For the last 15 years covering 31 matchups (one playoff), when the Dallas Cowboys faced the New York Giants in their NFC East divisional play, they've faced Eli Manning at quarterback. In fact, this will be the first time since October 10th, 2004 that the Giants will trot out a quarterback other than Eli Manning against America's Team.
Over the years, the Dallas Cowboys grew accustomed to chalking up wins against the Eli Manning-led Giants. Though he did get the best of the top-seeded Cowboys in the 2007 divisional round of the playoffs, Eli Manning had a career record of 13-17 against the Cowboys in his tenure. Most recently, since 2013, the Cowboys have gone 3-10 against the younger Manning, winning the last five in a row.
After another rough start to the season, the Giants coaching staff turned the team over to sixth overall pick from the 2019 NFL Draft. Daniel Jones. Jones was considered by many one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft, but many were surprised that the Giants selected him at sixth overall. The consensus was Jones was a first-round talent, but perhaps not a top 10 player in the draft. The Giants certainly felt differently and made the former Duke standout their franchise quarterback of the future.
The future has come a bit earlier than many expected and Jones has had his ups and downs. Taking over for the New York Giants isn't like Dak Prescott taking over a team ready to contend in 2016, and Daniel Jones has seen his fair share of struggles. Most rookie quarterbacks are going to struggle in their first NFL season and on an offense that doesn't have a lot going for it on the outside. Especially with injuries to Sterling Shepard and a suspension of Golden Tate to start the season. Despite the struggles, Jones has had some really good moments.
Just last week, facing a stingy Detroit Lions secondary, Jones went 28 of 41 (68.29%) for 322 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 9.8 yards per attempt and finished with a passer rating of 124.2. One area in which he's struggled, and he did against the Lions on Sunday, is in protecting the football. Jones has fumbled the ball eight times in his seven games and thrown seven interceptions. Rookie quarterbacks are going to make mistakes, but that's a lot of mistakes. Those mistakes were reflected in the fact that his QBR was only 62.4, which takes into account the negative plays.
I think Jones has shown enough in his time in the NFL, even dating back to the preseason, that Giants fans should feel encouraged about where he's at in his development. The NFL is as much of a team sport as there is in the world and every team requires talent throughout an offense.
Dallas Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence is looking forward to facing Daniel Jones in his first start against the Cowboys and called him a “Little Eli.” In some other ways though, he's a different player.
DeMarcus Lawrence called Giants QB Daniel Jones a little Eli Manning.
"That's what the GM said when he drafted him," Tank added. "He just couldn’t say it in those words, but y’all got it from me."
- Daniel Jones throws with good anticipation and with ease. He doesn't seem to struggle to get the ball downfield, especially when his footwork is together.
- He's an accurate passer.
- Can throw to all levels of the field, seems to throw better to his left.
- He's an athletic player who can make plays with his feet. He isn't athletic in the same way that Aaron Rodgers is, but Jones is plenty capable of scrambling for a first down if given the opportunity.
- He struggles with his footwork under pressure. With a rusher in his face doesn't consistently step into his throws.
- He makes questionable choices under pressure. Isn't great at protecting the football.
- Jones stares down his receivers at times. He needs to learn better eye discipline to move defenders around to get the looks he wants.
Here Daniel Jones throws the comeback route and releases the ball just ast the receiver makes his break toward the sideline. It's a nicely executed comeback route for his first throw of the game and to get the Giants moving a bit.
This was a really nice throw, though his footwork is thrown off a bit by the pressure. He puts the ball on target for the receiver to come back to the ball on the back shoulder fade. Daniel Jones does a nice job making things happen even when his footwork isn't perfect. Unfortunately for Jones, as you'll see below, he didn't fair as well when his footwork was off.
Against the Washington Redskins, Jones had to deal with pressure a lot. He's got a decent pocket to throw from here and puts the ball in a spot for the receiver to make the catch, but it's slightly underthrown and the defensive back is able to undercut the football. It all stems from Jones not really stepping into the throw as he should have.
Again against the Redskins, the Giants are forced to deal with pressure up the middle as Washington's able to create penetration in the middle of the pocket. The free rusher up the middle doesn't allow Jones to step into his throw and the defensive back does a good job reading the deep crossing route (the one that happened to open up Devin Smith's touchdown reception against Washington) passes off his man and is able to beat the receiver to the football. Again, it's a decently thrown football, but because Jones doesn't get everything he'd like to into the ball.
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The Cowboys are facing a new era of quarterbacking for the Giants and that creates a whole new challenge for them to deal with. He'll be a different quarterback than what they've been facing during the Eli Manning era and while Danie Jones will likely make some plays against the Dallas Cowboys this Monday Night, he's far from a finished product.
The Dallas Cowboys should be able to get to him with their front four featuring DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, Michael Bennett and whatever other defensive tackle they throw out there. If they're able to get pressure on Jones, that should allow them to create some turnovers. The Cowboys defense will get their first real shot at Daniel Jones this week. If his first few starts have been any indication, this will be an interesting test for the Cowboys defense against the New York Giants franchise quarterback.