Two weeks ago, Brian Daboll assured all his quarterback, recovering from a neck injury suffered on Oct. 8, would return in 2023. On Friday, the second-year coach backed off those remarks — refusing to say that was still the case. He instead clung to the fact Jones was “getting better,” his inability to say more tied to his lack of “crystal ball” possession.
That’s more than a step back from his previous declarations.
“Yup,” he said.
Jones was a game-time decision before the Giants’ Week 7 victory over the Commanders. Now, he’s downright out. The Giants reaching such an assessment two days earlier is noteworthy, but nothing more than a footnote at this point. This is about Jones’ future and apparent likelihood that he could — for the second time in three years — miss the remainder of a season due to a neck injury.
The Giants’ quarterback endured a similar (although, he has acknowledged, different) issue in 2021. Jones hurt his neck against the Eagles. He practiced in a limited capacity for three weeks. The Giants then shut him down for the remainder of the season. Total games missed: six.
The Giants are again limiting Jones in practice. Last week, Daboll said, Jones even started running the scout team. The problem is that he still hasn’t been cleared for contact. He can’t practice fully, nor play, until that happens. And Jones won’t be cleared for contact until all of his symptoms are gone.
Both Daboll and Jones continue to highlight his progress. That’s among the reasons the coach said Jones’ season “is not over” on Oct. 18. Something changed.
“I’d say we are on this week, and we’ll see what happens next week,” Daboll said. “I’m not going to give you an answer that I don’t have right now. He’s getting better and we’ll see where he is next week.”
Jones previously said that he is not worried about this being a long-term injury. The concerns center around if he is hit a certain way. Jones could reinjure or make the injury worse.
The Giants signed Jones to a mega-money contract extension this offseason — four years, $160 million. He struggled immensely before his latest injury. Jones went 1-4 as a starter. He had a career-high completion percentage of 68.9, but just two touchdowns to six interceptions. He averaged just 176.8 passing yards per game.
His statistics averaged out for a 17-game season: 3,005 yards passing, seven touchdowns, 20 interceptions. Incompetent line play contributed to much of Jones’ struggles, but he didn’t help himself either.
Veteran Tyrod Taylor has played well in place of Jones. He’s completed 66.3% of his passes for 571 yards with a pair of touchdowns and zero interceptions in his three appearances (two starts). Daboll was adamant this week that Jones is the starter when healthy. That’s certainly the case.
The problem: It’s unclear when Jones will get back, if at all, in 2023.