During the Giants game against the Bears this past Sunday, Giants fans were devastated to see star running back Saquon Barkley leave the field after an injury.
Barkley underwent an MRI of his right knee, which confirmed that he had torn his ACL, an injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season.
Obviously, with Barkley being the centerpiece of the offense, his injury will impact the team in many different ways. The Giants backfield is now set to be carried by Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis, both of who have not shown sustainable periods of effectiveness for the team.
Although Devonta Freemen was just signed to a one-year deal and is set to be a solid rotational piece in the Giants rushing attack, there are concerns about his age (38 years old) and how smoothly he can be integrated into the offense.
Therefore, it appears that Daniel Jones, the Duke product selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2019 draft, will begin to take a larger role in the offense during Barkley’s absence.
Impact on Jones
It is no question that Jones has shown glimpses of promise and has the potential to be a solid franchise quarterback; however, the Danny Dimes with Barkley and without Barkley appears to be two different players. In the three week span Barkley missed in the 2019 season due to an ankle sprain, Jones recorded some of his worst numbers of the year, with an average completion rate of 55.8% and a 3:5 touchdown to interception ratio compared to his season average completion rate of 61.9% and 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio. It is clear that Jones did not step up to the task in 2019, but things may change this season.
Last season Barkley missed weeks 4-6, a time when Jones had not started in more than 8 NFL games. Therefore, Jones’s youth and inexperience were definitely factors in his poor performance, and a rookie quarterback struggling in their first few games is expected. However, Jones has more experience under his belt now and will be given more control of the offense due to Barkley’s injury, which can have a very positive impact on Jones as a player. With Jones leading the offense and attempting more passes, this season is a prime opportunity for him to develop into a more mature passer.
In the last few seasons, the NFL has seen the emergence of the second-year quarterback as both Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes won the MVP award in their second year. Although comparing Jones to Jackson and Mahomes would be a stretch, Jones may see a similar type of development the other two quarterbacks experienced in their second year.
With Jones taking control over the offense and more responsibility now falling on him, he is set to have a season of improvement and growth, which Giants fans should be very excited about.
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