Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls
up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
IS IT TIME TO QUESTION DANIEL JONES NOW THAT THE GIANTS ARE 0-4?
By Dave Klein
The general reaction to the Giants close-but-no-cigar loss to the Los Angeles
Rams is not an old one, but it has surfaced in recent months:
"Is Daniel Jones the answer at quarterback? Is he Phil Simms or Eli Manning,
or is he Dave Brown?"
Joe Judge, whose resume currently says 0-4, was asked that question before the
team left to fly home Monday morning. He has been a rabid supporter of Jones and
his response indicated only that.
if you're asking if Daniel is our quarterback, then Daniel is our quarterback,"
he responded. "That's who we're playing. We support him, we have a lot of
confidence in him, we have faith in him. Again, he's a young guy who's developing.
We've seen a lot of progress from him day to day.
"Are there things he needs to correct and clean up, and can we do a better
job as coaches and staff to put him in the right situations? Absolutely. But in
terms of that blanket statement, I don't know if there's ever a pinpoint in terms
of what's the threshold for saying some guy is your guy for whatever. But Daniel
is our quarterback."
to be clear enough. And besides, all the Giants have behind him in Colt McCoy,
so of course D.J. is the starter. But he has yet been unable to shake those bad
habits of giving away the football, either by fumbling it or by throwing it to
guys wearing the other jerseys.
expect anybody else this season unless injury rears its ugly knee ligaments. Jones
is the starter, and he is the only starter, and whether he turns out to be Simms
or Manning or Brown, the die is cast.
nothing a quarterback does is done single-handedly. He needs blockers to keep
the angry horde away from him. He needs convincing running backs so he can fake
a handoff to somebody the defense respects and then pull the ball back and throw
it downfield. He also needs those running backs to make yardage when they are
given the ball, and it is not a compliment to note that through the first four
games he is the team's leading rusher.
Remember, Brown was a first-round pick in 1992 (in the supplemental draft), Simms
arrived as a first rounder in 1979 and Eli joined the Giants from the first round
Brown spent five years trying
to live up to his reputation and failed. Simms should be in the Hall of Fame and
Eli will certainly get there when his time comes.
As they say, the jury is still out - but it isn't leaning toward a positive decision.
Sure, he has the size and the arm strength and the I.Q. and the foot speed. But
he coughs up the ball, and in Sunday's game it was a disaster - he threw an interception
in the final minutes when the Giants had the chance to tie the game, and that
was it as the Rams rolled out the clock.
"I think I might have had the opportunity to run the ball there instead of
passing it," he said. "I have to learn from that and move on."
As observers will have already noted, the defense played with remarkable poise.
It was the punchless offense that yielded time and again, even with monster defensive
tackle Aaron Donald restricted by a series of clever formations - which probably
cost true progress as far as the running game is concerned.
love the way our defense is playing right now,'' Judge said. "Third down
was a big emphasis for us and they improved on that today (the Rams were 5-for-13
on third downs). I like the way our front played, and our back end is improving
on a weekly basis."
But there is
the lingering quarterback question, and perhaps the rest of the season will provide
an acceptable answer. For now, Jones is the starter.
to the other "highlight" of the game, let's move to the family-feud
fight between Giants' receiver Golden Tate and Rams' cornerback Jalen Ramsey,
who apparently provided Tate with two nieces via his sister, Breanna, and then
left town. It was, by all reports, an unexpected and bitter departure.
The two tussled a bit during the game but there was a full-scale brawl as the
players were filing off the field,, the principal participants, of course, being
Tate and Ramsey.
"I don't want
(Giants' co-owners) John Mara and Steve Tisch, or anybody involved with the team
to have to deal with something like this after the game," Judge said. "This
isn't why we play the game. We have 60 minutes to beat the hell out of each other,
legally, between the whistles. We don't need anything extra after."
don't need anything extra after. I talked to a number of our players, then we
saw some video on it of guys who were involved. I had enough of an eye-witness
standpoint myself after me and [Rams' head coach] Sean (McVay) had an exchange
at midfield. I turned around and it was kind of happening right there in front
of me, so I got a quick glimpse of it right there.
"Look, all I can say is the account I got from a number of our players, was
that there's a history, obviously, between them. There was a punch thrown. Golden
was defending himself. I was told he wasn't the one who threw the punch. Everybody
involved was trying to break it up.
"I can say both our players and the Rams' staff and players, from what I
saw, were all in there just trying to break it up. I didn't see everything going
on in the pile, but from the accounts I was told and the information I was given
and from what I saw with my own eyes, that's what I saw, that guys were trying
to break it up."
Maybe a little
more fighting on the field, guys, you know? Maybe the record wouldn't be 0-4.
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