Daniel Jones isn’t going anywhere.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Jones is not the starting quarterback after the Giants finish up this dreadful 2019 season and then return for 2020.
But the same can’t be said for a lot of other important pieces in the organization, and the one with the most glaring spotlight on it as the Giants head into their final four games is the head coach. Pat Shurmur said on Sunday that he is “well aware” he will be judged by wins and tangible progress, and so far he has offered little of either as an argument to warrant his return.
So as the Giants come down the stretch, with all four games against opponents currently sporting a losing record, can Shurmur’s future with the team be salvaged based on how the Giants perform? Perhaps more accurately, can it be salvaged based on how Jones performs?
“I don’t feel that way,” Jones said on Monday when asked if he and the Giants are playing for Shurmur’s job. “I have a lot of confidence and appreciation for Coach.”
Jones seems to want Shurmur back. Interestingly enough, at this point, he may be the only person still capable of making that happen.
The season is already a miserable flop with very few bright spots to build on. The development of Jones can be the Hail Mary pass (or the Minnesota Miracle pass, to be more Shurmur specific) that would allow Shurmur to walk into John Mara’s office on Dec. 30 and make a case to coach the team for a third year.
Other personnel matters? The rest of the staff? They’re largely interchangeable. The dynamic between the head coach and the quarterback is what gives a franchise stability (something Mara likely craves just as much as winning). Ideally, they are able to make each other better. The Shurmur-Jones relationship hasn’t done that in any easily definable way.
The rookie quarterback’s season has been difficult to define. He’s thrown at least one touchdown in each of his 10 starts, but he’s also had at least one turnover in each of them. He’s shown plenty of flashes that lead to the belief he will be a franchise quarterback for the Giants and not just the first in a string of failed options as they search to replace Eli Manning in that role. But those highlights are often overshadowed by flaws. After Sunday’s three-interception performance, Shurmur said that Jones is making mistakes “that you hope you never see again.”
Having him play more consistently in the final four games might allow Shurmur to stick around to do so.
Jones said there is plenty of blame to go around for a team that is mired at 2-10, has lost eight straight games and could wind up as the worst team in the NFL. It’s not all on Shurmur, he said.
“I think we all take a lot of responsibility in the way things have gone and how we’ve played,” Jones said. “You certainly can’t look to one person or one group. I think we all have a lot to do with it.”
But not all will pay the same price when the season is over.
Jones will be back. In the next four games he gets to have a say in who joins him.
Hot corner. Shurmur said he had not spoken to cornerback Janoris Jenkins about his postgame comments regarding his deployment in the defense because Jenkins was dealing with a personal matter on Monday, but he did try to defuse and dismiss Jenkins’ complaints about covering one side of the field and not traveling with the top receivers of the opposing team. “He’s a spirited guy and he wants to have an impact on the game,” Shurmur said. “I’m sure those are just immediately after-the-game comments.” Shurmur did say that Jenkins’ claim that the Giants are the only team that does not move its top cornerback to matchups “isn’t quite accurate” and pointed to his last stop as a coach with the Vikings as an example of a team that doesn’t. “I’m sure I’ll have a conversation with him when he gets back,” Shurmur said.