With new head coach Brian Daboll, the New York Giants are trying to see what they can extract out of quarterback Daniel Jones. Daboll, fresh from his stint as the Bills’ offensive coordinator in which he turned Josh Allen from a toolsy prospect out of Wyoming into one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, is now in charge of trying to extract a similar turnaround from his new alleged franchise quarterback.
So far, Jones — selected sixth overall in the 2019 draft — has not given a lot of hope as to that level of improvement. This seems to have extended into the 2022 preseason.
Wow rough throw from Daniel Jones that happened at some point in time pic.twitter.com/YH4f3Ri7Gz
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) August 8, 2022
Throughout NFL history — or, at least more recent NFL history — the ability of quarterbacks to reverse course when they’ve played down to Jones’ low level is not great. Per Football Outsiders, quarterbacks since 1981 who have posted DVOA (FO’s opponent-adjusted play-to-play efficiency metric) in each of their first three NFL seasons do not turn it around in their fourth.
Jones’ Passing DVOA of -10.6 in 2021 ranked 26th in the league, and that’s the best DVOA he’s posted in a season. There was his -22.4% DVOA in 2020, which ranked 32nd, and his -19.2% DVOA in 2019, which ranked 30th.
So. Per Football Outsiders, there have been four quarterbacks who posted Passing DVOA of at least -10.0% in each their first three NFL seasons. DVOA currently goes back to 1981, so there’s a pretty decent sample size. Jeff George (1990-1992), Rick Mirer (1993-1995), Tim Couch (1999-2001), and Sam Darnold (2018-2020). Only George was able to redeem himself later in his career, and that was because (like Josh Allen), he had ridiculous tools, and the light eventually came on to whatever degree. Mirer and Couch are legendary draft busts. Darnold, like Jones, is trying to buck the “bust” label, and it’s not going well.
So, whatever level of optimism you may hear from Daboll and his staff regarding Jones’ ability to turn his career around, remember that history — and Jones’ own limitations — tend to err sharply in the opposite direction.