of the Giants looks to pass against the Buccaneers...

Daniel Jones of the Giants looks to pass against the Buccaneers in the first half at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 2. Credit: Getty Images/Sarah Stier

Arm strength and foot speed are nice, but as far as Jason Garrett is concerned there is one asset that quarterbacks need over all others.

"You have to be a great decision-maker," he said. "That’s what this position is about, maybe more than anything else. The more you play, the more you’re in situations, the more you’re playing in a system, the more you see defenses, hopefully that decision-making process gets better and better and better."

The Giants are starting to see that with Daniel Jones. He is coming off just the second game of his career in which he did not turn the ball over, a cleared hurdle that has been huzzahed throughout the organization. It can be traced directly to those milliseconds in the pocket when Jones determines what he will do with the football on each snap.

"I think DJ has done a good job of that," said Garrett, the Giants’ offensive coordinator. "That’s really the language we talk in: Aggressively take what they give you and keep trying to be efficient and move the ball down the field, and make a lot of little plays. Then when you get a chance to make a big play, go ahead and do that. We think the best quarterbacks do that."

There is a term for those types of quarterbacks. And no, we don’t typically call them MVPs or Super Bowl champions. We call them "game managers," an icky label that seems to signal a player’s inability to make a huge impact on a contest. They are the paper shufflers of football, the middlemen who distribute footballs as if they were widgets or gizmos.

Is that what the Giants want Jones to be? A Dunder Mifflin quarterback?

Maybe the better question is: Would it be so bad if he were?

Jones doesn’t seem to think so.

"I think a big part of it is understanding when the opportunity is there, the ability to recognize that quickly, anticipate it and take it," Jones said. "A lot of times that’s down the field or sometimes that’s just a quick decision where you’re letting the guy catch and run and giving him space with an accurate ball. Yeah, I think understanding when those opportunities are there, when it’s not there, when we call a play and we don’t get the look, and the ability to make a decision quickly and avoid a negative play, a sack or holding the ball, I think all of those situations maybe go into the game management category but are important skills as a quarterback. I think those are important to understand at the position, and I’m certainly working to improve week in and week out."

There were certainly indications of this philosophy besides the lack of turnovers at play in last week’s game. Seven Giants ran the ball against Washington (four running backs, two wide receivers and Jones). That was their highest total in a game since 1994, when they had seven as well. The Giants also had 10 players catch a pass against Washington. They hadn’t had that many since an overtime win over Kansas City in 2017.

It was a winning formula last week. And while it seems as if it handcuffs Jones’ ability to make dazzling plays like deep passes and long runs, it may be the style that ultimately gets him to the level of play he wants to reach.

"My focus is to improve every week," Jones said. "I’m not sure how I label myself or how productive that is for me to do. My focus is to improve and continue to grow. I certainly understand there’s lots of areas in my game that I need to improve on… The goal every time we go out on the field is to win the football game. There’s no confusion about that. I certainly don’t have any other goals or expectations when I walk out on the field. I know our team feels that, I feel that. We’re doing everything we can to win."

For Jones, doing less – but doing it smarter -- may be a big part of that.

More Giants

ONE-DAY SALE26¢ for 5 6 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME