In the last few weeks, while the Giants have lost game after game and Daniel Jones has committed turnover after turnover and failed on potential late scoring drive after drive, the Giants’ coaches have been outwardly vocal in their loyalty toward the second-year quarterback.
Whether it was Joe Judge last week adamantly saying that Jones is his quarterback or assistant coach Jerry Schuplinski earlier this week noting that Jones has the "it" factor to be a winner, the staff seems to go out of its way to counter the tide of public frustration toward Jones.
Judge was at it again on Wednesday.
"He’s made a lot of progress for us," he said of Jones. "He’s definitely coming along. He’s a very resilient guy, he’s a fighter, he stands there and plays very aggressively. I’m pleased with the way he has played for the most part to this point."
For Jones, such public declarations are meaningful.
"I certainly appreciate their support and am certainly working as hard as I can to improve and take coaching and help this offense move forward," Jones said. "We’re all working together and we all have the same goal. We’ve made improvement, we’ve taken steps, and we have to find a way to finish some of these games."
Judge said he "absolutely" shares those defenses of Jones with the quarterback in their private conversations. That’s not to say he and the coaches are enablers or apologists when they get behind closed doors. They try to straddle the line between confidence and coddling.
"Just my personality and the personality of this coaching staff is we’re very blunt, open and honest," Judge said. "I’m not really sitting here trying to sell you a car, we’re not recruiting you to college. I’m going to tell you the truth every day. You have to be mentally tough to handle that, you have to understand the criticism that we’re giving to you, and you have to be able to take the coaching and move forward with it. I’ll tell you what, man, number 8 does that very well for us."
Said Jones: "Coach Judge since the day he came in has been a very clear communicator. I think guys respect that and respond to it well. You know where you stand and what he expects of you."
Giants coaches aren’t the only ones who speak highly of Jones. Washington coach Ron Rivera said on a conference call on Wednesday, "especially if you watch last week, the young man is progressing . . . I like who he is, I like the way his plays."
This just a week after Rivera benched Dwayne Haskins, his own team’s 2019 first-round draft pick, because, as he said Wednesday, "in the evaluation process, we weren’t seeing what we needed to see. We didn’t see the growth that we thought he needed."
For the Giants, that is far from the case with Jones. It’s important that they tell him that, too.
"He is a tough-minded dude," Judge said. "He responds to a lot of criticism on the outside, but he blocks it out and he plays for his teammates internally. Those guys respect that about him. Have I had private conversations with all of our players? Absolutely. Do I say things to them that I am not going to reveal in the public? Absolutely. And that’s just part of my job. We are very honest with our players, we let them know where they are at and where we need them to go, and then we put them in positions to work on how we can get them there."