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With the 7-2 New York Giants being billed as the surprise of the NFL, many have also been surprised by the performance of fourth-year quarterback Daniel Jones. Written off after the Giants declined to pick up his fifth-year option, Jones has been imperative to the Giants' success, as he has played efficient and -- for the first time in his career -- winning football through half a season.

But there are some people, including a former Giants head coach, who had faith in Jones all along.

Speaking on the "Pardon My Take" podcast, NFL Network's and FOX Sports' Peter Schrager recalled a phone conversation with Joe Judge after the coach was fired by the Giants following a downward spiral that ended in a 4-13 record in 2021.

On that call, Judge shared with Schrager his personal feelings on Jones and the belief in the QB's ability to lead a franchise.

"He calls me right away and he goes 'Here's what you can do ... This is what you can do: Next time you or your co-hosts want to sh-t all over Daniel Jones or say that Daniel Jones is terrible or this or that, know that Daniel Jones is tough as sh-t, comes prepared, and I would run through a brick wall for that guy," Schrager said Jones told him, via the "Pardon My Take" interview." "And I'm like 'That's the one thing you want? You don't want to take a shot at (David) Gettleman? You don't want to take a shot at the Maras?

"He's like 'Nah, whatever. Just that quarterback was tough and was put in a tough spot. And I just want everyone to know that.'"

In two years with the Giants, Judge went from being hailed as the franchise's savior at head coach to being run out of town, in large part because of his team's inability to field a competent offense. The Giants fielded the No. 31-ranked offense in both of Judge's seasons as head coach, and the brunt of the burden fell on Jones, who went from throwing 24 touchdowns as a rookie in 2019 to just 21 across two seasons under Judge.

Granted, there were circumstances that worked against Judge throughout his tenure in New York. Judge had originally wanted to hire now-Giants head coach Brian Daboll as his offensive coordinator, but was instead given Jason Garrett, who was eventually fired midway through the 2021 season. Judge also reportedly was in a power struggle with general manager Dave Gettleman.

With Daboll as his coach, Jones has taken a leap to become a serious dual-threat quarterback, completing a career-high 65.8% of his passes for 1,596 yards and eight touchdowns while running for 387 yards and three touchdowns. He's also all but eliminated turnovers from his game.