John Feliciano had over seven seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman for the Raiders and Bills – including developing Derek Carr and one of the sport’s biggest stars, Josh Allen. So, as the center of the Giants’ number one thread, and as lead researcher on coach Brian Dabol’s doctrine, Feliciano seemed a good place to start assessing the upside for 2022. Daniel Jones.
Assuming an uptrend.
As Feliciano was standing in the middle of the Giants’ locker room on Tuesday, five days away from the season opener in Tennessee, he was asked if he thought the quarterback in his fourth year was still a star in this league.
“Yes, 100 percent,” Feliciano told the newspaper. “It’s his work ethic, and he’s very meticulous with the ball. He’s obviously not as athletic as Josh. I think Josh is probably the most athletic quarterback in the league. But Daniel can definitely run, and he definitely has a big arm. So I’m excited to see what He can do it this year.”
Anyone interested in professional football in this market knows the book about Jones. He’s lost 25 of 37 starts, sustained a serious neck injury, and has already gone through more coaches and staff than anyone can count.
Oh, and Feliciano’s former Buffalo teammates — Dabol and General Manager Joe Schoen — decided not to pick Jones for the fifth year.
Yes, it is true that the rookie coach and GM rookie praised the professionalism and desire of the quarterback.
“It’s very difficult,” Daboll said on Tuesday. “He’s here all the time. He’s a lot quieter, but he’s very competitive. …I think he’s a good leader.”
Good luck finding anyone inside the Giants facility to say something negative about Jones. Prior to last season, co-owner Jon Mara insisted he saw the sixth pick in the 2019 draft as a quarterback who would eventually win the Super Bowl.
“I can say that without any hesitation,” Mara told The Post. When asked if he thought Jones was good enough to win multiple Super Bowls, Elle Manning style, Mara replied, “I don’t understand why he wouldn’t, if we put the right pieces around him.”
After the Giants again failed to put these pieces in place in 2021, Mara blamed the organization for doing “everything possible for this kid to fail since he’s been here.”
But that was a generous assessment of the situation in favor of Jones, who deserves his fair share of blame, too. Although Mara, Schoen, and Daboll can say all the positive and protective things they want about their quarterback, actions by public figures are always more telling than the words spoken by public figures.
Mara, Schoen and Dabol had the opportunity to secure Jones’ employment for the 2023 season, and they took a pass. You don’t need to know more than that.
That’s the bottom line with Jones, and with every player in his position: If you can’t picture your quarterback holding the Lombardy Trophy high before it expires, you need to find another one.
Manning went 11-5 and won a Giants league title in his first full year as a rookie, and although things went wrong for him, it wasn’t too hard to imagine him being good enough at one point to win the championship. Allen in Buffalo? It is very easy now to imagine him winning a couple.
That’s where Jones needs to be at the end of this year, if he’s to convince employers that they don’t need to recruit a college quarterback to replace him. He must stay on the field and play effectively enough for Schwinn and Dabol to portray him as a future Super Bowl winner as Mara did in the spring of 2021.
Is this an actionable suggestion?
“He’s working his tail, I’ll tell you,” said Feliciano. “He’s always in the weight room or he attends extra meetings and catches guys, picks their brains and tells them how he wants things to go. He’s just a really good leader. I didn’t know much about him before I came here, but I really like who he is.”
“When I first got to Buffalo, Josh wasn’t the same Josh as he is now. I would say Josh and Daniel might have been in a similar situation. … The year before, Josh had been running for his life and taking a lot of shots. When I got there. With a bunch of other guys, we gave him the confidence to stay put and do what he’s doing.
“So I think it’s the same with Daniel. He’s had to deal with a lot of different things, a lot of different coaches, different line coaches, different players playing on the line. But I think once he gets some consistency, he’s going to show everyone what he can.” do it.”
On Tuesday, Jones described Daboll’s system as “a very friendly quarterback for any quarterback player.” This season, against the odds, he should be friendly enough to make Jones look like the future champ.
Nothing less than that will make the cut.