Pat Shurmur has no plans to bench Daniel Jones

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Already one of the most memorable stories of the 2019 NFL season, Daniel Jones' debut was dramatic, dazzling and a breath of fresh air for a New York fanbase long overdue for a positive headline.

Pages get turned quickly in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of the NFL, though, and after three straight Giants losses a bit of the shine has worn of the still-novel Danny Dimes era.

Following Sunday's 27-21 loss at home to the Cardinals in which Jones had three fumbles, there's definitely an issue -- literally and figuratively -- at the hands of the rookie quarterback.

Not long removed from an outcry to move on from Eli Manning to Jones, Giants coach Pat Shurmur is now fielding question about the rookie's starting status should the turnovers continue.

Shurmur is sticking with Jones going forward, though.

"No," Shurmur answered, via team transcript, when asked Monday if he would consider making a switch at quarterback. "I think Daniel is going to learn from everything that's going on. Just like all the other rookies and their playing, they're going to learn from the things that happen. But you have to learn and you have to win games, and I'm well aware of that. I'm totally well aware of that."

Through six games (five starts), Jones has turned the ball over a whopping 13 times, with seven interceptions and six fumbles. He had eight total touchdowns (six passing) this year and has thrown for 1,144 yards at a 61.1 completion percentage with a 75.0 QB rating. In two games to begin the season, Manning had two touchdowns, two interceptions and two fumbles. Thus, old or young, veteran or rookie, the Giants have seen similar production.

While Shurmur is backing his rookie, he knows that the turnovers are an obvious issue in need of a quick solution.

"Certainly, ball security is primary, especially for the quarterback. He got it swatted out of his hand on a screen. He was trying to hold off, Saquon [Barkley] popped a little bit late. But generally speaking, yeah, he has to secure the ball better," Shurmur said. "I think as you study quarterbacks, they all have issues at times. But it's certainly something that we've got to get fixed."

When Jones burst out of the gates with a storybook debut in the form of a 32-31 comeback win, the QB's heroics overshadowed that he had two fumbles in the win. Jones has shown a propensity for holding the ball a bit too long, perhaps. Getting rid of it might well be the first step in preventing fumbles.

Getting rid of the ball is a bit of a problem, as well, though. One of the aspects of Jones' game that enabled him to rally the Giants offense at the onset was the Duke product's eye for the big play. Sometimes big plays take a while to come to fruition.

Similarly, it takes time for a rookie QB to learn the ropes; Jones' stupendous start no doubt disguising and delaying the first-year growing pains that were inevitable. And the 2-5 Giants, particularly their coach it would seem, want to win now.

"No, he is aggressive, and I think he has a downfield focus, which is good," Shurmur said. "That's sometimes why he holds onto it, because he's waiting for his guy to get open. But there's a fine line there. There are times when we've all talked about quarterbacks that will just quickly check it down and not look down the field. Then there's criticism that goes with that. We want guys that are aggressive. It all comes back to the players and them trying to get the most out of every play. But also being smart, and I think he'll learn as he goes along here.

"We've highlighted [a problem] that needs to get fixed, and that's ball security in the pocket. So, we'll just keep working on that. You just get back to work and try to fix all of those things. But we live in the real world. The real world is you need to win football games, and I understand that. I'm well aware of that."

Smack dab in the middle of the real world, Jones realizes ball safety is an ill to be remedied.

"I think if you have one, it's too many. So, I think yeah, I've just got to do a better job of all of that," he said, via team transcript. "I think kind of the focus right now is to improve, is to fix what we need to do better, and try to get back on track this week. But yeah, I'm certainly confident in myself, I'm confident in the team that we will fix it and hopefully get back on track this week."

There's no reason and evidently no inclination that Jones' spot as the Giants' starting quarterback is in jeopardy. The Danny Dimes era is just getting started; there's going to be wins and losses, touchdowns and turnovers and, whether it's heads or tails, it's coming up with Jones leading the way for Big Blue for autumns to come.

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