Daniel Jones admits he's limited and won't add to Giants running game
For the first time in over a month, Daniel Jones’ availability in a game is of little concern to the Giants. The quarterback came through his second return to action last week against the Ravens without any setbacks to the hamstring and ankle injuries that had been hounding him since Nov. 29, was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, and he may not even have a designation such as "questionable" or "doubtful" heading into Sunday’s win-to-wait game against the Cowboys.
But just because there is certainly he’ll be on the field will not mean that the Giants can count on getting everything Jones has to offer in their most important – and perhaps final - contest of the season.
Jones said on Wednesday he is still limited in his running abilities and he does not believe his legs will be in good enough shape by Sunday for him to be the mobile quarterback he has been when playing at the highest levels throughout his young career.
"I’ve played from the pocket the past couple of weeks and I expect to continue to do that until I’m healthy," he said. "We’ll see when exactly [that is], but I expect the gameplan and what I’m asked to do to be fairly similar to what it’s been these past few weeks."
That means keeping Jones tethered to the pocket for the most part.
It also means continued lack of production for the entire offense, most likely. In the two games Jones has played since his initial injury, the Giants have scored just 20 points. They haven’t rushed for over 78 yards as a team in the past three games (one with Colt McCoy starting). The team’s longest run in the last three games was a 16-yarder by Wayne Gallman against Arizona.
Jones downplayed his part in that statistical slide.
"We have a lot of ways to run the ball," he said. "We have really good runners and guys we can get into space and make plays. We’ll continue to do that and get the ball to those guys. I’m not sure it limits us a whole lot, but we’ve got to be good with what we can do."
Still, the running quarterback was such a big part of the Giants’ game that Jones led the team in rushing on the season when he first injured his hamstring. In the two games he has played since, he has been sacked 12 times – almost a third of the 43 times he’s been sacked all season – and had one carry for 3 yards on a scramble. There have been no designed runs for him, no read-options.
"I certainly haven’t been as involved in the run game, certain areas of getting out of the pocket, scrambling, things like that," Jones said
None of this comes as a newsflash. Anyone who has watched Jones play the past month can say with certainty that his athleticism, speed and mobility have been diminished. That Jones, who is normally less than forthcoming with updates on his physical status, would openly discuss his limitations in such a way, is what makes the revelations so attention-grabbing.
Perhaps that is their intent. Jones did say he is feeling better, and the ankle sprain he suffered on Dec. 13 no longer appears on the team’s injury reports. He could be trying to lull the Cowboys into believing he is more hobbled than he actually is, only to show up Sunday and start sprinting all over the field.
Then again, this may be the Daniel Jones the Giants are saddled with for as long as their season lasts.
"We’re going to do whatever it takes to win the game," Joe Judge said when asked on Wednesday whether Jones would get the green light to run with the ball against Dallas. "That being said, we’re always going to consider our players’ health as the priority. We’re going to work to not put our players in any situation where we put them at greater risk of injury. That comes to how we protect him, how we call plays, and how we execute on the field."
Said Jones: "How I’ve played the past couple of weeks I’ve kind of gotten used to it . . . I think you can tell from the tape that I can’t do a lot of the same things I am used to doing. I’ll continue to work and work to improve, but for the time being I’ll probably have to adjust the way I’ve played."