PALM BEACH, Fla. — The New York Giants don’t mess with their quarterback status. The new regime has made the pecking order very clear: Daniel Jones is the starter and Tyrod Taylor is the replacement.
No quibbles over semantics. No way to say that QBs will be competitive or that everyone has to earn a job or that this is pure meritocracy.
No, Jones is the starter under new general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll, with perhaps his biggest support being ownership and John Mara.
“He’s shown enough when we’ve had the right pieces around him – when we’ve been relatively healthy – he’s shown enough talent to make us believe we can win with him,” Mara said last week during of the NFL Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.
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Mara and the Giants think Jones is a quarterback you can build on, even if they need to see it before they put in the cash to fully prove it.
Schoen and Daboll followed Mara’s latest endorsement by specifically referring to Taylor, who was signed as a free agent three weeks ago, as a “backup.” So barring an unexpected setback, Jones will start spring training, training camp and the regular season as a starter.
This is a breakthrough 2022 season for Jones, who is in the final year of his rookie contract. The Giants said they haven’t made a decision on whether to pick his fifth-year option. They have until May 2.
Just two years ago, Joe Judge took over as head coach and didn’t say the name of Jones (or any player for that matter) until he had them in the building and seen them in the field.
It’s the opposite end of the spectrum – naming your starting quarterback in March.
“Yeah, [Taylor] came on as a backup,” Daboll said last week at the NFC Coaches Breakfast in Palm Beach. “Again, you’ve seen Daniel here for the past few years. I think Daniel, I said it before, he has a good athletic level, he made very good shots. I’m sure there are pieces he wants back like everyone else.
“I think I’m going now and [the start of the offseason program]we’ve kind of settled it the way we want it.”
The Giants aren’t worried about Jones’ neck injury, which cost him the final six games of last season. There will be no restrictions this spring.
In fact, there were people in the organization who thought Jones was legitimately close to a comeback at the end of last season. Four months later and almost five months before he faces his first contact, that’s not even a topic anymore.
“He should be ready to go,” Daboll assured reporters of his starting quarterback’s availability this spring.
The Giants have Taylor just in case. It was a priority for Schoen to get a reliable backup this offseason, even with the team running out of salary cap space. He first went after Mitch Trubisky (who signed with Pittsburgh as the presumptive starter) before turning to Taylor.
Taylor, 32, has signed a two-year contract worth $11 million with the potential to earn more with incentives than he can touch unless he plays. He fits what the Giants were looking for in their backup quarterback – a veteran to work behind and push Jones.
“I really like Tyrod,” Schoen said. “I was in Buffalo with him that first year  when we broke the 17-year playoff drought there. Morning workout type. He was always the first to enter. Still there. First in, last out. He is intelligent. He’s a boss. He is sporty. He can operate the Dabes system and [offensive coordinator Mike] Kafka – the stuff they want to do on offense. You don’t have to change your attack if he is to come into the game. Similar type skill sets [as Jones] and they can run the same offensive pattern.
“It was kind of certain guys that we were targeting. It was guys that you don’t need to completely change your plan to carry out your attack. That was important.”
Jones’ history suggests that Taylor will eventually play this year. Jones missed games due to injury in each of his first three professional seasons.
That’s just one reason there’s uncertainty surrounding Jones as the long-term answer to the quarterback. There’s also his 12-25 record as a starter and 49 turnovers in 38 career games.
Still, the new coach, general manager and owner are looking past the inconsistent start to his career and believing this will be the year he finally puts it together.
“You’re going to have to wait and see,” Mara said. “I can understand there’s going to be a lot of skepticism about it. But you’re going to have to wait and see. You’re telling me, which quarterback would have thrived in the situation we’ve been in in the past two, three or four years? It was very difficult. I think he did the best he could. Besides, he was injured.
“We think he is going to be healthy this year. Our offensive line should be better. There are also some very good players. We have a new scheme. We have a head coach who has been very successful in developing skills. quarters.
“So all of those things indicate that we’re going to be better. Until we do, I understand there will be skepticism.”