National Football League

Daniel Jones faces the pressure to deliver for the New York Giants

March 23

It looks as if the window for excuses in The Big Apple has all but closed.

The NFL free agency period is always an intriguing moment in time, as organizations make moves to bolster their rosters ahead of the impending season.

One such move that was made this past week was wide receiver Kenny Golladay taking his talents from Detroit to New York, joining the Giants via a four-year, $72 million deal.

Golladay led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 2019 (11) and received an invitation to the Pro Bowl the same year after tallying 65 catches for 1,190 yards in 16 games.

Hamstring and hip flexor injuries hampered Golladay's 2020 season, sidelining him for 11 games. In the five games he played, he made 20 catches for 338 yards and caught two touchdowns.

With Golladay in a new shade of blue, the Giants are expected to make leaps and bounds on the offensive side of the ball by pairing the 27-year-old receiver with fourth-year running back Saquon Barkley and third-year quarterback Daniel Jones

Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall said Monday on "First Things First" that Golladay will provide a sense of security for Jones.

"It helps when you’re a young quarterback and you have a big X wide receiver or even a Z wide receiver that you can just drop back and throw it up. It becomes your security blanket."

Despite the confidence in Golladay, there is some hesitance to believe that the Giants' offense will pull it together after a drop in performance from Jones in 2020.

In his rookie season, "Danny Dimes" passed for 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 12 starts. In 2020, Jones regressed, tallying 2,943 yards through the air, 11 touchdowns and 10 picks in 14 starts.

His QB rating dropped from 87.7 to 80.4 in his sophomore season, and only four times last year did he have more TDs than INTs in a game. On 10 occasions, he had an equal amount of touchdowns and picks or more picks than touchdowns, and in seven games, he failed to throw for a score.

With that, Nick Wright posited that while the Golladay acquisition might look good on paper for the G-Men, it will be on Jones to supercharge the offense.

"Unless Kenny Golladay is going to literally give Daniel Jones his hands so he stops fumbling the football, I don’t know how much this is going to help the Giants actually."

In just two years, Jones has a combined 29 fumbles – 18 as a rookie and 11 last season.

Colin Cowherd shared similar sentiments, saying that he believes Jones is on the clock in New York.

"Now it’s on Daniel Jones – 26 starts, training wheels are off. Can you play? ... [The NFC East] is a winnable division. So there you go, Daniel Jones. Make the playoffs, or on Thanksgiving, you’re the turkey. They’re moving on."

Added Cowherd: "That Kenny Golladay move, that’s just for Daniel Jones. That’s a Baker Mayfield, 'We’ll give you a bunch of people, and you have to make the playoffs' [move]. And by the way, Baker made the playoffs in a much better division than the NFC East [last season]."

That said, some still have faith in Jones and the Giants. ESPN's Max Kellerman picked New York to win the NFC East on Monday's edition of "First Take," mainly because the rest of the division is in shambles. 

"The Giants will be healthy, and Daniel Jones’s ability to develop in Year 3 – I have faith. ... Washington, you think they have a better defense? Probably, but are they more well-rounded? Dallas, they don’t have a defense. The Eagles are in tatters. The Giants are the answer."

Last year, the Giants finished with a 6-10 overall record and a 4-2 record in the division, placing them second in the NFC East behind the 7-9 Washington Football Team, which went to the playoffs and lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild-card round.

However, the Giants were without star running back Barkley – the first player in Giants history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons – after he tore his ACL in Week 2.

With Barkley back and Golladay in the mix, Jones figures to have the weapons necessary to lead New York to its first postseason berth since 2016 and, possibly, the team's first playoff win in more than a decade.

If not, Dimes might be doomed in NYC.


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