The buzz this week is all about New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones after he led his team to a 32-31 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his first career start. At PFF, we grade every player on every play, and as is often the case, there is plenty to celebrate from Jones’ first start, but also places in which he must improve. The final statline showed Jones going 23-for-36 for 336 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions — good for a 112.7 passer rating to go with four carries for 28 yards and two scores on the ground. Jones finished with a 69.4 overall PFF grade, a little lower than the final numbers would indicate. Here’s a look at the good and bad from Jones’ first NFL start.
Play Under Pressure
Quarterback play under pressure is quite the dichotomy, as they deserve praise when performing well in adverse conditions, but the proper analysis that needs to be applied is that great play under pressure is almost impossible to sustain. That brings us to Jones, who put up incredible numbers when facing heat on Sunday, as he completed 14-of-19 for 243 yards and one touchdown for a passer rating of 133.1. He felt the pressure, stood in there when necessary, and consistently made difficult throws — all while leading an 18-point comeback. For that, he deserves credit.
During the draft process, we compared Jones to Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles for his willingness to make throws under pressure. That was on full display against the Bucs. But while it’s an admirable quality, it’s also a volatile one that leads to many highs and lows, much like what we’ve seen during Foles’ career.
From our pre-draft assessment on Jones:
“His early 2018 was filled with impressive plays under pressure, and perhaps the best part of Jones’ game is his willingness to make throws with defenders in his face. Multiple times in his career, Jones stood in, took a hit and still had enough on the throw to get the ball to his receiver, creating some of the best highlights in the draft class.”
And here’s our view on how to use that information:
“But willingness to make throws under pressure leads to a wide range of outcomes, which is why Foles led the league in passer rating under pressure in 2018, but it’s an unstable metric that shouldn’t be weighed too heavily.”
After one week of action, Jones’ play under pressure has certainly displayed the high end of the wide range of outcomes that were mentioned in our pre-draft writeup. We expect this part of Jones’ game to lead to many highs, as we saw against the Bucs, but also turnover-worthy plays, something we got a glimpse of with a poor fumble in the pocket last week.