Daniel Jones had an encouraging rookie season, but his handling of the football before he throws is worthy of hand wringing.
Jones fumbled the ball 18 times as a rookie. Eighteen of anything -- interceptions, incompletions in a game, broken eggs because you forgot they were at the bottom of your shopping cart -- is usually too much. Jones knows this and realizes he needs to fix it if he wants to establish himself as a legitimate NFL quarterback.
During the pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders, Jones has been focusing more on ball security than anything else. He told reporters Wednesday he's doing different drills and emphasizing "mindfulness," per NFL Network's Kimberly Jones, calling the problem "a simple fix."
Jones shouldn't feel alone in this battle to take better care of the rock. The other franchise quarterback in New York, the Jets' Sam Darnold, had a similar issue while in college at USC, and he's combined to fumble 16 times (including 11 times in 13 games in 2019) since he's turned pro. Darnold also has another year on Jones, though, and he still didn't hit Jones' total.
The dream scenario is no fumbles at all, but in a league that emphasizes both passing and pass-rushing, it's bound to happen a few times. The hope is Jones pulls a reverse Darnold by cutting his fumbles down around the range of five in his second season. Offensive line has a lot to do with this, and Giants general manager Dave Gettleman invested in it, selecting tackle Andrew Thomas with fourth-overall pick in last month's draft.
Comfort also might help Jones better approach his mental preparation and performance. With Eli Manning now retired, it'll likely be less awkward for Jones, who conceded it was probably a little strained working together in 2019. Manning admitted as much last week and said he thinks Jones could benefit from being the undisputed quarterback in charge in 2020.
We'll see if that helps him hold onto the ball better. He has plenty of time to familiarize himself with The Duke before camp begins.