Thu. Oct 22nd, 2020

A deeper look at Daniel Jones’ six interceptions…

7 min read
A deeper look at Daniel Jones' six interceptions...

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The interceptions kept on coming for New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, like body blows in a heavyweight fight. Each one last Thursday night seemed to hurt incrementally more than the last.

The first was mitigated by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returning the favor on the very next play. The second led to a Patriots touchdown. The third all but eliminated any chance the Giants, behind a rookie, could win on the road against the league’s top defense.

If there is one cause for concern with Jones early in his career, it’s the turnovers. He has thrown six interceptions and lost a pair of fumbles in four starts.

Not that this is completely uncommon. Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions as a rookie for the Indianapolis Colts. He never came close to that again at any point of his legendary career. That rookie pick-fest was part of his growth as an NFL quarterback.

The story goes that during his rookie season, Manning tried to make a throw into a tight window while facing a certain look and it was intercepted. He thought he could get it between two defenders. He insisted to running back Marshall Faulk that he could make the throw. Next time, same play, same result. Third time, same thing.

Finally, Manning went to Faulk and admitted he couldn’t make that throw in this league. This wasn’t college. It was the NFL. Lesson learned.

That is the kind of learning experience Jones is encountering on what seems to be a play-by-play basis. He must cut down on the turnovers, specifically the interceptions.

Why are these mistakes happening? Are they all his fault? How can this be fixed? I enlisted the help of an NFL coach to break down each of Jones’ six interceptions.

Interception 1 (vs. Redskins, Week 4)

Situation: First-and-10 from Giants’ 40; 8:31 of second quarter

Cornerback Quinton Dunbar intercepts a Jones pass thrown 19 yards downfield. Jones was targeting Sterling Shepard on a deep crossing route and took a big hit from a defensive tackle on the play.

The initial look makes it appear Jones was late with the ball on a play-action pass. Not really, says the coach. The interception was more a product of Cody Latimer running a bad route. He was running a post route and drifted into the safety’s area, allowing the Redskins’ defensive backs to switch coverage responsibilities midplay. This allowed for the interception.

“If the route was thinner the defense could not have passed it off as the QB was pulling the trigger with a big hit on the way,” the coach said.

Verdict: Not Jones’ fault

Interception 2 (vs. Redskins)

Situation: Second-and-3 from Giants’ 21; 6:41 of second quarter

Very next drive. Jones again throws to Shepard near the left hash and is intercepted by Dunbar. It’s man coverage and Shepard doesn’t win from the slot moving from right to left. Dunbar undercuts the route and makes a nice diving interception.

The coach saw a few things from Jones that weren’t ideal. Jones was 9½ yards deep in the pocket — deeper than the Giants want — and late with the throw. He also made a bad decision by sticking with Shepard and not getting through his progressions. The best place for him to go with the ball would have been to tight end Evan Engram on the shallow cross.

One important note here: Jones rebounded and played well the remainder of this game. Giants coach Pat Shurmur even said afterward that Jones was able to stay in the moment after the back-to-back interceptions, that you wouldn’t have known he didn’t throw a touchdown pass rather than an interception from the way he reacted.

Verdict: Jones’ fault. Bad decision, bad depth and his throw was late.

Interception 3 (vs. Vikings, Week 5)

Situation: Fourth-and-2 from Giants’ 25; 3:26 of fourth quarter

The Giants are down three scores at this point. It’s late in the fourth quarter. The Vikings are playing a soft zone. The right side of the Giants’ line again allows pressure. Jones makes a quick throw to Golden Tate, in his first game back from suspension, and linebacker Eric Kendricks makes an excellent diving interception.

It appears to be a bad throw. Jones forces it to a receiver who is not open while there appears to be a window for a throw to Engram in the middle of the field. But it’s not an easy read for a young quarterback, which is part of the challenge.

The coach puts this more on Tate for his route and not being able to get open against a linebacker than Jones for his read.

Verdict: Not Jones’ fault.

Interception 4 (vs. Patriots, Week 6)

Situation: Second-and-7 from Giants’ 33; 7:17 of first quarter

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