The longest play on the Giants’ first touchdown drive on Sunday involved Daniel Jones and a jump, one-handed welcome.
Giants quarterback Jones did not bowl the ball. He caught
And as he caught it, climbing the high pass near the Carolina sideline, he was killed. Crunch. Coming from the left, Panthers safety Sean Chandler hit Jones’ helmet – accidentally, it appeared – with his own. Jones’ helmet hit the turf.
He got up fine
But two weeks ago, Jones didn’t. He sustained a concussion in a brutal helmet-to-helmet collision during a loss to the Giants in Dallas. Dazed, he struggled to walk and was eventually kicked off the field as part of the NFL’s five-step concussion protocol. But he passed protocol to play against the Los Angeles Rams last week, and he was healthy on Sunday when, with about five minutes left in the third quarter, Jones handed the ball and then ran downfield to wait for the pass. .
The result of both the gadget play (16-yard advantage) and the game (25-3 Giants win) influenced the most important aspect of the entire effort: why, given Jones’ recent head injury, was it called out at all. Was ?
This question was not asked until later by Coach Joe Judge, who however discussed Jones’ toughness. He certainly showed it, the judge said.
If he had been asked – and, more pertinently, there was truth in his response – the judge would have said that the Giants (2-5), with jobs in danger in the midst of another disappointing season, needed to win the game, and He scheduled that game at the time. , his version of the famous Philly special, will help him do just that.
Or that so many offensive starters were injured – their top three receivers, their starting left tackles and their star running backs – the Giants needed to offset their talent drain with creativity.
Or that because every snap exposes players to the risk of injury, there is no reason to withdraw anything. When asked why he went full-on Jones from the Rams for last week’s 38-11 loss: “We’re going to compete for 60 minutes.”
It is a defining test of will in the zero-sum NFL, where players’ livelihoods depend on their availability. In a game with violent hits, where helmets and pads protect but do not insulate and each play incites a 22-car pile, no part of the body is protected. Every participant – from the coach to the players – not only understands but embraces that grim reality. Sometimes they come back after an injury. Sometimes, they don’t.
Patrick Mahomes was lucky on Sunday to survive a serious head injury after absorbing a helmeted knee in a loss to Kansas City in Tennessee. Like Jones against Dallas, Mahomes was stung and needed help getting off the field. Unlike Jones, Mahomes passed concussion protocol and, although coach Andy Reid ruled him out for the rest of the game, he was later allowed to speak with the news media.
“I feel fine now,” Mahomes said later: “You hit too hard. Sometimes you just want to lie there.”
Maybe Jones felt the same way on Sunday. But he, like many others, prides himself on his rigor – in his flexibility. His football coach at Charlotte Latin School, Larry McNulty, likes to share the story of how, as a sloppy high school sophomore, Jones was hit so hard that McNulty thought he was dead. Jones’ helmet and mouthpiece were removed from this blow. Getting up from the grass, he looked McNulty in the eye and said, “Get me a really nice helmet.”
That attitude, combined with Jones’ athleticism, was dear to the Giants in the 2019 draft, and it forces the team’s offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, to take advantage of his pace, scoring runs for him. Against Dallas, Jones couldn’t get two defenders to the end field pylon on a keeper, and linebacker Jabril Cox drilled him with his helmet. When Garrett was asked about the play four days later, he said he would be “foolish” not to capitalize on Jones’ potential as a sprinter, but to “certainly not put him in dangerous situations.” to be aware”.
“You don’t want to overdo it and damage him,” Garrett said. “I think we’re understanding more and more. He’s understanding more and more the balance between them.”
He said he doubted there was anything else Jones could have done to avoid the injury.
“This is pro football,” he said. “Go there guys, he’s trying to make a play, they’re trying to make a play and unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us.”
It is unlikely that Garrett intended to land that statement. But using that phrase—it didn’t work for us—is quite a euphemism for the quarterback to bear a head injury.
Jones, lucky enough to avoid another on Sunday, said he wasn’t sure whether Chandler’s helmet hit him. They’ll have to see it, he said. And he can. It is on film, for all to see.