Jason Garrett understands what Daniel Jones is trying to do.
"Quarterbacks who are worth their salt have a playmaking instinct in them," the Giants’ offensive coordinator said this past week. "They want the ball in their hands and they want to be the guy who’s guiding the offense but making an impact on what goes on on the field. I would say every quarterback I’ve been around who’s been a really good player has that same instinct."
Jones has it, too.
And Garrett wants him to fight it.
Not entirely. Not all the time. Not so he becomes paralyzed by the fear of making mistakes and costing the Giants games (which is what has happened on multiple occasions this season, most recently this past Monday against the Buccaneers). But enough to change the narrative on Jones’ career.
"Over time you learn through experience what plays you simply have to fold on, and you have to get the ball out of your hand and live for another day," Garrett said. "Whether it’s punting on the drive or just simply going to second-and-10, I think that’s an important thing to understand.
"The more situations you’re in, if you approach them the right way, you’ll learn from those experiences. Daniel continues to do that. Most guys I’ve been around have gone through that very similar process."
Jones has thrown nine interceptions in eight starts this season. Last year, as a rookie, he threw 12 in 13 games, numbers that were troubling but actually a better pace than he currently is on. He has one game in his career without a turnover.
Garrett, who was a quarterback himself, said he never had the problems that Jones is facing mostly because he didn’t have the same confidence in his abilities.
"I didn’t have those playmaking capabilities," he said.
"It’s a mentality that you have to develop over time," he added. "We ask our quarterbacks to run our offense, make plays in the passing game, make plays with your feet. You’re always balancing that with putting your team in a position where they can be successful. Taking care of the football is a big part of that. That’s a process that I believe all quarterbacks go through."
Jones’ college experience may have something to do with his arrested development in that regard. He played for Duke, a school known for higher learning in many areas besides football.
While other young NFL quarterbacks who have thrived came from programs loaded with talent at all positions and surrounded by playmakers who could score on any given snap, they recognized that escaping a bad play leads to the opportunity to run a good one.
Kyler Murray at Oklahoma, Justin Herbert at Oregon, they saw that value firsthand.
Jones? His senior year at Duke, he didn’t have a single teammate who came with him to the NFL. He was a one-man show in college.
Now that he is in the NFL, it’s taking time for him to adjust to a different world.
Garrett believes he’ll get there.
"I don’t think there’s any question he recognizes the urgency of it," he said. "Daniel is such a hard-working guy, he’s such a passionate guy. He’s so invested in being the best player he can be and helping us be the best team we can be.
"We love his approach. We love what he’s all about. He’s done so many good things for us this year. But we do have to eliminate the negative plays, and he recognizes that. That will be a thing we continue to work on and focus on as we move forward."