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Galina: Giants' Daniel Jones needs to take more risks, create explosive plays to succeed in 2021

East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) huddles with the team during warmups before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones simply exists as one of the 22 players on the football field for each play — nothing more. That isn’t to say he’s a bad quarterback. Far from it. It’s also not to say he’s a good quarterback.

Jones has lived in quarterback limbo since entering the NFL two years ago. He made some important improvements in his sophomore year, but he’s missing one important feature to his game: excitement. If the Giants are to make a run at the playoffs, and even a Super Bowl, while Jones is still on his rookie contract, they need to start being more explosive. And that falls on the shoulders of both Jones and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

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Let’s start with the most concerning outcome. The Giants could not create plays of more than 15 yards when they dropped back to pass last season, ranking 28th in the league with an 11.2% rate. Jones himself finished 24th in the league in total 20-plus-yard net gains on pass plays (34).

At some point, an offense needs to manufacture big plays. The Giants, who failed to do so in 2020, generated the second-worst offensive EPA per play in the league (-.079). The team faced similar problems in 2019, finishing 27th during the regular season in 15-plus-yard pass plays and 25th in EPA per play. That’s why Garrett's appointment as offensive coordinator after the 2019 season seemed redundant.

Garrett and Jones complement each other extremely well. However, that’s not a good thing. Garrett loves calling short, quick-game concepts, and Jones obliges by throwing short as often as he can. Garrett called a quick-game concept for Jones the third-most number of times among NFL quarterbacks last year, although it's really second because Ben Roethlisberger, who ranked first, lives on a completely different plane of existence. It’s great if you want to call plays that have only slants and quick outs built into the whole concept, but the quarterback has to be stunningly accurate if that is such a big part of a team's offense.

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