The Giants won again the next week, but it was against the awful Redskins, which hid the fact that Jones wasn’t that great, with two interceptions. But New York hasn’t won since, and Jones’s struggles have continued: In losses to the Vikings, Patriots and Cardinals, Jones completed only 55.8 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and five interceptions.
Nevertheless, on Monday Shurmur said he would be sticking with Jones and not going back to Manning, despite the rookie’s struggles.
“I think Daniel’s gonna learn from everything that’s going on, just like all the other rookies that are playing are gonna learn from things that happen,” Shurmur said. “But you have to learn and you have to win games, and I’m well aware of that. I’m totally well aware of that.”
Jones’s offensive line didn’t provide much help in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals, whose defense won’t remind anyone of the ’86 Bears (or the ’18 Bears, for that matter). Arizona sacked Jones eight times, double its previous single-game high this season, and caused him to fumble three times (the Cardinals recovered two of them). The Giants’ offense could only muster two touchdowns against a defense that entered the game ranked near the bottom of the league in points allowed, the third straight game New York’s offense has failed to generate more than two scores.
At least one of Jones’s teammates thinks the time for excuses is over, however.
“At this point they have seven NFL games under their belt,” veteran safety Michael Thomas told the New York Post. “You’re not a rookie anymore, in our eyes. You’re battlefield-tested. Now it’s time to be grown men and make plays. That’s it. So it’s all of us."
Giants officials probably knew this year would be something of a wash, no matter if the steadily declining Manning or the green rookie Jones was under center. And, barring that game against Tampa Bay, that’s exactly what’s happening, even if Shurmur has shown an ability to develop quarterbacks in the past. Case Keenum had the best season of his career when Shurmur was his offensive coordinator in Minnesota in 2017, and Nick Foles threw for 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions when Shurmur had the same role in Philadelphia four years earlier.
“I think I’m making progress in some areas,” Jones said Sunday. “And I still need to improve a lot in others.”