It’s time for Giants fans to be worried about Daniel Jones

The Giants need Daniel Jones to elevate his game after Saquon Barkley’s injury. Instead, he’s gone backward against the 49ers.

Daniel Jones was supposed to take a big step forward this year. Instead, the Giants quarterback seems to be repeating the same mistakes that held him back a season ago. That’s bad news for a franchise that desperately wants him to emerge as their quarterback of both the present and future.

Admittedly, losing Saquon Barkley to a season-long injury increases the degree of difficulty for the former Duke star. Barkley is the Giants most dangerous rusher and receiver when healthy. It’s difficult to overstate his importance to what Joe Judge and the offensive coaching staff in New York want to accomplish.

Barkley’s absence doesn’t free Jones of responsibility for the rest of the season. He’s still a high draft pick that was selected to elevate the players around him on offense. The higher-ups in the Giants’ front office believed he was ready to take a big step forward coming into his second season as a pro.

Nothing about his performance to date suggests that sort of leap is coming. Instead, Jones continues to be one of the most turnover plagued signal-callers in the league. Previously, his propensity to fumble the football was an obstacle to his development. This season he’s throwing interceptions at an alarming rate.

Those turnovers might be defensible if Jones was pushing the ball down the field with any sort of frequency. The fact that he’s only averaging 6.4 yards per attempt this year makes it clear that isn’t the case. The Giants offense may not be blessed with playmakers on the outside, but Jones still should be able to take more shots down the field. Taking the short option so often proves that he still isn’t comfortable with the team’s offensive system. That’s a big concern for a guy who already has 16 career starts.

The key for Jones and the Giants moving forward is to start to show incremental progress every week. They don’t have another alternative at quarterback so benching Jones isn’t a viable option. He’s also not going to suddenly become a Pro Bowler with no advanced warning. It’s imperative for New York to build game plans around Jones in the coming weeks to accentuate his strengths while also hiding his flaws.

Next: Saquon’s injury heaps huge pressure onto Daniel Jones

If Jones doesn’t take a big step forward by the time the season ends, it will be time for the Giants to start asking questions about whether or not they have the right guy at the game’s most important position. That’s not a question New York thought they would face coming into the 2020 season.

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