New York Giants: 3 Realistic Expectations for Daniel Jones in his First Start

Daniel Jones, New York Giants. New York Jets. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Daniel Jones, New York Giants. New York Jets. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

After falling to 0-2 on the season after a tough loss to the Buffalo Bills, the New York Giants have named rookie quarterback Daniel Jones as their starter heading into a week 3 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Daniel Jones is going to have a tough challenge ahead of him. The freshly named New York Giants starting quarterback is playing at a hostile environment in temperatures just south of 90 degrees, not including the stifling humidity. While it would be nice to see the top-10 pick throw for 350+ yards and four touchdowns, that likely won’t happen just yet. Here are three realistic expectations for Jones in his first career start.

At least 200 passing yards

While 200 yards may not seem like a lot, the Giants will likely reduce Jones’ passing attempts in favor of handing the ball to Saquon Barkley. They don’t want to overwhelm the rookie in his first action with the starters. The Buccaneers have had a surprisingly stingy defense so far, holding solid quarterbacks like Jimmy Garoppolo to just 166 yards through the air in their Week 1 battle.

With Golden Tate suspended and Sterling Shepard‘s status up in the air due to a concussion, Jones isn’t going to have many weapons in the passing game, to begin with. He won’t have the freedom to sling the football however deep whenever he wants just yet. But Daniel Jones should still pick up a few sizable gains through the air.

Target Saquon as a receiver at least 10 times

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers boast a strong front seven that includes Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, Lavonte David, and Shaquil Barrett, who racked up 3 sacks by himself against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. With starting guard Kevin Zeitler dealing with a shoulder injury, the New York Giants won’t be able to offer too much protection for the rookie.

Daniel Jones should use Saquon Barkley as a safety valve, utilizing the running back’s underrated catching ability. Barkley racked up 721 receiving yards in his 2018 rookie season, using his agility and large frame to make defenders miss after the catch. However, he has yet to exceed seven targets in a game this season.

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Jones should use this to his advantage, dumping the ball off to the former Penn State standout whenever a defender is closing in on him. This not only benefits Jones’ numbers, but the entire offense can continue to move the chains as long as the ball is in the hands of their superstar running back.

Lead the offense to 21+ points

Taking away two pick-sixes and a safety by the offense, the Tampa Bay has given up an average of just 14 points per game to opposing offenses. Even more impressive is that they’ve given up just 1 touchdown so far, a 39-yard strike from Jimmy Garoppolo in their season opener.

Daniel Jones may struggle at times and the offense as a whole could look stagnant, but the Duke product should be able to muster a few strong scoring drives now that he’s been handed the reigns to the starting unit.

His accuracy was one of the biggest question marks about translating his game to the pros, but he looked solid in every single preseason game. If Jones can stay calm and stick to the game plan, the New York Giants might be able to pull off a short-handed victory.

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A few drives against second stringers is one thing, securing a win against real NFL talent is another. If Daniel Jones shows the same poise and stoic demeanor that helped him dominate in the preseason, he can definitely lead the New York Giants to their first win of 2019.