daniel-jones-has-never-needed-a-win-this-badly

Man alive, does this guy need to win a game.

Like, yesterday. Or at least this Sunday, when the Giants, for the first and possibly last time this season, will be favored when they step on the field to face Washington.

How much more losing can Daniel Jones take?

“We put a lot of work into it throughout the week,’’ Jones said Wednesday. “To not get the results is disappointing at times. It’s frustrating. I think like anyone, I certainly am when we don’t get the results. I take it hard.

“But the thing about this game, the thing about any game, any sport or anything you’re doing is you have to be able to refocus and not let it discourage you, not let it distract from the next one, from the preparation or looking forward, I guess.’’

At this point, at 0-5, it is all pretty much a guess.

Jones and the Giants have come close. The late-game failures in Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas are dissected, of course, but not in some sort of special, cosmic way. There is no need to sit Jones down and remind him, “Look, the fourth quarter is where quarterbacks are made, so try extra harder in the closing minutes.’’

That cannot be the conversation. Even though it is the truth.

“The ‘we got to deliver when the game’s on the line’ … that’s a big part of being a good quarterback in this league,’’ quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski said. “I’m pretty sure we don’t put that kind of pressure on him. I’ve found when people get out of their realm and they try to do some stuff or the whole ‘I got to make a play’ philosophy it doesn’t always work out too well.’’

Daniel Jones Demarcus Lawrence Giants Cowboys
Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence sacks and strips the ball away from Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.AP

Still, there are times Jones simply has to make a play. A batter in a key moment in the late innings can be accused of gripping the bat too tightly. Is Jones tensing up on crucial drives?

“No, I don’t see any of that with him at all,’’ head coach Joe Judge said. “In fact, I see him getting more comfortable and relaxed within the scheme, which has been a positive.’’

OK, so no tensing up. But what about feeling so terrible about one loss after another — he is 1-14 in his past 15 starts, with that lone victory coming over Washington — that it eats him up on the inside, releasing negative vibes to infiltrate his bloodstream?

“I promise you, no one takes a loss harder than he does,’’ Schuplinski said. “Having the opportunity to see this guy in the locker room after every game, it’s been a crushing couple of games for him.’’

No one disputes the work ethic, the early-morning arrivals to the facility ahead of his teammates, the Tuesday off-day pop-ins (as Eli Manning made a habit) to get a jump on the weekly workload.

“The only thing I can say for Daniel … in terms of whatever his emotion is after the game, I see him funnel it into a solid week of work,’’ Judge said.

Judge calls Jones “a very resilient guy’’ and “a fighter’’ and he needs to be plenty of both to stiff-arm all this losing. Judge protects his players in public but he promises he is not that way in private.

“Listen, just my personality and the personality of this coaching staff is we’re very blunt, open and honest,’’ he said. “I’m not really sitting here trying to sell you a car. We’re not recruiting you to college. I’m gonna tell you the truth every day. You have to be mentally tough to handle that.

“I tell you what now, No. 8 does that very well for us. He’s a tough-minded dude, he responds to a lot of criticism on the outside, but he blocks [it] out and he plays for his teammates and those guys respect that about him.’’

There are reasons for dismay. Jones and the Giants do not have a touchdown pass in four consecutive games and this has not happened in more than 39 years. The last time the Giants failed to pass their way into the end zone for this long of a stretch was Nov. 22-Dec. 13, 1981, when Scott Brunner (subbing for injured Phil Simms) did not throw a touchdown pass in four straight games. Those Giants, though, won three of the games.

These Giants? Nada.

Jones, often out-gunned from a talent standpoint, was 17-19 as a starter at Duke. The cards dealt to Jones with the Giants do not exactly scream royal flush, either. He needs to win some hands, though, starting this weekend.