Breaking down Daniel Jones' rushing success
Daniel Jones has enjoyed a strong start to the 2021 season. Through the first four weeks, Jones has thrown for 1,184 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception, while completing 66.7 percent of his passes. The third-year quarterback was nominated for the FedEx Air Player of Week 4 following his career-day against the Saints on Sunday.
While Jones has certainly stepped up as a passer this season, there is one area of his game that has been seemingly overlooked- his ability running the ball.
In four games, the 24-year-old ranks third among quarterbacks with 188 rushing yards, trailing only Baltimore's Lamar Jackson (279) and Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts (226). Jones' two rushing touchdowns is tied for the fourth-most in the league, while his 7.0 yards per carry is the highest in the NFL among players with 20 or more rush attempts.
"The Giants have run the league's eighth-most combined read options and designed quarterback runs over the past two seasons," Pro Football Focus' Ian Haritz writes. "They've functioned as the league's 10th-best offense in terms of EPA per play on these efforts.
"Jones shouldn't be referred to as sneaky-athletic; it's very apparent to anyone who has watched him play over the past three years that his rushing ability is a true weapon. There's an awful lot of speed on the Cowboys defense for Jones and company to deal with, but don't count out the dual-threat talent's ability to keep on keeping on as both a passer and rusher.
In addition to his two rushing touchdowns, Jones has also run in two-point conversions in each of the last two games. His conversion against the Saints brought the Giants within three points of tying the game, while the one against the Falcons included him running over Atlanta's All-Pro defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Jones is the first quarterback to run for a two-point conversion in consecutive games since New Orleans' Aaron Brooks on Sept. 22 and 29, 2002.
If he totals at least 200 passing yards and 25 rushing yards against the Cowboys this Sunday, Jones will join Randall Cunningham (1995) as the only players with at least 200 passing yards and 25 rushing yards in each of the first five games of a season.
Inside the Numbers: O-Line impresses amid shuffling
Neither team surrendered a quarterback sack in the Giants' 27-21 overtime victory against the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday. Keeping a quarterback off the ground for an entire game is always an impressive accomplishment, but it was particularly noteworthy given the state of the teams' offensive lines.
The Saints played without three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead (elbow) and center Erik McCloy (calf), who missed the game with injuries.
And injured players forced the Giants had to reshuffle their line yet again. They started their fourth offensive line combination in as many games. The latest configuration included center Billy Price, guards Matt Skura and Will Hernandez and tackles Andrew Thomas and Nate Solder. Skura made his Giants debut. Hernandez and the tackles have started every game.
This season, the Giants have started eight different offensive linemen, the NFL's second-highest total behind the Philadelphia Eagles' nine. The eight starting linemen are the most the Giants have used through the first four games in a non-strike season since they started eight in 1982 (they had 12 starters through four games in 1987, but that included two strike replacement games).
The Giants have started a different player at left guard in each game – Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Ben Bredeson and Skura. Lemieux and Gates are out for the season and Bredeson missed the New Orleans game with a hand injury. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants last started a different player at an offensive line position in four consecutive games in 2016, when Justin Pugh, Brett Jones, Marshall Newhouse and Adam Gettis started in succession … at left guard. The Giants are the only team with four different starters at an offensive line position this season.
Since the start of the 2018 season, 19 different offensive linemen have started for the Giants, which is tied for the NFL's sixth-highest total.
Check out the best photos from the New York Giants' Week 4 contest against the New Orleans Saints.