The powers that be thought they moved mountains for their chosen successor to Eli Manning to get over the hump in his Make-or-Break third season.
But they failed Daniel Jones.
They got him playmakers but kept the offensive coordinator who couldn’t figure out a way to use them.
And worst of all, and this has been the biggest Achilles heel of all, general manager Dave Gettleman never fixed the offensive line, which leaves Jones too often panic-stricken, the way he was on that interception to Steve McLendon, without the hint of a running game.
And so on Monday night in Tampa, Make or Break provided an alarming signal that Jones looked broken.
Now, over these last seven games, starting Sunday against the Eagles, all eyes will be on him, all the pressure will be on him, because this has now become a referendum on him, and whether Jason Garrett held him back and hindered his development, or whether he has become afflicted with Darnolditis, and cannot rise above the rubble around him.
“My focus is on preparing to play the best I can, that’s what it always is, regardless of the circumstances,” Jones said.
Giants coach Joe Judge whacked Garrett to help himself, of course, and to help Jones.
And if he helps Jones with Freddie Kitchens calling plays that include Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, if he is healthy, he helps himself. You know that the last thing John Mara desires anyway — his history tells us that he will favor Judge over any would-be new GM adamant about cleaning house — is to fire a third straight head coach after only two seasons.
Now we see if Jones can help himself.
If he can reaffirm Judge’s belief in him.
And Mara’s belief in him.
He has no excuses. Kitchens Is his third playcaller in three seasons.
As Bill Parcells used to say: “Don’t tell me about the pain. Show me the baby.”
“We know we’ve gotta do better and that falls on each one of us, on players, and certainly me,” Jones said.
Jones was better as a rookie under Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula than he had been under Judge and Garrett. You could look it up.
Finally, Judge did.
Jones has given skeptics enough fodder to conclude that he is not the post-Eli answer.
I say let’s give him these last seven games before we slam the book closed on him. Let’s give him these last seven games to see if Garrett’s firing liberates him…. as much as he can feel liberated behind that offensive line.
It’s clearly time for Daniel Jones to honor the mandate of the franchise quarterback: get your team in the end zone, and win the game.
Just when he had appeared ready to turn the turnover corner, his ball security issues reared their ugly head again.
There isn’t a better time for him than now to start playing like the sixth pick of the draft.
“It’s on all of us to perform better at each of our jobs,” Jones said. “We all have to play better and produce more.”
No more than him. Judge sat him down on Tuesday and explained everything to Jones about firing Garrett.
“I’ll miss him, we’ll certainly miss him,” Jones said.
Jones feels the guilt that he should for not playing well enough for Garrett to avoid the guillotine.
“If you don’t feel like that, there’s an issue,” he said, “and we all take responsibility in our lack of production, I certainly do.“
Thus, it isn’t about a long-term extension right now. But Daniel Jones needs to be money now. Danny Dimes? Let’s see Danny Dollars.