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PALM BEACH, Fla. – The New York Giants are not messing around with their quarterback situation. The new regime has made the picking order quite clear: Daniel Jones is the starter and Tyrod Taylor is the backup.
No quarrels about semantics. No one is saying that the QBs will compete, or that everyone should win a job, or that this is a pure meritocracy.
No, Jones is the starter under new general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll, with his perhaps biggest backer being ownership and John Mara.
“He’s shown enough when we’ve had the right pieces around him – when we’ve been relatively healthy – he’s shown enough talent to make us believe we can win with him,” Mara said last week at the NFLs annual meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.
The Mara and the Giants believe Jones is a quarterback you can build around, even if they need to see it before they put in the money to prove it completely.
Schoen and Daboll followed the latest Mara approval by specifically referring to Taylor, who was signed as a free agent three weeks ago, as “backup”. So apart from an unexpected setback, Jones will begin spring training, training camp and the regular season starting.
This is a make-or-break 2022 season for Jones, who is in the final year of his rookie contract. The Giants said they have not made a decision on whether to opt for his fifth-year option. They have until May 2nd.
It was just two years ago that Joe Judge took over as head coach and would not say the name of Jones (or anyone playing for that matter) until he had them in the building and saw them on the field.
This is the opposite end of the spectrum – name your starting quarterback in March.
“Yes, [Taylor] came in as a backup, “Daboll said last week at the NFC coaches’ breakfast in Palm Beach.” Again, you’ve seen Daniel here the last few years. I think Daniel, I’ve said it before, he has good athletics, he’s made some really good throws. I’m sure there are some plays that he wants back like everyone else.
“I think I’m going into it right now and [the start of the offseason program]we got it set the way we want it set. “
The Giants have no worries about Jones’ neck injury, which cost him the last six games last season. There will be no restrictions this spring.
In fact, there were people in the organization who thought Jones was justified close to a return at the end of last season. Four months later and almost five months before he faces his first contact, it’s hardly even a topic.
“He should be ready to go,” Daboll assured reporters of his starting quarterbacks availability in the spring.
The Giants have Taylor for safety. It was a priority for Schoen to get a reliable backup this offseason, even with the team lacking room for salary cap. He first went after Mitch Trubisky (who signed with Pittsburgh as the presumed starter) before turning his attention to Taylor.
Taylor, 32, was signed to a $ 11 million two-year deal with the potential to earn more with incentives he can only hit if he plays. He fits what the Giants were looking for in their backup quarterback – a veteran to work behind and pressure Jones.
“I like Tyrod a lot,” Schoen said. “I was in Buffalo with him the first year  when we broke the 17-year drought in terms of the playoffs there. Morning workout guy. He was always the first to enter. Always in there. First one in, the last to go. He’s smart. He is a leader. He is athletic. He can run Dabes’ system and [offensive coordinator Mike] Kafka – the things they want to do in attack. You do not have to change your offensive if he is to enter the game. Similar type of skill set [as Jones] and they can run the same offensive scheme.
“Those were the kind of guys we targeted. These were guys you didn’t have to change your scheme completely to run your offense. That was important.”
Jones’ story suggests Taylor will end up playing this year. Jones has missed matches due to an injury in each of his first three professional seasons.
That’s just one of the reasons there’s uncertainty surrounding Jones as the quarterback’s long-term answer. There is also his record of 12-25 as a starter and 49 turnovers in 38 career matches.
Still, the new coach, GM and ownership looks beyond the inconsistent start to his career and believes this will be the year he finally puts it together.
“You’ll have to wait and see,” Mara said. “I can understand that there’s going to be a lot of skepticism about it. But you just have to wait and see. You tell me: Which quarterback would have thrived in the situation that we’ve been in the past two or three or four years? It was very difficult. I think he did the best he could. Plus, he’s been hurt.
“We think he will be healthy this year. Our offensive line should be better. There are also some pretty good players out there. We have a new scheme. We have a head coach who has had great success developing quarterbacks.
“So all those things indicate that we’re getting better. Until we do, I understand there will be skepticism.”