Daniel Jones: From One Extreme To The Other Sports Media Feeling Heat by Vincent Zahler
We all know what happened Thursday night at the MetLife Bowl. The Giants and Jets met for their annual preseason contest. Only this time, almost all eyes paid little to no mind on Eli Manning but to his heir apparent Daniel Jones. After months of media and fans loudly and proudly ripped the selection of the former Duke quarterback at sixth overall at rate not seen before, everyone waited with baited breath to see if the criticisms were going to be confirmed. They weren’t. Daniel Jones in a single drive not only made the now much maligned sports analysts get eerily quiet and/or backpedal. Looking poised, decisive and accurate, he caused the first positive uproar among Giants fans in quite some time. Statistically perfect and showing plenty of zip, many fans are now rightfully calling into question the credibility of those who wear the label of expert. Its not that Daniel Jones proved himself greatly and debunked all negativity but that the main criticisms, primarily regarding his arm strength were not on display. One can’t help but wonder if those who were so ardent in their condemnation of the draft selection actually watched his college footage as his small preseason sample size showed a contradiction of what the so called experts said. It started in camp, the harsh criticism of Jones was softened as he showed arm and touch early on. This of course occurred after he had a rough first half of his first day when the media gleefully made a clip of an incompletion go viral. Fans started to change their tune and the detractors got a little quieter. Why was there such collective confidence that Jones was going to be a bust that was somehow flimsy enough for a mere 5 pass attempts was all it took to shatter it for the time being? Is it possible that the people we look to for expert opinions of NFL prospects are ill informed or worse, biased? When GM Dave Gettleman went against the grain of analytics and the argument for positional value by taking running back and 2018 Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley he more than caused a stir. Not only did it bring questioning from the media about why didn’t he take Sam Darnold(who looked excellent on Thursday night) to be the heir apparent for Eli or to trade down in an effort to gain more draft picks, it brought criticism for daring to take a running back in the top 5. The response from Gettleman struck of nerve as he mocked them by pretending to type away on an imaginary laptop. With this, he essentially called those who questioned him the dreaded insult of nerds. Since that moment, the media has been quick to jump on every move Gettleman has made. While much of the negative coverage regarding Giants personnel moves has been more than valid, theres a point where some would point out that the media is simply piling on. The Giants were low hanging fruit and in a long offseason, negative clickbait sells. They took advantage. Overly so. Even if Daniel Jones ends up becoming a bust, the sudden quietness and even full 180 degree by outlets on Jones screams of self preservation by those clinging to shrinking credibility.