MIAMI — Troy Aikman said he likes what he has seen from Daniel Jones as the Giants’ quarterback so far, but he does have one small piece of advice.
“He’s gotta hang onto the damn ball!” Aikman, the Hall of Famer and broadcaster for Fox at this year’s Super Bowl, said on Tuesday, raising his voice in frustration. “You can’t just throw the ball in the air every time you get touched. So that’s got to get fixed and I believe that it can be fixed.”
Jones fumbled the ball 18 times in 2019, losing possession on 11 of them. It was, most agree, the one flaw in his rookie season.
Fumbles aside, Aikman said he thinks Jones is ahead of other young quarterbacks as a passer. He’s thought that since before the Giants drafted him sixth overall last April.
“I liked him a lot,” Aikman said. “I saw his Pro Day. I won’t lie and say I studied him hard but I watched his Pro Day and I loved what I saw. In fact I tweeted about it. I thought the ball came out on time. It’s something I point to a lot because it doesn’t happen with a lot of young quarterbacks. He had great anticipation, he put the ball where it needed to be. He’s continued to prove that. Obviously, he’s a smart guy. You always say that about Duke and Ivy League guys.”
Aikman also believes that the addition of Jason Garrett to the Giants’ staff as offensive coordinator will help Jones.
“I’d be surprised if he and Daniel Jones don’t hit it off right away and develop a real chemistry,” he said.
Aikman has known Garrett since they were quarterbacks for the Cowboys together, and he has covered Garrett’s career as a Cowboys coach for the past 12 seasons, including nine and a half as head coach.
Aikman said he’s not always a fan of players becoming coaches. Garrett appeared at quarterback in just 23 games in his career, most of them as a backup, so while he was a player he never really was a starting quarterback. Maybe that’s why he’s been able to bridge the gap between the locker room and the coaches’ offices.
“Jason has proved to be a good coach and he keeps in perspective what it was like for him as a player, what he liked and didn’t like,” Aikman said. “And he’s got great personal skills.”
That will help him with the Giants.
“I think he’s going to bring some accountability, some structure,” Aikman said of Garrett. “He’s going to be very well prepared. There is not going to be any stone unturned. When they go into a gameplan every player is going to know exactly what is being asked of them. I think it’s a great situation for Jason. I thought he did a nice job when he was calling the plays as the offensive coordinator…He comes from a pretty good perspective having been around good players but also around good coaches. I think that’s probably been the biggest influence on him. And then having played. I think that helps.”