For all of the criticism Daniel Jones has faced, the Giants’ quarterback now has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time in his four-year career.
Those designations have come under three different offensive systems and three different head coaches, a signal of Jones’ talent and adaptability. He also has continued improvement in limiting turnovers through the Giants’ surprising 6-1 start.
“I think you try to improve every week. I think each week is different. I think I’m a better player than I was last year and I was a better player then, than I was the year before. I’m just trying to continue to improve,” Jones said after practice Wednesday in East Rutherford. “I think [winning it] one week is great, I’m certainly appreciative to be recognized.
“But at the end of the day, it’s one week. It’s about what you do consistently over the course of the season.”
The 25-year-old Jones was designated as the top offensive player in the conference in Week 7 after throwing for 202 yards with one touchdown and rushing for 107, including another score, in Sunday’s 23-17 win in Jacksonville. In Brian Daboll’s first season at the helm, the Giants are a half-game behind the unbeaten Eagles in the NFC East entering Sunday’s visit to Seattle to face Geno Smith and the Seahawks (4-3).
Jones, who can become a free agent after this season after the Giants declined to pick up his fifth-year option for 2023, previously won the award in Week 3 of the 2019 season under former head coach Pat Shurmur and in Week 4 of last season under then-coach Joe Judge.
By contrast, Jones’ predecessor, Eli Manning, was named Offensive Player of the Week four times over 18 NFL seasons.
“I think those are special awards for any player. I think that any player would say they’re team awards, too,” Daboll said. “This is such a team sport.
“But certainly, you say congratulations on the achievement that he had for the week. I thank all the other guys, too, for helping him out. You need everybody else for a quarterback, too.”
Certainly, Jones made sure to publicly express that sentiment on Wednesday, which is especially appropriate with running back Saquon Barkley leading the NFC in rushing yards (726) and the entire league in yards from scrimmage (906).
Still, Jones notably has cut down on his turnovers with just two interceptions and two lost fumbles entering Sunday’s contest.
“I think as a team, as a group, we’ve done a good job of taking care of the ball. I think it falls on everyone to protect the ball and do their job and finish plays with it,” said Jones, the Giants first-round pick out of Duke (sixth overall) in 2019. “I think I’m trying to make quicker decisions, trying to get the ball out of my hands as soon as possible. I don’t think that’s any different from things I’ve done in the past. But I think you’re better at it every week and I’m certainly better at it than I’ve been in the past.”
Indeed, Jones fumbled the ball a league-high 19 times in 13 games as a rookie in 2019 and 36 times over his first three NFL seasons, with the Giants losing the ball on 20 of those plays. He is on pace for a career-low five fumbles this season.
“That’s what we’re trying to do — trying to eliminate turnovers. He touches the ball on every play. There’s a wide variety of reasons to turn the ball over, and I think that his decision-making process has been very good,” Daboll said. “We need to continue to improve on that. He’s kept two hands on the ball in the pocket.
“Again, sometimes, they’re just going to make a really good play on defense. But I think he’s practiced with good habits. It’s something you’ve got to work on each week because each week is a different challenge.”
This story originally appeared on NYPost