There's always going to be a baseline amount of pressure for any starting quarterback in the NFL. For those possibly still proving that they can, in fact, be the face of their respective franchise, however, that pressure can get up to a fever pitch. It's that circumstance where New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones finds himself entering the 2021 season.
The former No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft is embarking on a critical third season as New York's starter, with some believing that he'll need to show signs of positive development for him to solidify himself beyond this year. Jones even admitted to the pressure of needing to play at a high level while speaking to reporters on Tuesday as New York begins training camp.
"I think at this level and in this job, we're all expected to perform and play at a high level every day, and that starts today," he said. "I certainly feel that. I think everyone on the team does and I think that's healthy, I think that's the way it should be and I know we're excited for the opportunity."
Jones' tenure with the Giants has been a story of peaks and valleys. He's flashed ability worthy of his top-10 selection, but has struggled to maintain that level of play. The former Duke product has a strong arm (35 touchdowns and 5,970 yards passing over his first two seasons) and has also shown the ability to make plays with his legs (423 rushing yards in 2020). However, Jones has been inconsistent his first couple of years and has turned the ball over quite a bit (22 interceptions and 29 fumbles). Those will need to be weeded out for Jones and the Giants to have a more lethal and consistent offense.
One thing that may help in that regard is consistency with the coaching staff as Jones will be entering his second season with head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett at the helm again.
"I think it's valuable," Jones said of having the same coaching staff. "I think it's valuable for all of us. I think it's the second year in the system under Coach Garrett and [Head] Coach [Joe] Judge. A lot of us are back and, like I said, have developed chemistry and know how to communicate with one another, but kind of the same theme, to start over and take it day by day, to start with step one and make sure we're going about it the right way. We've got several new guys and had some time to get to know them during the spring and in the summer and we'll continue to go from there, but definitely helps to be back with Coach Garrett, Coach Judge and a lot of the same guys."
Of course, the dream for New York is for Jones to see a Year 3 leap that's in a similar vein to what Josh Allen was able to do in 2020. After a couple of inconsistent seasons, the Bills quarterback turned himself into an MVP candidate and had Buffalo on the brink of the Super Bowl with an AFC Championship appearance. While the jury is still out as to whether or not the Giants will be able to reach similar heights, the development of Jones is set to take center stage at camp and continue to be a key storyline worth following throughout the year.