The nearly 10 pounds of muscle Daniel Jones added to his now-robust 6-foot-5 frame do not need to get tenderized with a meat mallet. The strapping young man will rise or fall this season based on several different factors. The Giants need not worry about his toughness.
This is why Jones, all of 23 years old, should have felt at least a modicum of relief hearing his rookie head coach is uninterested in prepping the second-year quarterback by exposing him to a gauntlet of physical mayhem before the regular season arrives, with all its unavoidable and non-orchestrated physical mayhem.
“I’m not in a hurry to go ahead and just beat the hell out of him,’’ head coach Joe Judge said, thankfully. “But at some point, we’ll prepare his body for what he may take in the first game.’’
The Steelers arrive Sept. 14, and T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree want to meet at the intersection of Daniel Jones and the MetLife Stadium turf. There will be no social distancing guidelines to protect Jones from the possible barrage.
Never in training camp are quarterbacks pummeled to make sure they can take it. There is a reason why they are assigned red practice jerseys. Red, as in stop.
Tiki Barber once said the first time he got hauled down in the preseason and got cracked in the helmet was always jarring. But, he insisted, he did not need to get tackled a bunch of times to get him ready for the punishment of the season. It is the same with Jones. He was sacked 38 times as a rookie. He does not need to get tossed around like a rag doll as a reminder what it feels like.
Judge actually said, “We’ve talked about it,’’ when asked if he would consider removing Jones’ red jersey at some point in practice, given that there are no preseason games. However long that conversation took, it lasted too long.
“With quarterbacks, you want to go ahead and be calculated with how you start banging them around,’’ Judge said. “I don’t think we’re going to throw him into any royal rumbles or anything like that.’’
Judge is not removing Jones’ red jersey. Still, at some point, Jones will get roughed up, some.
“We’ll pop his pads a little bit in a controlled environment,’’ Judge said. “Maybe that’s with a young guy who understands kind of hitting him a little bit.’’
The closest Jones will get to physical peril could come Friday night, when the Giants go into COVID-19-created Bizarro World. They will simulate a game with an evening Blue and White scrimmage at MetLife Stadium, under the lights. If there is pressure on Jones, though, do not expect the defender to drive the quarterback to the ground. If that happens, Judge will send the offender on a Lesson Lap (Judge doesn’t like to call these Penalty or Punishment Laps) so far into the Meadowlands swamps the poor guy will stumble over some of those bodies the Sopranos left behind.
Judge is getting the hang of this. He was peppered with red-jersey questions for a few days and on Wednesday figured to have some fun with his plans for his starting quarterback.
“I have the strength staff downstairs right now putting bars of soap in socks and we’re just going to take him out back and just wail on him for a while,’’ Judge said, cracking a smile.
He might do it, if that cured Jones’ ball-security issues from a year ago.
“Will we put him into a live tackling drill? No,’’ Judge said. “Is it something we’re going to bang around a little bit with a pad, and make sure his body at least feels some pressure on it? Yes. Is there a time you’re going to kind of bear hug him a little bit, let him feel the grabs? Yeah, these are things you naturally have to do to get a player’s body ready. ’’
It has not been an overwhelmingly impressive camp for Jones. The ball hits the ground too often. But he looks fine. He is learning a new system, is a willing and capable student and possesses a low-key charisma around his teammates. The arrows are pointing up.
“I think you knew the guy had a lot of toughness just from watching the tape last year,’’ Judge said. “This guy took some shots and he got up.’’
Yes, he did. He also went down with a high ankle sprain. Save the shots for when the Steelers are in town.
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