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Fact or Fiction: Recognition for Blake Martinez; best part of Daniel Jones' game?


In this series, the crew is presented with four statements, and they must decide whether they are "fact" or "fiction".

Blake Martinez's talent does not match his recognition around the league.

John Schmeelk: Fact - Martinez does not get nearly enough credit for the consistent brand of football he plays. His ability to read, diagnose and attack what opposing offenses are doing is second to none. The common refrain upon his arrival is that he struggled in coverage, but he proved to be an asset in zone coverage for the Giants last season. He is a tackling machine in the run game, and makes plays at and behind the line of scrimmage. He rarely misses a tackle. There might be some athletic limitations in terms of raw speed, but a smart coach, such as defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, won't put him into situations where he has to carry a speedy tight end or running back down the field in man coverage. He is a good NFL starter and I'm not sure how many people around the league realize it.

Dan Salomone: Fact - His 657 total tackles since he entered the NFL in 2016 are second only to Seattle's Bobby Wagner, a seven-time Pro Bowler and six-time first team All-Pro selection. Martinez has never earned a single honor in either category.

Lance Medow: Fact - Blake Martinez has finished in the top three in the NFL in tackles in each of the last four seasons (2017-20), collecting at least 144 tackles and played in all 16 games in each of those campaigns. While the numbers jump off the page, you also can't overlook the impact he had on the Giants' defense in his first season with the team. Martinez has never made the Pro Bowl and has never been named All-Pro. He's not a flashy player. More often than not, he does the dirty work and the box score rarely does him justice.

The deep pass is the best part of Daniel Jones' game heading into Year 3.

John Schmeelk: Fact - It was the best part of his game in his second season. On passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air last year, Jones completed 20 of 43 attempts for 652 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions, according to Pro Football Focus. He was extremely efficient and accurate on those throws. According to PFF, no other quarterback with at least 12 such attempts had a higher pinpoint accuracy or generally accurate rate. It was a big jump from his first season, when he struggled with the deep ball. There are some analytic studies that indicate deep throw accuracy is not normally steady from year to year, but if Jones is able to maintain his high level of play, it gives him high-end potential as a quarterback.

But do not discount his running ability. He is not the best scrambling quarterback, yet used designed runs to keep defenses honest on read-options; he also made explosive plays and opened up holes in their traditional running game.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Despite the offense's struggles, the Giants still ranked third in passer rating on attempts more than 21 yards (128.2). The mobility is a close second for Jones, but the deep pass will be what sets him apart in the long run.

Lance Medow: Fiction - Jones' mobility and threat as a runner is the best part of his game heading into his third season in the NFL. That's not to say he doesn't have a good deep pass or there hasn't been continued growth in that department, but his ability to move outside of the pocket to extend plays and take off as a runner adds a new dimension to the Giants' offense. We saw that in both games against the Eagles last season. He had an 80-yard run in Week 7 and then added a 34-yard rushing score in Week 10. Let's also not forget the 49-yard run through the Washington defense in Week 6. Unfortunately, hamstring and ankle injuries limited his mobility later in the season and you saw how much that changed the offense and how defense's approached him. When fully healthy, you have to account for Jones' ability as a runner as much as you do as a passer and it makes him that much more dangerous.

View photos of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throughout his NFL career.

The best way to help a quarterback is by adding offensive linemen.

John Schmeelk: Fact - Having explosive weapons to throw to is a big help for quarterbacks, but without good offensive linemen, their impact can be blunted. The Super Bowl should be the only evidence anyone needs. The Chiefs had Patrick Mahomes and their array of offensive weapons, but without a healthy offensive line in front of him to give him time to utilize them, the passing game couldn't function.

A team does not have to have a top-five or even top-10 offensive line in the league, but it is paramount they do not have a bottom-quarter offensive line when it comes to protecting the quarterback. Once a team meets the threshold of having an average line, upgrading at wide receiver is probably the better move. It should also be noted, however, that offensive linemen are generally tougher to find than receivers coming out of college and a team has to start five of them, which usually means reinforcing ang fortifying the future of the position is never over.

Dan Salomone: Fact – More than any other sport, the success of a player depends on the environment in the NFL. So, it takes the entire organization to help their quarterback, the most important position on the field. But in terms of acquiring personnel, the best way to help him is to keep him upright and give him a running game - the job requirement for offensive linemen.

Lance Medow: Fact - This is a fact raised to the fourth power, for those of you mathematicians. You can never have enough offensive linemen on a roster for the sake of depth and competition and those two factors directly impact the quarterback's performance. The best offenses in the NFL consistently protect the signal caller and that was made evident in Super Bowl 55. Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes absorbed three sacks and 10 quarterback hits while the Bucs' Tom Brady of the Bucs was sacked once and hit twice. On top of that, by the time Kansas City advanced to the biggest stage in the NFL, it had lost four of its five starting offensive linemen. Based on those developments, it's no coincidence that Tampa Bay claimed the Lombardi Trophy.

The main reason young receivers have been able to have early success is because the college game has crept into NFL offenses.

John Schmeelk: Fact - They are far from identical, but the distance between college and NFL offenses has shrunk in the last 10 years. The use of RPO's, for example, have crept into the NFL. Route combinations and concepts have also moved from the college game into the pros. Concepts that are easier to execute and do not require quite as much precise route-running and timing have become more common in the NFL. There are more quick screens and other plays designed to get the ball into the hands of an explosive wide receiver in the NFL than in the past. It's a big reason why wide receivers have been able to have more success earlier in their pro careers.

Dan Salomone: Fact – It's also why you've seen quarterbacks accomplish tremendous things in their first and second seasons. The same goes for wide receivers. More than that, they are expected to produce right away these days, as opposed to learning the ropes early in their careers.

Lance Medow: Fact - From the wide receiver perspective or based on what receivers are asked to do on the collegiate level, it's fair to say there's not that big of a transition to the NFL compared to other positions. In college, receivers are constantly moved around and asked to line up at different spots, much like the NFL. They're also exposed to a variety of defenses and schemes they'll see on the next level from man-to-man to zone to press coverage, etc. You can argue the biggest adjustment for receivers is having to get both feet inbounds on a catch in the NFL compared to just one in college.


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