The only thing worse than watching the Giants nowadays is watching the Giants without Daniel Jones starting at quarterback.
For most of this season and, if we are being honest here, almost every bit of his first three seasons, Jones has not been easy on the eyes. He can do some great things with his legs, and his touch on the deep ball is one of his strengths. Not, mind you, the touch and power displayed when Justin Herbert launched one 59 yards for a touchdown for the Chargers against the Giants. But not terrible at all.
The only thing worse than watching the Giants lose week after week, including the 37-21 rout this past Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., was watching the Giants do down without Jones. There is nothing to be gained or learned from seeing Mike Glennon go out there and sling it around. The past eight quarters of that is enough, thank you, and we need not see anymore of this.
Every snap Jones is able to take from here on out should be taken as further evidence that he deserves to keep his job as the starting quarterback in 2022, or else cede the role to someone else who is not yet on the roster. What a shame it will be if Jones cannot return this season, as the strained neck he came away with Nov. 28 in a victory over the Eagles has already kept him out of the last two games. He is set to see Dr. Frank Cammisa, a spine and neck specialist on Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. While he was on the West Coast, Jones was examined by Dr. Robert Watkins, also a neck specialist. Jones feels fine and when he is on the field during practice he moves and throws with no discomfort. But until he receives medical clearance that allows contact, he cannot play.
The Giants will not risk anything or rush him back, but they need that medical clearance to make any of the final four games at least bearable. The offensive line is what it is — four new starters are needed. Saquon Barkley, at present, is what he is — a running back searching and struggling to regain his form. The skill players are what they are — hurting, injured or not very effective. Rising above all else is what to do at quarterback, and getting Jones back in the pocket is essential for finishing the evaluation process.
There is plenty to look at, but not enough just yet. He is 12-25 in his 37 NFL starts, with 45 touchdown passes and 29 interceptions. The Giants were not winning early this season — are they ever? — but Jones was playing well enough to win. At times he was their best offensive player on the field. He did not sustain that level of performance, and then he got hurt. Again. Jones has not been able to avoid missing starts because of injury in any of his three years with the Giants.
As an aside, let this be a lesson to the Giants to do something in the future that they have not made a priority for more than a decade. They need to find a better backup quarterback. They won a game in Seattle last season with Colt McCoy and this season felt bringing in Glennon was an upgrade. McCoy won two of three starts this season for the Cardinals and the only aspect of an upgrade with Glennon is his height. He is 0-2 for the Giants starting the past two games and is now 6-23 as a spot NFL starter. He can function but he is not going to win much. It did not matter much, if at all, who served as the backup when Eli Manning was No. 1. He never missed a game. Manning was the exception to the rule that states most quarterbacks get hurt at one time or another.
There are those inside the coaching staff who believe the Giants might have won by two touchdowns if Jones played last week in Miami. Debate that if you must. Glennon could not get the team in the end zone in the 20-9 loss to the Dolphins. Facing the Chargers, the Giants were not going to win with the slop they served no matter who was at quarterback.
Seeing Jones in any of these last four games cannot happen unless he is cleared. There are no guarantees he gets to play this week against the Cowboys. There is this guarantee, though: The longer the Giants go without him, the more of a waste this next month will be.
More that came out of another non-competitive loss for the Giants:
What a dud of a return it was for Sterling Shepard. He missed four consecutive games with a quad injury and finally made it back onto the field to face the Chargers. We think. A pass did not come his way until the third quarter, and he finished with two receptions for 27 yards. He caught one for 24 yards, but that came with 1:12 remaining and the Chargers willing to trade a few yards for time off the clock. The final pass of the day for Mike Glennon was behind Shepard, deflecting off his hand for an interception.
What is the deal with Kenny Golladay? Yeah, we get it, the passing game is not exactly dynamic and so these wide receivers are not going to be putting up gaudy numbers. But can Golladay run away from a defensive back at least once in a while? He was targeted eight times and came away with two catches for 15 yards. That is really bad. He was known for making contested catches when he played for the Lions and now we can see why. He rarely creates much separation and the ball has to be placed just right for him to have a big game. Maybe he is not fully healthy. So far, the big-money free agent signing has been a complete dud. He is still looking for his first touchdown with the Giants and it is getting late.
While we’re on the subject of non-productive receivers, please welcome Darius Slayton. He looks either disinterested or distracted. He was targeted three times and did not have a single reception. We get it, Glennon firing from the pocket is not the same as Daniel Jones firing away. After an impressive rookie year, Slayton has not done much of anything to help himself stick around in 2022.
Off the Matt
This was a good sign, seeing Matt Peart get plenty of snaps at right tackle. Nate Solder started and played 32 of the 69 snaps on offense. Peart mixed in and played 37 snaps. This is the way it should be moving forward. These games down the stretch of a losing season must be used to see who is useful and who should be discarded. It is unlikely Solder will be back. Peart was a 2020 second-round pick and he was banished to the bench before getting dusted off and asked to share time with Solder. It is all about getting Peart tougher and more aggressive. He cannot improve on either of those without being on the field.
Let’s end this with something positive, which is hard to find around this team. Elijhaa Penny, the hard-working fullback, caught a 3-yard pass early in the game for the first touchdown reception of his five-year career. Penny scored the final points for the Giants when he ran in the two-point conversion. That capped a big day for the Penny family. His brother, Rashaad Penny, ran for two touchdowns for the Seahawks in their 33-13 victory in Houston and finished with 137 rushing yards. “It’s a good day for the both of us,’’ Eli Penny said. “A good day for our family just seeing us play football and enjoy the game.”