There is very little, yet again, for Giants fans to be thankful for.
If they should be thankful for anything or anyone on Thanksgiving Day, it is Daniel Jones.
Dave Gettleman got the quarterback right.
When many of us thought he had gotten it dead wrong.
There will be Life After Eli Manning.
One of these days, Jones will fix his ball-security issues, and one of these days, if Gettleman can upgrade the talent around him, Jones will start winning games, perhaps for Pat Shurmur, perhaps for someone else.
This much was certain on Thanksgiving Eve: Jones’ teammates are certainly thankful for him.
“Just his grit,” Saquon Barkley said. “He gets booed when he gets drafted here, knowing all you guys said we shouldn’t have drafted him. He puts all that aside and the only thing he cares about, he’s passionate about this sport and this team and those guys in the locker room.
“And if he continues to have that, I think he’s gonna be one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best quarterback in the league some day, and I truly believe that.”
Asked what excites him, aside from Jones’ grit, Barkley referenced the fourth-and-18 touchdown pass to Golden Tate against the Bears.
“Today I got caught just watching — should have finished the route — but just watching him throw a post ball, it was beautiful,” Barkley said. “He’s a talented player, he’s got the work ethic, he’s a smart player. I don’t think, I know, God willing, he stays healthy, but he keeps that same attitude, he’s gonna be a special player here.”
Eli Manning’s first nine starts: nine TDs, 11 INTs, 10 fumbles, two lost, 35 rushing yards, 15 sacks. A 3-6 record.
Jones’ first nine starts: 17 TDs, eight INTs, 14 fumbles, 10 lost, 235 rushing yards, two rushing TDs, 33 sacks. A 2-7 record.
“He commands the huddle; the respect that he has from the guys in the locker room; the things that he does on the field with his arm, with his legs,” Antoine Bethea told The Post. “What impresses you more I think about anybody in life, is when they make mistakes, how they come back from them. When he’s made a mistake, he still comes back and comes back strong.”
Manning had a better team around him and a better head coach in Tom Coughlin.
Sam Darnold’s first nine starts: 11 TDs, 14 INTs, four fumbles, one lost, 61 rushing yards, 21 sacks. A 3-6 record.
It is a given that Jones will never be as electrifying as Lamar Jackson. He is not the jaw-dropping highlight reel that Patrick Mahomes has been from Day 1. And that’s OK, he doesn’t have to be.
He is tough, physically and mentally, and durable and resilient and poised and a leader and he can threaten defenses with his arm and with his legs.
“We’re playing to win every game,” Jones said.
They’ve lost seven straight.
“It’s tough on everyone … tough on me, no one likes to lose, no one on this team likes to lose,” Jones said. “I think we’ve responded well, we’ve had good practices. We’ve had people attacking the next opportunity and we’ve gotta continue to do that and continue to improve. That’s our mindset, and if we’re consistent with that, we’ll get back on track.”
Jones hasn’t had the best version of Barkley.
“Let’s stop making excuses that I’m hurt. I’m not hurt. Let’s stop making excuses I’m not 100 percent. No one’s 100 percent,” Barkley said. “I wrote in my notes today, ‘The great ones figure it out,’ and I want to be great, I’m gonna figure it out.”
That will help immensely Jones when he does. And when he gets better blockers. And a No. 1 receiver. And a defense that has his back. For now, he has a Thanksgiving Day invite from backup quarterback Alex Tanney. I asked him if he might make any special requests.
“I don’t think I’m position to make any requests,” Jones said, and chuckled. “I’m just happy to be invited.”
Can he win you a Super Bowl? That is impossible to predict. Dan Marino never won one. Philip Rivers hasn’t won one. Trent Dilfer won one.
With the proper coaching, with a better supporting cast, Daniel Jones will have a chance.
“He can fit it in the tight holes,” Bethea said. “Ball placement is beautiful. He can throw the deep ball. So as far as arm talent, man, he’s up there with the best of ’em.”
Bethea’s message to Giants fans: “Bright future. Bright future, man. The Giants fans should be excited that Daniel Jones is a New York Giant.”