When Joe Judge first got the Giants head coaching job last year, he refused to refer to any of the team’s players by name.
Judge has explained that he did that because he was getting to know the team and didn’t want to put undue expectations on any player. It still seemed odd that he wouldn’t mention quarterback Daniel Jones after the team took him sixth overall and benched Eli Manning to put him in the lineup in 2019.
During an appearance on WFAN Tuesday, Judge said he told Jones early in his tenure that “part of the thing we have to evaluate this year is I have to evaluate” if “he was really the answer” to the quarterback question.
“There hit a point in the year where you could see there were different traits that he had that the team really responded to and his level of play was raised,” Jones said. “Look, there were a lot of things you could argue in terms of statistical output, this and that, but I’m telling you, when you watch the guy and how he handles the huddle, when you watch how he has command of the offense, when you watch how he adjusts with game plans, when you see the level of toughness he plays with, when you watch him prepare away from the field better than anybody else on a daily basis — and that’s saying a lot because our guys empty the tank every day — there’s a lot of things you look at him and say, hey, this guy gives us confidence going forward with him because we know he’s going to be prepared. We know he’s going to compete, and we’ve seen improvement from him.”
That long list of positives is weighed against the statistical output that Judge mentioned along with the team’s record. The improvement that Judge has seen will have to show up on that front in 2021 for certainty about Jones’ future to truly take hold.