EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — The New York Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones feel pretty good about his health. They don’t seem to have any doubts about his neck injury despite he costing him the final six games of last season.
“Yeah, I’ll be cleared and ready to go,” Jones said Monday during a conference call on the first day of the offseason workout program.
The team and quarterback have been steadfast about their belief that the neck injury Jones suffered late last year would not be a long-term problem. A source said that Jones was actually close to returning before the end of the season back in early January.
But the Giants have time now, and new coach Brian Daboll said last week that Jones should be “ready to go” for the offseason program. Jones was there Monday for the first day after spending the weekend cheering on his brother Bates, who was on the Duke men’s basketball team that reached the Final Four.
Phase I of the offseason program is mostly strength and conditioning. Jones won’t need to face any contact until the preseason in August, so there isn’t any real necessity for him to be cleared for contact now or anytime soon. He’s been training locally and at the team facility without any limitations for much of the offseason.
Jones is preparing to be the team’s starting quarterback again this upcoming season, even with a new general manager and coach in place. New York also signed veteran Tyrod Taylor to a two-year contract last month.
The Giants have continued to reiterate their confidence in Jones throughout the offseason. He was declared the unequivocal starter by the team’s brass last week at the NFL’s annual meetings. This came not long after owner John Mara said the organization had “done everything we can to screw this kid up since he’s been here” earlier this offseason.
It’s something that even caught Jones’ attention.
“I’m excited. I’m excited to get going here. I appreciate the support,” he said. “But it’s my job to do my role, to prepare this team, to prepare myself to play as well as I can and put this team in position to win games. So I take that responsibility very seriously and that is what I’m focused we.”
The Giants haven’t won many games since Jones was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. They are 12-25 with him as the starter, and he has 49 turnovers in 38 career games.
Jones, 24, is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Giants have to make a decision on whether to exercise a fifth-year option worth $22.4 million for 2023. General manager Joe Schoen said last week it’s a discussion that still needs to be had.
Jones doesn’t seem overly concerned.
“There will be a time and place for those conversations,” he said. “We’ll see and we’ll take care of that. We’ll do that when it comes up. But I’m focused on what we’re doing here and preparing and taking advantage of every day we have here together.”
Monday marked a significant day in that it’s the first time players can get their hands on a new playbook. Jones and the rest of his teammates can dig into what new coach Brian Daboll has put together.
There is a lot to get done.
“For me, like I said, my focus is on preparing myself,” Jones said. “I take full responsibility for how I played. We haven’t won enough games. We haven’t scored enough points. We haven’t done things well enough.
“I take responsibility for that as a quarterback. You play a big role in those things. That is what I’m focused on. I’m working on improving and making sure myself as well as the offense and team is ready to go daily .”