EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Giants coach Joe Judge today took exception to a reporter's assertion on his daily Zoom call that quarterback Daniel Jones is not aggressive enough in his playmaking.
"I would disagree with that," Judge said. "I think he's doing a lot of things aggressively. I think the way this guy stands in the pocket when the rush is collapsing on him at certain times or makes plays with his feet extending outside the pocket, the way he's willing to pull the ball in some of the zone reads and run downfield and take a big hit. I see a lot of aggressiveness in Daniel, and I like the way he plays. The team rallies around him right there.
"When it comes time to take our shots, we'll take our shots offensively. Sometimes, we have to be a little bit more calculated about how we want to systematically move the ball down the field. You have to have a good balance of both within a game plan."
Jones played perhaps his finest game of the season in the Giants' 23-20 victory Sunday in Washington. He completed 23 of 34 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, his first game this season without a turnover.
Avoiding negative plays is an important part of any quarterback's job description. The best ones can do so without sacrificing the forcefulness necessary to make big plays with their arms or legs when the situation demands it.
The key is to not be overly concerned with the former so that you sacrifice the latter. Judge said Jones has done exactly that that.
The coach was asked if he has seen tentativeness in Jones.
"No, not at all," Judge said. "I think he has really done a good job of sitting back and dissecting the defense at times this year and finding the right receiver. At the same time, when we go ahead and we put scheme-type plays out there to isolate a certain player, he's done a good job as far as getting the ball distributed to those guys and make sure he gives them a chance to make a play with the ball in their hands."
Quarterbacks who tend to be more cautious than swashbuckling are often called game managers. Jones doesn't consider the term pejorative.
"I think a big part of it is understanding when the opportunity is there, the ability to recognize that quickly, anticipate it and take it," Jones said. "A lot of times, that's down the field or sometimes that's just a quick decision where you're letting the guy catch and run and giving him space with an accurate ball. I think understanding when those opportunities are there, when it's not there, when we call a play and we don't get the look, and the ability to make a decision quickly and avoid a negative play, a sack or holding the ball, I think all of those situations maybe go into the game management category, but are important skills as a quarterback. I think those are important to understand at the position, and I'm certainly working to improve week in and week out."
He continues to improve his decision-making when those chances arise. In Washington, Jones had season bests in completion percentage (67.6) and passer rating (94.2). When the Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Jones will make just the 22nd start of his career.
"I think Daniel is a developing player," Judge said. "I think he's shown a lot of promise, he's making a lot of gains this year, he's done a lot of really, really good things for us, and that he gives us a chance to be competitive within games. I see him improving on a weekly basis, and I love having that guy in the huddle right now being our signal-caller. I know the team around him does as well."
Like many young quarterbacks, Jones must deal with the reality he is expected to mature and progress while he's tasked with winning games.
"My focus is to improve every week," Jones said. "I'm not sure how I label myself or how productive that is for me to do. My focus is to improve and continue to grow. I certainly understand there's lots of areas in my game that I need to improve on. That's where I'm focused week to week."
That's both a logical and aggressive stance to take.
*Rookie linebacker Tae Crowder returned to practice today. He has been on injured reserve since Oct. 20 with a hamstring injury he suffered in the Giants' victory against Washington on Oct. 18 – the game in which he scored the deciding touchdown on a 43-yard fumble return. The Giants have 21 days to add Crowder to the active roster, though putting him back on the field is an indication he could play against the Eagles.
*The Giants held a walk-through today. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams and defensive back Logan Ryan did not participate for reasons that were not injury related. Both players were excused for personal reasons.
Running back Devonta Freeman (ankle), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (toe/hip) and tight end Kaden Smith (concussion) were limited.