Carl Banks Warns Giants’ Daniel Jones After Performance vs. Cowboys

Carl Banks knows all about what pressure does to quarterbacks. The former outside linebacker helped the New York Giants win two Super Bowls by applying consistent heat on the pocket, and Banks has cautioned Daniel Jones to improve under duress after the signal-caller’s “judgement was impaired” during Week 1’s 40-0 shutout loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Appearing on the “Bleav in Giants” podcast with Bob Papa, Banks warned the Giants about why Jones’ reaction to pressure can be “dangerous.” While taking a porous offensive line that surrendered seven sacks to task, Banks explained: “Your quarterback got hit a lot. His judgement was impaired. Even when he wasn’t getting hit, his decision-making was impaired. Now that’s dangerous too because you don’t want to be the quarterback that teams say, ‘hey, you hit him a little bit and you start getting pressure around him, he’s gonna panic and he’s gonna make some bad decisions. Or he falls apart. He’ll miss his reads.”

Banks framed Jones’ reticence against a swarming Cowboys’ pass rush as a “residual effect” of the Giants’ issues up front. Yet he also prompted Jones to “self-evaluate.”

Self-evaluation is necessary but humbling work for the whole Giants team after the way they were manhandled by an NFC East rival. The introspection will be tough, but it’s particularly important for the quarterback paid big bucks and equipped with a plethora of new targets this offseason.

Jones has everything he needs to make the step up into the upper echelon of players at his position. Passers in the elite bracket are defined by how they still produce yards, points and wins even when they’re under siege.

Daniel Jones Still Has a Ways to Go

The Giants would naturally have expected to play better in the trenches, but it was hardly a surprise the Cowboys got after Jones. This is a Dallas defense loaded with versatile and dynamic pass-rushers, including standout Micah Parsons and dependable veteran DeMarcus Lawrence.

Jones was always going to be in for a tough night, but he’s being paid to find solutions to the problems and still manufacture big plays. It’s what the NFL’s best quarterbacks do on a regular basis.

The magic was missing for Jones against the Cowboys. Instead, he conjured bizarre throws from strange decisions, like this one highlighted by Empire Sports Media’s Alex Wilson.

Daniel Jones is back making weird decisions again…

— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) September 11, 2023

This gaffe looked worryingly like the old Jones, the mistake-prone QB1 he was before head coach Brian Daboll arrived in 2022. Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka helped Jones reduce the turnovers and make smarter decisions with the football.

While the improvement was credit to the player, even Jones’ most ardent supporters were likely surprised by his breakout season. The problem is Jones and the Giants aren’t a surprise package anymore.

Opponents had all offseason to work out ways to disrupt this offense, and pressuring Jones already looks like their preferred solution.

Giants Must Protect Jones

Banks may have warned Jones against becoming the wrong kind of quarterback, but most of his focus was on how poorly the offensive line performed: “They just sent out invitations to every defensive front in football to come and party with them.”

Obviously, it’s hard to make miracles when taking hit after the hit the way Jones did in Week 1. Aside from taking seven sacks, he was also hit six times and hurried on three occasions, per Pro Football Reference.

The same source also detailed how Jones only had 2.2 seconds to throw from the pocket. In total, the Cowboys kept Jones “under pressure 66.7% of the time,” according to Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus.

QB under pressure 40% of the time: problem.
QB under pressure 45% of the time: non-viable.

Daniel Jones was under pressure 66.7% of the time against Dallas.

— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) September 13, 2023

Jones has the right to expect more time courtesy of a line bookended by two first-round draft picks, tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal. The latter struggled mightily, allowing eight pressures, per Pro Football Focus, while right guard Mark Glowinski was also overpowered too often and too easily.

Solutions won’t be easy to find from within, although Daboll could turn to Joshua Ezeudu at guard. The coach’s bigger concern will be the health of Thomas, who “is in serious doubt” to face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 because of a hamstring problem, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

Thomas is the best blocker on the roster, so he’ll be needed against a Cards defense that logged six sacks in a losing cause against the Washington Commanders. If Thomas can’t make it onto the field, Jones will encounter the same issues Banks has warned against.

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