There are naysayers who do not believe in Daniel Jones the way Joe Judge and the Giants believe in him, and not because of his toughness and mobility and poise and makeup and how accurately he throws the football.
It is almost entirely because of how careless he was with the football since taking the football from Eli Manning.
He fumbled 18 times — 12 passing, six rushing.
He lost 11 fumbles.
While he navigates a virtual new world with fear and uncertainty all around him and everyone else in the country — with a new head coach and new offensive coordinator installing a new system and new quarterbacks coach and no Manning as a mentor — Giants fans should not worry about Daniel Jones fumbling his opportunity of a lifetime.
He’s fixing his problem.
Former Duke quarterback Anthony Boone, a trainer at QB Country, can vouch for it.
“He really just kind of stressed to me, ‘If you don’t mind, just kind of rough me up in the pocket a little bit, try and knock the ball out of my hands,’ ” Boone told The Post. “Every drill that we do, I kind of walk up behind him, walk up on him, and I’m trying to rake the ball out of his hands.
“Even if he’s just standing around, I’m just trying to poke the ball out of his hand.”
Boone, armed with hand sanitizer and a mask, supervises Jones’ various quarterback drills on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ball security is always part of the agenda.
“He basically right now is asking me to coach him and give feedback in the small details but also be a gnat and be as annoying as possible when it comes to trying to get the ball out of his hand,” Boone said.
Boone, joking that he is a hard grader, has witnessed enough progress to give Jones an A-minus.
“Early on, I got him a couple of times, “ Boone said, “but now he’s pretty locked in.”
Jones won’t rest until the problem is solved.
“To me, I think the biggest thing is ball security and particularly in the pocket, protecting the ball,” Jones said on a Zoom call. “That’s a fundamental skill at the quarterback position that’s something that’s crucial, but also to me a fairly simple fix in that it’s a mindfulness, a certain being intentional to securing the ball, to having two hands on it when you’re moving, when you’re having to adjust in the pocket you’re maintaining that security.”
Jones cannot possibly simulate raging predators swiping at the football, but outside his parents’ home in Charlotte, N.C., he is working diligently on never allowing a Jamal Adams to snatch the ball out of his lowered right hand and run it 25 yards to the house. It was the signature defining miscue of Jones’ rookie season.
“I’ve been working with a quarterback coach here, and he’s someone who helps me with that,” Jones said. “He’ll make sure I’m staying on top of that while swatting at the ball, and trying to simulate things that’ll happen in a game.”
Lamar Jackson in seven rookie starts fumbled 12 times; in his MVP sophomore season, he fumbled nine times in 15 starts.
Jones doesn’t have the same dynamic skills or the same supporting cast, but he is smart enough and committed enough and gifted enough to make a second-year leap, and he won’t allow excuses to derail him.
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“This offseason’s obviously different for everyone,” Jones said, “including me, being a guy who’s trying to learn football, who’s trying to obviously make a step in my second year playing in the NFL, but everyone’s dealing with these circumstances, everyone’s having to adjust, and I’m no different from that. No one’s gonna be giving breaks to people who are working remote, ‘cause everyone’s working remote and having to do it. I understand that.
“I don’t think it’ll be a disadvantage if we approach it like we have, if we approach it like the opportunity is to use the time as well as we possibly can.”
Jones is similar to Manning in this regard: He embraces the notion that the quarterback is an extension of his head coach. When you ask him if this is now his team, he answers as if Judge wrote the script for him.
“It’s our team,” Jones said, “I don’t know if it’s one guy’s team. It’s not Coach’s team, it’s not my team, it’s not Saquon [Barkley’s] team or anyone else’s. Leadership-wise I’m gonna do my best to first take care of what I’m doing, take care of my responsibility, be prepared and playing at a high level and then hopefully that rubs off on guys, and trying to do my best to help guys and work with guys as best I can.”
It was a jolt to the Giants’ nerve center — particularly to Jones — when Pat Shurmur handed him the ball and the team in Week 3, but Manning was much more of a help than a hindrance to Jones last season.
“Looking back, it was probably a little awkward at certain times,” Jones said, “but I think we did a good job working together. I know I enjoyed working with him and certainly learned a ton from him and appreciate everything he did during that year. I thought it was a huge advantage for me to be able to learn from him and talk to him every day It’ll be different, it’ll be an adjustment, but looking forward to this year, to this team we have.”
Former Cowboy Cooper Rush has helped with the nuances of the offense former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett brings to East Rutherford.
“He’s been great to have in the room so far,” Jones said, “he’s able to answer a lot of our questions and kinda speed up that learning process.”
Jones has spoken briefly with former Cowboys QB Tony Romo, and Barkley plans to pick Ezekiel Elliott’s brain.
“The system’s been successful,” Jones said. “I feel like we have a lot of guys who can make plays, we got guys at every position who can make plays. You’ll see that in the system like you’ve seen it in the past.”
Jones, who was sacked 38 times in his 13 starts, is understandably excited about working with his rookie bodyguards, starting with first-round draft pick, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas.
“I think they understand the responsibility they have,” Jones said.
Most importantly, the quarterback fully understands the responsibility he has to his fellow New York Football Giants: Just keep us the damn ball.
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