Brian Daboll was asked on Monday what Daniel Jones’ exact injury is.
“It is a . . . ,” he said. Then he began searching a list next to him to come up with the answer before finally describing the ailment in the broadest term possible. “Ankle,” he finally said.
Either Daboll is the most oblivious coach in the history of the NFL, and unaware of the situation that knocked Jones off the field (until he was needed to limp back out there and finish the game) on Sunday against the Bears, or he was trying to project a lack of the heart-sinking dread that arrives when any team’s starting quarterback is hurt.
Yes, Jones hurt his ankle. Sprained it, in fact, as Daboll eventually relinquished.
A high ankle sprain?
“I’m not going to get into the specifics of it,” he said.
Which is his prerogative, of course, and in line with how he has talked about — or really not talked about — any of the previous injuries that have hit the Giants this season.
At some point, though, Daboll will have to be forthright with himself at least regarding that ankle and decide if Jones is healthy enough to play Sunday against the Packers. The two other options on the roster would be Tyrod Taylor, who currently is in the concussion protocol, and Davis Webb, who is on the practice squad and has played two career snaps in the NFL.
Daboll wasn’t willing to make such a call on Monday.
“We’ll let this thing play out,” he said.
As for adding a quarterback to the roster, Daboll said the team will have workouts but that signing anyone is “dependent on some of these guys here” and how quickly they recover.
There is little doubt that Jones will want to play if he can. The fact that he returned to the field against the Bears impressed teammates who have always known him as someone who can put his pain aside and perform.
“I can’t curse, but he’s a tough you-know-what,” Saquon Barkley said of Jones on Sunday, “Nothing but respect for him to go in and continue to fight through that for his team. It just shows you the type of person and type of player he is.”
It was abundantly clear that Jones’ role at the end of that game, with his left ankle heavily taped, was simply to call the play in the huddle, take the snap and hand the ball off. It was a one-possession game all the way through the fourth quarter and the Giants ran the football on their final 11 snaps over the course of three possessions.
Even if Jones could do that again this Sunday, that’s a role he’s already played to awful effect. In 2020, he tried to come back from a hamstring injury and faced the Cardinals in a game in which he was unable to evade pass rushers or move in the pocket. He was hammered and wound up suffering an ankle injury that cost him further time missed.
“He can throw from the pocket just fine,” Daboll said of having Jones planted in one spot, even though that’s something the Giants have rarely executed this season.
“Obviously, he has another skill set that you can utilize, whether that is to move the pockets or some zone reads. So I’d say the first thing we need to do is make sure he is as healthy as can be, and if he can do the things we need him to do for that game plan, then we talk about [playing him]. If he can’t, then you can’t.”
That’s what this week will be about. Figuring out if he can or he can’t.
“If he can practice and go out and perform the things we need him to do, great,” Daboll said. “If he needs a day, he needs a day . . . We as coaches have to do a good job of watching him, evaluating him, getting all the information we can get to make the best decision for him and the team.
“We’ll just see how that goes.”